One for the History Books
March 18, 2008 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Obama's Gettysburg Address. Today we saw and heard a preview of our brightest possible American future in Senator Barack Obama's glorious speech. This, then, is what it means to be presidential. To be moral. To have a real center. To speak honestly, from the heart, for the benefit of all. If there was any doubt about what we have missed in the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones (the years of "what is is"), those doubts were laid to rest by Barack Obama's magisterial speech today. A speech in which he distanced himself from a flawed father figure, Reverend Wright, and did so with almost Shakespearian dignity and honor. One of the most important speeches on race in decades if not longer. (text)

One for the history books.
Obama's Bold Gamble
Crisis into opportunity.
Even RedState (I love RedState in its own way) loves Obama, kind of

He gave the speech that no one with a real audience seems to have had courage to give, it acknowledges the feelings of both the black community and of the working class whites who so often seem in opposition, and he gives both their props. Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.
posted by caddis (1126 comments total) 115 users marked this as a favorite

 
This thread comes pre metaed. If you have any thread-crapping to do please do it in the meta thread.
posted by Artw at 9:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Brilliant speech btw.
I never, particularly after the last 7 years, thought in my lifetime I would see a leader so presidential and so stirring that he could have been an Aaron Sorkin character (minus all the rapid-fire pop culture stuff), but here we are.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Not only best of the web, but the best in and about America.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Not that I'm letting go of my love of all things Obama, but he lost me right about here:
and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
posted by Jimbob at 9:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [15 favorites]


God dammit.

This: http://img214.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cnnqv6vb9.jpg

Go there

(Ive been up over 48 hrs on deadlines. Sorry everyone)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


so stirring that he could have been an Aaron Sorkin character

I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:41 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who wrote the speech?
posted by cell divide at 9:41 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


so stirring that he could have been an Aaron Sorkin character

Am I the only one who doesn't see that as a positive thing?
posted by cell divide at 9:42 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Torrent here.
posted by plexi at 9:42 PM on March 18, 2008


I loved Jon Stewart's response to the story of this speech. Something like, "And so, at 11 a.m. on this Tuesday morning, for the first time ever a politician talked to us about the issue of race like we were adults." It was a punchline, but it was delivered so earnestly that no one could laugh.
posted by tepidmonkey at 9:42 PM on March 18, 2008 [33 favorites]


Senor Cardgage- Wow, they actually ran with that? They must have changed it pretty quickish.
posted by Artw at 9:42 PM on March 18, 2008


I certainly hope that picture is worth it, Senor Cardgage.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 PM on March 18, 2008


It's a nice speech, I suppose, but really it highlights how dumb the mainstream media viewpoint is.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 PM on March 18, 2008


Who wrote the speech?
Obama himself
posted by caddis at 9:46 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


CNN seriously fucking did that? Are y'all shitting me? Senor Cardgage, are you sure you didn't link to the wrong image yet again?
posted by booticon at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Please keep this post.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008


Obama himself

Wow. It is an incredible speech, I think everyone should watch this. I admit to be resistant at first but I'm glad I listened to the whole thing.
posted by cell divide at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008


Senor Cardgage- Wow, they actually ran with that? They must have changed it pretty quickish.

Yup its real. Ran for like 7 minutes.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


in no other country on Earth is my story even possible

To be fair, he's not just talking about the mixing of cultures or black success - he's talking about his family's history, which combines rural white farm folk in Jim Crow mid-20th century Kansas relocating to Hawaii, where their daughter met and had a son with a Kenyan exchange student. I think the collision of the particulars of rural white America with the global nature of Obama's upbringing, followed by his struggle to define himself amidst polarizing racial identities in 1970s and 80s college and graduate programs and Chicago's street politics, really are uniquely American. The generalities - that people of mixed backgrounds can lead nations - are not. It's quite true that nations all over the world have brought forth leaders from non-dominant backgrounds. But I think he is speaking of these peculiarly American conditions within his upbringing, which could honestly arise in no other country of the world.
posted by Miko at 9:47 PM on March 18, 2008 [24 favorites]


Great speech, just makes me realize how sick of dumb I am.
posted by zeoslap at 9:48 PM on March 18, 2008 [24 favorites]


*Goes off to type 'Kevin Johnson political aspirations' into Google News.*
posted by donpedro at 9:48 PM on March 18, 2008


Stirring and so neccessary in these times. I admit that I was one of those walking around feeling all "kumbaya" like because Obama's doing so well. Today, I remembered that we still live in America ... and that is both a good and bad thing.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:49 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And thanks Miko for clarifying that line. I can't believe it needed an explanation.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:50 PM on March 18, 2008


By preemptively slamming cortex and predicting deletion you sort of prefuckup an otherwise interesting post.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:50 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


cell divide: "Who wrote the speech?"

Marc Ambinder:

This wasn't a speech by committee... Obama wrote the speech himself, working on it for two days and nights.... and showed it to only a few of his top advisers.

No attribution beyond that, however.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:52 PM on March 18, 2008


Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama

YEAH, TOO RIGHT CORTEX

We've put up with your Obama silencing for too long. We're not gonna take it any more!

Down with cortex

Down with cortex

Down with cortex

Down with cortex
posted by mattoxic at 9:52 PM on March 18, 2008


Am I the only one who was far from impressed by the speech? I watched it in the morning and then listened to clips of it, and while there is no denying Obama's rhetorical chops, the speech still reeked of politicking and damage control. I understand the imperatives that drove Obama to give this speech and it's good for what it needed to do, but to call it best of America takes the Obama worship way too far.
posted by Weebot at 9:54 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't want to press the point because seriously, big ups to Obama, but is the following scenario completely impossible?
I am the son of a black man from Nigeria and a white woman from Bristol. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Churchill's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line in Grenwich while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in England and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black Jamaican who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
posted by Jimbob at 9:58 PM on March 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


I have a dream...

...and I see it shared.

And I have hope.
posted by loquacious at 9:58 PM on March 18, 2008 [13 favorites]


to call it best of America takes the Obama worship way too far.

Shhhh! You're ruining it!
posted by tkolar at 10:00 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Regarding authorship, from the Newsweek article:

"Obama dictated a first draft to his young speechwriter Jon Favreau on Saturday, then reworked the speech until 3 a.m. Monday. He went at it anew on Tuesday, tweaking away until 2 a.m. Did Obama's political aides try to warn him off the idea? 'It wasn't even a discussion,' says Axelrod. 'He was going to do it. I know this sounds perhaps corny, but he actually believes in the fairness and good sense of the American people, and the importance of this issue. His candidacy is predicated on the fact that we can talk to each other in an honest and forthright way on this and other issues.'"
posted by aqhong at 10:01 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Inspiring speech, but I still don't think he's Presidential material. Why didn't he come out with this speech BEFORE the Wright revelations?

Obama, during the SC debate, was asked "Why Do You Think Bill Clinton Was Called The First Black President?" His answer was right down the middle; then he closed with "but I'm not sure if Bill is really a brother, because I haven't seen him dance".

WTF? That's not playing the race card? What if Hillary has said that **about her husband**?? She'd be out of the race.

Sorry folks, Obama is too slick for me. Hillary isn't perfect, either, but at least I know what I'm getting. Her negatives are out there, already.

If Obama gets the Dem nod, McCain will be the next President. There's NO WAY that Obama will beat McCain in FL and OH. With PA a close call. In fact, there's even an outside chance that Independent S. CA voters (ex-Republicans, 4-1) could tip the scales in that state against Obama (if he gets the Dem nod)

It makes me sick, as a moderate liberal, to see another left wing Democrat (or so he says, even though his views are centrist) taken under the wing of the Camelot Kennedy's, etc. etc. - like Kerry (basically a wimp), and Dukakis - and go on to defeat in the big elections.

Either this country starts to elect moderate politicians, or we're doomed. We can't afford orators, or "good old boys" any more.
posted by MetaMan at 10:02 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jon Favreau?

I thought it was weird when he referred to the electorate as "beautiful babies"

(check out my awesome restraint in not going for the "Youre so money" gag)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:03 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


And thanks Miko for clarifying that line. I can't believe it needed an explanation.

Many non-Americans find American exceptionalism tiresome, not to mention utter bullshit. Obama's 2004 Democratic convention speech included a similar "only in America" line, and it's easy to interpret it as suggesting there's nowhere else in the world that immigrants are welcomed and become successful. In this case, I agree with Miko's intrepretation, but I can see why people might not read it the same way.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:04 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who was far from impressed by the speech?

It's not the kind of stirring speech we know he can give. But it does reward some hard listening and thought. it's impressive how he weighs and ascribes merit to both the perspectives of the white descendants of the immigrants of Europe and the black descendants of the forced immigrants of Africa, and then points to the forces of division that have exploited the fear between the two groups of the "zero-sum game," creating resentments that have been privately aired but not publicly shared with a focus on solutions.

When was the last time you heard a politician actually sum up the positions and perspectives of the "racial stalemate" we've had in the country for quite some time? He's naming the parts. He's talking in very real terms about very real issues in the nation's racial divide. I'm not sure I've heard anyone as prominent as he is put these sets of concerns on the same level, under the same degree of examination, and suggest that they need to be brought into true reconciliation in order to create a fair polity.
posted by Miko at 10:05 PM on March 18, 2008 [39 favorites]


Heh . . . don't pick on cortex, and he won't have to SHAZZAM!
posted by nola at 10:05 PM on March 18, 2008


With PA a close call.

I'm not so sure that Pennsylvania is a swing state. That's even less probable, if Obama were the Democratic candidate, given Philadelphia's large and politically active black community.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


but is the following scenario completely impossible

No, but has it happened?
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:06 PM on March 18, 2008


Wait, has it even come close to happening? Has the UK had any black candidate ... even one who wasn't viable?
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:07 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm actually listening to the speech now. Based on what people were saying, and the fact that I'm totally gay for Obama [NOT GAY], I'm not as blown away as I had thought I might be, so far.

But, yes, it is more than refreshing -- it's like an effervescent hope enema laced with sunbeams -- to hear a politician who speaks both eloquently and plainly, and doesn't just shovel the same old tiresome bullshit that has made so many of us angrier and angrier over the past decades.

Is it possible after the leering fratboy douchebag, the greasy gladhanding car-salesman, the halting evil robot, and the wanna-be cowboy moron -- the last quarter-century of American presidential disappointments -- there might actually be the possibility of a reasonable, articulate, intelligent, ethical person at the top of the shit pyramid in Washington.

I have hope, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:07 PM on March 18, 2008 [20 favorites]


You say "the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones"

Oh, yes, they say. And work more on that perspective. Yer right, but extend it back, back, back. The degradation of America goes back to the pre-WWII decade, and then even more to the post-War 50s and 60s. THe fault is us! We stopped being local. We stopped eating real food, discipling and educating real children, reading real words and thoughts, not voting and acting by blocks and neighborhoods, not fixing, not cleaning. It's us. Bring it, Barack. Inspire people to live in their homes, work and build, and talk in their homes. THrow off the yoke of the cookie-cutter mind and stomach. Sigh and double sighs.
posted by yazi at 10:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


The speech, at this point, discussed possibilities not realities. I can think of nothing in either British law nor British national character that would prevent it. Well, it would pose difficulties for such a person to become head of state, I guess, but this hypothetical person could sure be prime minister.
posted by Jimbob at 10:08 PM on March 18, 2008


Hm. I normally wouldn't do this, but I spent a long time trying to think of what I would say about this on my blog, and I don't think I can add any more to it:

I've been trying to think of something appropriate to say about the speech Obama gave today, and I don't know where to start. I've read dozens of reactions, pro and con, but I feel like no one's managed yet to grasp the meaning of what he just did. There are a lot of people who've effused about oh what a wonderful speech it was, as well as a sizable contingent who've been nitpicking about it, but I haven't seen anyone yet who really seems to have grasped just what it meant. Even the people who've said that Obama "elevated the discourse" in some way don't seem to be able to explain how.

The "how" is that it was a speech that my grandmother, who, like Obama's, is a saint of a woman who nevertheless harbors some racial prejudices that are so very, very hard for me to reconcile with my image of her as one of the sweetest, most wonderful people in my life -- and Obama's speech is the first time I heard anything that I think -- I know -- she would really understand. The first.

I don't know if the speech will make a difference in the primary, and I don't know how the press will ultimately spin it. Elections are complex things, and I don't think the most important effects of this speech are ultimately about the election. I'd like to put the election aside for a moment and just talk about what Obama just did, which by all rights shouldn't have been possible.

What I honestly believe is this: that speech was a singular intellectual achievement, a contribution to the race debate in this country that will reshape everything that came before it and that comes after. I want to be crystal clear that I am not saying this in support of Obama's Presidential bid. Some of the most brilliant, eloquent, educated, dedicated people I've ever met have spent years trying to grapple with the problem of race relations in the United States -- affirmative action in particular -- and none of them has ever come up with a response or a take on the issue that hit home. Not even close.

I'd wager that I've spent more time pondering these issues that most people ever have or will, and it's never been anything but draining and frustrating. Texas Law is, after all, the unfortunate home for Painter, and more recently Hopwood, making it in many respects ground zero regarding affirmative action. There are still people on the faculty here who were directly involved in the case on both sides, and the issue is not far from the surface -- you can feel it. After nine years here, it's become almost palpable to me. And it grinds you down, because the tension never goes away -- every time I hear anyone say anything about race issues, no matter what their angle, no matter how radical or how conciliatory, I cringe inside, because I've heard all the reactions -- far too many times -- and I just know that there's no way anyone on the other side of the issue would react any way but negatively. It's a Möbius Strip of good intentions come to horrible ends. (And some not-so-good intentions as well, of course.)

Much of the commentary on Obama's speech hasn't yet credited just how intractable a political problem this has been for so long -- nor how much effort has been expended here to such negligible effect -- and the almost surreal ease with which Obama just shattered a seemingly-impregnable political barrier. As a long-time supporter of affirmative action, I've been almost despondent at times trying to think of some way, any way, to move the issue forward. Greater minds than mine have tried and failed -- endless volumes of books, treatises, essays, and court decisions have done next to nothing to unravel the Gordian Knot; every statement that's made, you can just feel that it doesn't quite cut through.

And yet, somehow, in one moment, Obama just... did it. That shouldn't even have been possible. I have been waiting for the better part of my adult life for someone to hit that perfect pitch, and Obama finally did it. That speech was the first time I've felt that I could say yes -- that is something I could say to my Midwestern relatives that they would actually understand. He connected their frustrations -- the frustrations that fueled the Southern Strategy, in many ways -- with the frustrations of African-Americans. That's a profound, profound thing.

And it wasn't just Obama's take on the situation or his life experiences, and it wasn't just a pretty speech; he actually connected the intellectual dots in a unique and original way -- in a way that even great scholars haven't yet been able to -- and he did it more than once. All the strands came together -- his pastor, the media circus, his church, his grandmother: those were universal chords. They will resonate.

I doubt that it'll become clear just how amazing this moment was for some time to come, but that was an intellectual and political tour de force on an absolutely unprecedented level. That was a stake through the heart of racism in this country, the Prejudice That Dare Not Speak Its Name, the "I'm not a racist, but..." sentiments that have fueled racial divisions between Americans since the end of the Civil War. That was really something special.
posted by spiderwire at 10:10 PM on March 18, 2008 [177 favorites]


When that hypothetical person is real perhaps we could have a more pointed discussion about possibility.
posted by Miko at 10:10 PM on March 18, 2008


either British law nor British national character that would prevent it.

The former might be true but the latter is bullshit. Sorry.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:12 PM on March 18, 2008


When your real person is elected president in reality, we'll see whether the possibility he discussed is real or not.
posted by Jimbob at 10:12 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:13 PM on March 18, 2008


This is the USA. This speech could honestly arise in no other country of the world.

Patriotism belongs to us, to; not especially to the Falwell/Robertson/Cheney/Bush/CEOs coalition.

Time to take this uniquely multi-culti country back. I love it. I've lived many places; I love this place. I love others more, sometimes, but this is my home and I miss it when I've left it. This is where the music and the idealism and its enlightened confusion still lives among its people, if not in its corporate-political leadership. Can we stay together (cue Al Green)?

We will see. Count me, for at least these brief minutes before I fall asleep, as an optimist. Why can't we take control of this huge state and make it at least something resembling "The Shining City on the Hill?"
posted by kozad at 10:13 PM on March 18, 2008


Spiderwire, you mind if I steal that and send it everywhere?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:14 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Many non-Americans find American exceptionalism tiresome, not to mention utter bullshit.

Granted, and so do many Americans. However, it's only fair to acknowledge that the exceptionalist riff has been an inextricable part of English-speaking American political discourse from the get-go and that this rah-rah chauvinism plays big to the cheap seats, just as the same general sort of rah-rah national pride rhetoric undoubtedly works on the electorates of many other nations.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:14 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


The former might be true but the latter is bullshit.

Maybe so. But discussions about Obama constantly turn back to "a black guy will never win in this state, and a black guy will never win with this section of the population". What evidence is there that race relations in, say, England, are that much worse than they still are in the US?
posted by Jimbob at 10:14 PM on March 18, 2008


I don't even think we're discussing whether he's elected President or not. He's the front-running candidate for a major party nomination and is a mixed-race citizen of the country. If I'm not mistaken, that has not yet existed in your nation.
posted by Miko at 10:14 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


While we're at it:

Iowa
New Hampshire
South Carolina
Potomac Primaries
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:15 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I completely and unreservedly withdraw all my comments, because I'm starting to give the impression that I don't want this guy to win.
posted by Jimbob at 10:15 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The possibility he's discussing is not his eventual victory, but the success he's seen so far. Name me a politician ... a successful, prominent, universally recognized politician with his background in the U.K., with the type of support he's seen.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:16 PM on March 18, 2008


You're right it hasn't existed in my nation, but I was talking about England, because I know damn well it's not a possibility in my nation ;)
posted by Jimbob at 10:16 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm actually listening to the speech now. Based on what people were saying, and the fact that I'm totally gay for Obama [NOT GAY], I'm not as blown away as I had thought I might be, so far.

Really? As someone who was completely unimpressed with Obama, I'm now impressed. A very mature talk on the subject of race, more notable still because it was given on television by a candidate for national office.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2008


Obama, during the SC debate, was asked "Why Do You Think Bill Clinton Was Called The First Black President?" His answer was right down the middle; then he closed with "but I'm not sure if Bill is really a brother, because I haven't seen him dance".

I believe that was what they call "a joke".
posted by Artw at 10:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [23 favorites]


I saw the speech live on CNN. It was a ray of hope that restored my faith in Obama's ability to handle himself in a crisis. A bold challenge to the current state of our politics, and the media's bloodlust for distraction and sensationalism. A call for unity, to bypass these petty attitudes and confront our more pressing problems.

Then the speech ends. The first words out of Wolf Blitzer's mouth in response?

"I thought it was a preemptive strike designed to rebut all the criticism, not only he's faced over the past few weeks as a result of these comments from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright coming to light, Heidi, but going down the road in terms of his continuing struggle to get the Democratic presidential nomination, the struggle against Hillary Clinton. And then if he does get the Democratic presidential nomination, a preemptive strike against what he could expect down the road in his battle against John McCain in the general election in the fall."

And then it all falls back into simplification and banality.

On a completely unrelated note, I just got done watching that scene towards the end of the last Matrix movie. For hours, the audience had been dragged through this dark and dreary hellscape of shadows and fire and smoke and clanking machines. And then, right as Neo and Trinity are about to have their ship disemboweled by ravening killbots, they rocket upwards towards the angry thunderheads churning above them.

They break through.

For a few moments, the screen is filled with light. The battered, disabled craft soars past puffy cumulus and blue skies. The long-forgotten sun sparkles off of the scratched windows. Trinity, who has suffered a lifetime trapped in the cavernous, dangerous underworld, can only stare in disbelief. "Beautiful", she whispers. Then they arc past the moon, turn down, and plummet back into the inky depths, imbued with new momentum and ready to crash the gates of the machine city.

It's like a metaphor. Or something.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:18 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wolf Blitzer is a dick. All he could think to ask any guests was "do you think Obama condemmed pastor whatsisface enough".
posted by Artw at 10:20 PM on March 18, 2008


Miko: I didn't criticize the fact that it was flatter than his other speeches. In fact, I said the opposite; I listened to it on the radio and the sentiment was sharper the second time around.
posted by Weebot at 10:21 PM on March 18, 2008


I was talking about England

-sigh- I can't keep track. Why are you talking about England?

These things do occur within a cultural context, after all. It's not always American exceptionalism to recognize that American culture has features that don't exist in other cultures, just as the other cultures have features not extant in America. In this speech, Obama is addressing specifically American constructions of race, and for all the reasons spiderwire mentions, it has a lot of power.
posted by Miko at 10:22 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


which combines rural white farm folk in Jim Crow mid-20th century Kansas relocating to Hawaii, where their daughter met and had a son with a Kenyan exchange student. I think the collision of the particulars of rural white America with the global nature of Obama's upbringing, followed by his struggle to define himself amidst polarizing racial identities in 1970s and 80s college and graduate programs and Chicago's street politics, really are uniquely American.

If you're going to specify "mid 20th century Kansas" and "Hawaii" and "Kenyan exchange student" then sure, it's trivially only possible in america - it's only possible where he could have been brought up in mid 20th century Kansas, for starters.

But that a white woman whose ancestry was racist or slave-owning could marry an African happens all the time in Europe, since they have a lot more direct African immigrants. It seems "uniquely American" only in that it actually happened in America, and because his experience was American, i.e., he has a sense of what being black in America is like due to the shade of his skin, which he might not have if his dad had done his exchange program in London. That doesn't really make his story itself only possible in America...
posted by mdn at 10:22 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


But I think he is speaking of these peculiarly American conditions within his upbringing, which could honestly arise in no other country of the world.

I don't doubt that his 'story' can be defined in such a way ("best schools in America", "Pattons army" etc), but I thought it sounded like simple "aren't we great" jingoism. I mean, it doesn't really add anything, but if it makes the (target) audience (of which I am not a member) feel good about themselves (and thus the event, and the candidate), then yay for that.
posted by pompomtom at 10:23 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


My final thoughts on the speech and the matter before bed: I bet there's gonna be a bunch of white people at church on Sunday trying to get a handle on what we talk about there (I only go like four times a year so I'm not sure what's said the rest of the time.) I better get there early for a seat. This, by the way, is what they call a joke.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:25 PM on March 18, 2008


I disagree, mdn, because slavery and colonialism and post-slavery eras were not all the same in the nations you mention. They're not interchangeable. What it means to come from mid-20th -century Kansas is not interchangeable with what it means to come from some European city with a different history.

he has a sense of what being black in America is like due to the shade of his skin

Exactly.

That doesn't really make his story itself only possible in America

I'd say it does.
posted by Miko at 10:25 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


And then it all falls back into simplification and banality.

A good read on how the mainstream media has failed the United States is James Fallows' Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy.

By framing all political activity in terms of candidate A vs B, for the purposes of garnering ratings, we do not get to discuss matters in an adult and thoughtful way.

Instead, we can only rely on the infrequent good fortune to have YouTube and the like to watch politicians be human beings and discuss their ideas without the media's inane blabber getting in the way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Politicians telling the truth. What's next? A black guy as president.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:26 PM on March 18, 2008 [22 favorites]


he has a sense of what being black in America is like due to the shade of his skin

Exactly.

That doesn't really make his story itself only possible in America

I'd say it does.


That comment wasn't about mixed race heritage, but a minority reaching the heights, so will this do? I'm sure it's not the only example. But what an example it is. Do actually read it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:29 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hoping that the media didn't utterly mangle the message was certainly one of the bigger risks he took with this.
posted by Artw at 10:29 PM on March 18, 2008


I believe that was what they call "a joke".
posted by Artw at 10:18 PM


Really? White people can't dance/ black people can dance is still funny? Or just to british writers? Maybe a great speech, but he has the comedic talents of arsenio hall.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:31 PM on March 18, 2008


Like the Gettysburg Address, we probably won't understand what this speech meant for America until some passage of time has seasoned it in our consciences. But I got a glimpse of it today.

I was talking with my white, 81-year-old stepdad about the speech. He grew up in Eastern Kentucky, in the coal mining hills. He still uses the "N" word to refer to African Americans. And he is a Clinton supporter.

But today, when he watched Obama give his speech, he said he was moved to tears.

That's what this speech meant. I don't know how to put that into words, but I know it's something...wonderful.
posted by darkstar at 10:32 PM on March 18, 2008 [50 favorites]


Really? As someone who was completely unimpressed with Obama, I'm now impressed.

I just finished listening to it, and I think I want to listen again, but I'll say that the speech was pitch-perfect, not in any blow-dried soundbite CNN-pandering way, but in a real way, both in terms of delivery and language used, direct and yet carefully understated. Masterful, in every way, in the ideas and the way they were presented.

It didn't stir me, or get my heart racing, the way that some of his other speeches have, and the way that some of the great speeches delivered by... (well, I can't think of an American one since Kennedy, to be honest), but I don't think, just off the top of my head having just listened to it, it was intended to. It wasn't that kind of speech, intended to rouse the masses, to be populist.

It was plain, smart talk, and yes, I am even more impressed by the man than I was before, which I find a little hard to believe. I can't understand why Hillary Clinton is still in this race, to be honest. By comparison, she is so gratingly false, and by comparison, the way she telegraphs the... politicalness... of what she says, well, it seems like it comes from another century, like she should be in black and white (no pun intended), with frenetic piano music and dialogue cards flashed up between her thud-dullard rah-rah soundbite-timed pronouncements.

But then, I guess the broad, Edward Bernaysian political manipulative dumbass thaumaturgy is from another century. Thank god it might finally be coming to an end.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:33 PM on March 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


-shrugs-

For an offhand comment it seemed pretty witty and charming to me.
posted by Artw at 10:33 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


That doesn't really make his story itself only possible in America

I'd say it does.


Dammit. I'm back. If you want to get down to the idea that only the very specific details of his story could happen in America, rather than the broader themes, then why not take it further? Face it. That story could have only happened to him and might not say anything about broader American culture at all. After all, he's just 1 in 300,000,000 or so.
posted by Jimbob at 10:33 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


That comment wasn't about mixed race heritage, but a minority reaching the heights, so will this do?

To be fair, Canada is a bit ahead of the United States on most racial matters (and the same or behind on certain others), largely due to its history of seeing immigration as a positive for Canadian society.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


not in any blow-dried soundbite CNN-pandering way

CNN seems to, in fact, be bending over backwards to fuck it up by fitting it into some kind of dramatic framework they can cope with.
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.

Way to crap on your own post.

I mean, this is clearly the moment that brings it home or ends it for the candidate, and you choose to close the post with a nasty, pointless remark directed at a volunteer moderator that simultaneously shifts the focus from Obama's ideas and skills as a communicator to his role as a totem, a 'phenomena,' as you put it.

Seriously, if the nomination is Obama's, and he wins, this speech will become a teaching tool in schools for two generations. It's as though you posted a thread on the day of the Gettysburg Address or on the day of the March on Washington, highlighting the day's speeches made by Lincoln or King, and ended it with extended middle finger directed at the staff of the newsletter or newspaper you hoped would publish it.

You have cheapened your own perspective and lessened an important moment in American political history.

Not that Wolf Blitzer has anything on you, but, like, kick it down a notch.
posted by mwhybark at 10:35 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


But today, when he watched Obama give his speech, he said he was moved to tears.

Me too, for what it's worth. Let's hope we're not alone.
posted by mwhybark at 10:37 PM on March 18, 2008


mwhybark - In defence of caddis, there is some history to that (see the meta thread), though not history that really should have made it into this post.
posted by Artw at 10:37 PM on March 18, 2008


> Am I the only one who was far from impressed by the speech?

You could always go over to The Corner where they've pretty much proven that the whole speech was a thinly veiled threat to make being White illegal as soon as he's elected. Or something. That site doesn't really make much sense to me.

All politics aside, from the point of view of a Black man who grew up in post-civil rights America, his speech was profound and moving. There is nothing about my life that fits into the simplistic polarized view of race that has been widely accepted as reality in mainstream discourse. I guess anyone can read whatever they want into his words. What I heard, was a call for a more intelligent nuanced and sympathetic discussion on a topic that isn't going away anytime soon. Giving that he's in the middle of a run for the highest office in the land, that's a pretty courageous thing to call for.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:38 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


True, BP. The equivalent would be, say, a Native Canadian becoming G.G., in terms of dealing with our own societal prejudices. But it's still a hell of a story, and I don't think it quite fits with the "only in America" perception, but whatever. That bit of rhetoric is hardly new.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:39 PM on March 18, 2008


Miko: It's possible, at least here in Canada.
posted by jokeefe at 10:39 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been fairly apolitical this election cycle (though not usually) because it's been really hard to make up my mind. Do I choose the first X or the first Y? Is that even a valid method of choice? What about differing views on Issue Z? *Are* there any differences between the two candidates, really? It's all been bouncing around in my head, like a mini-laundromat.

I accidentally caught a snippet of this speech while waiting in a friend's car today and I was blown away. Much thanks to Caddis for posting it, since I've been meaning to listen to the whole thing.

Whether or not one believes Obama's situation is particularly unique to America or not (and I am not in the LEAST convinced that any country in Western Europe would at this time feel comfortable electing a man of color to their highest political position), it's worth pointing out that for America, this is historic. Obama's entire speech was a recognition of how much hope it's taken to even get this far.

So maybe his rhetoric was a bit over the top. He's a politician running for office--'over the top' is entirely to be expected. American exceptionalism, too. He's not running for leader of the UN, he's running for leader of the United States.
posted by librarylis at 10:39 PM on March 18, 2008


so will this do?

With all due respect to everyone, there honestly is limited value in comparisons to other Western democracies here. What am I supposed to take from this story? I don't understand Canadian politics, and I have no way of estimating how unusual it is for a Haitian with a fabulous education to get some sort of important government post. I would need cultural context to understand this.

I do understand how unusual it is for a mixed-race, liberal American to be a viable candidate for the highest office in our nation after centuries of systemic discrimination and a particular and gradual history of civil rights agitation that has followed its own pace, created its own leaders, and taken its own course. Our racial history here is unique; just as the racial histories of all other countries are unique. The solutions that bring about racial parity will also be unique. They will occur within a cultural context that addresses the fears of the dominant group - whatever those may be - while advancing the aims of the underrepresented group - whatever those may be. The details will not be the same nation to nation, nor will the relative import of the events be exactly equivalent. Not only because our cultural histories are different, but also, for heaven's sake, that our apportionment of power within government is quite different. A President is not a PM.

I agree that it may not be exceptional that A Black Person could achieve A High Office in A Western Democracy. But it is exceptional that Barack Obama is the Leading Contender for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.
posted by Miko at 10:39 PM on March 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


Obama, during the SC debate, was asked "Why Do You Think Bill Clinton Was Called The First Black President?" His answer was right down the middle; then he closed with "but I'm not sure if Bill is really a brother, because I haven't seen him dance".

I believe that was what they call "a joke".


You mean a "racist joke", right? Sure, it was a light moment. I watched the debate, but there's NO WAY that Hillary could have said that even about her own husband.

All that aside, Obama would be a great UN representative, or head of HEW, but President? Spare me? I want someone who knows how to get their hands dirty, and go right down in the dirt to duke it out with the forces of neocon evil. I don't think Obama can do that; in fact, I know he can't.
posted by MetaMan at 10:41 PM on March 18, 2008


I would need cultural context to understand this.

Oh dear, Miko. I do find your comments to be insightful and intelligent, but come on.
Arrives a refugee and ends up Governor General?

The context was there. I guess you missed it.

Clearly there has never been a success story like Obama's. America the beautiful, etc, etc. I was beginning to forget the refrain. I'll happily bow out now.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:44 PM on March 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


If Obama gets the Dem nod, McCain will be the next President. There's NO WAY that Obama will beat McCain in FL and OH. With PA a close call. In fact, there's even an outside chance that Independent S. CA voters (ex-Republicans, 4-1) could tip the scales in that state against Obama (if he gets the Dem nod)

Metaman, why?

Let me acknowlege the elephant in the room. If, as seems highly probable, Hillary is behind in the pleged delegates and she gets the white super delegates to throw the election to her (newsflash--nearly every black super will vote for him for fear of never holding elected office) what makes you think that Hillary will be able to win without the support of African-Americans? Do you really think that they are going to vote for her? They will stay home or vote for McCain because they will feel rightfully that white America and the Democratic Party will have abandoned them. Not only that but it will take decades for the party to recover.

And its not just blacks. Obama gets college age kids to register and vote Democratic. Studies show that first registration usually sticks. The Democrats will lose those voters forever.

Hillary is going to destroy the party if she pulls off this manuver. Not just for this election, but for decades.Perhaps for all time.

I've been a party activist for 20 years but if this works, the Democratic Party doesn't stand for what I believe in. If Hillary leads in pleged delegates, I will vote for her in the fall. If not and she becomes the nominee, I won't be able to vote for this party ever again.

What makes it worse is that he consistently does better than her in the polls against McCain. Her whole premise is a lie.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 PM on March 18, 2008 [21 favorites]


Caught most of it on CSPAN tonight - good speech. Hell, by U.S. political standards, it was a fucking great speech. Except for the part, of course, where he absolved rightwing Israeli government policies from any blame for the Palestinian mess.

*gag*

Still, it's obvious this guy really does have potential to bring folks together. It's weird how Obama's relationship with Wright - and the distancing from him, which began the day Obama announced - has been covered for at least a year but is just now getting traction. Obama's people knew this was going to be an issue, so they've had time to prepare a solid response. He did good.

But, honestly, I wonder how much this speech can do to stem the impact of the attack ads we'll see in the fall with Wright's worst quotes superimposed over Obama's face. You can hear McCain's team giggling at the thought of a convenient "third-party" spot pointing out that Wright went to visit Qaddafi in Libya in 1984 with Louis Farrakhan. Wright himself reportedly said, "When [Obama’s] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit Colonel Gadaffi with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." McCain would have to be an idiot to not use that, and Obama's going to have to hit back hard if he wants to win. I worry that his "we can all be reasonable" approach is going to have him on the defensive throughout most of the fall. Not a good place to be, even against a weak candidate like McCain.

I still think Obama's a better Dem nominee than Clinton, barely, but you've got to be a fool to think this episode is over after today.
posted by mediareport at 10:48 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


The context was there. I guess you missed it.

I don't wish to speak for Miko, but the context, I think, is that Canada is not the United States. For Obama to get as far as he has, given the history of the United States, is not only improbable but unprecedented.

Again, that's with respect to the culture and background in the United States, because other countries have had female heads of state, for example (UK, Finland), and that, too, would be unusual and unprecedented for the United States, to its great shame.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


billyfleetwood ...
What I heard, was a call for a more intelligent nuanced and sympathetic discussion on a topic that isn't going away anytime soon.

Speaking as a wealthy middle-aged white guy, that's what I heard too.

Giving that he's in the middle of a run for the highest office in the land, that's a pretty courageous thing to call for.

And one thing that I *am* sure of is that whether he wins or not, the fact that he was able to give that speech in that context will be another push in the right direction for racial politics in the U.S. So good on him.

(the cynic in me, however, tells me that he's pretty much doomed on the presidential front. Sure would love to be wrong.)
posted by tkolar at 10:48 PM on March 18, 2008


I watched the debate, but there's NO WAY that Hillary could have said that even about her own husband.

Bill could of pulled it off. I agree that Hillary couldn't, but that's mostly down to her being Hillary.

And really, that's where the level is for "OMG racism"? I'm not sure that helps anything or anyone.
posted by Artw at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2008


I'm reading about Canadian government strcuture. This Governor General, then, is appointed by the monarch of England? This person serves "at her Majesty's pleasure?" For no specific term? The position alternates by convention between French and English speakers? The position serves as a monarchical "check" on the government powers of the PM?

That's quite a different path to power than what we're discussing here.

I'm just saying that the generalities here are of very limited use. Obama needs to make his case within an American context. Were he to win the general election, it would be a pretty huge deal, given our government structure, cultural context, and particular history.
posted by Miko at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why this is, but I find myself intensely disliking people that nitpick Obama speeches. I feel like it tells me everything I need to know about them, that they're kind of person that could read or watch a speech like that and then focus on trivialities just to tear the man down.
posted by empath at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2008 [21 favorites]


Dammit. I'm back. If you want to get down to the idea that only the very specific details of his story could happen in America, rather than the broader themes, then why not take it further? Face it. That story could have only happened to him and might not say anything about broader American culture at all. After all, he's just 1 in 300,000,000 or so.

Jimbob, I can't remember how familiar you are with American political history, but what Obama's saying was accurate, in a certain way -- though I can imagine how it sounds to you, and I don't blame you for your reaction. And your reading is not necessarily wrong.

But, by way of providing an alternate take, I've never taken that statement as America-centric nationalism ("Only in America, because America is the greatest..."), but rather as an observation on where he stands in our history personally, which is frankly at a very bizarre and unique place. Despite what you say, there are very, very few people in this country who have a background that's anything like Barack Obama's, in terms of how it relates to our cultural heritage.

It's a contextual comment about the United States itself, and how Obama's lived somewhere near the intersection of many strands of our history and the conflicted emotions associated with them -- division, reconcilation, pride, anger, hope, guilt... We're a country that's deeply divided but almost totally unable to articulate why or how, and he's in a way a living representation of those contradictions.

That's not to say that he's some avatar of redemption. Many of those various threads are positive, either in Obama's case (his father leaving him), nor in general. The point is that they exist and that they're a part of us, and he represents them in a way that's concrete rather than abstract, which they often are for many Americans who don't have a lot of contact with people outside their own insulated groups. Most American public figures are either very cookie-cutter or make an effort to fit inside those predefined categories. Someone who doesn't do that -- and is actively showing it like he is -- really is something pretty rare for us.
posted by spiderwire at 10:50 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Michaelle Jean was appointed, not elected. Speaking of England, lets not forget they elected a woman prime minister 25-odd years ago, and, that woman was herself the daughter of a humble shopkeeper. So, I dont dismiss so lightly what the English are capable of, especially now. (Ihate the crusty old blighted island but facts are facts).
posted by Rumple at 10:53 PM on March 18, 2008


I feel like it tells me everything I need to know about them,

Ah, that's the politicsfilter I know and love.

[goes and deletes post from recent activity]
posted by tkolar at 10:54 PM on March 18, 2008


Also, this is not the first speech his done of this type or quality. His speech on religion and politics was just as thoughtful.
posted by empath at 10:54 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


ONLY IN AMERICA
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:54 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Miko has it, in my opinion.

I didn't think I'd see this in my lifetime. I'm done being a measured supporter of Obama. I am now a member of the cult.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:54 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


tkolar -- just to be clear, I'm fine with people criticizing the substance. What drives me up a wall is people pulling quotes out of context or saying things like "He threw his grandmother under the bus" after seeing a speech like that. I can't help it.
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Spiderwire, you mind if I steal that and send it everywhere?

Of course not! I really wish I could just explain it more clearly, and without sounding like such a sunshine-pumper.
posted by spiderwire at 10:56 PM on March 18, 2008


Obama's lived somewhere near the intersection of many strands of our history

This entire comment is beautifully said, spiderwire. To our observers from overseas, I think all I can say is to read that and take it in. It's not that we believe that only in America can people from once-oppressed groups lead. It's that people with his particular set of experiences are indeed quite rare here, and that to be as great a success as he has been, he has to make sense to people on both ends of a very long continuum. Because of his background at spiderwire's "intersection," he has that ability and it may be the very thing, even the only thing, that could win for so unlikely, given our history, the broad public support required to gain our highest and most powerful office.
posted by Miko at 10:56 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm done being a measured supporter of Obama. I am now a member of the cult.

You'll be more effective as a measured supporter.

Rethink.
posted by mediareport at 10:57 PM on March 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


I read Obama's statement exactly as Jimbob did: American exceptionalism, plain and simple, the flip side of the God's Country Bringin' Freedom and Liberty to The World attitude that has led to so many tears globally.

Good speech otherwise.
posted by Rumple at 10:58 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only thing I dislike more than corrupt politicians is hero worship.
posted by cytherea at 10:59 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


But I think he is speaking of these peculiarly American conditions within his upbringing, which could honestly arise in no other country of the world.

That's true, but what's also true is that the U.S. will be the first non-African country with a black president (With one exception being a south American country with a 40% black population, IIRC)

WTF? That's not playing the race card? What if Hillary has said that **about her husband**?? She'd be out of the race. -- MetaMan. It's called a joke dude, lighten up. And by the way, Hillary has made jokes about her husband being "The first black president", and being in an "interracial relationship". So your central premise is actually wrong here, like your electoral prognostication (Obama losing CA? Get real) Obama wins head-to-head match up polling against McCain, and this crap only matters in Primaries where people worry about what other people think. In a general election, they only care what they think, and no one is going to vote for John "More wars, Less jobs" McCain. The biggest Fairy Tale in this election is the idea that any of the top democrats could lose.

We stopped eating real food, discipling and educating real children, reading real words and thoughts, not voting and acting by blocks and neighborhoods, not fixing, not cleaning.

Americans are smarter and live longer lives then they did in the 1930s.

--

Anyway, repeating what I said in the MeTa, I'm kind of annoyed that Obama even had to give this speech. Nothing write said would have been beyond the pail for Conservative religious leaders, but when a Liberal religious leader spouts fiery rhetoric the media has a collective freakout session. "God Damn America"? At an evangelical "values voters summit" attended by republican presidential candidates several months ago they sang a version of "God Bless America" with "Bless" replaced with "Damn" where they whined about abortion and Teh Ghey. It cropped up on the Daily show and some liberal blogs.

And look at John McCain's new best buddy John Hagge, a guy who thinks Catholics are devil worshipers and wants to go to war with Iran to hasten the end times. Is what Wright said worse? I really don't think so.

The whole thing is a total distraction and while what Wright said was incendiary it would be par for the course on a site like Daily Kos. This idea that you're a horrible person if you don't praise America 100% of the time is ridiculous.

Anyway, since I think race relations in this country are pretty much fine, since I wasn't frightened by Wrights comments, and since I'm not at risk of voting for Hillary I'm kind of detached from this whole thing. But, I've got too say he really took over the news cycle with this thing, and it was a very daring thing to do. And that's a quality that has been very lacking in democrats lately. Imagine (as someone in the MeTa mentioned) if Kerry had given a speech as daring as this one about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? He'd probably be president right now.

A lack of political cowardice is a major part of Obama, and that's something we need in a candidate. Someone who can take these issues and anything else that crops up in an election head-on.

Frankly, I was kind of expecting Obama to sort of ignore this stuff, hope it would go away and perhaps take a 5% hit in the polls or something. Not enough to lose the nomination at this point, but it would be something that would tarnish him. But he really pivoted on this beautifully. He's won the news cycle, and all the pundits are heaping praise on the guy. He really is a fantastic politician.
posted by delmoi at 11:01 PM on March 18, 2008 [21 favorites]


I feel like it tells me everything I need to know about them, that they're kind of person that could read or watch a speech like that and then focus on trivialities just to tear the man down.

I nitpicked his speech because that was the only clause in it that was in any way non-brilliant. Most speech these days are 99% bullshit, rather than only 1% bullshit, so it's harder to take them to pieces.

Despite what you say, there are very, very few people in this country who have a background that's anything like Barack Obama's, in terms of how it relates to our cultural heritage.

Well, that was kind of my point. Very few people. And yet the way I read that speech, he seemed to be implying that there's something unique about America that led to him being allowed to exist. Obama is a very rare occurence - if something like that is so very rare and unusual, how can it be used to justify the idea that it is "only possible in America".

Were he to win the general election, it would be a pretty huge deal, given our government structure, cultural context, and particular history.

Once again - America is so special that it's the only place someone like Obama could be succesful...and yet it would be a huge, historic deal if he is actually successful. Doesn't that sit kinda weirdly with you guys?
posted by Jimbob at 11:02 PM on March 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


I didn't get to see the speech and haven't had the time to watch it on YouTube.

However, I did read it. And the impact is stunning when you have the time to stop and re-read phrases of it that really got your attention, and go back and look at just how he ties everything together.

This was a true "we need to talk" moment that I don't think anyone else could have delivered in such a way that people would take notice. Obama was able to deliver the message both from the point of view of someone caught in the middle of racial tensions, and from that of those who are seeing a whole different set of race issues. Very little of this was about the campaign, which is almost unbelievable when it's campaign season and all politicians can do with microphones is promote themselves.

This, though, is what really stuck with me: "I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork." We're looking at something I haven't seen in... well, I don't know if I've ever seen this - a candidate who is willing to handle political poison and discuss what the issue is really about, instead of playing it safe and going for the soundbite win. (He did the same thing this week with the Chicago tribune's editorial board, spending 3 hours answering all of their questions about his connections to Rezko.)
posted by azpenguin at 11:02 PM on March 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


I think a fair point of criticism, for example is pointing out that Obama's solution to the race problem seems to be spending more money on the same tired liberal programs that have done almost nothing to solve endemic poverty. I'd prefer to see something more bold from him. But I think before you get into criticism you at least have to recognize what he accomplished in terms of re-writing the racial narrative of America. It's a rare talent that can do something like that, and focusing on whatever was lacking in the speech just strikes me as being petty and small-minded.
posted by empath at 11:03 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


also: jimbob, that wasn't directed at you. I was thinking more of the hillary-bots on the liberal blogs and the Corner folks at the National Review.
posted by empath at 11:05 PM on March 18, 2008


And look at John McCain's new best buddy John Hagge, a guy who thinks Catholics are devil worshipers and wants to go to war with Iran to hasten the end times.

The fact that the press isn't also going after McCain to distance himself from Hagge is one of the most disgusting things about this mess. Hagge's statements are much more specifically hurtful, but conservative extremism doesn't rate on the outrage scale, apparently.

At an evangelical "values voters summit" attended by republican presidential candidates several months ago they sang a version of "God Bless America" with "Bless" replaced with "Damn" where they whined about abortion and Teh Ghey.

I'd love to have a cite for this, if anyone's got one handy. I'm not doubting, just wanting the specifics.
posted by mediareport at 11:06 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


you've got to be a fool to think this episode is over after today.

I am quite probably a fool, but I still can't understand why anyone gives a shit about 'the episode' (this Wright fellow, I assume), other than because the news media that needs fake-dramatic meat for its idiot grinder tells them they should. I really don't quite get why anyone who is both intelligent and thoughtful actually cares.

I suppose it's a bit like the reaction of a child regularly beaten to flinch at a raised hand, even if that hand is raised in love.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:07 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


focusing on whatever was lacking in the speech just strikes me as being petty and small-minded realistic and even-handed.

Much better. It's possible to be excited by Obama's candidacy and not leave your brain at the door. Acknowledging the beauty of the speech and then moving on to point out where you disagree with it is hardly "small-minded." Get a grip.
posted by mediareport at 11:08 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


This speech just sucked all the oxygen out of the room. Hillary who?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:14 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I read Obama's statement exactly as Jimbob did: American exceptionalism, plain and simple, the flip side of the God's Country Bringin' Freedom and Liberty to The World attitude that has led to so many tears globally.

Nobody (OK, lots of people, but you know what I'm saying) has been more vocal in their condemnation of that sort of thing, or more angry and disappointed at what has happened to America in the past 8 years (hell, the past 28 years) than me, but I am willing to totally give the man a pass on that, because, in a sense that is important here, it is literally true, or near enough not to matter. His story, because it is his, and because, if for no other reason than it includes ancestors who both were slaves and owned them, when put together with the other elements of his biography, might have been possible if he were a citizen of some other country, but so wildly unlikely as to make the rhetorical power of expressing it the way he did less a matter of exceptionalism than one of word choice.

But that's just my take on it. I do think it's a little crass and a lot pointless to equate such a thing with the kind of garbage that spills from the mouths of George W and his ilk.

It's possible to be excited by Obama's candidacy and not leave your brain at the door. Acknowledging the beauty of the speech and then moving on to point out where you disagree with it is hardly "small-minded."

Aye. I think people are a bit gun shy because of the tendency of Democrats and their supporters to circle around a candidate and shoot one another in the face. I also think that the intelligence of this candidate makes it unnecessary to treat his ideas with kid gloves. My hope is, as ever, that it is his ideas as much as the (important, real, and necessary) sense of hope he is fostering that people discuss, honestly and in good faith, no matter where they find themselves on the political map.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:20 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, that was kind of my point. Very few people. And yet the way I read that speech, he seemed to be implying that there's something unique about America that led to him being allowed to exist. Obama is a very rare occurence - if something like that is so very rare and unusual, how can it be used to justify the idea that it is "only possible in America".

As I said, it's a fair reading. But I think the phrasing "my story is only possible in America" is the important thing. I wouldn't try to deny the sense of pride in the phrase, but pride isn't always shallow or banal. To the extent that Obama's talking about his own successes, he's also tying them into our history. And he almost always makes that connection explicitly when he uses this phrase, too.

The causality there is important, because it's that subtle distinction that also underlies what you take issue with -- it's the distinction between the bravado that comes from a sense of entitlement versus the gratefuless that comes from a pride in our history and those who've sacrificed for us.

That difference is also something that many of us here have been trying desperately to put into words to for the last eight years. Our inability to talk about patriotism in a way that didn't reek of exceptionalism had very real consequences. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's very important.
posted by spiderwire at 11:22 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


What spiderwire said.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:25 PM on March 18, 2008


OMG IS THIS LIKE THE DIGG REVOLUTION? 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0!!

Actually, I'm glad this got FPP'ed -- it's a damn good speech.
posted by spiderskull at 11:25 PM on March 18, 2008


Once again - America is so special that it's the only place someone like Obama could be succesful...and yet it would be a huge, historic deal if he is actually successful. Doesn't that sit kinda weirdly with you guys?

I think the point of the whole conversation is that the history of race in the US is all kinds of paradoxical and weird and contradictory. Yes, we have lots of potential, and yes that potential is often thwarted.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:26 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm not at all impressed.
A table of "brotherhood" would have to be impossibly huge, even bigger than the red hills of Georgia, for the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners to ALL be able to sit down together at it.

And this "day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.""
What about separation of church and state?

No, no, it's just all just a crazy dream or something.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:30 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I find this thread to be honestly confounding.

What on earth has Obama said that is so earth-shattering? I read the speech and thought it wonderful and eloquent and so on (except for the "I'm here for Ashley" part-- I swear I've heard that story before) but are things in America so divided that this speech, which seems to me so uncontroversial, can really be all that ground-breaking?

It's funny, but after all these years of living next door to America, having American friends-- my son's father is American!-- I get the feeling that I just don't understand you at all. ("You" in the most general sense, not just Mefites.) I mean, I'm wanting to argue with Miko. Miko, who I respect hugely; but for the very first time I can't understand, really, exactly what it is that she means here. How can Obama's story be uniquely American, except that it took place in America? In almost every country in the world people can remake themselves, with luck and daring and the right breaks. I have a friend who married a woman who was born in a hut in a Chinese village; she's not even exactly sure of the year. Now she's working in finance here in Canada. The world is full of such stories: the African emigrant, the South African CEO who was born in a village without running water. The world is full of ingenious, talented, smart people. Obama is, in this way, just another citizen of that world. Which is great; but as a narrative it's not uniquely American.
posted by jokeefe at 11:32 PM on March 18, 2008 [23 favorites]


You'll be more effective as a measured supporter.

Rethink.


I've rethought and rethought. I rethought after Reagan, Bush I, Clinton the First, and the coup d'etat of Emperor Bush II. I'm done rethinking.

Obama is so far superior to any politician who has run for the presidency in my lifetime, by every single measure of quality, that to quibble even slightly is unseemly nitpicking.

I mean seriously, Hillary Clinton? John McCain?

Why eat frozen hamburger helper when there's steak on the grill?
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:33 PM on March 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


Speaking of England, lets not forget they elected a woman prime minister 25-odd years ago, and, that woman was herself the daughter of a humble shopkeeper. So, I dont dismiss so lightly what the English are capable of, especially now. (Ihate the crusty old blighted island but facts are facts).

Both women and minorities tend to have an easier time making political and electoral gains if they are rightist. This has been the case in many countries, though I think the reasons for its being so is different for both of them.
posted by Shakeer at 11:33 PM on March 18, 2008


It's a good speech. A very good speech. Vintage Obama.

But will kids be studying it in school? Is it his Letter From A Birmingham Jail? Is it one of those cultural touchstones where our grandkids will be asking where we were when Obama gave The Speech?

Hell no.

This is Obama's equivalent to Kennedy's speech on his Catholicism. Important, for sure, but not his greatest. It could pacify a vocal opposition like Kennedy was able to, but none of us remember the details of Kennedy's speech in Houston because we never had to learn it.

His best speech so far? The one he gave in Ebenezer Baptist Church two months ago. That one I think will be in schoolbooks.
posted by dw at 11:34 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


You mean a "racist joke", right?

No, that would be Bill Clinton saying "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina, he he he."

For fuck's sake, get real.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:34 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the British elected a woman prime minister because, among other things, she was a right proper racist. Like most white Brits of that era. And many of the present one.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:35 PM on March 18, 2008


And like Hillary Clinton.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:36 PM on March 18, 2008


Why eat frozen hamburger helper when there's steak on the grill?

Well, that's an improvement over your cult metaphor, at least.
posted by mediareport at 11:37 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or I should say, Hillary is a opportunist, for whom racism is not out of bounds if necessary. I doubt she cares one way or the other about the color of anything but money.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:38 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


She's not an actual racist as far as we know.
posted by Artw at 11:39 PM on March 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't know if I got this right... did I get this right? Did Obama basically tell us that in order to move past this racial stalemate, we've got to understand the root of the resentment for both black and whites? And then we got to work together to make the United States better? That helping each other out benefits Americans as a whole?

I didn't come up with this myself, but it sounds like he wants us to follow the older definition of "competition". The one that is defined as, "to strive together" rather than, "be in rivalry with."

I can get behind that. I'm neither black or white, but I've experienced the nature of racial competition. Enough is enough. I can get behind what Obama's talking about, president or no.
posted by Mister Cheese at 11:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


OK, mediareport. By "member of the cult," I wasn't being metaphorical exactly. I was using hyperbole. Obviously, I have no intention of giving up my faculty of reason. But it's very rare that a candidate actually appeals directly to my faculty of reason. So call it a cult of rationality and we're even.

Obama would have to do something heinous to lose me at this point. I mean truly heinous.

Like pick Hillary Clinton as a running mate.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know, it's kind of amusing that about half the thread is nitpicking about the 'only in America' clause. I mean, jeeze, people, how to miss the freaking point, yanno?

He's just pointed very clearly at a problem, and has positioned himself so that everyone can see him clearly, the first person to do so in my adult life. And many of you are arguing incessantly about a hangnail on his finger instead of just looking where he's pointing.

Wouldn't it be a slightly better use of the collective Metafilter brain to talk about what the speech means, and where to go from here, and how to understand some of the problems he's pointing out?

Who the fuck cares about 'only in America'? Do you need to distance yourself from the real message that badly?
posted by Malor at 11:40 PM on March 18, 2008 [30 favorites]


The biggest Fairy Tale in this election is the idea that any of the top democrats could lose.

Please tell me how Obama wins OH and FL against McCain? It just isn't going to happen.

Look at this map
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/president/

Very little will change on this map, if anything, if Obama gets the Dem nod. If Hillary gets the nod, the Dems win OH and FL. Obama will lose those states to McCain.

McCain is a *moderate* Republican, and Obama's negatives are only now just beginning to show.

And if you think CA isi a safe bet for the Dems with Obama, you're dreaming. I've seen pre-scenario polling in S. CA with McCain against Hillary and Obama. It's not pretty for Obama. Arnie will be working hard for McCain, who comes off after exposure as a reasonable moderate.

I am tired of the too far left Dems like Obama, Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. ruining my party. Obama is another pre-general election flash in the pan who will have his socks handed to him by the GOP attack machine. Obamatans, it's time to stop dreaming!

Hillary is *proven*. She took 67% in her last Senate race, in a state where they said she would get ground up like hamburger. Polling shows that the more people see and hear her, the more they like her. That's what's starting to happen.

PA will give her a big bounce, and then the Supers will look at that map *above) and give her the nod; they know the score.
posted by MetaMan at 11:41 PM on March 18, 2008


This comment by a diarist at Talking Points Memo explains the bizarre cauldron of self-contradictions that is American race relations far better than I ever could. Seriously, it's very, very good.

If the relevance of Obama's speech doesn't quite click, this may help to put it into perspective. The underlying story here is about our many, many blind spots, which even most of us who live in this country don't understand all that well. That's sort of the nature of a blind spot -- and why it's so historically important when they occasionally get brought to light.
posted by spiderwire at 11:41 PM on March 18, 2008


How can Obama's story be uniquely American, except that it took place in America?

I think in a sense, that it is because it did.

This is slippery to express, and I'm not sure I even have a good grasp on it, but I think what I was trying to express earlier (even though it's such a tiny sidelight on the whole more important picture that I'm a little ashamed to be thinking so much about it) is: his story is uniquely American because it took place in America (and elsewhere), just as my story is uniquely Canadian because it took place in Canada (and elsewhere). In other words, and this is the idiotic-sounding crux: it is American because it is American, and it is unique because he is unique, just as a similar thing could be said about me, or you, or anyone.

It could and should be argued that reading it this way reduces it to a meaningless tautology, but actually, I think just the opposite is true. I think it's a marvellous way to look at it, and an inspiring one.

Whether Mr Obama meant it that way or not, I have no way of telling.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on March 18, 2008


American Exceptionalism isn't going away while America is still exceptional in the eyes of those who live there. It hasn't gone away in other countries that aren't especially exceptional, except to those who live there, either. If you can point out any elected official anywhere who got elected by saying "I'm just another privileged-class citizen of a country that has nothing to really reccomend it over any other" in a stump speech, I'll give you a cookie.

Bickering over something so unexceptional is tiresome, and has taken up more than half the thread. Knock it off.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:42 PM on March 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know, it's kind of amusing that about half the thread is nitpicking about the 'only in America' clause. I mean, jeeze, people, how to miss the freaking point, yanno?

This.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


what we have missed in the anti-intellectual, ruthlessly incurious Bush years, and even the slippery Clinton ones (the years of "what is is") posted by caddis

You must be too young to have experienced the good years with Clinton, or completely numbed by the endless repetition of the Republican harassment over a blow-job.
What has completely turned me off was Obama's equation Rev. Jeremiah Wright with Geraldine Ferraro. That was real cheap politicking.
posted by semmi at 11:43 PM on March 18, 2008


She ran basically unopposed, and still pissed away millions of dollars in that Senate race.

Even if Hillary wins 70% of the vote in PA,

She.
Can.
Not.
Win.

Since Feb 28th, Obama has picked up 48 new Super Delagates to Hillary's -5. Where are these mythical superdelegates going to come from?
posted by empath at 11:44 PM on March 18, 2008


Where are these mythical superdelegates going to come from?

They're going to come from the ones that haven't committed by the time the convention appears, in addition to Supers who figure out what the score is after Hillary pounds Obama in PA and Michigan.

Obama has racked up delegates mostly in RED states. He has YET to win a strong blue state. You think the Supers that are holding back haven't noticed that?
posted by MetaMan at 11:48 PM on March 18, 2008


Mark Penn? Is that you?
posted by aqhong at 11:51 PM on March 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Obama has racked up delegates mostly in RED states. He has YET to win a strong blue state. You think the Supers that are holding back haven't noticed that?

So, the more Democratic a state is, the more it is likely to vote Republican?
posted by Rumple at 11:52 PM on March 18, 2008 [16 favorites]


What has completely turned me off was Obama's equation Rev. Jeremiah Wright with Geraldine Ferraro. That was real cheap politicking.

Hmm. Well, here's the section where he mentions her name:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.
I'm not certain how that could be construed as 'real cheap politicking'. Care to elaborate?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:52 PM on March 18, 2008


She took 67% in her last Senate race, in a state where they said she would get ground up like hamburger. Polling shows that the more people see and hear her, the more they like her. That's what's starting to happen.

WTF?

She spent 30 million precious campaign dollars getting to 67 percent in an election she was so guaranteed to win the republicans did not even bother to put up a decent challenger. Jeanine Pirro, remember?

You're thinking about the first senate election, perhaps? Where she ran against Rick freaking Lazio, a boy fresh out of school?

As a New Yorker who voted for her twice and regrets it deeply, let me assure you that the more *this* New Yorker sees of her, the less I like of her.

Spin all you want, but Obama easily wins New York and California, and makes half a dozen western states where Clinton is despised seriously competitive in any serious poll I've seen. I have no idea what "prescenario poll" means, or why you limit yourself to *Southern* California, which is like limiting to California to the part that votes like white Mississippi. But all Obama has to do is get McCain to lose his temper on the podium once and Johnny Mac is toast.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:53 PM on March 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am tired of the too far left Dems like Obama, Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. ruining my party.

*falls out of chair laughing*
posted by mediareport at 11:55 PM on March 18, 2008 [11 favorites]


MetaMan (Mark Penn indeed!) dream on.

The Dems just took Dennis Hastert's seat -- Dennis Hastert! -- in a special election in no small part because Obama campaigned for the Dem challenger (Foster) and McCain campaigned for the GOP nutter (Obwerweis).

Superdelegates consist of a significant number of red state dems who need coattails to hang on to in a presidential election year.

There must be some reason Clinton has not gained a SD in a month, and Obama has been gaining them at a rate of several a day. Maybe they know more than you about "prescenario" polling.

The Jeremiah Wright thing was total bullshit, pure swiftboat attack politics with a nice healthy dollop of pure racism on top -- ooh, an angry black man is Obama's preacher! And Obama just took that swifboat bullshit and shoved it right back up the media's flatulent ass.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:58 PM on March 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


Also, what SpiderWire said.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:59 PM on March 18, 2008


"What on earth has Obama said that is so earth-shattering?"

I think a bit of it is what he did. Some things work just on the face of themselves. Other things work in the "you had to be there" sense, for a certain time, place, feeling.

He could have ducked it. He could have just let it alone. He'd already denounced Wright's comments and the smart, slick, H-A-double N-I- GAN - polticikin' thing to do would have to just leave it alone.

He didn't. He took the issue straight up. In an era where everything is scripted, polled and pre-vetted, He just shook off the sign and brought the heat.
Wow.

Bit like pointing out Boris Yeltzin standing on the tank defying the August Putsch and saying but he's a drunk. Or y'know, Bluto when he says the Germans attacked Pear Harbor. Forget it, he's on a roll.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:00 AM on March 19, 2008 [10 favorites]


I want someone who knows how to get their hands dirty, and go right down in the dirt to duke it out with the forces of neocon evil. I don't think Obama can do that; in fact, I know he can't.

I know I'm late to the party, but that's exactly what he did with this speach.
posted by afx114 at 12:05 AM on March 19, 2008 [19 favorites]


Earlier tonight I was trying to think of countries that have elected members of a "racial" (sorry the anthro in me makes me quote mark it) minority to the head of government and I came up pretty blank.

This was in response to some concerns a family member raised regarding the few women in high office and the nature of feminism (which I consider myself a feminist) and Clinton's support of large segments of that bloc, despite Clinton being where she is politically based on (at least in part) who she married, as opposed to say Pelosi, Boxer, Snow, Albright, Rice, Sebelius, Napolitano, Klobuchar, Granholm etc. Suffice to say this is not a cut and dry issue.

Anyway, while I was unable to name an elected head of state from a minority race I could think of a few handful of women heads of States. So, on a global scale (unless someone can counter example me, please) it would seem women have a slight advantage politically over minority populations. I know this has limited bearing in the US but thought it was interesting nonetheless.

(also interesting to note, we have had 30+ female Govs, and only 4 AA govs, 35 female senators 5 AA, 243 female Reps and 112 AA )

-Big caveat, this is not really about who is more qualified, just a small data point to use, especially when a small fraction of people claim that x group is more oppressed then y group.
posted by edgeways at 12:06 AM on March 19, 2008


The Jeremiah Wright thing was total bullshit, pure swiftboat attack politics with a nice healthy dollop of pure racism on top -- ooh, an angry black man is Obama's preacher! And Obama just took that swifboat bullshit and shoved it right back up the media's flatulent ass.

Let's see how this plays in a general election. I will chuckle when the Supers name Hillary. It's gonna happen. The party would be mad to let someone who hasn't won a primary in a SINGLE serious Dem state go out on the slate. If it does, I'm voting Nader.

As for S CA, you just watch. Oh, and btw, that's where MOST of California's population lives, in case you haven't looked at population demographics lately.

Just watch moderates turn toward McCain if Obama gets the nod. Moderates are 4-1 ex-Republicans. You need to take off your Obamatan 3D glasses and look at the world aright.
posted by MetaMan at 12:07 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to be fair Clinton did pick up two SDs today (Murtha and some fella from WVa)
posted by edgeways at 12:08 AM on March 19, 2008


fourcheesemac: "Spin all you want, but Obama easily wins New York and California, and makes half a dozen western states where Clinton is despised seriously competitive in any serious poll I've seen."

This is something that needs to be kept in mind. Even in blood red states that Obama cannot win*, his much higher poll numbers against McCain will have a significant positive influence on the downticket races. Republicans will have to spend much more money defending state and local seats in normally "safe" districts. Such is the wisdom of the fifty-state strategy, and the idiocy of the Clinton campaign's Incredible Shrinking List of "important" states. I mean, what's the point of winning the presidency if you, by virtue of insulting and dismissing three-quarters of the electorate, go into office against a hostile majority in congress and in state offices around the country?

* And that list of unwinnable states is much smaller for Obama than for Clinton. How many times in this primary season has off-the-charts Democratic turnout for him in normally sleepy red states kicked the crap out of the combined Republican showing? Obama is a map-changer.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:10 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


You are kind of acting like an ass MM.
posted by edgeways at 12:12 AM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Anyway, while I was unable to name an elected head of state from a minority race

Well, I'm not sure what 'minority race' even means in a global context (even acknowledging, as you do, that 'race' is a corrupt and illusionary concept), but.

I don't think this kind of analysis is useful at all, and just distracts from real discussion and thought (not attacking you edgeways, just saying), but just off the top of my head I can come up with Alberto Fujimori and any number of white South African presidents during Apartheid, along with, no doubt, a whole bunch of other examples in Africa over the decades.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:13 AM on March 19, 2008


Murtha's a sleazebag; not quite exhibit A in Washington's culture of corruption but close. Exhibit C, probably. Who knows what promises passed hands for him to endorse Clinton, but you can be sure it was something good.
posted by mediareport at 12:14 AM on March 19, 2008


I was more than a little hesitant to use S. Africa for obvious reasons, but Fujimori is a good one overall, I forgot about him.
posted by edgeways at 12:18 AM on March 19, 2008


I'd love to have a cite for this, if anyone's got one handy. I'm not doubting, just wanting the specifics.

mediareport: Here's a video of the Value Voters' version of "God Bless America" titled "Why Should God Bless America?" Starts around 2:00 into the clip.
posted by afx114 at 12:20 AM on March 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


grr, sorry I should have consolidated.

Biologically human races are without a doubt a farce concept, but culturally/socially it is real so I would take small exception to the "illusionary concept" label
posted by edgeways at 12:21 AM on March 19, 2008


>but are things in America so divided that this speech, which seems to me so uncontroversial, can really be all that ground-breaking?

Now if one notices carefully one will see that between these two worlds, despite much physical contact and daily intermingling, there is almost no community of intellectual life or point of transference where the thoughts and feelings of one race can come into direct contact and sympathy with the thoughts and feelings of the other.

... throughout the category of means for intellectual communication,—schools, conferences, efforts for social betterment, and the like,—it is usually true that the very representatives of the two races, who for mutual benefit and the welfare of the land ought to be in complete understanding and sympathy, are so far strangers that one side thinks all whites are narrow and prejudiced, and the other thinks educated Negroes dangerous and insolent.

Moreover, in a land where the tyranny of public opinion and the intolerance of criticism is for obvious historical reasons so strong as in the South, such a situation is extremely difficult to correct.

The white man, as well as the Negro, is bound and barred by the color-line, and many a scheme of friendliness and philanthropy, of broad-minded sympathy and generous fellowship between the two has dropped still-born because some busybody has forced the color-question to the front and brought the tremendous force of unwritten law against the innovators.


The Souls of Black Folk -W.E.B. DuBois

Considering that over 100 years later his words still ring mostly true, I would have to answer your question in the affirmative. That's the fundamental contradiction. So much has changed that it's sometimes baffling how much hasn't.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:22 AM on March 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


I was more than a little hesitant to use S. Africa for obvious reasons

Heh. Can of worms status: opened.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:22 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not certain how that could be construed as 'real cheap politicking'. Care to elaborate?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken


No. I was wrong.
posted by semmi at 12:28 AM on March 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


MetaMan writes "I am tired of the too far left Dems like Obama, Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. ruining my party."

Zell Miller for Prezdent!
posted by orthogonality at 12:31 AM on March 19, 2008


No. I was wrong.

Good on ya for saying so. I was honestly curious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:32 AM on March 19, 2008


The party would be mad to let someone who hasn't won a primary in a SINGLE serious Dem state go out on the slate.

Well, first, you're accepting the Clinton definition of 'serious', which conveniently only includes states that voted for her. Offhand, I suspect the voters in other states would like to think their votes count too.

Second: blue states will probably vote Democratic either way, so either candidate will win those. No matter how much Hillary won by in those states, it's irrelevant in the general election, which is all or nothing. Win by one vote or win by a landslide... it's the same either way in the final tally.

Obama will take those states, and then he'll take many states where Clinton doesn't have a chance. So which, again, do you think is the wiser choice for the general election?
posted by Malor at 12:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I also twitched at the "only in America" line but I agree that it is a non-significant part of the speech.

However, can someone explain to me how he says he can't (and won't) disown Wright, yet refers to him twice as his "former pastor"? /nitpick
posted by birdsquared at 12:44 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


birdsquared: I think he's referring to the fact that Wright is now retired.
posted by aqhong at 12:51 AM on March 19, 2008


Count me as another eyeroller at the "only in America" line. But we eyerollers don't matter. Foreigners (I'm Canadian) weren't the target audience. I'll bet that nearly every American who hears that line doesn't notice anything all too weird about it, and nearly every non-American inwardly cringes.

Forget that. This was an amazing speech.

I consider myself pretty apolitical. I honestly have no idea how to vote or what considerations I should take into account. I'm pretty sure that a person's character shouldn't be an influencing feature. There's enough evidence, empirical and anecdotal, that show that character is a horrible predictor of how people will behave when you put them in new situations. People act contrary to predicted behavior when given power (for example, Supreme Court judges often defy expectation once appointed). But this speech has really made me like Obama, and it's tough to deny that magnetism.

Jeez, I really don't want to become an Obama cultist, but the temptation is hard to stave off.
posted by painquale at 1:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, it was a good speech alright, and a refreshing change from the normal sycophantic-yet-dismissive displays we are used to from political types.

But.

There is something a little bit disturbing to me about the abject character-worship some people seem to be showing in response to it, and many other thing Obama. I mean, I understand that, on some level, it simply proportional to how deep the despair they feel over the current administration. Most folks are looking for someone who will, to put it gently, not be a colossal fuckup like Bush has been and continues to be. And I understand that Clinton herself is not a very sympathetic character, having been steeped in power too long and representing just another member of the Imperial Court shouting her claim for the throne.

However, the response to this speech just really bothers me. It reminds me a whole lot of the unthinking wingnut defense of all things Bush ("A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. ... like a great painter or musician ..." blah blah blah), but coming from the other political direction.

Don't get me wrong; I think, given the limited field that we have to choose from, Obama is the best candidate and I will vote for him and not for Clinton or McCain. But his camp followers worry me. I mean, seriously:
Cortex will probably delete this post, but nevertheless he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama.
That was a joke, right? Because I can't seem to tell anymore given the adoration I have been seeing.
posted by moonbiter at 1:10 AM on March 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I didn't need this speech to impress me. I read his first book, and I learned from it... and I've never learned anything from a politician about how to make my identity and privilege work for good until that point.

The huge, confident, hopeful surge into intellectualism, consideration, fair play and righteousness that Obama represents to anyone willing to believe it can exist, is his greatest strength, and his graceful synthesis of complex ideologies into a strategy to accomplish progress is his second. He quoted Faulkner, ffs. I really enjoyed that.

When he speaks about his story only being possible in America, two things come to mind for me: First, that ours remains a remarkably racially binary country in the mass culture perspective, and that is not only preposterous and divisive, but malevolent. All mixed-race people in our culture have a peculiar internal cultural synthesis to perform, but I hope that is already changing. Touting a mixed-race experience is identity politics, plain and simple, but the experience itself is a lifelong object lesson in the nuances of our culture, and in diplomacy and self-assurance. Second is a passage from Dreams From My Father, about how his mother reneged on her life plan to live with her new husband in Malaysia, because abandoning the privilege of educating her son, Barack, in the USA was simply too dear a price to pay. There is no reason to raise a child anywhere but this country, if you have that choice, was his perspective via his mother, on this event. They moved back to the states, without his stepfather, and I find that valuation remarkable and inspiring, even without any first-hand knowledge, myself, about education conditions in other countries, or decisive stance on the perfection of our democracy's potential. If there is to be an "American Exeptionalism," I hope its most ardent believer is our President. There's no harm in believing that we can do anything, that history cannot bind us, and that we have, especially right now, at this economically tense moment, an immesurably great potential.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:11 AM on March 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


Reading the speech brought tears to my eyes, and I was prepared for the tugging of heartstrings. If the reports that he wrote this himself are true, I take my hat off to him.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:22 AM on March 19, 2008


Jeez, I really don't want to become an Obama cultist, but the temptation is hard to stave off.

I don't know why there's this assumption that if you support Obama, you do so in an extreme manner. I've supported the man for quite a while now, but I keep a healthy level of skepticism. And I don't agree with everything he says (just most of it) -- for example, I'm not totally on-board with his health plan, but realize the practicality of it.

I know I'm not alone in feeling this way, which means there's probably a media-influenced perception.
posted by spiderskull at 1:24 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I'm an American and an avid Obama supporter, and the "only in America" line struck me as a little disingenuous ever since I first heard it in his 2004 DNC keynote. I don't think it's that big of a deal, though. As others have pointed out, it's a pretty ambiguous piece of "yay, America" rhetoric that can't really be proven one way or another, and it makes us feel good about ourselves, so eh.

But seriously, can we talk about something else now?
posted by aqhong at 1:37 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


spiderskull: I feel the same way, but this is a thread for an FPP that ends with "he can not silence the amazing phenomena which is Obama."
posted by aqhong at 1:49 AM on March 19, 2008


birdsquared writes "However, can someone explain to me how he says he can't (and won't) disown Wright, yet refers to him twice as his 'former pastor'? /nitpick"

Wright retires effective the end of this month, and I think has already relinquished the duty of giving the regular Sunday sermon.
posted by orthogonality at 2:01 AM on March 19, 2008


what I found most amazing about this speech, which I only mention because I haven't seen it mentioned (enough) is this: Obama mentioned the racism of the southerners (forgive my paraphrasing) and then he did not dismiss or condemn them! I mean, I went into this speech sadly thinking he'd be forced to do some backpedaling "oh no, anger? At the country? Who? Me?" instead, he stood up and said "yeah, he's angry and it sounds racist, he's angry and it turns into racism. And that's okay. Its not right but its not their fault. Let's change things and stop it from happening."

I know those against affirmative action. I know those "Im not racist but..." people. A conventional politician would have said "they're ignorant, free your mind!" as if those people were irrational and decided to be racist as a fashion statement. As if those people were the root cause and not a symptom.

This is a black man looking at those who would dislike him for who he is and he isn't shaking his head with a mixture of pity and sorrow. He isn't standing proud against him to overcome. He isn't defiant, or aggressive, or angry at them. He is saying "I understand" how many of us could do that? How many of us could turn the other cheek like that.

I could no more disown my grandmother he said. His somewhat racist grandmother. He didn't throw her to the wolves as people have said, he did exactly the opposite. He embraced her. He loved a racist. He knows that many of us love racists. He wants us to keep loving them. He wants us to love them so much that we can help end the problems that let racism spawn like Mosquitos in stagnant water.

He understands the racists. He loves the racists. Twelve years of catholic school and it seems like now I finally understand what Jesus was really trying to say.
posted by Brainy at 2:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [45 favorites]


I don't know why there's this assumption that if you support Obama, you do so in an extreme manner.

I do. It's the same reason that 4 or 5 years ago, everyone that opposed the President was referred to as a frothing at the mouth Bush hater. It's called marginalizing your opposition. If you paint them as irrational or overly emotional, then it's very easy to dismiss whatever points they may have.

I used to like Hillary, and supported her for two Senate campaigns, but the way that her campaign has gleefully adopted the divisive tactics of conservatives in this primary race disgusts me, and has lost me forever.
posted by psmealey at 2:22 AM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


posting at 5am on an iPhone that doesn't like to let you see more than a few words of what you're typing is hardly the best way to make a big sweeping statement like that so let me just add that no, I am not comparing obama to Jesus exactly...just that he seems to not only get what the guy was saying, but to be able to get me to understand it too.

Also I am an athiest, so I don't had much concern for what he might have be trying to say...except that cognitive behavioral therapy, the 7 habits of highly effective people, the non-torture versions of the army interrogation field manual and a whole lot of common sense says that understanding others is the best way to resolve conflict.

I mean, can you imagine Bush or McCain going into a country we're not too friendly with and being able to truly empathize with them? Not manipulate, not sucker, but treat them as equals and seek to understand them and why and how they feel the way they do? The amount of good that would do would be incalcuable.
posted by Brainy at 2:27 AM on March 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


There is something a little bit disturbing to me about the abject character-worship some people seem to be showing in response to it, and many other thing Obama.

I've been disturbed by it for some time.

Furthermore.. if it is a truly historic speech, first, we don't know that yet. It does take time, and it has to do something, doesn't it? Aside from moving many TV pundits and bloggers to instantly declare it as such, which isn't surprising given everything they've been saying about Obama all along, and there's likely a spirit of competition among them to outdo each other.. to be the loudest and most exaggerated in their praise. And if it is so brilliant, again, surely it can stand up to nitpicking, critical thinking and close reading?

That moment is when I'm disturbed - no - I don't want to be just swept away and not be able to step back and seriously think, and yes criticize, what he is saying. Yes, there are some points that can be quickly fixated on to complain about, but beyond that I always see such an extreme amount of sensitivity (at least among the online political discussion crowd) when it comes to any criticism of Obama, and often followed by lashing out at anyone who speaks up to do so.

So.. Hillary is not a racist. Nor a member of an Imperial Court. She's a real person, brilliant, accomplished, and very tough - I don't do sweeping rhetoric myself, but I've been profoundly inspired by her, to see how much she's been attacked in the media and demonized for many years now, and her candidacy declared dead several times since January, and she just keeps fighting. I read all the time on blog comments that she thinks she's entitled, she's evil, she's a racist. I read that she'll redeem herself in the eyes of the media if only she'd do what they want and give up, and that she's dividing the party all by herself even though over 13 million Democrats have voted for her, and what we need is unity, which means those of us who support her should give up. I read people going further and further to dehumanize her to the point where this sort of language becomes part of casual discourse, and maybe they don't even know they're doing it any more. That kind of talk speaks about them and not about her. Especially from those who support Obama, I know it is a minority who do this, but they're very loud and insistent, and I wonder what kind of hope makes them dehumanize and insult political opponents?

How that false narrative about racism and the Clintons got developed, now, I could write an essay on it since I read enough political blogs to have watched it unfold in real time, and it was ugly indeed, but didn't come from where you might think it did. And finally, I'm afraid the superdelegates are going to decide the nominee one way or the other, since neither candidate is going to hit the magic number in pledged delegates, and it's quite possible the popular vote will go the other way than the number of delegates. Obama racked up quite a few delegates by caucus victories in very red states with very small numbers of Democrats - one delegate in Alaska would be from a couple thousand votes, one in California, tens of thousands I think. Anything can happen and we should let the people vote and let the process play out, which some might call being against "unity," but I'd say it is just healthy and democratic.
posted by citron at 2:40 AM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


MetaMan, you seem to have the whole "independent voter" scenario exactly backwards. The polls I've read about are pretty clear that Obama would beat McCain, but McCain would beat Clinton, if the general were held now. The reasoning goes like this: it's Obama, not Clinton, who's attracting independents, many of whom are against the Iraq war. Young people in record numbers would get out the vote.

If Clinton is the nominee, that dynamic would work the opposite way.

Young people would stay at home. Many blacks would stay at home. Not that they want McCain, it's just simply that a lot of people simply won't bother to go vote for Hillary. (Personally, 4 or 5 months ago I would've voted for her if she were the nominee, but after her "kitchen sink" strategy of muckraking and digging in the dirt, I don't think she deserves my vote. That 3 a.m. ad was the clincher--no way would I vote for her now.) Where do you think all those Ron Paul fans have disappeared to? Maybe some will side with Clinton or McCain, but I'd bet my bottom dollar most are supporting Obama.

Lastly, you don't seem to understand the vast hatred out there for Hillary. For the most part, I don't think it's entirely fair, but it is definitely there. Republicans who can't stand McCain can't stand Clinton even more, so they will get off their butts to vote against her.
posted by zardoz at 2:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I heard a pretty interesting comment about Rev. (Jeremiah) Wright on NPR a little while ago. Apparently his namesake, the biblical prophet Jeremiah, was executed by being tossed into a pit after his fiery prophecies convinced his contemporaries that he was an enemy of the homeland. Life's funny like that, huh?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:43 AM on March 19, 2008


I actually mistook his "only in America" section to be about his ethnic makeup.

It's pretty difficult to see the possibility of a Black prime minister in the U.K. at the moment. This is partly to do with race issues, but it's mainly to do with the fact that the current UK administration hasn't imploded nearly as spectacularly as Bush's administration.
We also tend to vote more for the party than the person here.
Thatcher wouldn't have got into power if Labour hadn't screwed up so badly in the late 70's; Blair wouldn't have got into power if the Conservative party hadn't upset so many people. If Cameron had been black, he would have been accepted and if Labour had *really* messed things up, then Cameron would easily win come the next election cycle. I accept that there's a lot of Ifs in there, but it's not impossible.

This is not to say things are perfect here. They aren't. Far from it.

In fact, the only unfeasible thing about Obama's situation being replicated in the UK (African / White married to a Jamaican) is that 20 years (or however long ago it was) ago very few Jamaican women would have considered marrying an African man.

Anyway - don't know why I'm going back to this. It was only a small part of the speech and I agree it falls more into "America is great" rhetoric than into anything more substantial.
posted by seanyboy at 2:47 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not always American exceptionalism to recognize that American culture has features that don't exist in other culture

But then you and Obama are arguing little more than that it's special because it is American, which is exactly American exceptionalism.
posted by cillit bang at 2:55 AM on March 19, 2008


All right, one more thing. Something that has confounded me during so much discussion of race lately. I see how easy it is to point at your neighbor, or a writer, or speaker, or an entire group of people based on class or geography and say, he is racist, she is racist, they are racist. And they're not like me.

Is there any point when we can step back and look at ourselves and say, how am I racist, how have I been, what do I bring to interactions with people and do I ignore this, or am I willing, painful as it might be, to think about these things, and change? And how much about the history of this country and others' experience of it have I chosen to ignore? I wonder if some day a public figure in our country will give a speech declaring, I am racist, not for the childish reason that I look at others and choose to hate, but when I leave so much unexamined not only in history books, but in my own life. That might be the most courageous speech I'd ever hear.
posted by citron at 2:55 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Did the Gettysburg Address include an entirely unnecessary and pandering (to God knows who, though) mention of YouTube?
posted by cillit bang at 2:58 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I listened to the first 15 minutes of speech on Youtube this morning, and I thought it was decent. He addressed the attack and turned it around. He spoke the truth, and he spoke pretty well.

I realized, after listening to the speech again, and listening all the way through, that he did something more interesting. Yes, he turned around an attack, dealing with the immediate, urgent problem, but then he used it to open up a broader discussion on race. And he did so in a positive, heartfelt, honest way.

For a politician to do this - no, for a presidential candidate to do this in a hotly contested race, to deviate from Marketing 101 talking point BS and speak for the better part of an hour about a real issue, that's something I cannot remember a major politician doing in my lifetime.

This is more than Kennedy's Catholic speech. It's not the Gettysburg address, but it came from the same neighborhood.

I've found this to be one of the most interesting discussions on Metafilter.
posted by zippy at 3:02 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


an entirely unnecessary and pandering (to God knows who, though) mention

If you don't know to whom it was intended to pander, then it probably wasn't very good pandering ;-)

The one thing that has stuck with me these past couple of weeks on MeFi, is that for all of Obama's messianic influence or svengali-like grip on his supporters, I have yet to hear an Obama supporter call a Clinton supporter a racist. During these past few weeks, I have been called a sexist or misogynist no less than 5 times by fellow MeFites. This is something that would very much surprise and amuse my wife, my mother, my sisters, and the 7 women bosses I have had in my 15 year professional career. /OT
posted by psmealey at 3:16 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is there any point when we can step back and look at ourselves and say, how am I racist,
This is something I've been wrestling with recently too.

I think we need a vocabulary that says "This thing here, although not deliberately racist is actually racist. It is not a bad racism and I will not hate you for the thing, but the thing is wrong."

At the moment, the word racist is such an insult (rightly so), that nobody can use it in a way that isn't exclusionary. Until that happens, we can't address or discuss the quiet non-deliberate things which re-enforce the current racial environment.

We need to get rid of the phrase "I'm not a racist, but" and replace it with something everyone can learn from.
And the whispering Obama rightly talks about. That needs to be brought out into the light. And it needs to be done in such a way that we do not vilify those who's only crime is to be surrounded by misinformation.

I think this is a huge challenge for liberals.
posted by seanyboy at 3:18 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


The part where he talked about his grandmother saying racist things really hit home with me, as did the part where he talked about middle and lower class whites feeling they haven't been privileged by merit of being white. The examples he gave of blaming things on immigration leading to a build up racial resentment were spot on, too.

I'm only 23 and grew up in Houston, TX, so I had more minority friends than white friends growing up just because the city is so multicultural. In high school, the group I regularly hung out with was two white guys, a Filipino guy, a half-Chinese half-Japanese guy, a Vietnamese guy, a half-black half-Indian guy, a Chinese girl, a half-Venezuelan half-Iraqi girl, a half-Hungarian half-Chinese girl, a handful of Jewish people -- both secular and non -- a half-Vietnamese half-Hispanic guy, a couple of guys from completely different areas of India, etc. There were even more racial groups represented in my circle of acquaintances. So at least in my generation, in my high school, race (and religion) wasn't an issue -- or if it was, my friends and I were oblivious to it. The sheer number of "halfies" I knew certainly belied the idea that race was relevant. Not in the sense that there isn't discrimination that needs to be addressed, but in the sense that there ought not to be, and isn't it ridiculous that there is.

So it's always been jarring to spend time with those people, then come home and hear some of the things my mother says. My family is lower middle-class white and while my mother claims not to be racist and certainly never had any problems with my friends, she says some of the most hateful, ignorant things about black and Hispanic people. She blames them for everything. This started coming to a head when I was in high school, then got worse as I went through college. When I'd come back every few months to visit, it became a weird sort of guessing game to predict just how much more racist she would be compared to the last time I saw her.

There is some generous sense of the word in which you could say she is not racist, and I think this is what Obama was getting at with his pastor and grandmother. My mom has black and Hispanic friends and treats them kindly, and it's not insincere. She thinks about them as "one of the good ones," I guess you could say, although I doubt she would phrase it that crassly because it sounds racist -- and people like that don't think of themselves as racist. But whatever you want to call it she is deeply prejudiced, because she does preemptively judge people by their race.

And the reasons she feels that way are exactly the ones that Obama described. For example, before we moved into what slowly turned into a lower-class Hispanic apartment complex in Houston, she didn't have anything against Hispanic people. After living there for nearly 20 years, that changed radically. Yeah, Hispanic guys have broken into our car, yeah Hispanic guys have shot each other in the parking lot, yeah a Hispanic guy fleeing the police crashed into our parked car, yeah a Hispanic guy drove through the apartment below ours when he was high, yeah some Hispanic people often shoot their guns off on New Years. It makes perfect sense to be mad about any of those things, but she's past mad and she's mad at people who didn't do anything to her, too.

My mom can't seem to disconnect the few people who do those things from the whole, or even come to recognize why things are that way. There is a sense in which she forgets they are human; when she evaluates their behavior, she discounts anything that she might relate to. It's seriously as if she views them as crime robots, where every move they make is calculated for some nefarious purpose. A Hispanic guy stares at her in the parking lot? He wants to rob her. It couldn't possibly be that he was just looking at her, or that staring is not as rude in their culture, or that seeing a white person in that neighborhood is simply an anomaly, or that he was bored, or even that he just thinks she's attractive. Similarly, anything is a sign of a drug deal: Living eight to an apartment? Drug dealers. One Hispanic guy living in an apartment? He could only afford it if he sold drugs.

Then things got worse when my sick father had to wait hours at the hospital to get anything done. He was in a low income program there, along with many Hispanic people. (My mom certainly doesn't feel she's been privileged for being white since we don't have much money. People don't stop to think how things could be worse.) For as long as he lived, my mother blamed any problems that cropped up on all the Hispanic people clogging the system, and still does. There are problems in that program that need to be fixed, undoubtedly. But meanwhile, my mom's resentment built up into full-blown racism.

And then Hurricane Katrina hit, and many of the refugees came to Houston. And now all my mom talks about is "the Katrina blacks." Before Hurricane Katrina, my mom never had a SINGLE unkind word about black people. In fact, her father was a Baptist preacher who split from his church because he got flack for preaching to black people. Instead, he held sermons in their yard so the black people could come without incident. My mom grew up with his powerful presence and had many black friends, yet a single hurricane and its subsequent influx of crime apparently changed forty years of conditioning for tolerance. It really blows my mind.

And the worst part is, since my mom changed her mind after unpleasant experiences with Hispanic and black people, she thinks she's completely justified. She thinks if she qualifies her statements, like saying "lower-income Hispanics" or "Katrina blacks" she's being fair and honest. She doesn't seem to get that she's still blanketing the majority of those people with negative qualities they simply don't possess, since, just like us, most minorities without much money aren't terrible people. How would she feel being grouped in a slur about "lower-income whites?"

What's more, that's not even true anymore. She only thinks that she has a problem with lower-income Hispanics and blacks, but you can tell the racism goes deeper than that now. Recently, we've had more financial luck and she was looking for a house. She disregarded any neighborhood where she saw black or Hispanic children playing in the street. These are new $150,000 homes, which in Texas is pretty nice. You don't live in one of those if you're lower-income. What's more, you're not going to find an all-white neighborhood in a city like Houston no matter what the income level. But she's hated black and Hispanic people for so long now, she doesn't even make the economic distinction anymore and she doesn't even realize it. Sliding on down that slope.

If a Hispanic or a black person cuts her off in traffic? Woo boy, here come the slurs, here come the assumptions that they're the kind of Hispanic or black person she has a problem with -- which now is to say, any black or Hispanic at all. It turns my stomach.

Hating Hispanic and black people is completely misguided, a non-solution, something that actually exacerbates existing problems. But I've never been able to get her to see that.

Yet all the same, she's my mother, and when she's not being prejudiced she's a great and caring person. And she's even a great and caring person to her black and Hispanic friends. She is the best mother I could have asked for; she is completely selfless and I have always felt that I'm her priority. It's really not simple. I couldn't disown her, or ignore the fact that the things that set off her racism are a real problem, while the racism itself is deplorable. And minorities of all stripes my age have the same kind of stories about their parents and grandparents, either examples of the "reverse racism" towards whites or racism toward other races. And I know how sad it makes us, how difficult and painful it is to hear those comments from someone you love. You want to change their mind, but you can't.

It's immensely relieving just to hear someone who isn't white but understands exactly where my mom's racism comes from, who doesn't decry her as a wholly horrible person or condone things about her that ought not be condoned. It's relieving to see someone be so forthcoming about racism from minorities as well. It's a complex situation and it's about time someone talked about it in an honest way.
posted by Nattie at 3:19 AM on March 19, 2008 [136 favorites]


Nattie: a wonderful, brave comment and one which proves the value of Senator Obama's speech in full. If his speech can - as it appears - generate a national (perhaps even international) discussion of how we as humanity want to live our lives in the future, working together or divided by arbitrary and ridiculous differences, then it will indeed turn out to be one of the most historic speeches ever made. Only time will tell, of course.
posted by Duug at 4:18 AM on March 19, 2008


you can not change your parents. ever. but you don't have to belong to a church that preaches hate and say later you can not disown the guy running the place.
posted by Postroad at 4:39 AM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan: The party would be mad to let someone who hasn't won a primary in a SINGLE serious Dem state go out on the slate.

Because, you know, winning all the major so-called "blue" states in the primaries was a clear indicator of success for John Kerry in 2004.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:44 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Postroad, a hell of a lot of people out there attend churches that preach hate but lap it up, never questioning it at all. A lot of people sometimes just get pissed off with what's going on around them and let it all out, say things they shouldn't. There's rarely such thing as a "good person" and a "bad person", there's just people who have their good sides and their bad sides, their good days and their bad days. There's nothing unusual or controversial about any of this at all, so stop recycling that pathetic, tired talking point and put it in with the rest of the garbage where it belongs.
posted by Jimbob at 4:49 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Who the fuck cares about 'only in America'?

Because as an American overseas, that little bit of nationalistic rah-rah bullshit makes me pause; you've written a powerful speech on divisions caused by racism, yet you simultaneously pull out the "Go USA" card.

It might be a case of playing to the crowd at hand, but there's some other rather large gaping rifts caused by recent US foreign policy that won't be helped by such cheerleading. My opinion only.
posted by romakimmy at 5:05 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


you don't have to belong to a church that preaches hate and say later you can not disown the guy running the place.

Listen again to what he said. He explained why he wasn't going to disown anyone, why he understands how such attitudes develop, and why we should all be able to get past it.

And I forgive him any American exceptionalism, past, present, or future - he's an American politician, it's an American political campaign, he's applying for a job that requires that attitude, he's talking to Americans, and, to most Americans, America is exceptional, if only because it's the only place they know anything about. It was a good speech for the purpose.

Anyone but another Republican.
posted by pracowity at 5:07 AM on March 19, 2008


The point about the media making it necessary for Obama to address the words of his pastor, whilst others get a free ride was mentioned a couple of days ago in the HuffPo article "Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero"

I'm not sure that I'm quite in the Gettysburg Address camp, but the fact that a single thoughtful speech even prompts the comparisons speaks volumes about the level of political discourse to which we have allowed ourselves to become accustomed. (I use 'we' in the previous sentence in a much broader sense than the US). At the very least, it's surely to be applauded that a prospective presidential candidate has shown the ability and willingness to raise the bar a little. Let's hope it's catching.
posted by Jakey at 5:10 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Patriotism belongs to us, to; not especially to the Falwell/Robertson/Cheney/Bush/CEOs coalition.

Patriotism is silly and pernicious.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:19 AM on March 19, 2008


I was blown away by the speech. It was like watching an Olympic gymnast soar out of the garbage dump and do something marvelous and difficult for half an hour, defying gravity.

Reading the right-wing blogs (and yes, Dr. Freud, I just accidentally typed "white-wing") afterward I felt nauseous.
posted by digaman at 5:32 AM on March 19, 2008


What on earth has Obama said that is so earth-shattering?

He is a candidate in an election. He looked us in the eye and told us the truth.
posted by ND¢ at 5:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [16 favorites]


Courage? Has free-fall 17 point drop in polls in two weeks. We have consensus that Hilary will do "anything" to gain nomination, citing "elect-ability." Knows McCain is on Easy Street in Baghdad and accumulating video for October. Weak interview with Major Garrett. Icarus is putting some hot glue on his feathers.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:01 AM on March 19, 2008


You know, it's kind of amusing that about half the thread is nitpicking about the 'only in America' clause. I mean, jeeze, people, how to miss the freaking point, yanno?

Seriously. If MeFi had existed in 1863, the same people would have reacted to the Gettysburg Address post thus: "Nice speech, but I hate this 'under God' shit: 'this nation, under God,' what's that about? Why does he have to drag God into it? Bah, just another politician." I'm all for skepticism and balanced judgment, but that's not the same as finding a tiny speck you don't like and focusing on that to the exclusion of everything else.

No, this is not the Gettysburg Address and it's not going to singlehandedly Change Everything, but it's the most thoughtful and adult-to-adult speech I've heard a politician give in many years. If all you can do is whine about "American exceptionalism," your brain, heart, and soul have been eaten by snark.
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on March 19, 2008 [56 favorites]


Amen, languagehat.
posted by digaman at 6:11 AM on March 19, 2008


The callers into the Brian Lehrer Show left me feeling somewhat dispirited about the Obama Campaign's prospects. From what I was able to discern, all the callers were different flavors of liberal, but few were able to hear the speech through their own biases. You had the Kucinich supporter who could not get past the part that Obama could not suggest specific legislation to address trenchant racism. There was the blue collar guy who was offended that Obama dared equate Limbaugh and Hannity with Wright. There was the old school progressive that was frustrated that Obama didn't completely disassociate himself with Wright. None were really listening. It's sad.

The whole reason for the speed was that Obama was taking all kinds of flack for Wright's inflammatory comments on YouTube, and had to take a time out to define himself a bit more clearly. We got that and more: we got was an eloquent treatise on the history of racism of America and a nuanced view on its causes and effects. I would love to have that ability to communicate such difficult issues in such a clear and level-head way in the White House, but I have my doubts that America is ready for it, or even wants it.

It seems that most want the same old red vs. blue, go team go nonsense. That they're happy to vote for Hillary on the basis of "I know how to fight those Republican fuckers", or that she'll keep us safe from early morning callers, rather than someone who has a legitimate shot at changing the subject of conversation.

You know, it's kind of amusing that about half the thread is nitpicking about the 'only in America' clause. I mean, jeeze, people, how to miss the freaking point, yanno?

Yes, very frustrating. Lest ye forget, the guy is running for President of the United States, not chairman of the local Green Party chapter. Sorry if it offends your delicate sensibilities,and call it pandering as you will, but a belief in American exceptionalism is a job requirement. And by American exceptionalism, I don't mean the Amerika uber Alles variety, I mean a deep love for it and the never ending desire to make it better.
posted by psmealey at 6:17 AM on March 19, 2008 [10 favorites]


I know people tend to overvalue the present, but this speech, while great, isn't even in the same league with the Gettysburg Address. The circumstances and the message are so totally different as the obviate the comparison. Lincoln was trying to remoralize a country, Obama his campaign.

The hyperbole does Obama's message and moral courage a disservice.

I, too, was disturbed by the line about "only in America," as well as the nods to conventional political approaches to Israel and "radical Islam." It isn't beside the point to acknowledge that the limitations of American politics constrain the acceptable discourse here, even in such a unique speech. As a friend said to me: "My Muslim friends feel a bit like they've been invited to the candy store with the other kids, but told they can't get anything there."
posted by OmieWise at 6:40 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Anybody who doesn't acknowledge that Obama gave a good speech is simply too self-satisfied with the flatulent smell of their own snark.
posted by jonp72 at 6:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a magnificent text - intelligent, moving on a personal level and excitingly bold from a political perspective. But the weird thing is, for me (as a non-American) it actually marked the point where I sort-of stopped caring if Obama actually wins*. Both from the slightly bitter perspective of "if America decides it doesn't want him as a leader after seeing this, then they don't deserve him", but also from the perspective that he's changing things already. Even if he fails in the nomination or the presidency, his words will still be there as an example people can point to for how they ought to elevate the political discourse. And he'll still be talking about these things; if I needed any more convincing, this was enough to assure me that he's not just a showman throwing around some fancy rhetoric in a grab for power, but a considered and passionate politiican who actually wants to change things - and will attempt to do so whether he's running for office or not.

And as a side note on the American exceptionalism thing: I cringed as well, even though I know that it goes with the territory and it's something presidential candidates have to say. I know it seems nitpicky to mention it, but to give a little context: that sort of talk seems, to non-American ears, as very precisely symptomatic of an American-centic myopia which we see as being central to many of the failings of American foreign policy, both historically and right now. So it's not just a case of getting irritated by the damn Yanks being all "Go USA" all the time - it's something that actively worries us. But yes - it was just a feel-good note in an unimportant section of the speech, not something deeper. Shutting up about it now.

*To clarify, I do still really, really want him to win. But I definitely felt a certain calm come over me - I stopped thinking of it like a sporting contest where I'm emotionally invested in one team winning, and instead started seeing it as a little bit of history, which will endure regardless of the whims of the voting public.
posted by flashboy at 6:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


That they're happy to vote for Hillary on the basis of "I know how to fight those Republican fuckers", or that she'll keep us safe from early morning callers, rather than someone who has a legitimate shot at changing the subject of conversation.

Count me as one who doesn't want to change the subject to race, and I don't see the dignity in demanding that a half-black president make it a central theme. If people think we need a "race president" before universal health care and addressing the environment and the looming prospect of a financial crisis, then they are trying to cure the symptoms of inequality as a thought experiment and a religious exercise, same as usual if you ask me. I've talked to people that believe Obama is bringing back welfare as we once knew it, and though I don't believe it to be true (because it's a stupid concept to pay people to drop out and have kids), that's the subject that many of them listed as Hillary-killed, and the subject they want it changed too.
posted by Brian B. at 6:52 AM on March 19, 2008


someone who hasn't won a primary in a SINGLE serious Dem state go out on the slate.

Wisconsin is a serious Dem state and it went for Obama (Kerry 2004, Gore 2000). Oh wait, you only mean states on the coasts that Hillary won.
posted by drezdn at 6:52 AM on March 19, 2008


The fun part about this for me is having a sense or a feeling that he could deliver even more monumental shifts in discourse and truly lift up the nation, in the coming months, if he can secure the nomination. That he has the potential to put out something that would make the orators of the greatest speeches that moved America to change and grow, nod in approval - that he has that potential, is really heartening. A lot of people needed to hear this. He has an ability to speak right to a lot of people who otherwise would continue about their ways. This is a good thing. This is a great thing.
posted by cashman at 6:54 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I feel the exact same way languagehat. Here is this beautiful, honest speech addressing race, an issue that people deal with everyday no matter what country they are in, in a way that was unique, at least for me, in that it confronted head on the aspects of it that we are usually afraid to talk about, that black people are justifiably angry at white people, that white people are sometimes justifiably angry at black people, but that this anger is not helping anything, and that to move forward we all have to let go of that anger. But instead of using this speech as a springboard to have a much-needed healthy discussion about race, we have grabbed one insignificant sentence in the speech that had nothing to do with it as a whole, and beat that to death.

That being said, I want to say this about American exceptionalism. Even if you were to elect a black man to whatever your country's equivalent of a president is (what is that? King?) then you still won't be our equal. Because no matter how crappy we have been in the last 20 or so years, everything you will ever do in your country, you owe every bit of it to the United States of America. Sorry, but its a fact. So unless your country invents a time machine and goes back in time to 1776 and overthrows the most powerful country in the world and invents the modern democracy, you can just listen to us talk about how we are exceptional and smile and nod. Cause we've earned it.

But your country isn't going to invent the time machine is it? It might come along later and make it smaller and faster and more efficient, it might build it for cheaper, it may even come to light that the technology that it was based on was developed there, but you know for a fact, deep down in your cold shriveled-up old world heart, that when the first time machine goes back in time, and the first time traveler plants a flag right in baby Hitler's ass, that that flag is going to be red white and blue.
posted by ND¢ at 6:57 AM on March 19, 2008 [14 favorites]


Obama's speech != Gettysburg Address.

It was a good speech, and I agree with everyone else, that when compared to the usual processed material we get, quite refreshing. I agree with OmieWise's criteria for it not being on the same level as the Gettysburg address, and add one more, brevity. I believe it could have been an even better speech if Obama had broken it down further.

The "only in America" didn't bother me in the least, because first, I'm an American, its what I've been hearing since I could grasp a rattle. Second, but more importantly, as much as folks have been dismissing the "Rah, Rah, USA" aspect of the comment, I think that as much as people equate this spirit purely as horrid and wrong, they disregard the positiveness of it. Its an open invitation to every American that there is no barrier to accomplishment. Its not really about "spreading Democracy" Bush style across the world (and democracy can be spread by means other than guns and death). While today, many Western (and non-Western) societies can claim as much a society of possibility, of social advancement, as the United States, for centuries this was not always the case. For centuries, those who had no hope or prospects in their homeland came to the United States because they believed in the "only in America" idea.

This isn't an idea that arose during the Cold War to combat Communism, its an idea that has existed since before the establishment of the nation. As a result, its deeply ingrained, perhaps more so than in any other nation or culture across the world. This doesn't mean America is better than any other nation, it simply means historically, America has been a place where those with the will, regardless of background, have repeatedly again and again risen to achieve. We are a nation of immigrants or their children rising to wealth and power, as true now, as a hundred years ago and a hundred years before that. Its wonderful that the same can be said of other peoples and countries today.

As per the speech again, I think it went several steps forward to offer to America what an Obama presidency would appear as. I think it made Obama appear a national candidate more so than Hillary, and Hillary can't answer this, either. Their attack on Obama only allowed him to step in front of the spotlights and provide even more of a reason to vote for him and not her. His speech can serve as a release to those who were afraid to vote for Obama out of race and gender, because the speech has said, "lets transcend that!" I don't think it'll result in a major change of events, but I do think it'll just tip the scales further towards Obama.
posted by Atreides at 6:59 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're either for him or against him, is that it, jonp72?

Good is not great. A great speech helps end slavery. A great speech helps entrench civil rights for all. A great speech rallies a demoralized and defeated people to try once again against impossible odds.

A good speech rescues an election campaign from a potentially damaging situation before it gets out of hand. So, yeah, Obama gave a good speech. Anybody reaching beyond that apparently hasn't heard a great speech.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:00 AM on March 19, 2008


Count me as one who doesn't want to change the subject to race, and I don't see the dignity in demanding that a half-black president make it a central theme.

Obama isn't trying to make race the subject of the debate... he was forced to address it due to the uproar over Wright's YouTube comments, so we can move past it.
posted by psmealey at 7:01 AM on March 19, 2008


(on preview.... ND¢, it's impolite not to flush after leaving that thing behind, man.)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:02 AM on March 19, 2008


He was forced to address it because it has been the elephant in the room since the birth of our country and has been the distraction that has allowed so many shitty self-serving politicians, both black and white, to come to power since then.
posted by ND¢ at 7:03 AM on March 19, 2008


John McCain better hold on to his wrinkly-old ball-sac.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and prove me wrong GhostintheMachine. I would love to ride a dinosaur.
posted by ND¢ at 7:06 AM on March 19, 2008


It isn't beside the point to acknowledge that the limitations of American politics constrain the acceptable discourse here

I'm not sure what this means. The limitations of American politics constrain the language used as well; if he gave his speeches in French, he wouldn't have a chance. So should response to the speech include a lament that it was given in English? Does that somehow exclude all the other wonderful languages in the world, many of them spoken right here in the U.S.? We could have an interesting discussion of that, but I think it would be beside the point.

Could a candidate for president get elected if they said "Look, this is just one country, no better or worse than any other country, except that frankly it has been worse than most lately—I'm hoping to do something about that—but I have to tell you that patriotism is responsible for many evils and you should not be proud to be Americans but should simply strive to be decent human beings"? Answer: no. So what exactly do you want of the man?
posted by languagehat at 7:08 AM on March 19, 2008


Cause we've earned it.

The Founding Fathers earned it. Your jingoistic bullshit just squanders it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:09 AM on March 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


that when the first time machine goes back in time, and the first time traveler plants a flag right in baby Hitler's ass, that that flag is going to be red white and blue

Liberté, égalité, fraternité!
posted by cillit bang at 7:10 AM on March 19, 2008 [21 favorites]


cashman -- yes! precisely my feeling. if this guy can hit a campaign speech this hard, imagine the first state of the union of the post-Bush era.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:11 AM on March 19, 2008


...everything you will ever do in your country, you owe every bit of it to the United States of America. Sorry, but its a fact.

Sorry, but simply saying something is a fact doesn't make it so. You've made an assertion there, and I'm calling bullshit on it. It's up to you now to defend your position, and then I (or others here) will blast the shit out of it.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:14 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


See, blasting the shit out of things that you disagree with. That is another thing you got from us.
posted by ND¢ at 7:16 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ah, so you have no proof of what you're saying. Thanks for wasting my time.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:18 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what this means[...]Could a candidate for president get elected [...] Answer: no. So what exactly do you want of the man?

But that's exactly what I meant. He had to say it and so he said it. That doesn't make it unexceptional, that makes it very much worth remarking on. That he had to talk about American exceptionalism and deplore radical islam mark the limits of what even someone as groundbreaking as Obama, in a speech this unique, is able to push against. That the comments came in a speech this courageous highlights that there are always things we cannot talk about, even when we're talking about things we cannot talk about.

I'm not trying to take away from the speech, from its impact, or intelligence. I'm not trying to suggest that he should have said something different about race. But what struck me about those two lines was that he was using them to draw himself inside a circle, reminding listeners that there are other things besides race by which people can be divided and through which people can be united. In that respect I found it to be one of the most interesting moments in the speech.

It also, frankly, disappointed me that he included those lines, and it made me think about what the speech would have been like without them. Ultimately, as I told another friend who last night, though, I'm never going to have the chance to vote for a viable candidate for President who I can wholeheartedly support, and those lines didn't surprise me at all.
posted by OmieWise at 7:21 AM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


Has the UK had any black candidate ... even one who wasn't viable?

UK population: 2.58% black (2001)
US population: 13.1% black (2006)
posted by tomcooke at 7:28 AM on March 19, 2008


I think there's a difference between forgiving the "only in America" line as standard politicking and actually trying to defend it as true, as people above were doing. Sure, that (and the mustard sandwich girl, and various religious references) is to be expected - I just mentioned that those were the parts where I cringed a little, whereas the intelligent addressing of the real subtlety & complexity of racial bias was good to hear. It only became an argument because a poster attempted to make the argument that what he really meant by "only in America is my story even possible" is "only America has deep rooted enough racial prejudices for this to be especially noteworthy." I really don't think that's what he meant.

Anyway, I heard the radio responses psmealey refers to above. And I read the "corner" comments over at National Review linked above, though of course they weren't going to go for him anyway. Still, the question is how much this divides people - it may strengthen support of some people (as is obviously the case in this thread, eg) but it will weaken the support of others, and strengthen the opposition in some cases as well. Where it balances out is what matters...
posted by mdn at 7:32 AM on March 19, 2008


It's really distressing to me that so much of this thread was made up of the "Nuh uh! Ya huh!" back-and-forth over the "only in America" portion of this speech. Reiterating what Malor said, and what empath said: by nitpicking, and focusing on a small, mostly irrelevant part of this speech, you're devaluing the content of his message. You're doing here what a lot of the cable news talking heads are trying to do on TV; that is distract with one hand, while pigeonholing with the other.

Count me with those who are experiencing for the first time in their lives, a politician who seems to be able to transcend the divisive political ploys, and leapfrog the media to land right at truth.
posted by splatta at 7:34 AM on March 19, 2008


Just watch moderates turn toward McCain if Obama gets the nod. Moderates are 4-1 ex-Republicans. You need to take off your Obamatan 3D glasses and look at the world aright.

There are no "moderates." There are independents who vote either way.

But what really pisses me off, MetaMan, is the gratuitous insulting language from CLinton shills like you. I'm an "Obamatan" wearing "3D glasses" because I support the candidate of my choice strongly?

That makes you a Clintonista, I believe. Or a HillBot.

I don't see anyone in this thread calling Clinton supporters delusional, or stupid, or even racist. But this language is par for the course from you. I sense bitterness, anger, frustration, and rage. Which is pretty much what I sense from your candidate too, with her mantra that the only way forward is to "fight" for something.

So let me lay it on the fucking line. If you're going to argue by insult, eat some of your own.

Hillary Clinton has never *fought* for anything serious in her life.

She has never won a major political battle in her life. Running for senate was a cakewalk to victory because she was the president's wife. Not because she was a woman. If she had been the first gentleman she would have had it handed to her just as much.

She does NOT have "35 years" -- or even close to it -- of experience doing anything that matters for this purpose. She has 8 years in elected office. Obama has more.

Her senate record is modestly distinguished for a Newbie, as is Obama's. But it is marred by one error many of us will not forgive, and for which she has never even apologized. And you know what it is.

She voted for the Iraq war authorization out of political expediency, back when the *courageous* thing a "fighter" would have done seemed like political suicide. Her calculation -- that supporting the war would help her win the presidency in a general election -- was transparent and nearly explicitly her rationale for the vote. Good call, Senator. Excellent judgment there. Thanks for "fighting" to do the right thing on the single biggest issue of our generation.

As for health care, she can tout her "experience." But look where we are today, 16 years on from her super secret health care initiative, which involved making deals with the fat cats and which *she still could not pull off.* Fucking fighter, my ass.

Her "populist" credentials are entirely newfound. This woman was on the BOARD OF WALMART, supported NAFTA strongly, and lives like a queen in Chappaqua with her servants. I am amazed at her appeal to white working class voters, and can really only chalk it up to her lying rhetoric and her covert racist appeals (and those of her supporters) to Obama's lack of "electability."

She cries sexism, in subtle and overt ways, whenever she's cornered, yet she has benefited enormously from being the wife of a president, or -- this is the fucking truth - she would NOT be running for president herself. You cannot say that about Obama and his race without cracking me up. Yeah, it's so easy to be a black male in the US, you might as well run for president.

She is tone deaf for political rhetoric. Completely uninspiring, and hated by half the electorate, with very high negatives and what all the experts agree is a ceiling of around 55 percent, maybe, on a very lucky day. She cannot win in many states that *could* elect democrats to congress, and *might* elect a democratic presidential candidate -- in the west, especially.

And she has distinguished herself in this campaign, especially, for desperate tactics that have included overt -- and many more covert and surrogate-driven -- appeals to the worst elements in American society, specifically the racist ones. She may not be a racist, as I said above, but tolerating racism from your surrogates, even in the name of desperate expediency, is racist in and of itself.

So this is the "fighter" you support blindly, like a robot, while calling those of us who support her opponent wimps, fools, tools, and automatons. And you howl and scream that Obama is "too liberal to win! People said that about Clinton, too, you know. Republicans still do. They *relish* having her to run against, which is why they are helping her out with this Jeremiah Wright bullshit and so much else. They *fear* Obama. Or they even *respect* him in many cases.

And you put a cherry on top by calling Kerry, Dukakis, and our other DLC centrist losers "too far to the left" to win. HRC is one of them. We've had enough triangulation, asskissing of the right, and micro-demographic campaigning to know it doesn't work, even with a strong candidate. And HRC is no strong candidate. She's not half the candidate her husband was, and he NEVER WON A MANDATE. He didn't even win a plurality of the vote. And he was a piss poor president we began to worship only because what came next was so bad.

Oh, and despite all the hand wringing about his persecution, he was a lothario who shtupped a 21 year old intern in his office, gave away the shop to the right, sold out the poor, and tossed bombs around whenever he needed a poll boost or a distraction.

I don't say it all that often, but then I don't get called a robot or an automaton or a cultist or delusional all that often, so this one is necessary: Fuck. You.

And Go Barack!
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:39 AM on March 19, 2008 [101 favorites]


Obama would be a great UN representative, or head of HEW, but President? Spare me? I want someone who knows how to get their hands dirty, and go right down in the dirt to duke it out with the forces of neocon evil.

"Duke it out with the forces of neocon evil?" Really? Do you ghost-write for Marvel Comics? This is the same kind of Manichean thinking that got George W. Bush into the Iraq War to fight "the Axis of Evil." The idea that the best strategic choice for progressives and liberals is to get Hillary Clinton to make a quixotic frontal attack on the Right Wing Noise Machine is absolute madness. This is exactly the kind of short-sighted thinking that leads me to Obama.
posted by jonp72 at 7:40 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Onion's take.

Heh.
posted by Perplexity at 7:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


The only thing I dislike more than corrupt politicians is hero worship.

Seriously? Methinks you need to recalibrate your moral barometer. We could use a hero.
posted by butterstick at 7:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac just made me come.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:48 AM on March 19, 2008


I heard most of this speech while I was making dinner last night (so admittedly was somewhat distracted) and then read through all of these comments and honestly couldn't understand what Obama said that was so momentous. So I went back and looked at the transcript and came up with the following summary:

Rev. Wright said things that many would call racist, and I strongly disagree with them especially because they do not acknowledge that America and Americans can and have changed and improved and continue to constantly improve. But there is racism on both sides going both ways: Racism by black people who are upset over past treatment, lost opportunities, and continuous refusal of whites to acknowledge the problem or their struggle. And there is racism from whites, for example whites whose experience is that of immigrants, who have had to work hard for every opportunity and haven't really seen anything handed to them from people in power. There is racism from and against all races. We all have friends and family members or church contacts who have said things that have made us cringe and that we don't agree with.

As a politician, when such moments happen, it's easy to get distracted. The easiest thing for me to do here would be to do what Hillary did and distance myself from the person (Ferraro) who said these cringeworthy things. But I'm not doing that here, because for all of the negatives Rev. Wright has, he is like a member of my family and has taught me alot. So, I'm going to continue going to this church with the hope that we can ??? (not clear here. Maybe the idea is that we can have a more open conversation about race).

So this incident with Rev. Wright can either be a distraction for everyone that we deal with in soundbites, or we can use it to start a dialogue that acknowledges the truth that we know and love people who express racist tendencies but have other positive qualities that have helped us, and we can't distance ourselves from those people just because of that. And it would be better if, instead of being distracted, we would work together to improve the schools that underprivileged kids go to, and acknowledge that their improved opportunities would not come at the expense of our own dreams and experiences.


So that's about where I came out with this, and I agree that this was remarkably straight-talking for a politician, basically acknowledging racism in everyone and giving everyone permission to keep their family members close despite this racism, etc. To be fair, I'm not sure a white person could have made this speech and not received alot of flack for it, because they would be coming from the position of power, and not the position of someone who is usually discriminated against rather than the discriminator. (I'm using hugely broad generalizations here.) In fact, if a white politician came out with this result -- that they weren't going to distance themselves from someone who had said hateful and/or racist things, because everyone has these people in their lives and we need to learn how to start coming to terms with this -- I'm not sure there would not have been an uproar.

So I don't know. Have I missed the real substance here? To be clear: I like Obama, and voted for him in the primaries because I think he's more electable than Clinton. I admire his willingness to speak the truth and confound American's expectations of politicians. I guess I'm not fully convinced that there is a "policy" in this speech that other people seem to be talking about and admiring, besides this willingness to say that we all have people in our lives who express racism and we still love them though we don't love those qualities. It almost seems like his end point, though, is that he can have his cake and eat it, too -- he can continue to associate with Rev. Wright who holds these awful opinions, but he is also a uniter on race issues. Okay, I guess, because I understand that people are complicated and he can associate with people who hold awful opinions and not hold those opinions themselves, but ... am I missing something?
posted by onlyconnect at 7:50 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I heard a pretty interesting comment about Rev. (Jeremiah) Wright on NPR a little while ago. Apparently his namesake, the biblical prophet Jeremiah, was executed by being tossed into a pit after his fiery prophecies convinced his contemporaries that he was an enemy of the homeland. Life's funny like that, huh?

Close, but not quiet. Jeremiah did endure some horrible treatment because of his harsh criticism of the leaders of Israel (both political and religious), but he wasn't executed. After Jerusalem was overrun by the army of the Babylonian Empire, a group of survivors took Jeremiah with them to Egypt against his will.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:53 AM on March 19, 2008


Funny how Metaman echoed my thoughts *almost* exactly with just the names switched

"Sorry folks, Obama, Hillary is too slick for me. Hillary Obama isn't perfect, either, but at least I know what I'm getting."
Speaking for myself, the fact Obama isn't relying (as much) on speechwriters to devise his messages, is impressive aplenty. To this extent, I 'know what I'm getting.'


"Her negatives are out there, already.

Distrust, much? In your own words, "Hillary is *proven*..." -- and I agree! proven untrustworthy (with Whitewater scandal as just 1 example), so if the alternative to her candidacy is one who sounds "slick-voiced" to you, I'm baffled! I'd rather cast pearls of confidence to one untainted by scandal than to the swine still muddy with earlier pecadilloes.


"Polling shows that the more people see and hear her, the more they like her."
Are we sure it isn't the version that substitutes "him" for "her," that's making news?
posted by skyper at 8:02 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that when you're parched and in the desert, when you finally get something to drink, it seems like a golden elixir. I think Obama's speech was good -- better than any speech an american politician has given in the last 20, 30, 40 years. But we've been in the desert, after all. And, after only 24 hours, I don't think we're prepared to have the words chiseled in stone on a monument quite yet. But here's to the sincere hope that it helps catapult him to the White House.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a site with a bunch of links to reactions to the Gettysburg Address. Some people apparently though it was lame.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Opening my inbox this morning, I find that not one but two generally apolitical but inveterate email forwarders in my circle of friends and relations have forwarded me the complete text of the speech. Something is indeed afoot.
posted by mwhybark at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh. I guess I'll just re-post what I said in the earlier threads about this speech.

He really did say something that can appeal to everyone. This is a work of political manuevering that truly is genius. And while it's definitely carefully crafted to appeal to a lot of different viewpoints, it's also surprisingly genuine considering how much he had to play politics about this issue. That it's touching the conservatives and racists I know as much as it's touching the radical lefties speaks wonders to me about just how powerful this speech was. I've never seen so many people who disagree so fundamentally with each other be able to get behind something like this before. Remarkable.

I do think that Reverent Wright was right about a lot of things, but I also understand and respect the way that Obama distanced himself from those statements while refusing to deny his close relationship with him. And I love the way he draws a distinction between political mentorship and religious mentorship.

I did have an issue with this paragraph:

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

Uh, racism is endemic. Thankfully, I think the rest of his speech seems to allude to that idea, without necessarily saying it. Something tells me he's more radical than he's letting on.

And, at a time and in a country where his own supporters cheer "race doesn't matter!", the fact that he even says "race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now" is an (unfortunately) radical affront to those who continue to operate under an assumption of colorblindness. I'd like to hope that this is a step in the right direction toward an honest and critical dialogue about race in this country.

All that being said, this speech has literally changed my position on Obama from being merely a supporter to being a avid, die-hard believer.
posted by lunit at 8:10 AM on March 19, 2008


time for a reality check - obama has demonstrated he can talk like a great leader - he's yet to demonstrate he can be a great leader, although i'm hopeful he can

but that's not what worries me

we have yet to elect him

and we have yet to demonstrate that we can follow him if he turns out to be a great leader

great leaders need great followers

---

The "only in America" didn't bother me in the least

the irony of the whole "exceptionalism" debate is that if it was just about any other politician in the world talking about HIS country that way, we wouldn't be debating it because no one outside of that country would know or care

in other words, only in america can a politician talk about his country and upset people all around the globe
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


"but I'm not sure if Bill is really a brother, because I haven't seen him dance"

he won't be able to tell anyway, because he lets hillary lead
posted by pyramid termite at 8:14 AM on March 19, 2008


As commentators at The Field noted:
Another suprising defender of Obama this morning on MSNBC — Gov. Mike Huckabee:

He was impressed by the speech and how Obama is handling the race issue. He brought up Jerry Falwell, and said that Falwell said plenty of things that his parishoners would likely not agree with, and that we shouldn’t hold someone accountable for every statment of their pastor. Lastly, he said that he grew up in the segregated south, and that a guy like Wright who has been discriminated against for most of his life, would rightfully have a “chip on his shoulder.”

[...]

Huckabee also said that had he gone through what he saw blacks go through he would probably be even more resentful.
I think it's premature in the immediate 24 hours following the speech to speculate on its historicality. But from its rich resonance across many unusual corners of the political landscape (including the many personal anecdotes in this thread and elsewhere), it's undeniable that Obama's speech was, in a very literal sense, quite remarkable. His speech was a salient moment in American political discourse, just as his 2004 convention speech was, but with a wholly different tenor. And any rhetorician would've given their left nut to have delivered one, never mind both of these speeches.

The writer in me is duly impressed by the way his speech framed and moved his narrative about race and reconciliation -- as spiderwire puts it, effectively weaving together the "universal chords" between personal and political. His Faulkner reference about the past wasn't just a throwaway line: it was a breathtakingly apropos reference in its precision of usage and thematic relevance, and it's a sad political truth to say that I found such literacy so unexpected from any presidential candidate. I've always liked Obama because of his policy stances on technology and his work for government transparency (for instance, on Coburn-Obama), but enjoying his speeches has been the guilty dessert of following Obama's candidacy. Seconds, please.
posted by DaShiv at 8:15 AM on March 19, 2008 [10 favorites]


For people that are dispirited about the reaction on talk radio, i would submit that talk radio callers are not representative of the population as a whole.
posted by empath at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


onlyconnect, I think the point is that racism is everywhere. It is not just a few people here or there that we might happen to know, that we can dissociate from. It's woven into our entire culture, and when it bubbles up and we say, oh, I'm not part of that, and try to move away, we're avoiding a much deeper, structural issue by just shifting around. But the issue is still there.

The only way to actually bring about some kind of change is to really acknowledge it, which means that even those of us who think we're not racist have to think about the ways we are - most white people will be less comfortable at the party or applying for a job when they're the only white person in the room, for instance. When we move into a new neighborhood, are we really colorblind? Does your average liberal white suburbanite not notice if they move into a black neighborhood? I don't think so.

We aren't as openly and directly racist as we once were, but the quiet racism we live with underlies the laws and the opportunities of the entire country, and makes the black experience completely different from the white experience. The prison system, the drug laws, health care, education, housing - all of these things are deeply affected by racism, and we can't just "have black friends" and not use the N word. It's institutional. It has to be addressed at a more fundamental level.
posted by mdn at 8:17 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


If Hillary's negatives are "out there," why the hell won't she release her tax returns or the donor list for the CLinton library?

Could it be because of Marc Rich, Abu Dhabi, and the millions she's made by selling influence since the end of her husband's term?

Clinton's negatives are "out there," alright. And they are mountainous. Starting with the fact that nearly half of all Americans who vote say they would never vote for her.

Obama starts at around the same floor, but his apartment has MUCH higher ceilings. And he can change minds and hearts with his words, whereas HRC sounds like a squawking chicken uttering her ghost-written, uninspired truisms and lies about "fighting" for the little people she never cared much about before all of this.

I swear to god she reminds me of Imelda Marcos.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama is right this minute giving a speech at our local community college-I am listening to it on live feed-only invited guests were allowed to be there in person. He is giving his view on what should be done regarding Iraq and Al-qaida. As soon as there is a transcript available I will link it as he is actually giving specifics re what should be done-I will be interested in how his ideas will be critiqued here, at the home of Ft Bragg.

(I know it will never happen, but dang, if he would only change his position on abortion, I could see myself voting for him. Seriously. )
posted by konolia at 8:23 AM on March 19, 2008



Yeah, why on earth are people picking out the "only in America" thing-- the guy's a politician running for President in a race in which patriotism has been defined as "supporting the war, being a Republican, letting Bush do whatever he wants and saying it's good." Give me a break!

Second, has anyone *ever* seen Hillary say or write something moving, complex and original? Has anyone ever seen her stand up for principle over politics and take a nuanced position, rather than a polled-to-death one? She's just like Bill: she'll do or say whatever it takes to get power, but she doesn't seem to really believe in anything enough to risk possibly not getting it.

If someone can give me an example of where she's voted for something that would cost her, I'd like to hear about it. I'll vote for her if I have to because she'll be in power in a time when political support is strong for the ideas I tend to agree with, so she'll be likely to pander that way-- but she's not someone who is likely to do anything more than that.

And I'm fed up with the notion that she has "experience" because she was the First Lady-- but she wants us to elect her because she's a feminist and a victim of sexism!
She probably could have gotten to high political office without Bill-- but she *didn't* so she is not any kind of feminist pioneer and I'm sick to death of her trying to have it both ways.
posted by Maias at 8:27 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


It was one hell of a speech, and to me included two acts of bravery. First, he took a 'third-rail' topic and addressed it face on. Second, he was willing to include nuance and complexity in a political speech, and to trust that his audience could handle it. He had to have known that the Hannities and Limbaughs out there would sound-bite the speech, and he made what was (I think) a wise political calculation that the resulting negatives would be more than offset by the positive response from people surprised at being treated as if they had brains.

And that's why the 'only in America' bit seems so jarring: It seems out of place and unnecessary in this speech. For the same reason, the part OmieWise referred to about the middle east seemed out of place here as well. American policy in the middle east needs to move away from simplistic and trite reaction to incredibly complex issues, and Obama's comment was not encouraging.
posted by Killick at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2008


You're either for him or against him, is that it, jonp72?

Good is not great. A great speech helps end slavery. A great speech helps entrench civil rights for all. A great speech rallies a demoralized and defeated people to try once again against impossible odds.


Cheezit! I try to defend against anti-Obama snark, and I set myself up for pro-Obama snark. Or maybe it's just snark for snark's sake.
posted by jonp72 at 8:31 AM on March 19, 2008


konolia: If he would only change his position on abortion, I could see myself voting for him.

I'm in a similar position of liking pretty much everything about Obama but abortion. I'm going to vote for him anyways, because the President doesn't have a lot of say on the abortion issue.

I mean, we've had a Republican president and Congress for a long time; if they could have moved the country away from abortion, they would have.

Obama's position is to keep things where they are, if I'm not mistaken. I don't see how that's any different from what the Republicans have done.
posted by JDHarper at 8:32 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


The "only in America" thing is a reference to the boot-strap ideal of pioneerism. Get over it, it's part of our collective unconscious in the US.
posted by Mister_A at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2008


Seriously? Methinks you need to recalibrate your moral barometer. We could use a hero.

I think the words you are looking for is personality cult, not hero worship.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:35 AM on March 19, 2008


I'm going to vote for him anyways, because the President doesn't have a lot of say on the abortion issue.

While I don't want to dissuade you from voting for Obama, the people the President puts in the Supreme Court have lots to say about it.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:36 AM on March 19, 2008


I am really glad to hear you say that konolia. Can I ask though, isn't a desire to minimize the number of abortions as much as possible enough? I mean, isn't that the middle ground? Can't everyone, pro-choice and pro-life get behind that? Wouldn't that be a win for the pro-life movement, if we reduced abortions down to where they were a rare occurrence?
posted by ND¢ at 8:37 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


From Kirth Gerson's link:
Chicago Times: "The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances."
posted by pracowity at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or actually, HRC reminds me of Marie Antoinette dressing in peasant garb for sport and play.

And we all know what happened to her.

Look, Obama's speech doesn't have to be Gettysburg Address-level good, or "I Have A Dream" good, in order to nail home the case for his candidacy the way it does. I don't actually think it was in that league, because the stakes just aren't high enough yet in a mere campaign.

But the guy wrote it himself. And it was the single most powerful speech of this or any recent campaign season I recall. And what this country desperately needs is a smart, modern, articulate, passionate, brilliant leader who inspires people to sacrifice and work together, not a "fighter" who will continue to divide and conquer our broken civil society by making enemies and polarizing the electorate around insoluble issues.

I have never, ever been inspired by a Hillary Clinton or John McCain speech. Nor have I ever seen either one of those two speak past the core and rotten divisions in American society even in off the cuff remarks or unguarded moments or in print. While both are intelligent, neither has a quality of brilliance I associate with Obama. Or passion.

And finally, as a 43 year old guy who works as a teacher of 20 somethings, I am most driven by a generational narrative that I believe will carry Obama easily to the white house if he is the nominee. McCain is approaching 80 years old. Running against him is as easy as pointing that out, not because it makes him incompetent (I think he is highly competent, and actually I admire him as a principled man, for the most part, and for a politician, and more than I admire HRC to be honest). But because it makes him OLD, as old as Hillary's ideas.

We have had 2 generations now -- or more, even -- of post-vietnam right/left polarization in this country, of red/blue polarization, of white/nonwhite and native/immigrant and rich/poor polarization. What we have not had is a cross-cutting generational polarization, and that's the only polarization that has positive implications.

The WWII and Vietnam generations have had their chances. They've fucked the US up something good, too. Everyone dies. The passage of time is inexorable. Polls show unequivocally that the younger you are, the more liberal you are; the more you support gay rights, don't care about racial difference, and think globally; the more you care about the environment; the more you think about the future on a far horizon.

I want a president from my generation. I don't even need much more rationale for supporting Obama than the fact that I see my 20-something students passionate about politics after growing up dispirited and cynical and apathetic thanks to the dangerous moron now in office, and his backstage neocon warmonger handlers.

You cannot fight time. Obama will win this time, or he will win next time (or someone of his generation, my generation, will win next time, anyway). It is not Hillary's turn. Her husband took her turn, and look what a great job he fucking did with it.

Among the many lies and distortions of this campaign season, the construction of a nostalgic bubble around Bill Clinton's presidency is one of the most amazing to me. We settled for him because we had lived through Reagan and Bush I. He did a half-assed job at best, never won a mandate or a plurality, never managed to deliver sweeping reforms he promised because of that, and threw away our trust and support with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. If the right's reaction to that had not been so disproportionately evil, the left would have been more realistic.

How many of Hillary's feminist supporters would excuse a 60 year old boss who took advantage of a 21 year old intern, say he should keep his job and even cheer and celebrate his escape from punishment for it?

One thing this election has done for me, at least, is revise the Bill Clinton legacy into the proper dung heap it really was in historical hindsight. Bill Clinton is the reason we got George Bush the Second. Had Bill kept it in his fucking pants, Al Gore would have been president, and we might just have an energy policy, a green technological initiative, and no Iraq war instead of the utter disaster the US has since become.

Hillary must bear that cross if she wants to build her case for the presidency on her "experience" in her husband's administration.

But even so, I don't recall voting for her in 1992 or 1996. Do you?
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


How can Obama's story be uniquely American, except that it took place in America? In almost every country in the world people can remake themselves, with luck and daring and the right breaks.

I'm not singling this particular comment out, but it's representative of a sentiment that's seen throughout this thread. Here's my take on it:

Obama's personal story isn't uniquely American because of his ethnically-diverse background, or his overcoming prejudice, or anything else that involves some sort of harsh situation that could be faced in any other country. It's American because it happened here. The experiences you have in a place, experiences that are shared with others in that place, create a common background. Saying that this "could have" happened elsewhere is missing the point. Sure, he could have been the grandson of an English farmer and the son of an African immigrant, etc etc, but he wouldn't have had a childhood during the American civil rights struggle, or even seen the same television shows. If you don't believe the fact that shared experience and actually living in a culture are a strong part of personal identity, then I'm not sure how to clarify.

The "only in America" idea isn't to say that people only overcome diversity here, it's a reminder that Obama is as American as anyone else, but has had to have experiences that many Americans haven't -- due to race, class, privilege, or geographic location. I mean, only in Chicago are you going to go to a Chicago church, and only in the US are you going to see the US civil rights era, and you're not likely to have a mother from Kansas if you're born in London. The diverse background actually will make some people feel like he's less American -- check out the scare tactics thrown around about his name, his schooling, and his church.
posted by mikeh at 8:39 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac, you hate her - WE GET IT. That's five posts full of complaining about it now? She reminds you of Imelda Marcos now because you ran out of other names to call her, I guess. Oh, there was "squawking chicken" after that.

If you're for Obama, try finding a positive reason to support him instead of whining about the other candidate. And if you must, who can even hear any legitimate criticism you might be making of Hillary in the midst of such petty, spiteful garbage.
posted by citron at 8:40 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Jimbob writes "Once again - America is so special that it's the only place someone like Obama could be succesful...and yet it would be a huge, historic deal if he is actually successful. Doesn't that sit kinda weirdly with you guys?"

There are parts of the speech which are political, which is what separates it from speeches like the Gettysburg Address. You don't get to give a speech like that until you're president. The American exceptionalism you hear is rhetorical and political. He gave a very honest speech, but he's still trying to run for president, so that's the part that's playing mostly to a mythology. But more importantly, the speech is meant for his run for president of the US, so he's speaking to citizens of the US primarily, not the world audience. You have to consider the audience for the speech.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:40 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel sorry for your students if you're that hateful about this woman to the point where you've gotten that angry that you're calling her those things.
posted by citron at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2008


On another note, geographic differences within the US are boggling my mind right now. Anyone posting here saying that Hillary has a better chance against McCain doesn't live in my neighborhood, because I can count on two hands the number of people I know who have either voted republican, who kind of cringe when they hear Hillary speak or just think that she's somehow "fake" who support Obama. And these people aren't far-left or far-right, and think that while either party could suit their needs, they'd rather not vote for Clinton. I don't know that it's rational, but even among people who think all three candidates are decent, there's an Obama->McCain->Clinton preference hierarchy. This being in central Iowa, though.
posted by mikeh at 8:43 AM on March 19, 2008


What on earth has Obama said that is so earth-shattering?

*various comments about American exceptionalism*

I'm still taking this speech in. Having read it and watched it and cried both times I'm trying to figure out what made Obama's words so important, so moving, so terribly welcome. And it starts with this:

[The declaration of independence] was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery...

This man who is running for President acknowledges the seeping wound in the heart of this country. He goes on to OWN that history, to relate via his story and the stories of his families, kin and elective, the pain and wondrousness of being an American. There's no jingoism, no rah-rah-USA, but Obama's is an exceptional life in an exceptional country which he believes can be bettered by understanding that my dreams do not come at the expense of yours. And I believe he will, if elected, extend that vision beyond the borders of the US.
posted by generalist at 8:44 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


(I know it will never happen, but dang, if he would only change his position on abortion, I could see myself voting for him. Seriously. )

konolia— It may or may not mean anything to you, but I come from a pretty conservative Christian background, and for a long time the abortion thing was my last not-going-liberal holdout, until I read David Foster Wallace's explanation of his positon:
In this reviewer's opinion, the only really coherent position on the abortion issue is one that is both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.

Argument: As of 4 March 1999, the question of defining human life in utero is hopelessly vexed. That is, given our best present medical and philosophical understandings of what makes something not just a living organism but a person, there is no way to establish at just what point during gestation a fertilized ovum becomes a human being. This conundrum, together with the basically inarguable soundness of the principle "When in irresolvable doubt about whether something is a human or not, it is better not to kill it," appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Life. At the same time, however, the principle "When in irresolvable doubt about something, I have neither the legal nor the moral right to tell another person what to do about it, especially if that person feels that s/he is not in doubt" is an unassailable part of the Democratic pact we Americans all make with one another, a pact in which each adult citizen gets to be an autonomous moral agent; and this principle appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Choice.

This reviewer is thus, as a private citizen and an autonomous agent, both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. It is not an easy or comfortable position to maintain. Every time someone I know decides to terminate a pregnancy, I am required to believe simultaneously that she is doing the wrong thing and that she has every right to do it. Plus, of course, I have both to believe that a Pro-Life + Pro-Choice stance is the only really coherent one and to restrain myself from trying to force that position on other people whose ideological or religious convictions seem (to me) to override reason and yield a (in my opinion) wacko dogmatic position. This restraint has to be maintained even when somebody's (to me) wacko dogmatic position appears (to me) to reject the very Democratic tolerance that is keeping me from trying to force my position on him/her; it requires me not to press or argue or retaliate even when somebody calls me Satan's Minion or Just Another Shithead Male, which forbearance represents the really outer and tooth-grinding limits of my own personal Democratic Spirit.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [23 favorites]


It also, frankly, disappointed me that he included those lines

That smacks to me of "I'd rather have an unelectable candidate who says only things I agree with than an electable one who sometimes says things I don't agree with because he's got that vile desire to get elected," which has been the traditional attitude of American "progressives" and a big reason we get stuck with assholes like Bush. I'm still not convinced Obama can get elected, but it's looking like it, and anyone who has the political attitudes most MeFites do would be crazy to nitpick him, because he's the closest thing to an ideal candidate you're going to see in your lifetime.
posted by languagehat at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


I guess I'm not fully convinced that there is a "policy" in this speech that other people seem to be talking about and admiring, besides this willingness to say that we all have people in our lives who express racism and we still love them though we don't love those qualities.

Yea, I didn't see policy in the speech, either. I do admire it- I think it took guts to get up and say what he said. I'm sure it would have made a lot of people, Democrats included, more comfortable if he had fully distanced himself from Rev. Wright and stopped talking about "race" i.e. black people. What he said was true, and I think it was worth saying, and if it helps get a Democrat in the White House, I say, good job. But I can't get all worked up over this particular speech. Outline some solutions, then we'll talk. Of course, that's the hard part, and hard work isn't very sexy (for a number of reasons), so maybe I wouldn't get all worked up over that, either.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:47 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeez, I hope you guys don't fuck this up.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:47 AM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


*adds thread to recent activity*
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2008


Why do all these Obama supporters remind me of Dukakis supporters, and Kerry supporters, and Gore supporters (before Gore found himself)?

I guess it's probably because they're mostly under 40, or have never voted in a general election, or fail to understand the machinations of politics, or completely ignore the fact that Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton, or that there is something called the "GOP Attack Machine" that will take everything Obama has done and said that's even remotely questionable, and use it as compost to grow a garden of middle-American doubt that will end up having McCain as President.

If I'm wrong, and I *love* to be shown I'm wrong, unlike many dreamers who persist in their vision, even as they're plunging over the precipice, I will buy all the delusional Obamatans on the thread a virtual lunch, by coming back to say that I was wrong, and you were right.

Until then, Hillary - a person who wrote the best book on family values ever penned by a politician (It Takes a Village); who was willing to stick her neck out for universal health insurance, in defiance of even the top players in her own party; who redefined the role of First Lady as activist; who has a solid record of liberal accomplishment over years; who is one of the smartest policy wonks out there; who has survived the savaging of the GOP and her own misguided party (from the Camelot far left); and, who has survived in spite of the annointed blessing of a press who has practically elevated Obama to the level of saint....HIllary will stay in this and fight like hell, because she knows how to do that, and she will WIN! GO HILLARY!!!!!!
posted by MetaMan at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2008


GO HILLARY

That's very suprprising from you.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on March 19, 2008


Saying that this "could have" happened elsewhere is missing the point.

for satan's sake people! he said "only in america is my story even possible." Stop trying to reinterpret simple political bullshit and just accept that there were some lines of simple political bullshit within an otherwise nuanced and intelligent speech.
posted by mdn at 8:52 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


They're going to come from the ones that haven't committed by the time the convention appears

Really? How many are those?

Hillary supporters never do check their math. Turns out there's only about 200 uncomitted supers left.Hillary only has 37 more supers than Obama does and he leads her by nearly 200 in the pleged delegates.

Do the math. She's going to have to win 80%-20% in EVERY primary from here on out and get all the remaining supers, and pick off some of the rest.

Not only that, Metaman, ask yourself this: Were you making the same argument 3 weeks ago with the words "Texas" and "Ohio" instead of Penn.?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 AM on March 19, 2008


you can not change your parents. ever. but you don't have to belong to a church that preaches hate and say later you can not disown the guy running the place.

Reverend Wright is not "the guy running the place" at Trinity United Church of Christ. The church has several pastors, and Wright retired early this year, although he retains the title of Senior Pastor. Wright preaches a brand of black liberation theology that was influenced heavily by the Black Power movement of the 1960s. I think it's clear from Obama's writings that he has assimilated the more liberating aspects of this theology, but has rejected its more prejudicial and black nationalist aspects, most notably Obama's rejection of Louis Farrakhan's dubious ideology and endorsement. If this wasn't clear before, I think his recent speech certainly made that clear.
posted by jonp72 at 8:58 AM on March 19, 2008


Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton

This is very true. Goolsbee, and his chief health care adviser.. I think a lot of people don't want to hear it or believe Obama really isn't listening to these folks, somehow, though they're at the top level of his campaign? Reviving the Harry and Louise ads against universal health care was very troubling to me. Paul Krugman's been writing columns for months trying to point to what we'd likely get from Obama, in economic policy.
posted by citron at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2008


I'm 75% done reading this thread, have to go to work now.

I just wanted to say it:

Thanks metafilter for the wonderful discussion. This community is very smart, considerate, and can write like no other I've been involved in.

Though things can tend towards snark and banality on most days, it is threads like this why I sometimes call in late for work.
posted by localhuman at 9:00 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Willing to stick her neck out on universal health insurance? Did you look at her plan and how she devised it when Bill was in office? It was basically the worst of both worlds: universal managed care for-profit! Ie, you get all the bureaucrats of an NHS *plus* people who make money from taking away care. Devised in secret where basically everyone compromised so much that no one agreed with what came out.

Insurers support her plan over Obama's because it forces people to pay them. It Takes a Village is a great idea-- but a lousy book.

MetaMan, I'd be really curious to see an example of where she stood up for principle when it would hurt her. It's certainly not now on health care when the situation is so bad that even the big corporations agree something needs to be done-- polling on universal health care is something like 60% (depending on how you word it, of course) last I looked.

She certainly is smart, but she can't speak or write and after years and years of leaders who cannot communicate in a way that moves people...
posted by Maias at 9:00 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do all these Obama supporters remind me of Dukakis supporters, and Kerry supporters, and Gore supporters (before Gore found himself)?

You mean Democrats?
posted by psmealey at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


That smacks to me of "I'd rather have an unelectable candidate who says only things I agree with than an electable one who sometimes says things I don't agree with because he's got that vile desire to get elected," which has been the traditional attitude of American "progressives" and a big reason we get stuck with assholes like Bush.

Yeah, lh, but that isn't what I said, and I don't think anything else I wrote really suggests that that's my position. I did mention that I'm unlikely to ever have the chance to vote for a viable presidential candidate that I wholeheartedly support, but I meant that that means I have to come to terms with making accommodations. Cut me a little slack, I think I was pretty clear about why I find it the most interesting part of the speech.
posted by OmieWise at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, could you shill somewhere else please? This thread is about a specific event. You're even further derailed than those who are fixated on the Don King Clause.
posted by butterstick at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2008


Though things can tend towards snark and banality on most days, it is threads like this why I sometimes call in late for work.
posted by localhuman at 5:00 PM on March 19 [+] [!]



- I want to see you in my office.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:03 AM on March 19, 2008


Yeah, MetaMan. We should only shill for Obama in this thread. Get your own thread.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:04 AM on March 19, 2008


This thread is about a specific event.

Right, about the mysterious taking over of minds by anyone who can speak in whole paragraphs - it's called "Bush Withdrawal".

Might I suggest a good dose of history, and a stronger doze of anti-Rove pills. You're in for a surprise if Obama gets the nod.
posted by MetaMan at 9:06 AM on March 19, 2008


The importance of the speech, at least to me, is not what it says about Obama, or about the race for the nomination, or Obama's former minister, it is that he appears to have said something about race relations that we have not been hearing from people in positions of influence. Anyway, it will be years before we know if this speech ends up having any impact on race relations in the country, whether it helps stop the finger pointing and opens a dialogue. I hope it does, and whether he is President, Senator or a university professor, I hope he helps lead that dialogue.
posted by caddis at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2008


Obamatans

Please take a moment, metaman, and consider how offensive this term is, and stop using it. I honestly don't see how you can use it and take your own political analysis seriously. It makes you look like a complete ass.

Fine, say Obama supporters are delusional for thinking he'll make it past the GOP attack machine. I disagree, but that's an arguable position. Calling the supporters of the candidate you don't like names is just rude.
posted by miss tea at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, lh, but that isn't what I said, and I don't think anything else I wrote really suggests that that's my position.

Sorry, didn't mean to suggest it was, it just reminded me of what drives me nuts about progressives in general. Thanks for clarifying.


MetaMan, could you shill somewhere else please?


Actually, I think he's serving as a useful example of what Hillary supporters are like. Keep on shillin', MetaMan!
posted by languagehat at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2008


A good line from Dickerson at Slate:


Remember also that he did all of this while in the middle of a sleep-stealing, gut-punching presidential campaign, which is like writing the speech while riding backward on a flaming unicycle.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why do all these Obama supporters remind me of Dukakis supporters, and Kerry supporters, and Gore supporters (before Gore found himself)?

You mean Democrats?


Yeah, the Democrats who screwed up the Democratic party, and let the Bush family in the White House, in case you haven't read any history prior to 2000. People have such a short memory, especially when their neocortex has been mesmerized by the incantations of hope, born of political convenience.
posted by MetaMan at 9:10 AM on March 19, 2008


Metaman, I find your assumptions of Obama supporters to be dismissive and underlined with some kind of pseudo-educated attempt at reasoning away their support as if read verbatim from campaign literature. I actually voted for Hillary in the primary in my state, a vote I find myself increasingly regretting due not only to the attacks by her camp, but also by the behavior of her followers. I can thank you for reinforcing what I've felt has been wrong with the Clinton campaign, and helping to push one previous supporter away, and undoubtedly, other less vocal individuals.
posted by Atreides at 9:10 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bill Clinton's speech on race in 1995, marking the Million Man March (oh noes, Minister Farrakhan!).

It seems that it struck many of the same notes.
posted by empath at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2008


You might be a more convincing advocate of your position, MetaMan, if you could bring yourself to stop insulting people who might possibly disagree that your candidate is the best choice.

Talk about poisoning the well, what you're spouting is exactly the type of nonsense that keeps people home when their candidate doesn't win the party nomination.
posted by psmealey at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2008


If Obama gets the nomination, it'll be the first time since I've been old enough to vote (and really in my life time), where there will be a candidate who I think will actually make America a better place.

If he gets the nomination and loses to McCain, at least for once the Democratic Party will have put up the best candidate they had, rather than the best at working intra-party politics, or the one that focus-grouped as the "most electable."

For once it'll be possible to vote for a Democrat without having to hold my nose when doing so.
posted by drezdn at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


same tired liberal programs that have done almost nothing to solve endemic poverty.

Look back 100 years, when the "tired liberal programs" started. What was life like for the poor in the US? (answer: inconceivably awful and squalid by today's standards)

Fast forward 75 years or so, to around 1980, and things were much, much better for your average "poor" person in every possible way; and, many of them had graduated to the "middle class".

Since 1980, these "tired liberal programs" have been systematically dismantled. The results are obvious and will be come more obvious with each passing year.

So I think our "tired old liberal programs" have done quite well, and that's considering that they've been systematically gutted by politicians and leeched by low-level bureaucrats. If they were implemented aggressively by competent people, there's no telling what could happen.

Compare and contrast to the millions of humans killed and trillions of dollars pissed away by the "tired old conservative programs" in countries from Vietnam to Iraq.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:13 AM on March 19, 2008 [18 favorites]


I'm kind of amazed at the sheer volume of perfect as the enemy of good going on in here. It's like we just can't handle the sheer cognitive dissonance of an honest, straightforward speech, and we've been conditioned by forty years of lying on the part of everyone from the President to the dogcatcher to look for the hidden message.

For the first time in my adult, voting life (I'm 35), a politician said exactly what he meant, and didn't weasel-word, shy away from or slow-pedal hard truths about the United States. That's the definition of remarkable, and nitpicking the speech is the equivalent of missing the forest for the trees.

No US politician in my lifetime, with the possible exception of Paul Wellstone, has spoken so frankly about any issue. And certainly no viable Presidential candidate. That the leading candidate for President just did so, in this political and media climate, astounds me. Obama really is different.
posted by scrump at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2008 [13 favorites]


Until then, Hillary - a person who wrote the best book on family values ever penned by a politician (It Takes a Village);

Excuse me, but It Takes a Village was ghostwritten. I have met the ghostwriter personally.
posted by jonp72 at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2008 [15 favorites]


People have such a short memory, especially when their neocortex has been mesmerized by the incantations of hope, born of political convenience.

The denigration of "hope" by the Clinton campaign is just a symptom of the more terrible phenomenon of their effort to get Americans to expect lower standards from their political leaders.
posted by jonp72 at 9:18 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I want to take a moment to apologize for cursing out MetaMan, personally to MetaMan and to the rest of the participants in this thread. It was not necessary and disproportionate and I am sorry I did that. It's exactly what I am so angry about from the other side, so it was truly uncalled for.

I stand by my points. I think it's a very deep insult to say of anyone that they are "robots" or "cultists" for having strong political feelings about a candidate based on a rational argument.

But the profanity hurts the point I was trying to make. My only excuse is a sense of utter frustration that the discourse has become so ugly. I shouldn't have made it even worse.

Thanks to peacay for calling me out on it in private. And again, MetaMan, I apologize. I am sure your support for Hillary is as principled as mine for Obama.

May the best candidate win.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:19 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeez, I hope you guys don't fuck this up.

Sorry, dude, but ... you know what they say: Only in America.
posted by dobbs at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2008


It took me quite a while to figure out that when MetaMan referred to Obama supporters as "Obamatans," he actually meant to write "Obamatons," i.e., a portmanteau of "Obama" and "automatons." I actually thought it was some dreadful racist use of the word "tan," referring to the color; q.v. Mantan Moreland and the reference to him in Spike Lee's Bamboozled.

MetaMan, please forgive me for thinking that you might be racist. Instead, I see that you simply can't spell.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


thanks fourcheesemac .
posted by pointilist at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2008


The only thing I dislike more than corrupt politicians is hero worship.

Heros, huh? What Rogerian/Kopp 101 class did you snag that from? Christ, its not like anyone is collecting Obama Action figures or writing country songs about him. That sort of trivial one-off is exactly the type of crap that adds more noise to the ratio.

After eight years of living in fear, muddled in war, losing a sense of respect and pride for America, paying $50 to fill my gas tank every week, watching my healthcare premiums triple, having my email and phone possible monitored "for my own good," having my brother shipped off to Iraq three times, not feeling safe traveling to another country, yeah - we could use a "hero" right about now. Even if Obama instills a sense of pride in what it means to be an American, I'd pay $100 to fill my gas tank.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I guess it's probably because they're mostly under 40, or have never voted in a general election
Go fuck yourself.

I'm 35, and I've voted in every. single. election, local, state AND general, that I was permitted to since I was 18, because my parents drilled into me that participation in democracy was a privilege, not a right.

I have diehard conservatives and outright neocons in my family. I also have diehard leftists in my family. My grandfather was an actual honest-to-God Socialist who barely escaped being hauled in front of McCarthy because McCarthy died.

I don't know who the fuck you are, or where you think you get off trivializing those of us who have made a conscious, deeply thought decision to support Obama, but you represent the ne plus ultra worst of the Democratic party. I'm sure you're familiar with the Will Rogers axiom: "I don't belong to any organized party: I'm a Democrat".

Look over your "contributions" to this thread, versus those of Miko and fourcheesemac and other Democrats, and I think it will become instantly clear who's responsible for the idea and the reality of the Democrats as circular firing squad. You seem to be fundamentally incapable of even respecting our choices, let alone honestly debating them.

If we lose this election, it won't be because of Hillary or Obama or their supporters. It will be because people like you are so invested in dismissing everyone who doesn't act, behave or think like you do that you burn the party to the ground.

At this point in history, we're supposed to be the party of inclusion: the party that represents a clear change from the "leave no billionaire behind", I-got-mine-and-fuck-you policies of the last 8 years. In this thread, which posters have best represented that inclusive spirit? And who has most embodied the opposite?

It seems to me that the strongest voices for inclusion and civility in this discussion belong to people who have said they support Obama, and the shrillest, most critical hectoring has been coming from those who claim to support Clinton. This is not an accident.
posted by scrump at 9:23 AM on March 19, 2008 [22 favorites]


"they're mostly under 40, or have never voted in a general election, or fail to understand the machinations of politics, or completely ignore the fact that Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton"

Wrong on every count, but I'll only address the last one specifically. I believe Obama to be the type of person who can take advice from people with radically different viewpoints than his own, carefully consider it, and formulate a plan of action that is both practical and effective.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:24 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


So late to this thread...but I've read most of the comments here and I just had to say that as a Canadian of mixed ancestry, I was impressed by Obama's speech and impressed by the likes of Nattie and some of the other commenters here who have clearly heard what the man was trying to say.

The world right now is about segmenting everything - market share, demographics, political polarities. In the corporate world, we are subjected to team building exercises that using various typologies to label what kind of thing everybody else is. We are not seeing each other clearly. Prejudice, be it economic, racial, demographic or whatever, fuels everything. Companies and campaigns reach out to different groups in different ways to get them to buy into the same thing, leaving people divided, bitter and suspicious about the "other" even as we all end up drinking Coke.

If Obama is doing anything - inviting anything - he is inviting us to rise above the ways in which we have been segmented, and the ways in which we segment ourselves and find partners, collaborators, creative sources of tension and cohesion by USING the diversity that exists everywhere. Diversity and multiculturalism in the America I know currently holds your country back. Obama is calling for it to take the country forward, and as a citizen of your biggest neighbour, I applaud that call and hope it resonates in November.

I think Obama is raising the stakes with the magnificent speech. If his campaign dies because his message is destroyed by the very things he is calling out, it will represent a Pyrrhic victory for the the winner, be it Clinton or McCain. Whoever defeats that message of hope and cohesion will have inherited a country which glimpsed the light of possibility and lowered the shades against it.
posted by salishsea at 9:24 AM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


I tried reading the speech in my head using George Bush's voice. I couldn't. Good speech.
posted by mazola at 9:25 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


They're going to come from the ones that haven't committed by the time the convention appears

Really? How many are those?

Hillary supporters never do check their math. Turns out there's only about 200 uncomitted supers left.Hillary only has 37 more supers than Obama does and he leads her by nearly 200 in the pleged delegates.

Do the math. She's going to have to win 80%-20% in EVERY primary from here on out and get all the remaining supers, and pick off some of the rest.

Not only that, Metaman, ask yourself this: Were you making the same argument 3 weeks ago with the words "Texas" and "Ohio" instead of Penn.?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:26 AM on March 19, 2008


Christ, its not like anyone is collecting Obama Action figures

Ummm.......

Come on, this is the internet. OF COURSE there are Action figures! :-D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama's nods to american exceptionalism help the candor go down.

Accept the plate of beans and achieve enlightenment.
posted by anthill at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Christ, its not like anyone is collecting Obama Action figures or writing country songs about him.

*hides half-penned lyrics to "America's In Between a Barack and a Hard Place" under mattress*
posted by ND¢ at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: your brain, heart, and soul have been eaten by snark
posted by adamdschneider at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2008


Here's the text to today's speech (it should be up for a day or two at least.)
posted by konolia at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Excuse me, but It Takes a Village was ghostwritten. I have met the ghostwriter personally.

Steely-eyed unblinking taking credit for others' work just shows what a fighter she is. Fight fight fight!

I agree with the "glass of water in the desert" analogy made up yonder. I hope he gets the nomination, but a big part of me is cynically convinced that a Daily Show bit pretty much nailed it. Paraphrased, America mostly loves the idea of voting for change. When it comes right down to the actual election, America just may find that voting for the 70 year old white guy is exactly the kind of change they're really looking for.
posted by Drastic at 9:32 AM on March 19, 2008


Here's part of it that you all may find of interest. I certainly did:

So when I am Commander-in-Chief, I will set a new goal on Day One: I will end this war. Not because politics compels it. Not because our troops cannot bear the burden– as heavy as it is. But because it is the right thing to do for our national security, and it will ultimately make us safer.

In order to end this war responsibly, I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove 1 to 2 combat brigades each month. If we start with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today, we can remove all of them 16 months. After this redeployment, we will leave enough troops in Iraq to guard our embassy and diplomats, and a counter-terrorism force to strike al Qaeda if it forms a base that the Iraqis cannot destroy. What I propose is not – and never has been – a precipitous drawdown. It is instead a detailed and prudent plan that will end a war nearly seven years after it started.

My plan to end this war will finally put pressure on Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future. Because we’ve learned that when we tell Iraq’s leaders that we’ll stay as long as it takes, they take as long as they want. We need to send a different message. We will help Iraq reach a meaningful accord on national reconciliation. We will engage with every country in the region – and the UN – to support the stability and territorial integrity of Iraq. And we will launch a major humanitarian initiative to support Iraq’s refugees and people. But Iraqis must take responsibility for their country. It is precisely this kind of approach – an approach that puts the onus on the Iraqis, and that relies on more than just military power – that is needed to stabilize Iraq.

posted by konolia at 9:33 AM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan writes "Yeah, the Democrats who screwed up the Democratic party, and let the Bush family in the White House, in case you haven't read any history prior to 2000. People have such a short memory, especially when their neocortex has been mesmerized by the incantations of hope, born of political convenience."

It seems like you're stuck in a loop, but what the heck. In 2004, we were told that Kerry was the most "electable," and that Dean was too hotheaded. Look what we got. In 2000, we were told that Gore was more electable than Bradley. Look what we got. Gary Hart was drummed out of the '88 race, or he would likely have gotten the nomination, but Gore ran that year and did not get it. We've taken the moderate, centrist position since McGovern, with Carter perhaps being one exception.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:34 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now that is refreshing. He told us not only what he wants to do, but how, and WHY.
posted by konolia at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2008


Bill Clinton's speech on race in 1995, marking the Million Man March (oh noes, Minister Farrakhan!).
It seems that it struck many of the same notes.


An excellent point (and probably better delivery too). I guess the difference is that Obama was talking more directly about personal experience with race, while Clinton had to rely on numbers more. To some people that was probably a plus - he directly talked about policies and statistics, disparity in prison population and so on, so there was a better sense of what one supposed he might be able to do about it.

With Obama, there were more details about his own friends and family, but for the politically minded also a sense of, ok, now what?

But people do seem to just like him better, which admittedly makes a real difference. If a higher percentage of people will listen when Obama says it than did when Clinton said it, then that's still a higher percentage of people listening.
posted by mdn at 9:36 AM on March 19, 2008


That David Foster Wallace quote is the best summary of how I feel about abortion.
posted by drezdn at 9:38 AM on March 19, 2008


HRC reminds me of Marie Antoinette dressing in peasant garb for sport and play.

And we all know what happened to her.


[glados]
Cake?
[/glados]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 AM on March 19, 2008


This is a longshot, but what if Obama could convince Gore to be his running mate? Sure, Gore would bring some baggage, but it would make it hard to argue that the ticket lacked experience.
posted by drezdn at 9:43 AM on March 19, 2008


Once again - America is so special that it's the only place someone like Obama could be succesful...and yet it would be a huge, historic deal if he is actually successful. Doesn't that sit kinda weirdly with you guys?

How can Obama's story be uniquely American, except that it took place in America? In almost every country in the world people can remake themselves, with luck and daring and the right breaks.


I woke up still thinking about this subthread in this thread. Thinking about it a bit more, I realize that there are two readings of it, and therein lies the difficulty. So I will try to be specific about my reading and what I think is the other possible (and perhaps more obvious and more common than I give it credit for) reading.

My reading is a narrow one: it is like spiderwire's, mikeh's, and stavros'. It message is that Obama is uniquely American not because he succeeded despite prejudice, but because his particular personal experiences at the "intersections" of class, race, and regionality as they are lived in America could only have occurred in America, in this cultural context. They've given him the knowledge and the understanding of different American perspectives that allow him to create very effective solutions to what are in many ways uniquely American problems - the inequity of our justice system and health care systems, for instance, which aren't exactly like the issues faced by other nations with different political and social service structures. So someone with all of his qualifications, and an identical ethic background, who hailed from another country and culture would not be able to be as effective in the problems he takes on, because they would not have had the life-shaping experiences of living as a mixed-race American within America. His strength, for me, is in his ability to balance and weigh fairly different American perspectives with intimate knowledge of them. I believe that intimate knowledge is a result of his ethnic background and his upbringing, which is fairly unusual even within America.

So what I am NOT saying is that "only in America" can a person of mixed-race background overcome prejudice in a white-dominated society and achieve national leadership. I am not saying that. Obviously, that's not true. I think that much of the objection to my perspective has assumed that I'm saying that. I don't believe that the US is the only nation that offers opportunity to people from formerly oppressed groups, or that only in America could someone with a background like Obama's achieve his levels of education and experience. Not at all.

So those people who provided examples of black leaders in other nations were addressing the second reading, the more general reading, that suggests that only America offers such opportunities. If the premise is "only America offers such opportunities," then pointing out other nations in which non-dominant races have come to power is an excellent argument against the premise.

But that's not my premise. My premise is "only an unusually divergent American upbringing like Obama's can prepare a person to address the diversity of American racial perspectives." Or, only because of American conditions of history is his story a possible American story. I don't think it's quite a tautology; it's that his intimate familiarity with various American views on race qualifies him well to understand and address the sensitive issues that surround it. So the argument that "other countries have black leaders too" misses the point. It will take someone who understands America's racial issues to help solve them. Should Canada's Governor General relocate here, she might do very well at many aspects of our government, but I'm not sure how well equipped her background would make her to understand the underlying assumptions that create American racial problems. I would suggest Obama's background equips him better to understand those assumptions and make progress on solutions than someone who comes from another cultural background entirely.

I hope the difference between the two readings is more clear now and I hope that I'm not somehow confused with the USA! USA! contingent.

I do think it's a shame to lump Obama supporters within that contingent, too - for the most part, I'd say that they are more likely than other Americans to work toward a global perspective and to test and question American myth. I recognize that he is probably asking for the support of patriots, and using an appeal to patriotism here. I recognize also that the broader, more general reading about America, Land of Opportunity is the commoner trope and probably the way in which the words are more likely to be heard. So in hindsight, I shouldn't have been surprised that the more general premise - that this is the only nation that would make it possible for someone like Obama to succeed - is the one that has been assumed by most listeners. And I would also say that it might very well be the one he means, as a politician campaigning to a public that does love its myths, not the one that I with my benevolent perspective on him would like him to mean.

Obama is succeeding so much, in part, because he makes it feel permissible to embrace ideals that have been part of the American conversation since the founding of the nation, but which have been given short shrift in recent years. One of those ideals is certainly that the path to leadership should be open to all citizens. If he is saying that can only happen in America, he's wrong - and by reading his books, I know he doesn't believe that, at all. But he is aware that a lot of Americans do believe that America offers unusual opportunities (our common and relatively recent immigrant history ensures that idea has great power), and I am sure that's why he emphasizes his peculiarly American story in this way.
posted by Miko at 9:43 AM on March 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


psmealey: The callers into the Brian Lehrer Show left me feeling somewhat dispirited about the Obama Campaign's prospects. From what I was able to discern, all the callers were different flavors of liberal, but few were able to hear the speech through their own biases. You had the Kucinich supporter who could not get past the part that Obama could not suggest specific legislation to address trenchant racism. There was the blue collar guy who was offended that Obama dared equate Limbaugh and Hannity with Wright. There was the old school progressive that was frustrated that Obama didn't completely disassociate himself with Wright. None were really listening. It's sad.

I agree. I think I was actually talking back to the radio at points. I did find the pre-speech roundtable discussion pretty interesting, though. I was glad that the start of the speech was delayed, giving the discussion more time. For the rest of you, the Brian Lehrer show is a local show on WNYC (New York Public Radio), and yesterday's show (including audio of the whole speech) can be heard here.
posted by booksherpa at 9:45 AM on March 19, 2008


*Echoing the 'thanks for this thread' (wow spiderwire and fourcheesemac)
Also wanted to second the recommendation for the Call to Renewal speech - another one I don't think most politicians would have had the stones to take on...
Am I being naive in thinking that the speeches are obviously his own since he rarely has to look at any notes? Regardless, I think it's at least a sign that he believes what he's saying.
posted by hypersloth at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2008


Am I being naive in thinking that the speeches are obviously his own since he rarely has to look at any notes?

He is always looking back and forth between two teleprompters. Hendrik Hertzberg has written about this...
posted by mdn at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2008


"they're mostly under 40, or have never voted in a general election, or fail to understand the machinations of politics, or completely ignore the fact that Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton"

I'm 41, I voted for Bush in 1988, became a Democrat after Panama and Desert Storm and then voted for Clinton, Clinton, Gore and Kerry. As for the Senate, I not only voted for Hillary in 2000, I canvassed for her campaign in western New York State, where I was spit upon and had curse words directed at me that even I had never heard before.

I never really "believed" in either Bill or Hillary as politicians, but I thought they were effective, coalition building politicians, but mostly I believed that their vision of the country aligned much more closely to my own than anything I was hearing from either the GOP or people like Perot or Ralph Nader.

When Hillary voted to give President Bush the authorization for going to war in Iraq. I was heart-broken. I could not believe that she was so craven as to put her stamp of approval on this predictably horrendous escapade to cover her own ass for her certain run for the Presidency. When she was given multiple chances to redeem herself, to admit a grievous wrong, she failed. She danced, and danced, and never got there. I do not believe this is forgiveable.

The campaign she has run against Obama has been reprehensible. The cynical cloaking herself in pity to up her numbers, the thinly veiled divisive attacks by proxy, the idea that voting against her is voting against ALL WOMEN (ok, that's not her, but I is often brought up by her supporters), all this stuff is straight from the Lee Atwater playbook. It cannot be countenanced or justified.

What are the chances that, if she wins, it will be right wing attack radio all the time for the next four years? That congress will be a gridlocked disaster with another 4 sessions of name calling? That again, the Presidency will respond to the whims of pollsters rather than a different vision for the country?

I would bet it's a sure thing.

Yeah, I'll vote for Hillary if she wins. But only because of the ages of certain Associate Justices on the Supreme Court, if for no other reason.
posted by psmealey at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2008 [12 favorites]


He is always looking back and forth between two teleprompters. Hendrik Hertzberg has written about this...
Aha, thanks.
posted by hypersloth at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2008


Because no matter how crappy we have been in the last 20 or so years, everything you will ever do in your country, you owe every bit of it to the United States of America. Sorry, but its a fact.

*dies laughing*
posted by stinkycheese at 9:56 AM on March 19, 2008


Paraphrased, America mostly loves the idea of voting for change. When it comes right down to the actual election, America just may find that voting for the 70 year old white guy is exactly the kind of change they're really looking for.

Good point and my greatest fear. Four years ago I was sure that Kerry would walk away with the win but I suspect that when it came time to punch the chad or touch the screen, indecisive folks opted for the known vs. the unknown. That makes it all the more important for whomever wins the nomination to make it a slam dunk in November.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:58 AM on March 19, 2008


Plus Kerry was an awful candidate with the charisma of a block of wood.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on March 19, 2008


I haven't listened to talk radio today except for a bit this morning in which Newt Gingrich and Glenn Beck laid out what will probably be the bullet points of the day:

- Obama threw Grandma under the bus (Beck quote) in equating her remarks with Wright's
- He can use all the fancy talk he wants, he still stayed in the church for 20 years while this guy spouted garbage in front of him. (implication: Obama secretly agrees with Wright).

The first seems more like a laugh line, but that's talk radio. On the second point:

Any African-American politician carries the weight of his community's distrust and resentment of white America, regardless of whether he personally shares it. Forget about the preacher -- the important thing is the millions of blacks who either tolerate or actively agree with him. What is Obama to do - denounce all of them? Forget about rejecting the preacher -- what about the 3,000 people sitting there with him who also are not walking out on the sermon? You break from the shepherd, you're abandoning the flock as well.

So a politician coming out of that community, who has designs on healing the racial divide in this country -- it's a balancing act. He HAS to maintain is place in the community. Otherwise he's got no credibility there. Leaving his church not only doesn't quiet the invective, but it actively impairs his ability to work to address its causes. I think he's done about as much as he can do here, and I look at this speech as his admission of same. He's saying: I am who I am, and my people are who they are. We're all flawed, America is flawed, let's stop throwing slop at specific people over specific comments and look at the big picture, and try to fix this thing.

I can't wait to pull the lever for this guy on April 22, and in October.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:02 AM on March 19, 2008


This guy is more than teflon. He swings a big bat that hits shit right out of the PARK.
posted by spock at 10:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to third the recommendation of Obama's Call to Renewal keynote (MP3 and transcript available here), probably the most intelligent speech on the subject of religion and politics I have ever heard, and my favorite speech of his up until this one.
posted by aqhong at 10:06 AM on March 19, 2008


Whoops, first link was supposed to be to the video.
posted by aqhong at 10:07 AM on March 19, 2008


Plus Kerry was an awful candidate with the charisma of a block of wood.

Kerry is a block of wood. Didn't you know that?
posted by psmealey at 10:08 AM on March 19, 2008


Yeah, the Democrats who screwed up the Democratic party, and let the Bush family in the White House

There was no Bush "family" in the White House until Bill Clinton self destructed, taking the Dems with him.

It makes me sick, as a moderate liberal, to see another left wing Democrat (or so he says, even though his views are centrist)

I am tired of the too far left Dems like Obama, Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. ruining my party.

the fact that Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton,


So you're complaining that he's too left, and then you say he's more centrist and has more "right" advisors than Clinton. Which is it?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:09 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


That Clinton speech is pretty good, the problem is that in fact, he didn't do shit to improve race relations in the U.S.

"And blacks are right to think something is terribly wrong when African American men are many times more likely to be victims of homicide than any other group in this country; when there are more African American men in our corrections system than in our colleges; when almost one in three African American men in their 20s are either in jail, on parole or otherwise under the supervision of the criminal justice system -- nearly one in three. And that is a disproportionate percentage in comparison to the percentage of blacks who use drugs in our society. Now, I would like every white person here and in America to take a moment to think how he or she would feel if one in three white men were in similar circumstances."

If that was true he shouldn't have appointed Barry McCaffrey as Drug Czar, he should have tried to actually try to change drug laws and prosecute drug crimes.

We'll what happens with Obama.
posted by afu at 10:11 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Today is the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. I was becoming more and more despondent about this country, and I was starting to regret becoming an American citizen until I read Obama's speech ( and the comments on this thread).

Today I remember why I have chosen this country, and it is not just the natural beauty and the elbow room. It is the generosity and the kindness of people, the willingness to try new things and to experiment with new ideas, the ability to say "oops! I was wrong" and to be open to dialogue. It is the courage to reject the " we have always done it this way" attitude and the courage to appear naive and unsophisticated in order to defend beliefs.

And a whole lot of other reasons, but I'm supposed to by productive right now and earn my paycheck
posted by francesca too at 10:14 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


That David Foster Wallace quote is the best summary of how I feel about abortion.

Then you are pro-choice. To be politically pro-life, you have to believe that the fetus has to be protected by law, not that you would personally choose not to kill the fetus. That is a fundamental difference - we don't leave murder up to each individual autonomy to make a choice about.

The question on abortion is whether it is a decision to make on a social scale, like murder or theft, or to be made on a personal scale, like vegetarianism or spanking your kids.* If you believe it ought to be made on a personal scale - whatever your personal choice would be - then you are pro-choice.

* I realize not everyone is satisfied these are currently "pro-choice" in the US, but for the moment they are -
posted by mdn at 10:17 AM on March 19, 2008


what if Obama could convince Gore to be his running mate?

I'm starting to become more and more convinced that Jim Webb needs to be his running mate. It would instantly shift the ground the campaign is run on and make him competitive all across appallachia and the south. A former marine, a former Navy Secretary under Reagan, and he literally wrote the book on poor white southerners (Born Fighting). It would instantly give Obama National Security cred and open doors for real racial conciliation between poor, aggrieved whites and black people.
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary's argument that Only She Can Unite Working Class White People in the democratic party is a load of horse shit. She's not the only white person in the party.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on March 19, 2008



Then you are pro-choice.


Agreed.
posted by drezdn at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2008


what if Obama could convince Gore to be his running mate?

I don't think Jesus Christ Himself could handle three terms as Veep if the plight of Creation depended upon it. If anything, I've heard some wags mention a "dream" scenario where the Convention gets hung up, Gore steps in and ends up with the nomination and has Obama as his running mate.

That won't happen, either, but it's funny to think about.
posted by psmealey at 10:23 AM on March 19, 2008


For me, this speech was very well-done and reflects a great deal of research I've been exposed to recently on race in America. Since I'm taking two courses that deal with race, America Divided: Race, Class and Gender in American History and the History of the Old South, it's both frustrating to see that race continues to be such an issue in America and rewarding to see a politician take a view of racial relations that is historically sound.

The part that stood out to me about the speech was the elements of uniting black and white against the corporate interests. That's something that hasn't really been said much in America. The poor or middle class white guy and the poor or middle class black guy have a hell of a lot more in common with each other than they do with the rich. But instead of working together, they've allowed racial lines to continually imped progress.

Additionally, like many others in this thread, I've got family members and friends that are good, kind people but hold racist viewpoints. I think that those people may eventually change to see the broader picture of race in America, but even if they don't those of us who love them despite their flaws can work to change the current situation.

Sadly, humans like to blame other humans for their hardships; but it seems that Obama is trying to encourage us to not blame each other and work towards a solution.
posted by teleri025 at 10:24 AM on March 19, 2008


"It was an important speech, but I will let the Democrats wrestle with their own issues and problems," Cheney said, according to a transcript released by the White House.

because, you know, race could never be a republican problem

unfuckingbelievable
posted by pyramid termite at 10:29 AM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm not worried for Obama in the general vis-a-vis the GOP Rovinator 2008 smear-machine. I think he'll be able to get down in the mud with them and climb up on top of the pile without a speck on him.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:29 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


When it comes right down to the actual election, America just may find that voting for the 70 year old white guy is exactly the kind of change they're really looking for.

Actually, I think that George W. Bush has torpedoed the whole white man as president concept, at least for this election cycle. We gave the whit eman a break and look where it got us. So, I don't see how getting super sized in the geezer department will be making the whole another white man for president thing any more palatable. Especially when he goes around spouting Iran is training Al Qaeda can't-tell-Shiite-from-Shinola crapola that even gets Joe Lieberman fact checking his crazy uncle in the basement ass right at the press conference. I think some one said it best yesterday--Reagan was the Teflon candidate and McCain is the Klingon candidate. He only gets revved for the bombing. It's all about the martial honor 24-7. He doesn't have a health policy because he can't storm the hospitals and vanquish the doctors.

He is going to be this election's Bob Dole of 1996. Bob Dole on even more clueless and hopeless Get Off My Lawn You Hippie Traitors!!! steroids. And Double Mega Dittos if he goes for a Rapture Ready Veep... Whoo hoo! And we get a veto proof Senate majority. too boot. Barring Hillary's candidacy on that last, of course....
posted by y2karl at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to become more and more convinced that Jim Webb needs to be his running mate.

This this this. Webb's going to be a major player in the future of the party.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:33 AM on March 19, 2008



Plus Kerry was an awful candidate with the charisma of a block of wood.

Kerry is a block of wood. Didn't you know that?


Yeah, Hank Williams even wrote a sad song about him.
posted by dawson at 10:36 AM on March 19, 2008


I'm starting to become more and more convinced that Jim Webb needs to be his running mate.
As attractive as this is, Webb has always struck me as a "party above self" guy, and it's undeniable that him leaving his seat would put the Democrats in a bind. Don't get me wrong: I'd love to see it, too, but the plain fact is that Webb put up a hell of a fight to win that seat, with a lot of activist help on the ground, and he undoubtedly feels like he has a duty to those people and that district. Does anyone know what would happen if Webb actually did this, in terms of special elections or replacement?
posted by scrump at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2008


Outline some solutions, then we'll talk.

I saw this point made elsewhere, and it kind of confused me. Why can't we talk now? Wasn't that the point, that he said "Maybe we could all start talking about this elephant in the room. I'll wait while you guys get used to that idea". What's the value in him saying he's got a five-point plan for dealing with the elephant, when half the country is saying "Elephant? What elephant? Why is he wasting my time with imaginary elephants?"

It's just backwards. We can't find solutions until we start talking, like we're doing here where people have opened up and talked about what it means to have a mother or a grandmother or a pastor who's got a block of hate and resentment in their heart. Part of the problem is us, and the fact that we don't really talk about our secret fears and unpleasant opinions about race. The more we start talking, and letting some of this into the light with an eye toward understanding the parts of ourselves, our loved ones, and our leaders that need improving, the closer we're going to get to improving the state of race relations on both small and large scales.
posted by stefanie at 10:46 AM on March 19, 2008 [17 favorites]


Dear George,

Yup, he wroted it all by hisself. True fact.

Love,
Chris
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:49 AM on March 19, 2008


A-freaking-men stefanie. One of the major problems with race discussions in America is that secrecy about the whole thing, the fact that we don't talk openly about this very divisive and scary thing.

Race and racial prejudice is such a slippery and difficult thing. It is and has been a cancer upon this country since our inception and it needs to be brought out into the light and stared at, and poked and prodded until we can find an effective way of getting rid of it.
posted by teleri025 at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2008


Yeah, the Democrats who screwed up the Democratic party, and let the Bush family in the White House, in case you haven't read any history prior to 2000. People have such a short memory, especially when their neocortex has been mesmerized by the incantations of hope, born of political convenience.

Speaking of short memories, Metaman, you do remember exactly who those Democrats were, right? Who was it again who preceded Bush in office?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2008


scrump: His successor would be appointed by the governor of Virginia, currently Democrat Tim Kaine.

Dylan Loewe makes the case for an Obama/Webb ticket here, if anyone's interested.
posted by aqhong at 10:55 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Outline some solutions, then we'll talk.

I saw this point made elsewhere, and it kind of confused me. Why can't we talk now

We can talk now, but I don't think I, or anyone else, has to jump from "This man can identify problems" to "This man can provide solutions" based on this speech alone. Which others seem to be doing, although I imagine they're pulling in stuff from other places.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I used to be around the Promise Keepers a lot when they were hot in the early 90s. Back then they had Jim Dobson speaking to stadiums filled with white men with coded messages about Vince Foster.

But then, Bill McCartney decided that the organization needed to focus on something else: Racial reconciliation. White Christians needed to seek out black Christians and use their common faith to build bridges and maybe begin to heal the hundreds of years of hate and discrimination.

It went over like a lead balloon in the white church. It effectively drove Promise Keepers from the scary, nasty Army Of Conservative Christian Men everyone was afraid of in the 90s to a small organization that struggles to fill small arenas a few times a year.

If you leave aside all the things about Promise Keepers and McCartney that most of you find bigoted or hateful, you have to admire their attempt to try and move race relations forward, and feel quite a bit distressed over the refusal of the greater community to take up the challenge. The white community does not understand the language of the African-American community, or their politics, or their churches. When they say, "I'm an African IN America," whites fret over whether they're trying to form a separate nation because they don't understand the origins in Marcus Garvey and the Back To Africa movement. There's meaning in their words that us white folk don't understand.

So when I hear Obama's speech yesterday, I hear him saying three things. To White America, he's saying these are my people and I'm not letting them go, and you must accept that as a nation we have a sorry past that you're reaping the benefits of even if you claim to lack a bigoted bone in your body. To Black America, he's saying it's time to let go of this language, time to take the chips off the African-American shoulders, and start figuring out how to move on. To everyone, he's saying we are all afraid of one another, and it's time to stop living in fear and living in the past and start living in a hopeful future.

That's almost exactly what I heard from Bill McCartney 15 years ago. That's exactly what I've heard from many in the racial reconciliation movement. And no, it's not some secret coded message from the Christian Right, it's a deep hope that it's time to take that last paragraph from Martin Luther King's speech and make it real:
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
To hear it from the mouth of a white football coach, that's interesting. To hear it from an African-American man in the middle of one of the most contested presidential campaigns in generations, that's incredible. And only he can give it. Bill, Hillary, McCain, Kerry, Edwards, it's an interesting speech, but it's coming from the majority. Obama is speaking from the minority, downtrodden and beaten down, enslaved, lynched, discriminated, and ignored. He's saying to White America, of course we're angry, but it's time for all of us to move on.

It's not the Gettysburg Address. It's not I Have A Dream. It's not Never Surrender. But it's the most important speech about majority-minority relations since Kennedy defended his Catholicism in Houston 48 years ago.

It's just a speech. But we can hope that it's a positive step down this long road of racial reconciliation.
posted by dw at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2008 [24 favorites]


zardoz says, above: The polls I've read about are pretty clear that Obama would beat McCain, but McCain would beat Clinton, if the general were held now.

This was once true (and may become true again), but at this moment at least two polls indicate that it is not true.

Gallup: Clinton 49%-Obama 42%; McCain 47%-Obama 43%; McCain 48%-Clinton 45%. The last day of that polling was Tuesday, the day of Obama's speech.

Rasmussen (not a permalink, so it will change in a day): Obama 47%-Clinton 42%; McCain 48%-Obama 42%; McCain 49%-Clinton 43%. The last day for this poll was also Tuesday, the day of Obama's speech.

Though these polls have different results for Clinton vs. Obama, they agree that McCain is preferred to both candidates. (Other polls may have different results; these are the only two polls I can find with data that includes Tuesday.)

I fear that this points more to a fracture within the party than anything else.
posted by Prospero at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2008


heh, you know I just had a low level ephinay, in some aspects this speech was the advanced and nuanced version of Dean's comment years ago about trying to enfold Southerners who have a gun rack and the Confed flag on the back of their truck.
posted by edgeways at 11:04 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to become more and more convinced that Jim Webb needs to be his running mate. It would instantly shift the ground the campaign is run on and make him competitive all across appallachia and the south. A former marine, a former Navy Secretary under Reagan, and he literally wrote the book on poor white southerners (Born Fighting). It would instantly give Obama National Security cred and open doors for real racial conciliation between poor, aggrieved whites and black people.

I see your point, but I was a precinct captain for the Webb campaign, and he defeated George Allen only by a few thousand votes. The state of Virginia is probably about to elect the former governor Mark Warner to a Senate seat, which means that we will go from two Republican Senators to two Democratic Senators in just a few years. The Democratic margin over the Republicans in the Senate is so thin that we can't afford to lose a perfectly good Democratic Senator, especially one in a Southern state. Think of how John Edwards resigned his Senate seat in North Carolina and how it immediately went to a Republican in the next election. I think Webb is a good veep choice on the merits, but tactically speaking, we need him more in the Senate than in a job that's "not worth a bucket of warm spit."
posted by jonp72 at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2008


Prospero writes "I fear that this points more to a fracture within the party than anything else."

Yeah, I agree, and I think the party will stand behind the nominee once that happens, so these polls aren't reflecting the realities of the general election as much as the realities of the primaries. But the longer this nomination process drags out, and the more vicious it gets, the harder reconciliation will be.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:07 AM on March 19, 2008


About the Values Voters Summit and "God Damn America":

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/2007/09/why_should_god_bless_america.html
posted by goethean at 11:09 AM on March 19, 2008


Thanks for that link, konolia. You're right, there's some surprisingly detailed policy talk in there — and also some very well-reasoned talk about how to run a campaign against McCain. Good stuff.

As far as abortion goes, it seems to me like Obama won't do anything to give it more legal protection than it's got. Realistically, he couldn't if he wanted to — it would be sheer political poison — but also, there's no evidence that he wants to. So he may not be advancing your cause on that issue, but he won't be setting it back any either. Does that help?

Politics aside, it's good to see you've come back and are speaking your mind again.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:11 AM on March 19, 2008


in some aspects this speech was the advanced and nuanced version of Dean's comment years ago

At the risk of being accused of hero-worship, I've said a few times that I think Obama is the Jesus to Dean's John the Baptist. Not in a religious way, only that Dean was the firebrand that prepared the party for a new progressive, grassroots movement and Obama is taking us the rest of the way.
posted by empath at 11:14 AM on March 19, 2008


One of the most interesting aspects of the Obama phenomenon is how many self-avowed republicans/conservatives/what-have-you profess admiration for him. My father, who voted for GW twice (!!!), has told me that if it were Obama vs. anyone he'd vote Barack. I think this response, which seems widespread, goes a long way toward explaining the fervor.
posted by generalist at 11:16 AM on March 19, 2008


Question: Is there any other politician who could quote Faulkner and mention Youtube in the same speech?
posted by aqhong at 11:16 AM on March 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


Buried in Eloquence, Obama Contradictions About Pastor
posted by Slap Factory at 11:19 AM on March 19, 2008


Nobody reads threads this far down (prove me wrong, I dare you), but that DFW bit on abortion always shakes me the wrong way. It's almost exactly my own position, sure... but I just can't read it without Vizzini's voice in my head.
posted by rokusan at 11:25 AM on March 19, 2008


uh, slap factory--obama quite explicitly says in his speech that such contradictions exist in his feelings about his pastor and he connects those contradictions to the fabric of racial issues in america more generally. for some commentator to point them out as if they weren't an explicit part of the message seems kind of--well, embarrassing for the commentator, actually.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2008


I don't like Webb for veep, for any number of reasons. Primarily because I think he's most needed where he is. But if we are doing fantasy league here, I'd near about cream myself if BO got Dick Gephardt as his running mate.
posted by dawson at 11:31 AM on March 19, 2008


Should have read the link. Actually, from your link slapfactory, above: Obama goes on to say in his speech that, yes, he had heard his pastor say controversial things during his sermon, but the specific remarks made in the footage that's been making the rounds on TV Obama condemned more unequivocally, suggesting that he had not in fact heard those specific remarks before, contrary to the spin in the article you linked.


His initial reaction to the initial ABC News broadcast of Rev. Wright's sermons denouncing the U.S. was that he had never heard his pastor of 20 years make any comments that were anti-U.S. until the tape was played on air.

But yesterday, he told a different story.

"Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes," he said in his speech yesterday in Philadelphia.


This characterization is inaccurate. The admission of having heard his pastor say controversial things explicitly did not refer to the much harsher statements shown in the video clips.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:34 AM on March 19, 2008


Here's the full relevant passage to show where the article on the ABC blotter goes wrong.

Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America


He's clearly drawing a distinction between more mildly controversial statement's Wright has made that he was aware of, and the much more incendiary statements at the heart of the controversy. There's no contradiction at all. Someone over at ABC news just needs to learn how to read.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:37 AM on March 19, 2008


I've been following this thread, and I just read the text of Obama's speech on Iraq. He's so sane.

Go on, you guys, elect him. Maybe he is the man that I hope and many of you believe he is. Who am I to let my fears and reservations-- fed by eight years of Dr. Strangelove levels of lunacy in the White House-- get in the way of what might be a great, or even Great, Presidency?

I'll forgive him the 'only in the USA' thing-- which twitched my alarm bells because it lines up too closely with standard rhetoric, and with the mindset that got us (the world) stuck with Bush-- and even put aside the nod to the fear of 'radical Islam'. Get him in power in Washington, because I want a mind I can respect in that office.

And for God's sake, please don't elect McCain, okay?
posted by jokeefe at 11:39 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jim Webb would be a good, but not great VP choice for Obama. Better, I think, would be Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia and current candidate to replace the retiring John Warner in the Senate. He was extremely well-liked as governor and would be almost certain to turn the state blue in the election. Of course, someone would have to replace him in the Senate race, but there are quite a few who could.

There's been some talk about current Virginia Governor Tim Kaine as VP, but the problem there is that his term isn't up till January 2010 (though he can't run for reelection), and the Lieutenant Governor is a Republican.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:41 AM on March 19, 2008


i hate faving a post that ended on such a snarky, petty, hateful note, but i think many comments here have redeemed what is, perhaps, the ugliest post ever to remain on the site. shout out to cortex, tho i know about as well as I do any of you. so, peace.
posted by dawson at 11:42 AM on March 19, 2008


In order to end this war responsibly, I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove 1 to 2 combat brigades each month. If we start with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today, we can remove all of them 16 months.

Okay, wait. Does no one else think that Obama is going to have a problem with running on a platform of constant and immediate troop withdrawal from Day 1 when he is running against a hawk like McCain? Maybe I'm jaded, but I can't believe this won't become the main issue of the election, and McCain will call him rash and inexperienced with the kind of world tumult that a destabilized Iraq could cause, and that will be it right there. In my opinion, all you have to do is say "destabilized Iraq" and democrats, republicans, and independents alike will run to McCain, particularly if there is some sort of terror event before the election.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:49 AM on March 19, 2008


Because Iraq is "stabilized" now, somehow?
posted by stenseng at 11:50 AM on March 19, 2008


Obama/Dean '08
If you pick who you vote for by whether someone screamed at a rally over four years ago then we don't want you to fucking vote for us.
posted by ND¢ at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


We can talk now, but I don't think I, or anyone else, has to jump from "This man can identify problems" to "This man can provide solutions" based on this speech alone.

I'm not seeing that people are saying that Obama can solve America's race problems, and Obama himself doesn't claim that either. I mean, that's an awfully tall order, and pretty unrealistic to boot. Certainly it's not something that can be pithily outlined in a 30 minute speech. Seeing Obama as some sort of omnipotent problem solver goes against the real core values of his campaign, and that's what is worrisome about Obama "cultists". These are the people who are going to crash hard when he doesn't solve all their problems the first six months in office- and these are the sort of people who expect that because he talks about race, he's got to be the one to do something about it, when his real point is that it's really up to all of us to do something about it.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:54 AM on March 19, 2008


Obama/Dean '08

Um, wouldn't that be problematic given that Dean is going to be highly influential in the selection process?
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on March 19, 2008


Miko: I don't understand Canadian politics, and I have no way of estimating how unusual it is for a Haitian with a fabulous education to get some sort of important government post. I would need cultural context to understand this.

If you don't have the context to understand it, how can you possibly suggest that some story is only possible in America? And don't give me this "but it hasn't happened in Canada/France/Britian yet", this isn't about has it happened, it's about is this narrative possible, if you're listening to the speech at all. It's a blatantly untruism, but it fulfills an important goal, one which Barack Obama is a genius to capitalize on: Americans want a new way to look at themselves after the old "we are the most just/free/fair/successful country in the whole wide world" identity slowly crumbled into ruins to the point that everyone, including Americans, now knows that its a lie. Americans need a new lens through which to view themselves, something hopeful and exciting, and that's what Barack Obama is trying to give them. That's an amazing goal, and he's very smart to pursue it.

I too was entirely surprised and delighted to see an American politician talk about race is such an open and honest way. It's a conversation that is long, long overdue, and I look forward to being a fly on this wall.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:56 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama/Dean '08

Um, wouldn't that be problematic given that Dean is going to be highly influential in the selection process?


Remember the name of the guy who lead the search for Bush's 2000 VP pick?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:00 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


The polls I've read about are pretty clear that Obama would beat McCain, but McCain would beat Clinton, if the general were held now.

Polls this early in the election cycle don't mean shit. Fuckin' Ross Perot would have been our 42nd president if they did. Seriously, they are so often so completely wrong that it is really stupid to look to them for anything other than today's temperature. But the thermostat today doesn't tell you anything about the weather in November.

Obama has not been attacked yet. He has not been dragged through the mud or put out there as "our guy". He has been in a safe space where his only attacks have come from other democrats, who are never going to be as harsh as Republicans, no matter how "over the line" you think the Clinton campaign has gone. If he is the nominee, there will be "swift boat" style attacks directed at him over any remarks or stances which can be understood as anti-american or foreign. They will definitely play to people's underlying prejudices. And as nice as a speech like this is, it is extremely possible to imagine it working against him in the end. People often don't want nuance when they're trying to decide who should be the most powerful person in the world.

As some folks have said, it is good in theory that we talk about racism, but at the voting booth, it may become simplified in some minds to, this guy partially agrees that blacks have a right to hate me. That might be risky in office, even if I don't know exactly how. That guy will keep things more or less how they are. Well, my life's not so bad...

I hope not, but it really is way too early to say.
posted by mdn at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2008


In my opinion, all you have to do is say "destabilized Iraq" and democrats, republicans, and independents alike will run to McCain, particularly if there is some sort of terror event before the election.

BS. That's a nice story line the cowards on the right would have us all believe. But Americans are a hell of a lot braver and smarter than that. If there's somehow a McCain victory, I don't give a damn what the polls say, I will only be able to conclude the election has been yet another fraud.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2008


Question: Is there any other politician who could quote Faulkner and mention Youtube in the same speech?

Actually, I was reminded of Gore's speech a few years back -- which is also eerie in how it presages the shape of Obama's campaign -- where he quite competently name-checked Jürgen Habermas, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Lippmann, etc., discussed Net architecture (last mile, packet-switching, etc.), and closed talking about, yes, YouTube, though no one knew it yet:
It is true that video streaming is becoming more common over the Internet, and true as well that cheap storage of streamed video is making it possible for many young television viewers to engage in what the industry calls "time shifting" and personalize their television watching habits. Moreover, as higher bandwidth connections continue to replace smaller information pipelines, the Internet's capacity for carrying television will continue to dramatically improve. But in spite of these developments, it is television delivered over cable and satellite that will continue for the remainder of this decade and probably the next to be the dominant medium of communication in America's democracy. And so long as that is the case, I truly believe that America's democracy is at grave risk.
So I'd say that comes close at least.
posted by spiderwire at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2008


Because Iraq is "stabilized" now, somehow?

Because if we withdrew 1 to 2 combat brigades each month without any apparant thought to whether the country was prepared to handle its own civil war, it certainly could become a hell of a lot more destabilized than it is right now, yeah.

Seeing Obama as some sort of omnipotent problem solver goes against the real core values of his campaign, and that's what is worrisome about Obama "cultists".

Yes. I appreciate that he is starting a dialogue, but I'm not sure that makes change happen, though it may possibly mobilize people ... though without some platform on racial issues to support, it's not clear what change would happen, so there we are again.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:02 PM on March 19, 2008


That's a nice story line the cowards on the right would have us all believe.

Well, I'm a democrat who voted for Obama in the primaries, but as the election draws nearer I will be listening for the argument of why it might be insanely unsafe to promise to withdraw the majority of our troops in Iraq without any apparant regard for what state of civil war that could leave the country in and what effect that might have on the US and the rest of the world, and I would consider voting for the candidate who did not promise such a plan in response. EVEN THOUGH I don't want more conservative judges on the Supreme Court, and even though I've never voted Republican in my life before. Seriously.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


without some platform on racial issues to support

I think the challenge is to go beyond waiting for leaders to propose platforms, but to take the democratic process on ourselves and engage in localized solution-finding as well as large national initiatives.
posted by Miko at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2008


goethean, thanks for the link. Why aren't more people picking up on this? Republican Presidential candidates were present on stage while "Why Should God Bless America?" was performed (too bad McCain wasn't there). Where is the outrage against the Values Voters? Are they traitors too? Is this any different from what Wright said, except for the fact that he's a "crazy angry black dude?" Talk about race-influenced double standards.
posted by afx114 at 12:11 PM on March 19, 2008


Okay, wait. Does no one else think that Obama is going to have a problem with running on a platform of constant and immediate troop withdrawal from Day 1 when he is running against a hawk like McCain?

Seriously. I was going to link to something I heard on the radio earlier in this thread, when someone first brought up the withdrawal, but I couldn't find a transcript... (it was BBC america, through NPR). But to just think we bring our guys home and Iraq will "work it out" does come off as kind of naive. The story I heard discussed how until the surge, the morgues in Iraq were overflowing with the dead civilians to the point where they ran out of refrigeration space, and had to pile the bodies outside, and how the people who came to identify their relatives had to walk across the bloody floors to find them, and how many had to be buried in mass graves in the end. The war may not have been that bloody for americans, but it has been for Iraq, and to think that our getting out of the way will just solve everything is unfounded.

Things were better before because there was a dictator. There's no dictator now. With the surge, America is being a stronger military presence, and now the death toll has gone down significantly. If we just leave, without getting things organized there, why expect it won't just go back to chaos?

I'm not saying going in was the right choice to begin with, but the "not our problem" attitude is going to be a tough sell if McCain talks about what is actually happening over there.
posted by mdn at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


withdraw the majority of our troops in Iraq without any apparant regard for what state of civil war that could leave the country in and what effect that might have on the US and the rest of the world, and I would consider voting for the candidate who did not promise such a plan in response.

yeah, I could see how that would be a concern for you--if anybody was proposing doing that. there has been a civil war already in iraq. we only brought about the current shaky cease-fire in that war by paying off the same adversaries who were attacking our troops before. the fact that we're bribing the "insurgents" is all that stands in between iraq and chaos now, and it's not going to get any more stable by continuing to use a blunt military instrument where diplomatic and political surgery is needed. you're thinking is wrong. dead wrong.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:16 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


All this discussion about Obama's "only in America" phrase is focusing on an essentially trivial issue, much like the focus on Reverend Wright's comments is a distraction from important issues of this campaign.

The United States had over two centuries of slavery, fought a Civil War in which over 620,000 people died (two percent of the population; the equivalent of 6,000,000 today), black people endured a century of Jim Crow segregation and abuse, had decades of struggle for civil rights, and still has some profoundly racist aspects. One out of every 15 black adults is in prison compared to one out of 100 of American adults overall. During Barack Obama's lifetime he's gone from a time where it was illegal for him to sit in the same part of the bus as white people to becoming a leading candidate for president. When he was born, black people couldn't vote in most of the South. That story is unique, and it could only happen here.

I think Obama has done a judo move and turned a potential threat to his campaign into an asset that will help him secure the nomination and win the election. (Asserting that winning a state's Democratic primary has anything to do with winning the state in the general election is silly. Democratic turnout has been massive for both Clinton and Obama, and the second-place Democratic candidate has often gotten more votes than the winner of the Republican primary.)

Also, if Obama wins I believe he'd be the first president to say the word "gang-banger."

Is there any other politician who could quote Faulkner and mention Youtube in the same speech?

Robert F. Kennedy quoted Aeschylus in his eloquent remarks on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:20 PM on March 19, 2008


the fact that we're bribing the "insurgents" is all that stands in between iraq and chaos now

So you think the 30 combat brigades of American troops that Obama proposes to remove at a rate of 1-2 brigades per month are having no effect? With all due respect, I think that's a little silly.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:27 PM on March 19, 2008


The war may not have been that bloody for americans, but it has been for Iraq, and to think that our getting out of the way will just solve everything is unfounded.

Nobody's saying we can just get out of the way. The point is to begin pulling combat troops out in a phased redeployment--combat troops are absolutely the wrong tool for promoting stability in Iraq--it's like sending in a bunch of football players to repair an electrical grid. How peaceful do you think your neighborhood would be if there were hopped up 20-year-old kids who've been trained to shoot first and never ask questions stationed on every corner with machine guns, killing off a neighbor in a checkpoint mix up or even killing off entire wedding parties every month or so? More of that is not going to promote long-term stability in Iraq, dammit. It's just a physical reality that the more violence you pump into the system the more feedback there'll be. And violence is all that combat troops (note, I'm singling out combat troops here) can possibly bring to the problem.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:28 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's a nice story line the cowards on the right would have us all believe. But Americans are a hell of a lot braver and smarter than that.

You assert that with a level of conviction that does not seem to me warranted by recent history. I sure hope you're right, though.

Robert F. Kennedy quoted Aeschylus in his eloquent remarks on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

But did he mention Youtube?
posted by languagehat at 12:30 PM on March 19, 2008


All this discussion about Obama's "only in America" phrase is focusing on an essentially trivial issue

Fortunately, it's our divine right on the intertubes to focus on trivial issues. Though, if you think it's trivial, I think you're missing the overall point of the entire campaign.
posted by Hildegarde at 12:30 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, whether or not pulling troops out will work I do like the fact he has put thought into what we should and should not be doing with our troops and WHY. I have a feeling that if he were elected and he were given facts to indicate that troop withdrawal as he proposes would be unwise, he would reevaluate in a thoughtful manner and come up with a plan B-still focusing on ultimate objectives.

I guess what I am seeing is, someone is actually willing to THINK and to talk to the American people like we are grownups and not just consumers of The Right Buzzwords. Now, whether that actually can work in real life is another matter entirely, but I do appreciate the fact that Obama is willing to try it.
posted by konolia at 12:33 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


without some platform on racial issues to support

I think the challenge is to go beyond waiting for leaders to propose platforms, but to take the democratic process on ourselves and engage in localized solution-finding as well as large national initiatives.


Yep, that's exactly my point. Unfortunately, people in this country are accustomed to top down politics, not to mention living in a culture that that promotes avoidance of taking any sort of personal responsibility for anything, and demonizes "activism". I'm not sure that a lot of Obama enthusiasts really understand that Obama is not a silver bullet for all that ails this country. It was pretty disappointing to go on the Obama blog during the height of the muckracking/Ohio primary week and read all the shrill cries of "WHERE is OBAMA??? why doesn't he DO SOMETHING???!!" For the people (like me) that are supporting him based on his notions of inclusiveness and the power of grassroots activism it was an ugly reminder that we, as a country, may not be ready to actually care enough to do anything but vote and complain. I hope I'm wrong, but it's really going to be a huge paradigm shift.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:35 PM on March 19, 2008


The revolutionary thing about this speech is that it wasn't... dumb.

American culture is the culture of the idealized image, and this culture crystallized with the creation of motion pictures. Propaganda-- big, glossy, better-than-true, stylized, repetitive, dumb, big, repetitive, oh, and repetitive-- is pretty much our lifesblood.

This perpetual self-glorification isn't all bad-- when you're seen to be riding high, or when you're glimpsed from afar, this attitude can actually exert an attraction on those around you, as the most motivated and ambitious struggle to reach you, hoping to find your Streets Paved with Gold.

After all, it's this sort of optimism-as-doctrine, this sort of mechanical, automatic, relentlessly self-validating-pep-talk, that tends to distinguish, say, champion professional athletes from talented amateurs.

And it even keeps your enemies that much more uncertain.

Basically, narcissism as a strategy can be pretty great... until what you're doing stops working. The thing is, if what you're really good at is telling yourself, and those around you, that you're really really good, course correction gets hard.

You might not even acknowledge the problem.

You might even accuse those acknowledging the problem of wanting you to fail... as gloom-and-doom nay-sayers who hate the shining city on the hill and want the terrorists to win.

And the biggest challenge for the US is not really any of its particular, material challenges-- racial division, the loss of its manufacturing sector, its dependence on national military might as individual ego salve, ad infinitum-- it's the fact that, culturally, we like telling ourselves and others about how we look in the mirror (Jim Crow laws sucked! See, we know that now. Take that, Old Europe!) without spending much time actually looking in the mirror.

If anything, it's American exceptionalism, and its related phenomena-- whereby, as a politician or commentator in the US, you're obligated to genuflect before America the Paragon; whereby America, like GW Bush, doesn't do nuance; whereby acknowledging the roots of problems, and consequences, and resentments, and blowback, is to "manifest" them and will more of them into being; whereby discussing festering wounds in a mature and intelligent way is simultaneously elitist and amateurish, and something no smart politician would ever do-- that's really steepening America's global dive.

Structurally, the US problem is that it has gone from propagandizing the rest of the world with Hollywood to propagandizing itself with a triumphalist media; its focus has moved from clever marketing to neurotic self-delusion.

To state the obvious, Obama's state was amazingly ballsy, by offering up the absolute minimum of USA!USA!USA! and actually drilling down a level or two-- not just X, but Why X, and Why, Why X. The explanations were the ones that everyone already knows-- but that our standard level of discourse won't accommodate.

Not Good/Bad, but Good/Failed Good Intention and Bad/Hidden Good Intention.

The revolutionary element was that he was putting this stuff in a public, political speech, and willing to assume that listeners wouldn't freak out when he invoked the "Reagan Coalition" in the context of racial resentment.

Of course, Carter's truth-telling "Malaise" speech was actually a big hit in its immediate aftermath-- but in re-runs, and in the re-telling, it became the Epitome of Un-American Defeatism.

Fortunately, Obama isn't Jimmy Carter.

A beautiful and smart, smart piece of work-- and on the narrowest and most tactical levels, I can't help but think it makes Hillary's campaign, as presently managed, look trivial by comparison (what's she going to do in response? Offer a Listening Tour or a Townhall Meeting on the glass ceiling?)-- but, great as it was on its own terms, how it'll play out within the terms of politics, after being reduced to snippets and sound bites, and framed by analysis of one bent or another, is much harder to know.

Still, lovely to see a political figure with a realistic shot at the presidency willing to Go Big, rather than just play dumb, play defense, and hunker down.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:38 PM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Obama/Dean '08
Um, wouldn't that be problematic given that Dean is going to be highly influential in the selection process?


You're allowed one guess on who led George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee.
posted by Gary at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2008


Oops, Stupid Sexy Flanders beat me to it (a while ago)
posted by Gary at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2008


You assert that with a level of conviction that does not seem to me warranted by recent history. I sure hope you're right, though.

yeah, I keep hoping that one day, I'll give people the benefit of the doubt and they'll earn it. but everyday I get a little closer to embracing the position Vonnegut embraced toward the end of his life:

Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the second world war and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2008


What saul said.

It seems like we're arguing a false dilemma: if we stay there will be more peace, but if we leave there will be chaos. I think that's what's naive - thinking that the current "peace" is sustainable. We simply cannot afford to support current troop levels &c.

Also, the Iraqi "government" has been slow to organize. At this rate there will never be an Iraqi government, just the US speaking through another puppet regime . If we put out a clear and decisive timeline I think we also outline a clear and decisive goal for Iraqi leaders.

All that said, the ABC piece is one of the sorriest examples of journalism I've ever seen.....
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2008


Bill Clinton is the reason we got George Bush the Second.

...the Democrats who screwed up the Democratic party, and let the Bush family in the White House...

You mean we're not blaming everything on Nader anymore?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:45 PM on March 19, 2008


That is a fantastic speech. If all political discourse was on this level, I could quite happily devote myself to politics and forget all about sex for the rest of my life.
posted by orange swan at 12:45 PM on March 19, 2008


it won't just go back to chaos
Go back to?

It's there now. I mean, maybe you and I are watching different wars, but, Jesus, nobody with an iota of actual clue about the situation thinks things are going anywhere but down, regardless of what we do.
posted by scrump at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2008


Propaganda-- big, glossy, better-than-true, stylized, repetitive, dumb, big, repetitive, oh, and repetitive-- is pretty much our lifesblood.
This bears repeating.
posted by Floydd at 12:52 PM on March 19, 2008


I accept all apologies from those who have accused me of the most vile of offenses. As well, my apologies to those who might have taken my words as personal insults. I wish we could all be face-to-face, so that we could see that this is all political banter, driven by a passionate belief in the candidate of our choice.

If we were all having a beer together, or a few chummy words over a cup of tea, we would be able to become far more animated in our language - even peppered by a few friendly FU's, and just laugh about it.

Online communication often appear far more harsh than the intentions behind it.

That said, I'm a moderate liberal, and have watched for oyears as the left-liberal wing of the Democratic party has manipulated (that's the way I se it) the most unfortunate part of its support base for votes, only to leave them high and dry on legislative matters - even when the Democrats enjoyed majorities.

Like them or not, the reason that the GOP *viscerally* hates the Clintons is because their stance on policy is right down the middle, and occasionally right-leaning. I have trouble with the latter.

For instance, I was not happy about NAFTA, and the fact that Bill Clinton gave out more corporate welfare than the last three GOP presidents, combined.

I am not happy with Hillary's early vote for the war, either. She has also been duplicitous in certain local legislative efforts re: her own constituents.

The Clintons, and many moderate liberals, *take away* the traditional GOP talking points. They move forward, down the middle, but *leaning left*, and *get things done*. They're not revolutionary, but constantly insinuate as much of the liberal agenda into legislation and policy as is pragmatically possible.

Do you think that the GOP was happy about Bill Clinton - a Democrat - balancing the budget? That a traditional *GOP* talking point.

What really bothers me about his race is that Obama - a good man - has been pushed forward as something akin to a saint, without flaws. Clinton has been taking it on the chin from the GOP and the left part of her own party. These are the people (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc. etc.) that have been screwing with far left liberal agendas that cause backlash, and result - in the long run - in all of us having to deal with the likes of Bush and his sad little band of shoot-em-in-the-face-neocons.

What frustrates me about Obama is that he's *not at all, at base, in his policy, or policy advisement* what he says he is. He's a pure centrist and pragmatist. There is something I find irksome about his oratory, which professes a kind of MLK-lite, and the disconnect I've seen from his actual *work* in the Senate, and prior to the Senate.

Obama, in other words, is JUST as cynical as Hillary Clinton.

I know Hillary Clinton's record, and have a feeling about what she will do on certain issues. I know that she will occasionally disappoint me. Not so for Obama. I simply don't know where he stands, because all I see is a fancy website that has Camelot-like talking points, and speeches that move people (me, included).

I have a strong intuitive sense that Obama, if he gets the Dem nod, will spend the better part of the election being savaged by the GOP attack machine. Obama, from what I've seen, is NOT good on defense.

What's going to happen when the most vile stuff comes forward?

Also, about his wins in red states. So what that he has brought new voters to those states; those voters are STILL outnumbered 6-1 by GOP voters (form what used to be 10-1, before Obama).

I do NOT want McCain in office, but I think that's what will happen if Hillary doesn't go to the general election. She has WON against the GOP attack machine time, and again. She's a known quantity.

Who cares what the polls say about McCain-Obama (with Obama winning)) BEFORE Obama gets savaged by the GOP attackers.

Remember how everyone thought that Gore was a slam dunk against Bush. they thought the same thing about Kerry, too.

McCain, like Bush, is RESONATES WITH THE LITTLE GUY. Obama resonates mostly with youth and upper middle income professionals. the little guys far outnumber the latter two groups.

Aside from all that, Hillary Clinton is, I believe, as visionary as Obama, and given a chance to put into action the ideas she has espoused in her writings,, and other causes championed over the years, could well make the best President we've seen in the last 50 years.

Last, what about the "gender card". I NEVER see the press talking about the hit that Hillary has taken in the polls from white men, of all persuasions. Think about that, and why we haven't seen essay after essay written about that?

I hope Hillary scraps it out to the very end, and the Supers see the things that I've been talking about. Hillary needs to be the one - otherwise I fear we may see another GOP president.
posted by MetaMan at 12:52 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama, from what I've seen, is NOT good on defense.

Pay close attention: This very speech was an act of political defense. This is what it looks like -- not crocodile tears, not hyperbolic shrieking, not thinly veiled (and NOT so thinly veiled) race baiting. The best defense makes it look like you're not on the defensive. Hillary defends herself about as poorly as any politician ever has.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:03 PM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Black Guy Asks Nation For Change.
posted by Huplescat at 1:04 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think you make some excellent points, MetaMan, and I respect your view of Hillary even though I might not see what you see. But on this:

Hillary needs to be the one - otherwise I fear we may see another GOP president.

I think you're dead wrong. I think that only Hillary can mobilize the GOP base to come out in numbers to vote for McCain, in a way that McCain working by himself, cannot. The RR thinks that she's the living embodiment of the antichrist (fer chrissakes) and she's a symbol for everything talk radio hates about the left (even though, I agree, she is a centrist).

I think Obama is seen as religious/moral, has mainstream appeal, a lack of track record in the Senate on controversial issues and eloquent enough to convince the right wing base to stay at home on election day. Anecdotally, at least he has even won over a few of my moderate Republican friends.
posted by psmealey at 1:06 PM on March 19, 2008


uh, slap factory--obama quite explicitly says in his speech that such contradictions exist in his feelings about his pastor and he connects those contradictions to the fabric of racial issues in america more generally. for some commentator to point them out as if they weren't an explicit part of the message seems kind of--well, embarrassing for the commentator, actually.

Saulgoodman: Did you read the article? It is about a different kind of contradiction. Not about a "contradiction in feelings," but a factual contradiction between Senator Obama's earlier denials that he had ever heard Reverend Wright make the statements that he now denounces and the admissions in his speech that he was aware of them.

Maybe this is "old politics" and the story is wrong to point out that Senator Obama's story is not completely consistent in the context of such a glorious moment in history. Or maybe Senator Obama is using lofty rhetoric to distract from very specific, basic issues.
posted by Slap Factory at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2008


Does no one else think that Obama is going to have a problem with running on a platform of constant and immediate troop withdrawal from Day 1 when he is running against a hawk like McCain?

No. According to a CNN poll this week, 61% think "the next president should remove most U.S. troops from Iraq 'within a few months of taking office.'"
posted by kirkaracha at 1:10 PM on March 19, 2008


Last, what about the "gender card". I NEVER see the press talking about the hit that Hillary has taken in the polls from white men, of all persuasions. Think about that, and why we haven't seen essay after essay written about that?

I take it you don't read the NYT. Earlier, that is a few weeks ago they ran a number of essays and articles about gender issues with regard to Clinton. Also, when racial language creeps into the current discourse the NYT and other organizations have tried hard to equivocate the race and gender issues.

I think that one of the main reasons gender isn't getting as much coverage and discussion as race is Clinton herself. Her campaign, directly and through proxies, has continuously made race an issue. Have any high ranking politicians or democratic officials questioned whether or not America is ready for a woman president? Are working class whites ready for a woman president?

It's her own failed attempt to smear Obama blowing back at her, otherwise there might have been a broader discussion about gender.


Oh, and on the experience issue, I'm not sure what experiences Clinton is really talking about, other than her experiences of making votes and forming policies that many, many democrats disagree with (War? Health Care?) Besides, after make "experience" the cornerstone of her primary campaign, she will have to completely shift gears to run her presidential campaign. I have no idea what she will decide her position on the war, the economy or health care will be against McCain. Clinton is a politician first - that is her experience, and a leader afterward....

Which is to say not a leader at all.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2008


What frustrates me about Obama is that he's *not at all, at base, in his policy, or policy advisement* what he says he is. He's a pure centrist and pragmatist. There is something I find irksome about his oratory, which professes a kind of MLK-lite, and the disconnect I've seen from his actual *work* in the Senate, and prior to the Senate.

Amen (no pun intended). I support Obama, voted for him in the primaries, and plan to vote for him again. And I disagree with you: I think he can beta McCain easily, although Hillary can beat him too.

But I have a strong adverse reaction to the deification of Obama because the substance just isn't there, not yet anyway.

This speech is not "one for the history books." not even close. No one will be quoting it in 100 years, or ten, or probably one. It's a fairly well written piece, and seems to be succeeding at its intended purpose: damage control. but:

You know when you go to see a band in a club? And they're pretty good. Then you see their 20 hardcore fans clustered around the stage- the ones who know all the words and go to every show. They're up there screaming like its the Beatles, even for the band's worst songs. And you start to turn against the band a little bit- not because they're BAD, but because the reaction is so out of proportion to reality, it's alienating.

This is kind of like that.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:17 PM on March 19, 2008


Think about that, and why we haven't seen essay after essay written about that?

There's an entire book about it.
posted by drezdn at 1:20 PM on March 19, 2008


I must be missing something about Obama. He is not inspiring, talks like a robot most of the time and doesn't really say anything. I guess most of it is image based idol worship.

I suspect his political fall will be very hard on those who worship him. The cognitive dissonance will be interesting to observe.

In any case he will be our next president.
posted by tarvuz at 1:24 PM on March 19, 2008


Saulgoodman: Did you read the article? It is about a different kind of contradiction. Not about a "contradiction in feelings," but a factual contradiction between Senator Obama's earlier denials that he had ever heard Reverend Wright make the statements that he now denounces and the admissions in his speech that he was aware of them.

Yep. I had an itchy trigger finger at first (confused the ABC piece with one I recently read in Slate so I thought I'd already read it). But I responded to the main points raised in the article here and here. The long and short of it? The ABC article is still crap.

I hope Hillary scraps it out to the very end, and the Supers see the things that I've been talking about. Hillary needs to be the one - otherwise I fear we may see another GOP president.

If Hillary "scraps it out to the end," we're more likely to see a GOP president. Even if the GOP can't actually win fair and square, they'll have established a plausible enough story line for fudging the election results and pacifying people into accepting the outcome. If we block international election observers again this time, there'll be plenty of reason to suspect shenanigans. We might look to ChoicePoint and others to explain why it is that elections in which they're involved in any way, both here and abroad, inevitably end up swinging to the right. If you are genuinely progressive in any sense of the term, it would be wise, IMO, not to ever seriously admit the possibility of the dem's losing the election at this point. There's no benefit whatsoever to allowing the idea that such an outcome is even remotely plausible to take hold in popular consciousness if you have a stake in this election. I for one will not recognize any outcome that puts the GOP back in the White House as legitimate.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:26 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here are the lyrics to the Why should god bless America song sung at the 2007 "values voters summit". They didn't actually sing "God damn America" like I remembered, but here's a sample:
In ‘73 the Courts said we
Could take the unborn lives
The choice is yours don’t worry now
It’s not a wrong, it’s your right

But just because they made it law
Does not change God’s command
The most that we can hope for is
God’s mercy on our land
posted by delmoi at 1:27 PM on March 19, 2008


Last, what about the "gender card". I NEVER see the press talking about the hit that Hillary has taken in the polls from white men, of all persuasions. Think about that, and why we haven't seen essay after essay written about that?

Or conversely, the hit Obama takes from Women, who make up a majority of democratic voters. They are much less likely to vote for him. So it's not a one-way street here.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on March 19, 2008


If Obama is not the nominee, will there be a viable 3rd party nominee? No. And if there were one, it would only divide the democratic vote further (a la Nader). If Obama is not the nominee, will he be gracious in his concession and support HRC? Yes. Is Hillary's only chance at winning the nomination waiting for a convention fight in August? Yes.
posted by mattbucher at 2:02 PM on March 19, 2008


That said, I'm a moderate liberal, and have watched for oyears as the left-liberal wing of the Democratic party has manipulated (that's the way I se it) the most unfortunate part of its support base for votes, only to leave them high and dry on legislative matters - even when the Democrats enjoyed majorities.

Uh, where have you been? That's how the GOP has stayed in power, too -- pandering to the social conservatives and throwing them a bone or a judge every once in a while, but always keeping the prize as a carrot on a stick. If you give us a GOP Congress, we'll ban abortion. If you give us a GOP Congress and a GOP president, we'll ban abortion. If you give us a GOP Congress and a GOP President for two terms, we'll ban abortion. Just you wait, we'll load up that court with conservatives soon enough. Oh, I know it's taken 30 years but we're only halfway there, can't let those babykilling Dems in, you know you can't trust them....

And that's been the status quo on BOTH sides. Let's live in fear of what They will bring. They will Ban The Bible and make Your Children into Gay Muslim Witches. They will Force You To Convert and make Your Children into Unthinking Automatons.

What does Hillary offer for that? As far as I see, nothing. In fact, it feels like Bill Part 3 -- we're going to have another four years of the 90s with GOP blowhards making money hand over fist over "Billary" and her "murderous Communist ways." Might as well get the backhoe over to Vince Foster's grave because that will certainly need digging up.

The Clintons, and many moderate liberals, *take away* the traditional GOP talking points.

They take them away because they ARE GOP talking points. What frustrated Gingrich was that Clinton stole his script. And honestly, Clinton was closer to a classical conservative Southern Democrat than anything else. But I don't get the sense that's the direction we need to be going in. If anything, the last year is starting to repudiate some of Clinton's script-stealing, esp. repealing Glass-Steagall.

What really bothers me about his race is that Obama - a good man - has been pushed forward as something akin to a saint, without flaws. Clinton has been taking it on the chin from the GOP and the left part of her own party.

Well, he is invoking passion. Clinton, honestly, doesn't.

These are the people (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc. etc.) that have been screwing with far left liberal agendas that cause backlash, and result - in the long run - in all of us having to deal with the likes of Bush and his sad little band of shoot-em-in-the-face-neocons.

So, what you're saying is that the problem here is those East Coast Establishment Liberals who are trying to Take Away Our Guns. Are you reading from the correct script?

Hillary's problem coming in was acting like this was just like when Bill ran, and she's run Bill's campaign -- an establishment campaign that relies on big donors and assumes that people will welcome her with sweets and flowers.

What happened was McCain-Feingold. What happened was Obama's people salvaging what worked in Dean's campaign and putting it to use in 2008. What happened was Obama understanding Dean's 50 State Strategy and putting it to use.

What happened was the Obama campaign running circles around the Clinton campaign for six weeks.

What happened was the Clinton campaign believing their own bullshit, and then getting pissed off everyone else didn't.

Clinton's campaign has been a failure so far. Not as monumental as Giuliani's $50M a delegate campaign, but definitely a failure. She's still in because the Establishment is keeping her in. But if it's 50/50 in PA, it's over.

I have a strong intuitive sense that Obama, if he gets the Dem nod, will spend the better part of the election being savaged by the GOP attack machine. Obama, from what I've seen, is NOT good on defense.

I have a sense that the GOP won't have to do much with Hillary. The narrative is already established.

My family in Oklahoma will vote for Obama. They won't for Hillary. Why? They know the "Billary" narrative by heart. They know her. They don't want her. And when you talk to people in the middle of this country, you'll find the same response. If Obama can get over the "Muslim" stuff, the middle of the country will listen to him. That may swing Missouri. Or Iowa. Or New Mexico. Or Colorado.

But Hillary on the ticket, the chances you'll swing those formerly blue states back diminishes greatly.

Also, about his wins in red states. So what that he has brought new voters to those states; those voters are STILL outnumbered 6-1 by GOP voters (form what used to be 10-1, before Obama).

I think that's pretty irrelevant, honestly. If this logic is correct, it suggests that the normally blue states will stay home or flock in droves to McCain. You really think New York will do that? Massachusetts?

I do NOT want McCain in office, but I think that's what will happen if Hillary doesn't go to the general election. She has WON against the GOP attack machine time, and again. She's a known quantity.

And that's why she's going to lose the South, maybe even Arkansas.

Remember how everyone thought that Gore was a slam dunk against Bush. they thought the same thing about Kerry, too.

Gore's problem was Clinton. Kerry's problem was the problem of the Establishment filled with Baby Boomers believing they could throw a Vietnam War Vet -- one of THEIR PEOPLE -- on the ballot and that would fix everything. But Kerry was dead in the water before the Swift Boat stuff. It was like watching a 2x4 run for election.

Kerry was the Democrats' Bob Dole. A war vet who was nominated because it was "his turn." And that fell apart fast.

And back on Gore for a second -- he's now a star because he's been able to stay above the fray in defeat and separate himself from the Clintons. I think Monica is going to play a huge role in this election if Hillary is nominated. A lot of Dems felt like the party paid dearly for Bill's inability to keep his pants on, and a lot of folks in the middle of this country think Hillary is only still married to her because she's riding on his fumes.

McCain, like Bush, is RESONATES WITH THE LITTLE GUY. Obama resonates mostly with youth and upper middle income professionals. the little guys far outnumber the latter two groups.

Well, Obama has some time to figure that out. McCain resonates with white men more than anything else. Even then, the GOP rank-and-file are still really unsure of him. They feel like he threw the party under the bus with McCain-Feingold and the Group of 14.

Aside from all that, Hillary Clinton is, I believe, as visionary as Obama, and given a chance to put into action the ideas she has espoused in her writings,, and other causes championed over the years, could well make the best President we've seen in the last 50 years.

I believe Hillary Clinton is a cold, manipulating Establishment politician who would feed Chelsea to a pack of ravenous wildebeests if a superdelegate asked her to. She's a brutal politician that will restore the Clinton era. But right now, I'm not sure if bringing back Bill is the right solution. A decade on, we need someone who can rebuild this country from eight long years of war, recession, and misery. Maybe the Bill and Hillary Show can do that. But her campaign has shown that she wants to rely on her experience to solve these problems, and these problems aren't the ones her husband faced in 1993.

Do I think Obama can do it? I'm not completely sure. But I'm willing to give it a try. He reminds me of Bill Clinton, too, but the parts of Clinton I loved -- smart, pragmatic, coalition-building, relying on smart and savvy people to make the right decisions. I kinda feel the same way about McCain. Hillary, not so much.

Last, what about the "gender card". I NEVER see the press talking about the hit that Hillary has taken in the polls from white men, of all persuasions. Think about that, and why we haven't seen essay after essay written about that?

You do see them. You're just not looking for them. They're mostly written by Second Wave Feminists who seem to think anti-Clinton == anti-woman. And if Hillary wins the nomination, you'll see more of them. Because, honestly, Hillary is going to struggle mightily with the white male vote, even more than Obama. I think this is why you're seeing this feminist slant on the topic -- to remind women it's their "duty" to vote for her, and doing otherwise would betray their X chromosome.
posted by dw at 2:05 PM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Anyone seen the Obama headline on Fox news?

"Obama get Panther OK"

"Day after Obama delivers his race speech, an unasked for endorsement from New Black Panthers remains on his blog."

Sadly, I doubt this speech will change anything.
posted by batou_ at 2:22 PM on March 19, 2008


Instead of picking a candidate based on what they have to say, shouldn't we be more interested in the people that are likely to form their cabinets? I mean, what if Obama wants Secretary of State Oprah?
posted by illiad at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2008


I tried reading the speech in my head using George Bush's voice.

I think that when you're parched and in the desert, when you finally get something to drink, it seems like a golden elixir.

And, oh, what we've had for the past seven years!
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2008


empath writes "I'm not sure why this is, but I find myself intensely disliking people that nitpick Obama speeches. I feel like it tells me everything I need to know about them, that they're kind of person that could read or watch a speech like that and then focus on trivialities just to tear the man down."

empath, I think this is an example of something called negative-affect override. [One tends to learn about these things in marriage counseling.] Once your balance of feeling toward someone has tipped to the negative side of some threshold, you are predisposed to see only negative aspects in their actions and ignore their positive qualities. It just seems to be the way we're wired. It goes the other way too ... if you have a net-positive emotional balance with someone, you tend to give them a pass on the occasional negative action.

I'm afraid I have a bit of a negative-affect override with Hillary Clinton, myself. Something about her reminds me of my ex-wife [who is extraordinarily intelligent and efficient and has made incredible strides in an intensely male-dominated field, by the way]. It's just this look she gets ... like that pause when she said "as far as I know." She ought to be thinking of the best interests of the country, and not be trying to win at all costs.
posted by Araucaria at 2:36 PM on March 19, 2008


dw, good post. I don't agree with most of it, however. This is what a makes democracy great - that people can debate differences and still not hate each other (almost, anyway :).

I remain a Hillary fan; I know she's cynical, but so is Obama - it's just that he hasn't been around long enough for people to notice.

One thing for sure - whoever wins is going to be gone in 2012. America is in deep trouble, and Americans are really good at blaming their politicians for that trouble.

The next four years will be dealing with 1) the war; 2) tax reform; and 3) social security reform as baby boomer retirement hits critical mass. Along with that, America will continue to lose hegemony, causing a lot of displacement in this country.

If Obama gets in as a far left Dem (which is how he's perceived, and sells himself) , watch for a backlash return to hard-nosed neocons or mindless ultra-conservatives, who by that time will be using Obama's promising rhetoric against him.

I'm far more comfortable with a moderate liberal in office; one who honestly professes to be as such, instead ofo someone who is using the far left message of hope to gain office, as he takes advice from some of the most cynical centrist advisors we've seen to date.

We haven't seen what Obama is really all about. It's my dervent hope that we never will, in the Presidency, anyway.
posted by MetaMan at 2:37 PM on March 19, 2008


I think we need to stop worrying about what Fox News is going to say. Fuck Fox News. They're the enemy.
posted by empath at 2:42 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's my (late) thoughts on the speech, sorry if this has been said better elsewhere.

I think he has the unique perspective on race and division that comes from someone who was stuck between disparate cultures while growing up, and not really fitting in anywhere or having a home team to root for, and relating to little bits of everything he sees, picking and choosing things here and there to grasp on to. I can understand that, because I did the same thing growing up. And it's the same thing I've seen from other friends and relatives who grew up mixed or as the sons and daughters of immigrants. And the best conclusion someone in Obama's shoes can come to is: I won't let race or tradition define me. Because how can it define me, when my very existence transcends the binary perspective? Culturally and racially I exist nowhere and everywhere. So I'll just be a human being. That thought process can also lead to a very special empathy and compassion for "the Other." (I mean "Other" as broadly as possible, including "white majority" from the perspective of a minority.) It's the kind of thing that leads you to say "I don't agree with that racially-charged remark, but I understand it, and I even see a little of myself in that person."

This kind of stuff has been on my mind for a while, since I believe that dualism and the illusion of binary structure is the cause of most of, if not all of, our problems in this world. And this speech might be one of the first times in my lifetime a call for the rejection of the binary (as well as a clear disregard for the "sound bite culture" of our media which values simplistic thinking) has captured the national attention, if momentarily. Not just in race, but he's also touched upon this in terms of politics, religion, gender, and other areas of life. So this speech isn't just political expediency, and it isn't simply "we gotta unite, dude" but it's something much more nuanced and profound. And it goes to the heart of what "change" and "hope" embody in his campaign beyond mere rhetoric. In my opinion anyway.
posted by naju at 2:45 PM on March 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Another thing that bothers me about Clinton is that she seems willing to accept tainted support:

* With McCain nearly a sure thing, there were probably Republican crossovers voting for her in Ohio and Texas.
* The same thing is even more likely to occur in Pennsylvania
* She signed a pledge with the party to neither campaign nor file in Florida and Michigan. I understand that she filed early, so she was already on the ballot by the time she signed that pledge. But she has shown that she is willing to change the rules of the game, her own statements, in fact, if it will increase her chances of getting elected.

I don't happen to like two-party dominance, and I don't agree with many aspects of the way the Democratic Party is organized. But it has the right to plainly state its rules in advance of the contest, and candidates who wish to receive its imprimatur should abide by those rules.
posted by Araucaria at 2:50 PM on March 19, 2008


I suspect his political fall will be very hard on those who worship him. The cognitive dissonance will be interesting to observe.

What's more interesting is to see how deeply the "worshiping" "cultist" meme has taken hold. Anybody who gets excited about a candidate now is "worshiping" that candidate? That's about as clever as FOX meming Clinton as a socialist. Cognitive dissonance? Please. Look to your own meme stained brain before you start throwing around big psychological terms, professor!
posted by sic at 2:55 PM on March 19, 2008


She reminds you of Imelda Marcos now because you ran out of other names to call her, I guess. Oh, there was "squawking chicken" after that.

I don't think I called her a squawking chicken. Did I? But I like it. It has a certain ring to it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:56 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan: I had earlier dismissed you as a troll, but your last two posts have been level-headed and at least not laughably illogical. I hope you will continue to make your case in such a coherent way. That said, I disagree with many of your points and I think your assessment of electoral dynamics is flawed, but I can at least see where you're coming from now.

I will leave the point-by-point refutation to others, but I will say this: I am willing to bet you that despite your most "dervent" hopes, a) Barack Obama will be our next president, and b) he will serve two terms.
posted by aqhong at 2:57 PM on March 19, 2008


Will guys just ignore this metman dude for fuck sake. He's trolling. Just ignore it.
posted by tkchrist at 3:00 PM on March 19, 2008


According to a CNN poll this week, 61% think "the next president should remove most U.S. troops from Iraq 'within a few months of taking office.

Okay. Ask that same question with "even if that means the complete destabilization of Iraq" tacked on at the end, which is the way McCain and Co. will spin it once the real election campaign has started, and let's see what happens to those numbers. Sure everyone wants our troops to come home ... until you explain what the consequences are. That's why the surge became popular. If McCain spins Obama's position as deserting freedom-loving but ill-equipped Iraquis and a subsequent loss of the "war" -- I believe that the reaction at the polls will be OH NOES, THAT'S NOT WHAT WE MEANT!
posted by onlyconnect at 3:00 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had earlier dismissed you as a troll,

And you had it right. He's gaming you.
posted by tkchrist at 3:01 PM on March 19, 2008


batou_ writes "Sadly, I doubt this speech will change anything."

... on Fox News. But nothing on Fox News will change unless Murdoch says so. Remember, this is the man who bought the NY Post and took it to new depths. I'm not sure what the point is referring to Fox News as a barometer in the Democratic primaries, or any of Murdoch's media organs, which are nothing if not predictable.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:07 PM on March 19, 2008


Okay. Ask that same question with "even if that means the complete destabilization of Iraq" tacked on at the end, which is the way McCain and Co. will spin it once the real election campaign has started,

Which is easy to refute with actual facts. As in Iraq is ALREADY destabalized.

And gee.

What is the singular factor between the more or less oppressed but stable Iraq of 2002 and the cluster fuck Iraq of 2008? Hmmmm. What was that difference?

Oh yeah. We frigg'n invaded it and destroyed the place.

But sure. Facts don't always mean much to the average dip shit out there.
posted by tkchrist at 3:07 PM on March 19, 2008


If Obama gets in as a far left Dem (which is how he's perceived, and sells himself)

Oh, Jesus Christ. "Far left Dem"? I must have missed the Che Guevara references in his speech from earlier today.
posted by psmealey at 3:09 PM on March 19, 2008


These are the people (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc. etc.) that have been screwing with far left liberal agendas that cause backlash

It's amazing what goes for "far left" in the united states. From my perspective, there is no left wing in the US, not one with any power or politicians (other than possibly Kucinich, I'm told).
posted by Hildegarde at 3:15 PM on March 19, 2008


Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war... testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate... we cannot consecrate... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be here dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom... and that this government of the people... by the people... for the people... shall not perish from the earth.


November 19, 1863
Well, since we're comparing.
posted by zennie at 3:20 PM on March 19, 2008


Which is easy to refute with actual facts. As in Iraq is ALREADY destabalized.

I don't think the majority of Americans accept that Iraq is a lost cause that we should leave in chaos and damn the consequences. I think that many or most people are like me -- people who think we should not have gone, but now that we're here we should try to get things to as stable a position as possible before we flee. Because it's the right thing to do given the turmoil that we have caused.

A candidate who says that he is setting up predictable timetables for monthly withdrawals, regardless of conditions on the ground, apparently based on the hope and belief that Iraquis will now realize it's their responsibility to defend themselves and they'd better get their act together asap, in my estimation will get creamed by a war hero who supported a surge that has been very popular. Talk about the audacity of hope. I like Obama, but this position does not fly with me and I think it could play very badly for him against McCain.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:21 PM on March 19, 2008


A conservative friend has just emailed me his reaction: "He's certainly also an admirable individual and attractive in some respects. . . . The speech looks good at first instance, and may have sounded good when first heard, but there are a number of parts of it that don't stand up well to closer scrutiny, such as the attempt to draw a relative comparison between the egregious and odious statements of his pastor and his grandmother's milder concerns."

I emailed him back some historical context for Wright (Tuskegee syphilis experiments re the HIV paranoia) and added that unless he's seen videos of Obama's grandmother uttering her "racial and ethnic stereotypes," he's got no basis for judging those utterances as "milder" than what he's viewed Wright say in non-stop contextless sound bites.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:26 PM on March 19, 2008


I don't think the majority of Americans accept that Iraq is a lost cause....

Only those that don't read books, newspapers, listen to the radio, or watch television news. In other words: swing voters.

Ok, unfair. But as for leaving Iraq in chaos and damning the consequences... I'm not yet read up on today's speech, but does that accurately represent Obama's viewpoint? I'm a bit skeptical of your precis, but will reserve judgment until I read it.
posted by psmealey at 3:27 PM on March 19, 2008


onlyconnect writes "That's why the surge became popular. If McCain spins Obama's position as deserting freedom-loving but ill-equipped Iraquis and a subsequent loss of the 'war' -- I believe that the reaction at the polls will be OH NOES, THAT'S NOT WHAT WE MEANT!"

Well, the other side of that is that the economy is a bigger issue than the war, and the war is costing us dearly. If it's framed as, we can keep fighting this war, and you'll be paying for it and so will your grandchildren, then the (false) issue of stabilization doesn't seem so important. Besides, Obama has said repeatedly that he wants to withdraw, but that we should get out of Iraq as carefully as we did getting in carelessly. IOW, we shouldn't rush plans getting out, because that's obviously not served us well going in. I don't think it's a difficult argument to refute. Just ask McCain: How are you going to pay for it?
posted by krinklyfig at 3:32 PM on March 19, 2008


psmealey, I was responding to tkchrist, who implied that it would be no big deal if we left Iraq in a destabilized condition because Iraq is already currently destabilized. Though I actually do think that following this plan of removing 1-2 combat brigades per month as soon as Obama hits office would result in chaos, especially because the insurgent forces will now KNOW that our plan is immediate and steady withdrawal. "Make yourselves at home, guys, we're just leaving."
posted by onlyconnect at 3:40 PM on March 19, 2008


zennie: Well, since we're comparing.

Huh, that's not the Gettysburg Address I know. (self-link)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:41 PM on March 19, 2008


onlyconnect writes "especially because the insurgent forces will now KNOW that our plan is immediate and steady withdrawal. 'Make yourselves at home, guys, we're just leaving.'"

That's a false dilemma. We obviously cannot stay indefinitely (we really can't afford to stay much longer, and our military is stretched beyond what it can do with available troops), and our presence is adding to the destabilization, not improving it. How are we going to end this, anyway? By "secretly" moving troops out until someone notices we're not there anymore?
posted by krinklyfig at 3:48 PM on March 19, 2008


onlyconnect you simply do not get it.

The underlying and fundamental cause of this destabilization in Iraq is US.

Yes thing s will explode when we leave. Things will explode if we stay. And it will keep exploding as long as we are there. We will only make things worse.

But things will stand a much better chance to stabilize with us gone. We are the scab pickers. We are the burr under the saddle.

Unless of course we install another Saddam. Which is what McCain and Bush et al are going to end up doing if they actually expect to leave at all.

With us gone a slightly more legitimate dictatorial regime may evolve under the sovereign power of Iraq. And as imperfect as that is it is going to last longer than anything we install and try to maintain remotely.
posted by tkchrist at 3:51 PM on March 19, 2008


psmealey, I was responding to tkchrist, who implied that it would be no big deal if we left Iraq in a destabilized condition because Iraq is already currently destabilized.

No big deal? I implied no such thing.

That kool aid must be sweet. You may want sip slower. Stains the lips purple, you know.

Anyhoo.
Warp factor "moving on."
Shields on.
Phasers set to "ignore."
posted by tkchrist at 3:55 PM on March 19, 2008


Well, the other side of that is that the economy is a bigger issue than the war, and the war is costing us dearly. If it's framed as, we can keep fighting this war, and you'll be paying for it and so will your grandchildren, then the (false) issue of stabilization doesn't seem so important.

You've got it right, kf... the majority of Americans are not going to want us to "lose" the "War on Terror", pull out our troops and "destabilize" Iraq. But if someone (like Obama) can get it into their idiot skulls that if we stay the resultant financial effects will give them the ass-rapin' of a lifetime... well then, at that point, the Iraqi's can fucking jump off a cliff as far as they care.
posted by BobFrapples at 3:59 PM on March 19, 2008


Surely this is the Gettysburg Address for our times.
posted by Rumple at 4:01 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


spiderwire: It was a rhetorical question, but thanks for the link to that Gore speech; it's great. If only he hadn't come across as such a stiff in 2000. If only...
posted by aqhong at 4:05 PM on March 19, 2008


BobFrapples writes "well then, at that point, the Iraqi's can fucking jump off a cliff as far as they care."

Eh, well, that's not going to go over too well, either, but we can't bear the cost for years more of occupation while waiting for things to stabilize. And at some point, we have to deal with the economic and military realities, and that point has already arrived, but Bush is trying to foist this off on the next president. But, you know, "screw the Iraqis" isn't going to rally too many people ...
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on March 19, 2008


Just ask McCain: How are you going to pay for it?

imho, after 9/11 for the foreseeable future, national security is always going to win over the economy. If Americans see our precipitious withdrawal from Iraq as creating an increased likelihood of terrorism at home (and I believe they do), the economy won't control their vote. Isn't that basically how Bush got a second term? He wasn't that great and the economy was already hitting the toilet, but folks didn't think the swiftboated Kerry would make a strong commander in chief. (Perhaps likeability also played a factor but I never found Bush likeable.)

tkchrist, I understand what you're saying. What I'm saying is that I don't think most Americans would agree with you that there is nothing we can do to prevent Iraq from exploding after we leave. We're an optimistic bunch of fools who think we can fix things. We want to believe we can make things better. So when McCain explains the consequences of Obama's position on withdrawal to America during the election campaign, people are not going to say, "Oh yes, I realize we messed things up over there and we're just making it worse, so let's just wash our hands of it and come home." They will say, "what should we do then to make sure that we don't leave things in total chaos?" And McCain will say we should stay just a little longer to "get things under control" before we leave, and not take this drastic, naive step Obama suggests. And people are going to believe him, because they don't want to accept that we can't fix the mess we made.

I don't know whether or not you're right, and the mess we made is unfixable. Maybe so. But that's not the point. People don't want to believe that it's unfixable, and McCain will present them with a happy sounding alternative and will make Obama's position sound scary and inexperienced.

And sorry for all the comments; I will leave this thread for a while now. Also, I'm not intending to personally attack anyone here. I'm arguing with all sincerity and don't really grok the kool aid insults, but whatever I can take it I guess.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:08 PM on March 19, 2008


tkchrist: Will guys just ignore this metman dude for fuck sake. He's trolling.

Pot, meet kettle. Nice way to chill interaction with someone you disagree with. Perhaps reading up on your namesake will help?
posted by MetaMan at 4:11 PM on March 19, 2008


imho, after 9/11 for the foreseeable future, national security is always going to win over the economy.

What if the two are linked? The Iraq war has made our nation LESS secure in a hundred ways, but in an obvious enough way by costing us what many predict will be more than two trillion dollars.

Think of the security that could have purchased. To say nothing of the hatred we've stoked and all the "security" concerns that has engendered.

I am so tired of these false dichotomies, arguing on the terrain of the right all the time. They lie, then they lie about lying, and then they lie about the lies they told us about lying until people start to believe that the truth is whatever bullshit Wolf Blitzer repeats often enough on behalf of Dick Cheney.

And then you go and repeat it here on metafilter, where some people are smart enough to remember that it is still a lie.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:15 PM on March 19, 2008


No, you are not "interacting".
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on March 19, 2008


Which is easy to refute with actual facts. As in Iraq is ALREADY destabalized.

I don't think it will be as easy to refute as you seem to think. You are already convinced of one side of the argument - maybe you were sure about it from the start. But Iraq is more stable now than it was a year ago (as touched on above), and a lot of Americans had mixed feelings about the war...

Remember that American opinions are fickle. In May 2003 "A Gallup poll made on behalf of CNN and the newspaper USA Today concluded that 79% of Americans thought the Iraq War was justified, with or without conclusive evidence of illegal weapons. 19% thought weapons were needed to justify the war." Right now, people are feeling against it, because it seems to be a mess, and they kind of wish we'd never got mixed up in it. But if things started going well, and a new government began to get implemented, and eventually a real democracy was set up, then yes, people would switch back to supporting the war, no doubt.

The American Civil War had enormous casualties, but history thinks Lincoln did the right thing by holding fast. We can't just say that holding fast when there are casualties is the wrong answer. So if McCain frames this as Iraqis living in bondage, and us ditching them because we don't have the time or money to deal with their problems, even though we started it, it could very well be tough for Obama to make his plan sound good. People want for the war to never have happened, but no one can do that.

Being "anti-war" is fine, but he has to explain how cutting forces in Iraq is going to work for them, or it is just going to look like "well, that was bush's fuck up, it's not my fault, have a fun civil war guys! see ya." Some portion of Americans may not care, but McCain will surely make it an issue, and if he manages to make it personal & bring it home, some will care, and will think the Obama position is too flippant and inexperienced.
posted by mdn at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what would be really amazing?

If Hillary and Bill Clinton came out tomorrow and said, "I was hoping to be a part of history and be the first female U.S. president, but I have to put my desires aside for the good of this country. I have become convinced that this nation needs Barack Obama as it's President, and today I'm withdrawing my candidacy and asking all of my delegates to support him."

OK. So that's not going to happen.
posted by spock at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2008


Long Bet: We see multiple installments of presidents for the next three elections, at least - i.e. no repeaters for the next three elections *after* 2008.
posted by MetaMan at 4:18 PM on March 19, 2008


Which is to say, and I hope Obama repeats it all the way to the white house: the Iraq war has made the USA less secure.

And Hillary Clinton voted for it, as did John McCain.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:18 PM on March 19, 2008


well then, at that point, the Iraqi's can fucking jump off a cliff as far as they care.

Close.

The average American, the ones who care about staying in Iraq, anyway, couldn't give two shits about the Iraqi people.

They didn't give two shits when we left the Iraqi's high and dry after the first gulf war. They didn't give two shits during a decade of sanctions that starved Iraq children. The didn't give two shits while Clinton was bombing Iraq on a whim. And they didn't give two shits about us shocking and awe-ing the fuck out of innocent Iraqi women and children in 2003 based on obvious lies.

What they DO give a shit about are the most vague and most sefish of things. They are worried about the US looking like pussies to the Commie Europeans who they imagine will be laughing at us over espresso and snails. They are worried about the US looking like pussies to the imaginary James Bond Super villains and to their concocted nightmares of unstoppable unemployed Arab teenage suicide bombers that will somehow be emboldened and made 50 feet tall and able to stride the Atlantic ocean by the knowledge that America pussed out.

If Iraq 'destabilizes" with us gone it's somehow much worse than if it explodes with us piling up the corpses our selves and using them as shields. Our national prestige is at stake! Where as somehow it wasn't when we lied our way into a war, tortured innocent people, and backed out of a dozen or so treaties, etc.

For those that say we have to stay until Iraq is "fixed"... uh... what is fixed? What is winning? Nobody seems to be able to describe that scenario. Except in the most vague platitudes and generalities. Please be detailed so I will have plenty to entertain me on my ride to the gym. I love fantasy fiction.
posted by tkchrist at 4:18 PM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


No, you are not "interacting"

I see, and when, exactly, was it that you last looked in a dictionary?
posted by MetaMan at 4:21 PM on March 19, 2008




And Obama voted up $300 in war funding without a peep. Sure, he was against the war *before* coming to office, but he has been very slippery about that since coming to the Senate. He even rationalized his own *new* weaker position re: the war by at one point stating something like "I understand why these votes were made".

I still don't know where this guy lands; he's like a dandelion seed, floating this way and that, looking for a place to set down and start something.

Just look at his record and proceedings on the Exelon case. He basically said "screw you"to his ownn constituents about really shoddy practices exposed by Exelon (a nuclear power company)

posted by MetaMan at 4:26 PM on March 19, 2008


that's $300 BILLION in war funding
posted by MetaMan at 4:27 PM on March 19, 2008


But Iraq is more stable now than it was a year ago

Utter fallacious nonsense. It's a fools stability. What stability there is has very little to do with the surge. The fact is we are paying people to not attack us and we have retreated into fewer more fortified areas. That's why nobody is blowing up Americans like they were. Entire regions have been ethically cleansed. Moqtada Sadr drew a cease fire because he mostly succeed in getting everything he wanted BEFORE the surge. THATS why violence is down. The map of Iraq is now entirely drawn in sectarian lines. It virtually assures there will be a civil war if we stay.

As far as for the average Iraqi? Things are just as bad if not worse in many areas. There is still mindless violence. There are still death squads. There is just as much if not more unemployment. There are few schools. Little electricity. Oil is not pumping. Women have utterly lost their rights.

Mmmm. More stable? For who?
posted by tkchrist at 4:29 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe we could address what he actually said:

"What I propose is not – and never has been – a precipitous drawdown. It is instead a detailed and prudent plan that will end a war nearly seven years after it started.

My plan to end this war will finally put pressure on Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future. Because we’ve learned that when we tell Iraq’s leaders that we’ll stay as long as it takes, they take as long as they want. We need to send a different message. We will help Iraq reach a meaningful accord on national reconciliation. We will engage with every country in the region – and the UN – to support the stability and territorial integrity of Iraq. And we will launch a major humanitarian initiative to support Iraq’s refugees and people. But Iraqis must take responsibility for their country. It is precisely this kind of approach – an approach that puts the onus on the Iraqis, and that relies on more than just military power – that is needed to stabilize Iraq.

Let me be clear: ending this war is not going to be easy. There will be dangers involved. We will have to make tactical adjustments, listening to our commanders on the ground, to ensure that our interests in a stable Iraq are met, and to make sure that our troops are secure. "
posted by Floydd at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The underlying and fundamental cause of this destabilization in Iraq is US.

That is a nice answer, because then there is an easy solution that really makes everyone happy. However, there is zero evidence for it.

There are warring factions in this region that have been at each other's throats for decades. There was stability when they had a dictator (at least partly due to our maneuvering back when) and there was chaos when the dictator came down, and now that there is heavy police force in the region there is some stability again. If we disappear, without installing a dictator, what possible reason do you have to believe that suddenly the sunni, shia and kurds are gonna just get over their feuds and elect a leader?

We caused the destabilization in that we took down Saddam. But there's no evidence we're preventing re-stabilization by continuing to be there. Why do you suppose that if we left, Iraq would not just sink further into an endless bloody civil war?

Now, of course, the middle east has been at war in one form or another all century, and there's a sense in which it's fair to say it actually isn't our problem - we made a mistake, but we can't fix it any better than anyone else, so we have to leave sometime, kinda thing. But what I'm saying is, it will not be politically expedient to say that sort of thing, and McCain will make this into a moral issue...
posted by mdn at 4:40 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, it's a bit more polite if you do the research to back up your assertions.
I'll help you out just this once.
Obama & Exelon:
NYT
Obama's response.
posted by Floydd at 4:45 PM on March 19, 2008


I really wish people could stop calling the occupation a 'war.' Using language that is disconnected from reality is a kind of insanity.

If it was a 'war' there would be an opposing army to defeat. Disjoint groups of people who are incensed at the atrocities committed against them cannot be negotiated with or defeated, they can only be killed, whether or not they deserve to be.
posted by mullingitover at 4:46 PM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


And don't feed the trolls, please.
posted by mullingitover at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2008


And Obama voted up $300 in war funding without a peep.

"Senator Barack Obama yesterday defended his votes on behalf of funding the Iraq war, asserting that he has always made clear that he supports funding for US troops despite his consistent opposition to the war."

Really, don't be so fuckin' lazy.
posted by Floydd at 4:57 PM on March 19, 2008


I really wish people could stop calling the occupation a 'war.' Using language that is disconnected from reality is a kind of insanity.

It's taking years for "climate change" to replace "global warming" in the political vocabulary, so I wouldn't hold your breath. I think the left uses "war" because their base is traditionally very anti-war and it comes across well at rallies. They don't realize that for another large portion of the population it only seems to inspire patriotism. Where as, yes, "trillion dollar occupation" is both more accurate and less desirable to a lot more people.

And don't feed the trolls, please.

Floydd fed him the correct way, at least. Link to the best counter arguments and don't let him get under your skin. At least you can be read up on it when your right-wing blowhard neighbor starts blabbering about how Exelon is worse then a thousand Enrons, or whatever.
posted by Gary at 5:00 PM on March 19, 2008


Ask that same question with 'even if that means the complete destabilization of Iraq' tacked on at the end,

Same poll I mentioned before: "71 percent said they think U.S. spending in Iraq is a reason for the nation's poor economy" and 66 percent oppose the war.

Which is to say, and I hope Obama repeats it all the way to the white house: the Iraq war has made the USA less secure.

He did that in his Iraq speech today: "there is a security gap in this country – a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions... we have neither the strategy nor resources to deal with nearly every other national security challenge we face...What [McCain] and the Administration have failed to present is an overarching strategy: how the war in Iraq enhances our long-term security, or will in the future...the war in Iraq has done more to embolden America’s enemies than any strategic choice that we have made in decades." He makes a detailed argument that our involvement in Iraq has emboldened Iran, North Korea, the Taliban, and al Qaeda.

I think that many or most people are like me -- people who think we should not have gone, but now that we're here we should try to get things to as stable a position as possible before we flee.

How many more people have to die before you admit that's not going to work? When he announced the surge in January 2007, President Bush said that the Iraqi government would take over security in every province by November 2007. That didn't happen, and it still hasn't happened. 906 Americans have died since then, and who knows how many hundreds--maybe thousands--of Iraqis. The market where McCain made his heavily-armed victory lap last year is now unsafe for Americans. All the surge has done is reduce violence to 2005 levels, and Iraq was a disaster then. The stated purpose of the surge was to buy time for the Iraqis to reconcile politically, and General Petreus said last week, that isn't happening, either. We did try to get things to as stable a position as possible.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:02 PM on March 19, 2008


Oh, dear. On review, I *did* call HRC a squawking chicken.

I apologize profusely






to chickens.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:05 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Instead of picking a candidate based on what they have to say, shouldn't we be more interested in the people that are likely to form their cabinets? I mean, what if Obama wants Secretary of State Oprah?

Yes, what if?
What if he nominates Mr. T for Secretary of Defense?
What if he taps a goatee-wearing Evil Jim Webb from the Mirror Universe for Vice President?
What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four?
posted by EarBucket at 5:15 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, what if?
What if he nominates Mr. T for Secretary of Defense?
What if he taps a goatee-wearing Evil Jim Webb from the Mirror Universe for Vice President?


Okay.

What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four?

Now you're just being silly.
posted by illiad at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Senator Barack Obama yesterday defended his votes on behalf of funding the Iraq war, asserting that he has always made clear that he supports funding for US troops despite his consistent opposition to the war.


Really, don't make so many weak excuses for Obama's backing off from his opposition to the war. Like I said, there's a daze of hypnotism about this guy. the patina is going to wear off, soon enough.

I've never seen anything like this, and I was alive to see Kennedy elected. It's like tulip hysteria, with Obama's stock climbing based on nothing more than words.

Silly people.
posted by MetaMan at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2008


And you just *know* MetaMan would be calling Obama out for "not supporting the troops" if Obama had not voted to continue funding for the war occupation once he was in the senate and the war occupation was well underway.

One of my favorite qualities of the Clinton defenders is the way they can take *anything* and spin it in any direction they want. He's either too far right or too far left, too opposed to the war or too supportive of it, inexperienced or experienced in all the wrong ways, not black enough or too black, maybe a Muslim or maybe a radical angry Christian, etc.

Meanwhile, the glaring, blatant contradictions between word and deed, record and representation, that animate Senator Clinton's political identity are not to be mentioned lest one be accused of picking on a poor defenseless woman, who runs on the argument that she is as tough as nails and can take more abuse than Obama.

I am looking at today's polls and feeling depressed, even as I sit here at the edge of the melting sea ice in the arctic (taking an afternoon off from going out on it). Yep, the right wing has managed to tar Obama as "dangerous anti-American angry young black man" and stick "God damn America" firmly to his hide. Yet another media lynching party led not only by the far right wackos on Fox and CNN, but by "liberal" Clinton supporters. Hillary and her racist supporters are, once again, doing the GOP's dirty work for them; if she can't be president then she's gonna break all your toys and storm home to her mansion in Chappaqua.

Yeah, lynching. You heard me. Whip those white middle American supporters into a frenzy of racist fear and hatred. Hand the right wing another cycle and one more chance to turn the US into a third world country.

You go girl.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2008


OK, now we're "silly." I guess it's an improvement on "robots" and "cultists" and "delusional."

Obama's stock climbing based on nothing more than words.

And Clinton's stock should rise on what basis? What has she accomplished?

Politics consists largely of words. True ones, and lies. Lies like "35 years of experience."
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:22 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


floydd:

Read it, and weep.

Oh, yeah, because it comes from Hillary's camp you'll call it spin, but that's the way the thing went down. Lookie!
posted by MetaMan at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2008


35 years of experience

Divide that by 7.5, and it sums up Obama. Seriously, someone has to start buring off the fog of mystique about that guy by shedding a good, strong, hot light on him. We'd better do that before the GOP attack machine does.
posted by MetaMan at 5:33 PM on March 19, 2008


And we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Sigh.
posted by aqhong at 5:34 PM on March 19, 2008


As a Canadian, I'm pretty sure I don't want Hillary in power. She wants to "renegotiate" NAFTA. Although Obama said pretty much the same, judging from Clinton's record she is more likely to put the screws to us resource-rich Northerners.

I hope Harper has the manberries to tell whomever that wants to change NAFTA to stick it where the sun don't shine. The Chinese would be more than happy to buy our oil.
posted by illiad at 5:37 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Divide that by 7.5, and it sums up Obama.

It does? The measure of a leader is entirely summed up by their time in the tank?

Good heavens. The rest of the world has been promoting and rewarding the wrong people all along!
posted by illiad at 5:40 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan's alternately concern trolling and just outright trolling. Probably a Freeper sockpuppet. I don't buy that anyone who genuinely wants the Democrats to win this election would so relentlessly sow this kind of division.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:40 PM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


floydd:

Read it, and weep.

Oh, yeah, because it comes from Hillary's camp you'll call it spin, but that's the way the thing went down. Lookie!
posted by MetaMan


The post you are looking for does not exist.


You are obviously out of your depth here.
posted by Floydd at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whip those white middle American supporters into a frenzy of racist fear and hatred. Hand the right wing another cycle and one more chance to turn the US into a third world country.

This is what Obama supporters have been doing all along; they want it both ways. If Obama succeeds, it's based on his brilliance. When Obama is tarred, as ALL candidates are tarred, it's blame everybody, and "how could they say that about OBAMA, the greatest think since MLK" Give me a break!

Why drag Hillary into this? YOu think Obama's people haven't been working overtime to make her look bad, including a large effort to tar her as a racist? Please.

I'm not surprised, because so many of them are young voters, without a history in the polis.
posted by MetaMan at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2008


The post you are looking for does not exist.

Yes it does

You need more air in your tank. Bends?
posted by MetaMan at 5:46 PM on March 19, 2008


If Obama gets in as a far left Dem (which is how he's perceived, and sells himself)


No serious liberal or leftie believes for a moment that Obama is far left. The notion that credulous leftists are supporting Obama and that's how he is winning the nomination is patently ridiculous. You can't make the argument that there's a perception of him as being wildly liberal among average voters in the face of him winning the vote in Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The only people that might be convinced that Obama is a far left candidate are non-thinking conservatives and right wingers. I highly doubt that it's in the Obama strategy to win votes from conservatives on the perception that he is a hard core liberal.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The best thing I've read on the REAL ideas that underlie the Obama's candidacy, to date

Obama is Hillary, only far more maddeningly pragmatic, and with no record or indication of where his policy wonks would take him. Beware, the "savior" - ANY "savior".
posted by MetaMan at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2008


Divide that by 7.5, and it sums up Obama.

Uh, huh?

Answer the question first. What does HRC's "35 years of experience" consist of that trumps Obama's in any way? They've held elective office for the same amount of time, roughly. She was serving tea to foreign leaders' wives while he was organizing in the streets of Chicago.

We now have, *finally,* today seen the White House records that show us just how trivial HRC's "experience" really was as first lady. About time.

Besides, answer me this: since you are the one who keeps insisting McCain will crush Obama, please tell me how Hillary Clinton will run against John ("war hero, senator for 25 years") McCain on a platform of "experience?" Got an answer for that, smart guy?

No, the way to run against McCain is as something new, different, 21st century, young, energetic, visionary. All the things HRC is not.

How dare she claim credit for her husband's administration's modest successes and then call herself a feminist? Really.

Life is experience. Obama's life is far more compelling as a source of presidential experience to me than Clinton's coddled existence. He's simply done more than she has to make the world a better place.

And "experience" only counts when it's accompanied by results on some level. HRC claims "experience" with health care. Yet look where we are after her efforts (despite not being elected to anything at that point, holding her committee meetings in secret, and offering to give the whole store away to the pharma/insurance/hospital corporations). She claims "experience" in foreign policy, yet supported the debacle that we now have in Iraq.

Her "experience" as a board member for the most anti-labor corporation in the US? What do we make of that? Should that make us feel confident that she has working peoples' backs more than someone who worked as a community organizer for years?

By now, this is rehash. You keep talking the same lies and bullshit. And others keep calling you on it. And you keep changing the subject back to the Clinton talking points.

People like you are the reason I can't support her, even against McCain. I will never again vote for her for the senate in New York if she runs again, and I will work to support a primary opponent. I'd frankly rather have McCain in office for all kinds of reasons, but the most important being that I think that would just about cook the goose of the GOP. Whether the US will survive it as a free and prosperous nation is another question.

But electing Hillary is the end of the democratic party. She won't beat McCain. And she will drive a generation of voters away from the democrats in cynical despair.

As an independent, I don't really care that much about the democratic party. I almost wish it dead as much as I wish the GOP dead. Enough of this Coke or Pepsi bullshit.

But keep trying, Meta. Keep crapping all over the place and see if you can stink it up bad enough to make everyone see it your way.

You have not provided a single, solitary positive reason why HRC is preferable to Obama that is not completely full of logical holes. In the best sense, you make my case for me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


No serious liberal or leftie believes for a moment that Obama is far left.

"Far left" may have been a misnomer. I'm talking about the established ultra-liberal left - populated by the old school Camelot crowd. They talk the inspiring talk, and accomplish NOTHING but screwing up the Democratic party, and getting GOP neocons elected.
posted by MetaMan at 5:55 PM on March 19, 2008


"Maddeningly pragmatic."

LOL.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:58 PM on March 19, 2008


High comedy! First...

I'm not surprised, because so many of them are young voters, without a history in the polis.

Then, this gem:

"Maddeningly pragmatic."

... As contrasted with:

I'm talking about the established ultra-liberal left - populated by the old school Camelot crowd. They talk the inspiring talk, and accomplish NOTHING but screwing up the Democratic party, and getting GOP neocons elected.

which is it? is the problem that obama's too pie-in-the-sky idealistic, or that he's too "maddeningly pragmatic"?

someone's starting to look more and more like an embittered party-hack with an axe to grind...
posted by saulgoodman at 6:03 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The post you are looking for does not exist.

Yes it does

You need more air in your tank. Bends?
posted by MetaMan


Oh, you fixed it. Good for you! You'll make a contribution here yet.
posted by Floydd at 6:04 PM on March 19, 2008


I'd frankly rather have McCain in office for all kinds of reasons, but the most important being that I think that would just about cook the goose of the GOP. Whether the US will survive it as a free and prosperous nation is another question.

This is EXACTLY what I mean by the hysteria that surrounds Obama. It's as if 8 years of Bush has made people hunger for the rhetoric of hope as if it was one's first crack hit after a 2 day respite. What are you talking about? McCain?

Let me tell you how Hillary will beat McCain. Polling says that Hillary GROWS in popularity, the more that people see her, and hear her.

I think Obama is a lightweight, and say so. But you, and yuor fellow Obama supporters here want to demonize Clinton. Why?

And, don't tell me that living with the president of the United States for 8 years, and involving yourself in policy efforts the likes of which no First Lady ever tried (in terms of sheer daring) doesn't qualify as experience. Surely, you're joking.

I live in a community that is sooooooooo pro-Obama, and it's the same thing I see here. Fawning admiration and a failure to see ANYTHING wrong with one's chosen savior.

At least most Hillary supporters I know admit she has problems; I don't agree that she's perfect, either. But at LEAST I know where she's coming from, and she hasn't tried to seduce me with large paragraphs that basically boil down to the frug that most deprived Americans have been lacking for that last 8 years - i.e. "hope".

Hillary doesn't have to broadcast that, because she's MORE than words; she's action. (there; there's another phrase you can make a word pun on)
posted by MetaMan at 6:06 PM on March 19, 2008


Last (because I've got to get some work done), just LOOK at the title of this thread: "Obama's Gettysburg Address"

Give me a break! Comparing Obama with Lincoln? Heck, Lyndon Johnson gave better speeches about race and inequality than that. It was a good speech, but seriously, most of you people need a history lesson.
posted by MetaMan at 6:08 PM on March 19, 2008


I guess the others are right and you are a troll. Or Howard Wolfson. Or both. I'm sorry I wasted time taking you seriously, MetaMan. But you are good for a laugh.

But when you figure out whether Obama is a starry eyed liberal pied piper of the "far left" or a "maddeningly pragmatic" cynic, do let us know.

And "poling says" that Hillary "grows" on people? Huh? In the last decade of her public life, her popularity has stayed at exactly half. It has never grown. It has receded. You're really making this shit up now, if you weren't before.

You work for her campaign, right? At least admit it. That's the only possible reason you could be talking out of both sides of your mouth and out your ass at the same time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:12 PM on March 19, 2008


"policy efforts the likes of which no First Lady ever tried"
Can we just let that one go? Really. You should be embarrassed.
Do you have a smart friend who could come here and talk?
posted by Floydd at 6:14 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, I'm sorry I gave you the benefit of the doubt. You are a troll.
posted by aqhong at 6:31 PM on March 19, 2008


I am for Obama.

I have a question.

Has anyone thought about going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver?

If the Democratic leadership leaves the question up in the air until the convention, and if Hillary looks like she is going to try to attain the nomination through the superdelegates with Obama having a lead in popular vote and delegates, have you thought about being in the streets outside the convention hall?

If it comes to that I intend on being there. Anyone else?
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 6:54 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do not understand how you guys are calling MetaMan a troll but not fourcheesemac. If you switched the names of who they were defending & attacking, there's no way you'd let fourcheesemac get away with the things he's saying. As I've said multiple times, I support both Obama & Clinton; I didn't even vote in the primary because it honestly was a coin toss to me. Both are mainstream politicians & have at least a streak of power hungry manipulative bullshit yadda yadda, but both have sincere interests and good ideas as well. I would love for one of them to win.

I really really hate how bitchy people get about Clinton though. We've talked about it before so I won't go on about it again, but let's remember:
-lots of people do well in the polls in the spring: means nothing.
-lots of people have given speeches about Major Issues, like race (including Bill Clinton & Gore). Some of these speeches have been as good or better than what Obama said yesterday. Usually a speech is only remembered if some kind of change of course happens because of it.
-lots of people have promised change and a whole new way of doing things etc, including Bill Clinton...
Obama may be a great president or he may be a crappy one, or he may never have a chance because once the repubs get ahold of him, he will go down, and McCain will win. But just because you like him, does not mean things will go the way it seems to you they ought to. Remember this is the same voting populace who put GWB in office twice.

I am looking at today's polls and feeling depressed... Yep, the right wing has managed to tar Obama as "dangerous anti-American angry young black man" and stick "God damn America" firmly to his hide. Yet another media lynching party led not only by the far right wackos on Fox and CNN, but by "liberal" Clinton supporters. Hillary and her racist supporters are, once again, doing the GOP's dirty work for them;

Do you really think that the GOP would not do their own "dirty work"? Whether or not clinton supporters attacked Obama, this is exactly the stuff that the Repubs are going to bring out IN SPADES in the general election. This is exactly what some people are worried about!

When dems worry about his electability, it's not just random anti-Barack noise, it's an honest assessment of what will be used against him, and how much of a known quantity he is. Hillary has been in the public eye for years, and is more liked now than she was a decade ago. Obama has not been put through the machine yet. It has not gotten ugly yet. But it absolutely will - they made John Kerry look unpatriotic! You think a half-Kenyan once-muslim maybe radical-church joining intellectual is not going to be made to look unpatriotic by the end? If Obama is the candidate, it will be a rough road. It may be worth it, but please, do not blame Clinton for this. This was built into his candidacy from the start, and it was just a question about when guns start firing. In a way it may be better for him to face more of it earlier, like Clinton & the gennifer flowers stuff..
posted by mdn at 6:58 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm not surprised, because so many of them are young voters, without a history in the polis.

Oh, go fuck yourself. That's at least twice in this thread you've dismissed younger voters. Would you prefer we raise the voting age to 40 then? If Hillary doesn't want the young vote, why does she keeping sending Chelsea out to every college campus that will have her?
posted by chiababe at 7:03 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


An Informal Identity Theorem of Politics: Obama divided by Bush is an undefined quantity, but Cheney squared is less than Bush. Discuss.

Extra credit: What is the relationship between the sum of a series of Clintons and the value of any individual item in the series?
posted by spiderwire at 7:06 PM on March 19, 2008


Paul Krugman's been writing columns for months trying to point to what we'd likely get from Obama, in economic policy.

Paul Krugman has been carrying water for Hillary for months now. what's up with that?
posted by brandz at 7:08 PM on March 19, 2008


If the Democratic leadership leaves the question up in the air until the convention, and if Hillary looks like she is going to try to attain the nomination through the superdelegates with Obama having a lead in popular vote and delegates, have you thought about being in the streets outside the convention hall?

What could one do outside the convention hall? Other than get arrested, which I can't imagine would change things?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


mdn:Things were better before because there was a dictator. There's no dictator now. With the surge, America is being a stronger military presence, and now the death toll has gone down significantly. If we just leave, without getting things organized there, why expect it won't just go back to chaos?

Wow, it must be nice having so much faith in the Iraqi government. What do you know about Iraqi politics? Do you really think they'll do anything to have a working national government while American troops are there?

Remember, the surge strategy is based on the premise that the Iraqi government gets their shit together. And that ain't happening. When do you think it will?
posted by zardoz at 7:09 PM on March 19, 2008


And note that MetaMan wasn't able to provide an example of a Hillary position taken on principle *when it would hurt her* politically.

Also, Obama is absolutely not comparable to Kerry or (pre-inconvenient) Gore. Everyone was settling for the boring guy they thought could win-- there was no talk of cult members or hysteria. People were desperate for Kerry to win only because he was not Bush.

But now we're supposed to settle for the tried and true one who can win-- *again*, even after that "he's more electable" nonsense got rid of the candidates that were more exciting and inspiring and still didn't win.

And Obama can't be both far-left and more to the right than Hillary-- which one is it?
posted by Maias at 7:23 PM on March 19, 2008


So the speech finally made it as a post of its own. Huh. Even MetaFilter cannot resist Obama.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:30 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, maybe you need to re-examine a few things:

I am tired of the too far left Dems like Obama, Kennedy, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. ruining my party.
completely ignore the fact that Obama's underlying advisory group is more right than Clinton

These look like completely contradictory statements to me. How do they square off to you?

Personally, I don't care that Obama's advisory groups may have some significant rightish influences. Why? Because you're wrong about this:

Just watch moderates turn toward McCain if Obama gets the nod. Moderates are 4-1 ex-Republicans.

I am an ex-Republican, one that's still registered with the party in my home state of Utah. And I'm for Obama. And I'm by far not the only person in this boat. So even if it's true that moderates are 4-1 ex-Republicans (sounds like a pretty highly questionable figure to me), I'm not sure why that guarantees they'll go to McCain. Do you understand what it means that Obama's getting traction in Utah? Because if you don't, please surrender any of your credibility as an analyst of the political landscape.

You need to take off your Obamatan 3D glasses and look at the world aright.

I expect this particular attack will not only continue but swell if Obama wins the nomination, so it's a good thing you're pulling it out now so people can learn to refute it. Yeah, because he's actually genuinely inspiring, it therefore follows his supporters must be people who've checked their intellects at the door, right?

So, it might also be good for you to thoroughly digest the idea that it's entirely possible people have chosen Obama for well-examined and solidly founded reasons, not because they're missing some valuable pieces of information that only you and other Clinton supporters possess. The conclusion that he can kick the living hell out of Clinton when it comes down to actually governing well is far from unreasonable. The conclusion that he might well be as competetive as she is in the final race is also not ill-founded -- Mrs. Inevitability has pretty seriously underestimated the difficulty of the primary, that's for sure, and Obama has shown he can use his elbows and his brain. And even if that second conclusion is still a little risky? You can put together pretty good rational argument that sometimes, it's good to gamble.

Now, if you wanna believe that everybody who supports him has simply turned their brains off and that telling them so is a great political strategy, by all means, rock on.

I've never seen anything like this, and I was alive to see Kennedy elected. It's like tulip hysteria, with Obama's stock climbing based on nothing more than words.

There are two lies here:

(1) That there is anything mere about genuine leadership advanced through expressing important ideas
(2) That Obama's stock is based "merely" on that not inconsequential speaking ability.

But again, it's good to get everybody prepared for the inevitable tactic of claiming that rather brilliant strength is his only one and actually a weakness.
posted by weston at 7:55 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


What could one do outside the convention hall? Other than get arrested, which I can't imagine would change things?

That's what I told MLK!
posted by aqhong at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan: "there is something called the "GOP Attack Machine" that will take everything Obama has done and said that's even remotely questionable, and use it as compost to grow a garden of middle-American doubt that will end up having McCain as President.

If I'm wrong, and I *love* to be shown I'm wrong, unlike many dreamers who persist in their vision, even as they're plunging over the precipice, I will buy all the delusional Obamatans on the thread a virtual lunch, by coming back to say that I was wrong, and you were right.
"

Noted. I will follow up on this on November 5th in the election thread.
posted by lostburner at 8:16 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, it must be nice having so much faith in the Iraqi government.

What? You're the ones saying we should just split and they'll sort it out without us! All I'm saying is that even if it is reasonable to let them deal with their own war themselves, it will be a tough sell in the election, because it will look heartless to say, sure, we kinda started it, but, we can't really fix it, so we'll just skip town and let them kill each other in peace.

I have very little faith that the "iraqi government" can pull its act together - that's exactly why I think promising to withdraw troops right away is rash. Maybe they'll have things in better shape by then. Maybe not. If not, then getting out will be politically difficult. The suggestion that we have to make them "take responsibility" and so on just came off as naive to me. This is a war that has gone on at least since the end of WWII. It has only been put on hold by various stabilizing forces or powers. Sure, we can let them fight it out, but will that make life for the average Iraqi better? Very likely not. Will it make things better for the average US citizen? Possibly, as we are spending a lot of money on the war... hard to say. How will people feel about voting to possibly help their financial situation a bit at the expense of the lives of thousands of Iraqis? It could produce mixed feelings - especially if McCain is able to convince people that the economy isn't suffering because of it (it actually helps, creates jobs, keeps oil prices down etc) or that it would seriously endanger our national security (it wouldn't just be a civil war but an unpoliced state perfect for global terrorists to work from).

So once again, I'm just saying that this is a race against McCain, who will clearly and obviously be playing the war as an issue of national security and an issue of Iraqi freedom. To respond to that with, "not our problem" is going to leave a lot of Americans unsatisfied. Being "anti-war" is not enough. We have to deal with the actual difficulties and complications of international politics. This includes the fact that there are lots of regions where assholes kill each other because it's too hot and there's not enough water, or whatever. Bringing our troops home has global repercussions that a president has to be ready to deal with. I'm not saying it will be the wrong choice, but I think being certain already it will be the right choice before there's been a UN coalition or a reassessment or any sort of proper attempt to work out how much of the mess is bad management and how much is impossible goals, smacks of dismissal.
posted by mdn at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


What could one do outside the convention hall? Other than get arrested, which I can't imagine would change things?

Change things??? You're kidding right? Hillary trying for the nomination under the circumstances I described is so completely beyond the idea of change I don't know where to begin. Same old, same old.

Ask me a more serious question tyro, and i will give you an answer.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2008


I have been trying with MM's posts to understand the poster behind the posts. They just don't add up. There is an underlying motive, like the pull of the moon on the tides, that remains unstated. Fanatical support for Clinton seems apparent, but for all the arguments in her favor, I cannot discern a basis for that support. I don't think there is a genuine person there. God, I am slow. He's a Troll! He's doing the cross the lines limbaugh!
posted by pointilist at 8:28 PM on March 19, 2008


You know, it occurs to me how exhausting the last 7 years have been. Parsing every speech for malice and treachery. The constant shame and cognitive dissonance of a president that who says things that are inconsistent with my moral system.

I appreciate that many people felt the same way for the 8 Clinton years.

This speech was good enough that I can imagine both sides of the political spectrum relaxing. Dropping the hyper-cynicism. Letting go. Doing other things. It sounds nice.

It makes me appreciate how good this speech was. And also realize how dangerous for Obama Wright is, if he makes Obama complicated, dissonant, hard to think about.
posted by ~ at 8:36 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


interesting he mentions special interests and lobby groups dominating washington. maybe emptypromisefilter but even still few politicians would even mention it, i think.

lastly, although as a new zealander i sometimes get sick of the election posts i do read them occasionally. i've agreed with most of them moderator decisions to remove yet another "political anecdote of the day" but i still have the will left to watch a 30minute speech for a candidate in another country. sick as i am of elections in all countries, and although i have my own views, you can discuss politics as a unit of analysis without turning into raving baboons. some of you should try it sometime. you might learn something.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 8:55 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama supporters are in full blown denial. Obama wrapped himself into a church pew to sell himself to the moderate voter, and it had Jeremiah Wright's name on it. Now we know that Jeremiah Wright galvanized his members against those same middle roaders. Obama has made a very big mistake about religion and I'm not sure anyone in media understands it. He goaded Hillary about church attendance and bragged that only he understood the believers. He gave interviews showing off his faith as some sort of charisma and strength. And he arrogantly assumed it was safe territory when it was anything but. Obama wore his generalized all-purpose religion on his sleeve and pretended it was normal in educated and polite company. The only people who get away with that in public are crazies who argue the dogma down to the threads, and they are never polite, and never educated.

Maybe Obama has done a wonderful for America by showing the folly of blending in with the faithful, alerting others to avoid faking religion to get elected. The smearboaters have months to prepare their attack and will lower Obama more than enough to secure their rural electoral college advantage. This was always the danger in rushing to a seemingly pure and innocent type, because they never are, and his supporters and so naive, and his tactics far more polished than they know. And then there is random garbage like this from his so-called mentor: "At least there are no semen stains on any dresses..."? Really? Does Jeremiah Wright know something we don't?
posted by Brian B. at 8:59 PM on March 19, 2008


Metaman has been accused of working for the Clinton campaign and I don't think that is the case.

If it is the case, then they'd best hire somebody more familiar with how interweb discussions work because the kind of rhetoric he is employing makes me feel turned off towards Clinton (which is not to say it makes me feel especially warm and snuggly to either McCain or to Obama).

If I worked for the Clinton campaign, I would have adopted a different rhetorical technique in this particular discussion.

First, I would have praised the speech, as it is surely deserving of praise.

Then I would have pointed out times that Clinton has either said similar things (albeit in not so eloquent a way) or done taken action to address some of the issues Obama raised.

I would have also stressed how amazing it is that the candidate for the Democratic party was either going to be black or female and that either way, it would be an historic moment. This could have led to an effective derailment of the thread to discuss gender issues v racial issues. Indeed, I could have lamented how while one elephant in the closet is race relations, another elephant in the closet is gender iniquity.

So, basically,an effective strategy (in my opinion) would have been to praise the speech, co-opt the issues and then attempt to take control of the discussion. This could have been done in a way that didn't insult Obama or his supporters in the least but potentially have the effect of drawing attention away from him and onto Clinton in a positive way. At the very least, it would not alienate Obama's supporters and would help them see that Clinton was a potential candidate to support should she win the nomination.

I'm not saying this is the most effective strategy, but I do think that insulting Obama and his supporters has the long-term effect of making them not want to vote for Clinton. In fact, that is the effect that Clinton's negative campaigning is having on many Obama supporters right now. It is a short term strategy to win the nomination that creates a much larger long term problem. It turns her supporters off on Obama and turns his supporters off on her.

I'm just not hearing the same kind of negative rhetoric employed against Clinton by Obama.

Anyhow, though I usually vote for third party candidates, Obama genuinely has me intrigued. Clinton and McCain? Not so much.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:10 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I want to say that I agree with someone (many comment ago) who sees a large number of people who fall into the Obama -->McCain --> Clinton preference camp. Me included.

I think the speech was a good speech. But more generally, I think it is interesting that Obama continues to go out and give long, nuanced, well reasoned, fairly detailed speeches -- the MLK day speech, the race speech, the speech from today. He's raising the level of discourse, win or lose. He is giving people things to talk about -- real, actual issues to talk about.

I think that, if he wins the nomination, it may make less difference whether he wins the general election or McCain does. Because I hope -- I pray -- that the real watershed moment in this election cycle will come when those two men continue to keep the level of discourse high. We could have an election about issues. We could have an election between two men who respect each other -- as imperfect but intelligent and caring human beings. How amazing. Truly amazing.

When the candidates keep talking about issues and answers and do it through discussion rather than through personal attacks, then maybe supporters can do that, too. Maybe. And then maybe it won't feel like the election will never get here.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:15 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record, Jimbob and seanyboy, Michelle Obama is in no way Jamaican. Jimbob, you mistranscribed the speech, replacing American with Jamaican.
posted by matkline at 9:32 PM on March 19, 2008


Ask me a more serious question tyro, and i will give you an answer.

I was serious the first time, but I'll try again, because I really don't know or understand what could be done from outside the convention hall that would change what's going on inside. You show up to the convention hall and- what happens next?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:35 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps I'm assuming that you think your presence is to serve as some sort of change agent and that's not what you mean by saying you would want to be there, in which case I misunderstood you, sorry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:42 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it fascinating that some here think I'm a troll, just because they don't see that their own unquestioned inconsistencies as germane to the differences that arise in debate.

Those that shout "troll" the loudest are generally the weakest debaters. They're the ones who can't deal with a debater who argues from many perspectives.

btw, for whomever claimed that Hillary never made a move against her own interest - what a crock! Start with her failed universal health care/insurance industry gambit; the industry lined up $300M to make her look like a fool, and it worked.

So, did she get praised for trying? Nope. People can be pretty unforgiving when people in high places fail.

Hillary is going to win the nomination; She's gaining in the consciousness of the Superdelegates, and Obama has tripped up with this speech.

There are tragic, fatal flaws in Obama's campaign; flaws that are occurng BECAUSE he has been set up for sainthood by his followers.

The higher someone gets placed on a pedestal, the farther they fall.

American President as savior? Been there, done that.
posted by MetaMan at 9:58 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The post you are looking for does not exist.

Yes it does

You need more air in your tank. Bends?
posted by MetaMan at 7:46 PM on March 19 [+] [!]


So, Hillary is calling Barack out on a bill that she is cosponsoring? WTF?
posted by garlic at 10:00 PM on March 19, 2008


So, Hillary is calling Barack out on a bill that she is cosponsoring?

So Obama is claiming he's vitally against the war, and covers his vote for $300B in war funds by saying "I support the troops"? INSTEAD of saying: "I support the troops and I think this war sucks, and I'm not going to vote for a bill that keeps them there one minute longer". He COULD have made that statement, and voted against the bill, because he KNEW it would pass by a wide margin, but we all know Barack doesn't play politics, don't we?
Give me a break!
posted by MetaMan at 10:11 PM on March 19, 2008


Deciding on which candidate for president to choose really should be a gut/heart thing, not a mental thing. Don't waste your time thinking about this or that scenario...it's all a confused mass really and you're not making sense out of it even if you think you are. Go with the gut...it knows about these things better. Gut says Obama every time.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 PM on March 19, 2008


Gut says Obama every time.

Here's the remedy
posted by MetaMan at 10:17 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, I don't think you're a troll, but I do think you are doing Clinton's campaign more harm than good, at least here in our Little Blue Bubble.

Please note that the number of 'you're driving me to McCain' responses outnumber the 'you have a point' responses. If that is the outcome you are after, you are succeeding.

If, on the other hand, you are genuinely interested in seeing Clinton win the election in November, I cannot urge you strongly enough to pick a tactic that does not further alienate potential Democratic Party voters.

I'm not saying don't debate your points. I'm just saying the way you are debating your points is having exactly the opposite effect to what you profess to desire. Reach out, don't push away.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:21 PM on March 19, 2008


MetaMan, your gut and brains are fighting with each other like cats trapped in a bag.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clinton is calling out Obama on negotiating a stance on a bill that she cosponsored AFTER he negotiated. If it was good enough to cosponsor, why call him out? If it was bad to negotiate, why cosponsor? It really seems like not playing straight by doing this.
posted by garlic at 10:31 PM on March 19, 2008


Roughly a third of the guys posting history consists of him posting a random grab-bag of every negative or inflamotory thing he can say about Obama to this thread, with most of his material being pretty low quality. Any responses he get he just uses as a jumping off point for some new random attack, or simply as an oportunity to repeat the same talking point slightly reworded (what he calls "interacting").

That's not exactly a mark of confidence - if the guy really is a Clinton supporter then he really is running scared.

However, my guess is that he is not - much of the rest of his posting history is him making imflamatory and negative posts, and he's got troll written up and down him all over.

Probably best just to ignore the fucker, unless he does some kind of amusing flameout.
posted by Artw at 10:42 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Metaman, nobody is calling you a troll because they disagree with you, they're calling you a troll because you're making arguments so transparently stupid that it's hard to believe that you sincerely believe them.
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on March 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Artw: (what he calls "interacting")

Oh, it's you again, the one who's trying to re-define the word "interacting". What's really funny is that when I check some of the THOUSANDS of your postings (do you work?), they're all pretty vapid, and unoriginal.

Again, I find it interesting that most of the Obama folks here - and this IS a young crowd, as well as quite a few urban professionals - fit squarely into Obama's support demographic.

Is Artw one of those who represent the Obama "future". Generally, I find that most Obama supporters have not been as abusive, but I've endured my share. Little minds act alike.

That aside, I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how Obama wins FL and OH against McCain. Please, do.

Remember, you have to consider that McCain is popular among the working class. Now, how does Obama make it work AFTER he's been savaged by the GOP? Please, someone, help me out here.

I do NOT want McCain to win, and I am thoroughly convinced that there are still enough ignorant racist fools and neo-conservatives in America to keep Obama from the Presidency.

A large part of my resistance to the guy is that fear; the fear that he just will not be able to cut it in the general election.

I have considered that about Clinton, too. But as I've heard her stump in Mississippi and PA recently, there seems a newfound fervor and purpose. She's resonating, in spite fo the fact that she's being ignored in the headlines. I think that's telling - of strength, of staying power, and an ability to overcome the limitations of the constraints that have been put on her by the Obama madness, and the press' fawning attention.
posted by MetaMan at 10:57 PM on March 19, 2008


I wanted to drop back in one more time, because I though that this was mostly a good thread, and I hate to see it degrade into a mudfight over who and who isn't a troll.

This is the statement from MetaMan (nothing personal) that I wanted to unpack: Those that shout "troll" the loudest are generally the weakest debaters. They're the ones who can't deal with a debater who argues from many perspectives."

This is simply untrue. A forum troll is generally someone who is more interested in fostering argument than having discussions, and displays weak debating habits, sometimes apparently without being aware of it -- baseless assertions, shifting positions, taking inconsistent positions, etc. "A debater who argues from many perspectives" is, in fact, more commonly a troll than not.

I believe that what you meant to say was, "A debater who is able to argue fairly, respectfully, consistently and in the alternative for a well-defined position." I will not call you a troll, MetaMan, but I have had the privilege of witnessing many very, very good debaters, and you are not one of them. If I had to speculate, I'd say that you merely overestimate your own rhetorical skills and don't do a very good job of backing up your claims or organizing your responses -- that sort of behavior tends to invite accusations of trolling, unsurprisingly, be they true or not. I trip them all the time when I get in a good serious fight with someone (sorry Pastabagel, MXLIcious, saul, Kirth, dios, the endless legion of those I've been too trollish with, and you can change it wit your behavior

People like to hear reasons, not simply told "you're wrong" or offered an assertion that "the political zeitgeist is shifting." They don't like to spend a lot of time making arguments and then have them ignored, because even though it could just be sloppy composition, it could also appear that you are focusing only on the vicious parts of the issues rather than making real concessions and shooting for real discourse. Regardless, the onus of responsibility is on you as the interlocutor to acknowledge those objections, even if you're not going to answer them just yet or at all, so that you don't appear to be cherry-picking controversial issues in order to gin up a firestorm.

Passion is welcome in any good discussion board, I think, as long as channelled in a productive way. (There are more than enough calm rational people here (and not just the mods) capable of mediating commenters to better understanding in lieu of the mindless mudslinging we get drenched in when we're often having otherwise thougtful conversations.) Some people may need help.

closing signup maybe too just as a thought experiment
posted by spiderwire at 10:59 PM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


For those of you not up on the actual state of the race: Here's the NY Times take on the matter:

Clinton Facing Narrower Path to Nomination

Key graph:

It is in the interest of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign to portray the contest as being highly competitive. Her campaign is intent on combating Mr. Obama’s efforts to pick off superdelegates. And it is increasingly concerned that any sign that the window is closing could lead a Democrat like Al Gore or Speaker Nancy Pelosi to step in and urge Democrats to back Mr. Obama in the interest of unity.

In truth, in interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said that task was tough and growing tougher and that the critical questions were what would happen with Florida and Michigan and the possibility of developments involving Mr. Obama’s relationship with his spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

. . .

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they had spent recent days making the case to wavering superdelegates that Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright would doom their party in the general election.

That argument could be Mrs. Clinton’s last hope for winning this contest.

posted by Ironmouth at 11:07 PM on March 19, 2008


spiderwire: I've been pointing some very specific things out. I wish I had the time to do a content analysis of this thread; I think you'd find that there are far more direct and irrational personal attacks on Hillary.

Whether you think I'm a good debater or not doesn't impact me; in fact, I find it somewhat condescending. I don't need rescuing.

Now, I don't usually answer pure condescension, because that puts me in the position of honoring an offensive posture that's made to swell up the poster who made it.

My point is that most of the Obama followers I've encountered are the ones who need rescuing, because their belief in a guy they knowo so little about is almost cult-like.

Now, you can say that what I just said is trolling, but I firmly believe that that best describes the Obama phenomenon, along with a real hunger by some to hear someone utter grandiose phrases that are a 180º turn from the idiocy of George Bush.

For instance, when during this thread have I used a four-letter word, when referring to others. Lots of weak posters here have sent those word in my direction. In my mind, that makes them weak, and unnecessarily angry.

they don't own my style of discourse; neither do you. Perhaps a little straight talk might jar people out of their lazy patterns of thinking, and the recent tendency to only refer to surface things.

Obama is a smart, engaging guy; he's a worthy candidate - all I'm saying is that he's overrated, and has been elevated to a position that is light years beyond the altitude that he deserves, relative to where he's beem, and what he's accomplished.

Also, I've heard nothing but trash talk about Hillary ever since the race began. It makes me sick. Show me ONE Camelot President that ever balanced a budget.

Obama supporters are not realists; they're dreamers. Too many of them (not all) live in a Land of Oz - and too many of them, especially on this thread, are just downright rude and pathetically juvenile in their invective. The latter point it important, as I think that probably reflects their age, inexperience, and sad demeanor in debate.ns
posted by MetaMan at 11:15 PM on March 19, 2008


I am thoroughly convinced that there are still enough ignorant racist fools and neo-conservatives in America to keep Obama from the Presidency.


In other words, Obama can't win because he's black.

Finally. You said it. The actual premise of everything Hillary has been doing regarding Obama's candidacy. Now we start to get into what all of the Ferraro mess is about--what Bill's comments about Jessie Jackson having won South Carolina were about, why Hillary, when asked if Obama was a Muslim, she said "that I take him at his word that he's a Muslim" and that there "was nothing to base that on as far as I know," and why Geraldine Ferraro "spontaneously" erupted on Fox news one night and the next day, told interviewers that people who questioned her statement were racist against her for being white.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:16 PM on March 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they had spent recent days making the case to wavering superdelegates that Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright would doom their party in the general election.

That argument could be Mrs. Clinton’s last hope for winning this contest.


Please note that this comes from the NYT, a lilly-livered Eastern Establishment newspaper that doesn't represent the interests of the working man, or moderate liberals.

They've been shilling for Obama since day one.

The other day they had THREE stories about him on the front page.

The more I see of this (as well as many of my moderate liberal Hillary friends) the more angry we're getting.

This is a pure play by the press to take away her March 4 momentum, and try to seal the deal before PA, where Hillary gets another serious uptick.

Frankly, the more I see of this behavior, the more I want Hillary to fight this thing to the bitter end.

I want her to show these Eastern Establishment Camelot types that their idea about what the Democratic party is, is over, finita, done.

I want political MODERATES in the White House - moderates with a liberal bent. That's what Hillary brings, and that's what will keep our nation on course.
posted by MetaMan at 11:21 PM on March 19, 2008


mdn: I have very little faith that the "iraqi government" can pull its act together - that's exactly why I think promising to withdraw troops right away is rash. Maybe they'll have things in better shape by then. Maybe not. If not, then getting out will be politically difficult. The suggestion that we have to make them "take responsibility" and so on just came off as naive to me.

You might be right, it might be naive and Iraq could get worse if we leave. But again, how long should we stay? This isn't a rhetorical question. Those who support this war have to be able to answer this question specifically and honestly, and I've not heard a good answer on this from anyone.

Oh, and how is borrowing a trillion (or two or three) dollars from the Chinese good for the economy? It's sure great for the likes of McDonnell-Douglas and Blackwater, but not so great for everyone's grandkids. They'll have to foot the bill once all the warhawks are long dead.
posted by zardoz at 11:21 PM on March 19, 2008


In other words, Obama can't win because he's black..

That is definitely one consideration. It's a sad truth in America. That said, it has nothing to do with why I'm not voting for him.

I can see all the "racist" accusations, like snowflakes in zero gravity, rising in the little minds of those who have been attacking me.

That's OK. It's hard to accept political realities, sometimes.
posted by MetaMan at 11:25 PM on March 19, 2008


They've been shilling for Obama since day one.

This "day one" you speak of, is it before or after the day they officially endorsed Hillary Clinton?
posted by aqhong at 11:26 PM on March 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


Anyway, good evening all. It's been fun, although I didn't get very much work done.

Obama is not a bad man; he's just not the right candidate.

Hillary Clinton has a long, long record of measured, moderate liberal accomplishment. She's a good woman, and perfectly capable of running America. I expect that will happen. Better persons than I agree. (there's another opening line for the would be "victims" of my "trolling")
posted by MetaMan at 11:29 PM on March 19, 2008


This "day one" you speak of, is it before or after the day they officially endorsed Hillary Clinton?

That's the *senior executive editorial group*, not the guys covering the campaign. Get wise about the way newspapers are run, will you?

Go look at the NYT (I read it every day). There has been a relative paucity of Clinton coverage during these preceding two months, and MUCH of that coverage has been about her negatives relative to Obama. THAT's what people see every day.

Touche!
posted by MetaMan at 11:32 PM on March 19, 2008


Metaman,

Obama supporters are not realists; they're dreamers.

I'm going to point out the obvious here. You don't know anything about us. I think what people are complaining about is that you make blanket statements and call it argumentation. That isn't argument.

Let's take another example:

Show me ONE Camelot President that ever balanced a budget.

Again, this isn't an argument at all. First, you assert that Obama is a Camelot president. Then you ask for one Camelot president that balanced a budget.

You appear to be stating that Obama cannot balance the budget. But you have no evidence to support that. To do so, you would have to build a time machine and prove to us that he cannot do so. Of course the implication is that Hillary can balance a budget. Again to prove that, you would have to build a time machine and prove to us that she can do so, or show us where she balanced a budget. The fact that Bill Clinton did so is completely irrelevant. Bill Clinton isn't running for the office of President of the United States. Hillary Clinton is. Unless she's going to get up there and say that he's going to run the show once she gets in, you cannot argue that she will be able to balance a budget.

their belief in a guy they knowo so little about is almost cult-like.

Really? Again, unless you have a mind-reading device, you have no idea of what we know about Barack Obama. You assume that we know "so little about him." The fact that her campaign continually makes such statements does not make it true. Nor do you know anything about our beliefs about Obama and whether it is cult-like. You start from the premise that we don't know what we are talking about because we don't agree with you.

And that is where you go wrong. Argumentation is the presentation of facts to support a conclusion. All you have is conclusions without facts. That isn't argumentation. This is why people are frustrated with you.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:36 PM on March 19, 2008


There are no facts in this there are only opinions, based on facts that are chosen to support those opinions.

And, the reason I talk about a balanced budget is because everyone her - almost all for Obama - keep trashing "the Clintons". Why?

Because he leveled out the Camelot Democratic Party, and pretty much SAVED it from self-destruction.

Hillary's in the same mold as Bill; I happen to like that. I haven't said one word in the negative about Obama's wife, btw.

About cult-like behavior; it's written all over the fawning on thsi thread, relative to Obama.

People are frustrated with me because I don't agree with their CORE premise. Do you really think that most people support Obama for rational reasons, or Clinton?

This race, ALL Presidential races are made on very subtle personal identifications with a candidate; that's why differing opinions can get so heated.

You and I are likely very different people, in lots of ways - even though we both profess to be liberals. Lakoff has written much about this.
posted by MetaMan at 11:44 PM on March 19, 2008


Well, this thread took a late turn down the Shouty Turnpike towards Shitsville.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:48 PM on March 19, 2008


Who knew the bridge to the 21st century had a troll under it?
posted by mwhybark at 11:54 PM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, wait, maybe that was Cortex. Oh well, still glad to see this thread, despite lived-up-to-aspersions.
posted by mwhybark at 11:56 PM on March 19, 2008


And finally, for all you holier-than-thou types who think you're without a shred of racism, go take some of the racial bias tests at Project Implicit. More than 2 million people have taken these tests. there's even a Presidential preference test there. Warning:your personal results may surprise, offend, or shock you.
posted by MetaMan at 11:57 PM on March 19, 2008


Please note that this comes from the NYT, a lilly-livered Eastern Establishment newspaper that doesn't represent the interests of the working man, or moderate liberals.

Again, Metaman, this isn't arguing. Where in the story are facts which are incorrect? Guilt by association isn't argumentation. You are saying nothing about the facts and instead try to kill the messenger. This is what is know as a logical fallacy.

Hillary Clinton has a long, long record of measured, moderate liberal accomplishment.

This is a bald statement, again, without support. What is her long record of accomplishment? Her campaign tried to claim she was part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. But one of the parties to the negotiation, Mr. David Trimble, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the peace stated that she was a mere cheerleader. Then the Hillary campaign tried to claim she was involved in the Kosovo peace process and that she was in personal danger. It turned out she was sent out there with Sinbad, the comedian, who said there was no danger.

In my opinion, we are getting at why Hillary is losing this campaign: She ran poorly. She tried to claim that Obama had no experience and that she had tons. But her claims did not hold up. Obama has answered to the voters since 1997. Hillary, since 2001. Hillary bests him only in that she was a senator for 4 years longer than he was. But both were freshman senators and they get very little chance to do anything in the senority-dominated Senate. Hillary has not held any leadership positions in the Senate. She has not served as Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Assistant Majority or Minority Leader or Secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Perhaps you do have a list of such accomplishments? If so, please provide them.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:58 PM on March 19, 2008


I can't believe I've read this whole thread. MetaMan plays large and his latest post finally says something authentic.

A large part of my resistance to the guy is that fear; the fear that he just will not be able to cut it in the general election.

All that wind, and this is the punch line. Cormac McCarthy is right. This is "No Country for Old Men". MetaMan, you ought to toughen up. None of us has any idea what's going to happen until it happens. You accuse Obama supporters of not thinking. You are thinking entirely to much. Obama has brought me around (slowly) with a strong campaign and deeply moving rhetoric. You're afraid. I get it. The emotions that grip me are loss and despair. If McCain is elected, I fully expect my 19 year old son to face the draft. This country is unrecognizable to me. Obama is a guy who speaks about recovering our best essence. How could I not vote for that?
Clinton seems to you to be a safer bet. To me, she is the essence of what is missing in 21st century American politics. Come on over to the Obama camp. You can experience actual optimism, hope, and community for a minimum of 7 months.

"It's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all".
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 11:58 PM on March 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


There are no facts in this there are only opinions, based on facts that are chosen to support those opinions.

You've provided no facts to support your opinions.

This race, ALL Presidential races are made on very subtle personal identifications with a candidate; that's why differing opinions can get so heated.

Isn't the fact that Obama supporters are personally identifiying with their candidate the core of your "argument" in the first place.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:06 AM on March 20, 2008


Finally, I will close with a prediction. If Hillary obtains the nomination from Obama despite him having more pledged delegates, popular vote and states won, McCain picks a black man, probably Colin Powell, to be his running mate.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 AM on March 20, 2008


Today's CBS/NYT Poll shows Obama beating Clinton nationally, and Obama beating McCain.

Before his speech yesterday, in the midst of the swiftboating bullshit.

Ha ha ha.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:29 AM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan, I, for one, am truly not trying to be condescending or insulting. I recognize that it is hard for you to see that spiderwire isn't trying to be that way either. We're both trying to help you accomplish what it is you seem to want to accomplish - to effectively woo people over to Clinton's side.

You clearly think you are a good debater, and that is why I think it is important to point out this article to you. It addresses why people who are incompetent in certain areas are unable to recognize their own incompetence or, in fact, competence in others.

I recognize that having somebody tell you that you are not competent at something sounds like an insult. This is not my intention. Perhaps in real life, you are an outstanding debater. Here online, though, you are not successfully persuading people to your point of view. Quite the opposite.

Even if you don't think you need help, please, please, please reread the reactions to what you've written. You are driving people further away from Clinton's position. You are potentially making people actively *not* want to vote for Clinton.

If you genuinely want to help Clinton's campaign, you really need to look at the reactions you're provoking and ask yourself "is my strategy working?"

I hold out hope that if you look at the reactions you've provoked, you'll see that the answer to this question is "no, it is not working."

If you're honestly afraid that an Obama candidacy will result in four more years of Republican hijinks, I must encourage you enough to stop alienating Obama's supporters.

tl;dr version - insulting your fellow Democrats in the name of Clinton turns them off to Clinton.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:31 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh no, please keep driving people away from Clinton.

Because I find MetaMan's comments all too typical of the desperate, cornered tone -- the angry lashing out, the delusions of persecution, the accusations of bad faith and delusional thinking -- of many Clinton supporters these days.

He is a walking advertisement for what we'll get with Clinton: four more years of bitter polarization and wasted time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:38 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to introduce page 2? This page maybe crashing my browser.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 1:02 AM on March 20, 2008


In other words, Obama can't win because he's black.
Finally. You said it. The actual premise of everything Hillary has been doing regarding Obama's candidacy.


Ironmouth has it it, right down the middle of the plate. This is why I call Hillary out for opportunistic racism, exactly. And Bill. And the DLC. They are afraid of the actual racists on the right. They are always afraid of the right. And MetaMan just admitted as much above too.

Scaredy cats never win. That's what has been *wrong* with the democratic party since Reagan, if not since Nixon, and even when we had democratic presidencies.

A bunch of wimps, is what democrats have been, and for all Clinton's tough talk about fighting she is campaigning based on a premise of fearing the right. For good reason, since she has already been beaten to a pulp by the right. That's what they mean when they say she's "vetted." No one could hate her more than about half of all Americans already do.

Look, metaman and mdn and others above, I'm sorry for my strident tone at times here. But I am not trolling, and I have made a substantive case for Obama, and against Clinton (which is perfectly legitimate, as would be a *substantive* case against Obama on Clinton's behalf), as have many others here. This thread was about a speech that knocked my freaking socks off with its honesty. As a social scientist who writes about race, class, and poverty in the US, to actually hear a candidate recite the argument of David Roediger's *The Wages of Whiteness* (like a bible to me) on national television blew me away. But I'm not stupid, or a cultist, or delusional. I am highly educated and politically experienced and have been active in politics my whole adult life.

The idea that "we don't know enough" about Obama is laughable on its face. Who's the candidate who hasn't released her tax returns, or the donor list for her husband's library? Who's the candidate who conducted government business as an unelected and unappointed and unconfirmed agent in her husband's administration, in secret, and behind closed doors? And STILL managed to fail at it?

As for the health care initiative she spearheaded being "against her own interests," surely you jest. Like most things she's done since entering political life at Bill's side, that little shenanigan was undertaken as a resume building exercise, not a public service. Had it worked out, she would have taken it to the basket like a slam dunk on her way to the white house. But it didn't work out, and in my universe we do not reward politicians for trying and failing. We punish them for failing by not electing them again. Or in her case, not electing her for the first time.

I've really never heard an explanation for why she had any business doing the people's business as first lady at all, and her failure in the one major thing she undertook proves that she had no business doing it. She did it so she could claim "years of experience" when she ran for president 16 years later. Just like she voted for the Iraq war authorization so she would be a strong general election candidate -- and she practically said so herself at the time (and as I said above, she did it, clearly, out of fear of being labeled "liberal" in the GE).

Anyway, this is repetition at this point. But it isn't trolling. It's a substantive, consistent critique of an over-reaching, triangulating, fear-mongering and fear driven politics I associate with the name "Clinton" as much as I associate incompetence and war criminality and election theft with the name "Bush."

For me, the first bottom line issue has always been that I don't like dynasties. Dynasties are the true "cults of personality" (and it amazes me to hear Clinton fans decry "cult of personality" politics when Bill Clinton's picture appears beside the phrase in the dictionary, or should). Obama is fresh, new thinking and a fresh young mind, the kind of person who could never have run for president even 8 years ago.

So to the charge that we "don't know enough about Obama," I simply ask this in reply: Don't we know too damn *much* about the Clintons (and make no mistake, we're being offered a package deal again here)? We knew "everything" about Kerry -- he was "vetted" by the time he "reported for duty."

And he fell like a clay statue the first time the right wing said boo.

Give me the new guy, please.

Peace out, then, from my perch above the arctic circle (ah the beauty of satellite internet and too much time on one's hands when it's 20 below zero), where the sea ice is not nearly what it should be. I look out my window at the Chuckchi Sea (which I should not be able to see) and remember that is why politics matters so damn much at this point in history. We don't have time for the old bullshit any longer. We're on the edge of a total disaster on this planet, our economy is in the toilet, and we're spending billions every month killing and being killed in Iraq.

Stop the nonsense. It's time for a change.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:10 AM on March 20, 2008 [13 favorites]


fourcheesemac: That's a nice way to close it out. It's been interesting; and in spite of the projections that I've seen coming from so many people that say I haven't turned them on to Obama, so what? I haven't been moved by arguments contrary to Clinton, either.

btw, I'm conscious enough about style to be able to choose a tone, and demeanor. I tried to argue facts for months to Obama supporters. All i got was ridicule about Clinton.

I'm waiting for April 22, with great gusto. That's when the next uptick in Hillaryt's chance at the brass ring occurs.

A quick note to Joey Michaels; thanks for your concern. THat said, I know exacly what I'm doing. It's not trolling; rather it's expressing frustration and anger at seeing my candidate continually trashed by people who turn around and tell people who support my candidate how "nice they should be".

Cheers...
posted by MetaMan at 1:24 AM on March 20, 2008


For me, the first bottom line issue has always been that I don't like dynasties. Dynasties are the true "cults of personality" (and it amazes me to hear Clinton fans decry "cult of personality" politics when Bill Clinton's picture appears beside the phrase in the dictionary, or should).

Years ago, when it started to become abundantly clear that Hillary would be making a run for the presidency, this is one of the things that made me a little queasy at the prospect. There are many other reasons now that I don't think she's anything but a differently-gendered continuation of all the corrupt, false, oligarchic media-manipulation bullshit that has become the mainstay of American politics in the past few decades, of course, but this dynastic shit is just distasteful. No less distasteful than it was and is with Bush I and Mini-Me.

No less distasteful than Kim Jong Il taking over from Daddy Kim Il Sung, or Castro stepping down in favour of his brother. No less distasteful, to me, at least, than centuries of hereditary royalty.

I'm mildly surprised that I don't see many people talking about it, as if passing the torch to one's family in an ostensibly democratic nation is business as usual. Perhaps it is. I still don't like it, sir, not one bit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:32 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


And, the reason I talk about a balanced budget is because everyone her - almost all for Obama - keep trashing "the Clintons". Why? Because he leveled out the Camelot Democratic Party, and pretty much SAVED it from self-destruction.

Earlier in this thread, you blamed "the Democrats" for losing power to the Republicans. Which Democrats were those again? Because I seem to recall that this was during President Clinton's term, immediately after Hillary Clinton's failed healthcare initiative.

People are frustrated with me because I don't agree with their CORE premise. Do you really think that most people support Obama for rational reasons, or Clinton?

No, people are frustrated with you because you're making unsupported statements and claiming they're fact. Neither you nor I know whether Obama will win the presidency if he wins the nomination. Neither you nor I know whether either Democratic candidate will be able to implement their currently stated policies if elected. But instead, all you can talk about is how everyone who supports Obama is irrational, or has a "little mind," or is too young to know anything. I suspect I'm as old as you, and that's a load of crap. Most people in their 40s and 50s don't know anything more about selecting a president than anyone else.

Based on what I've seen of Obama and Clinton, I think Obama would make a much better nominee for the following reasons:

1. He's not UNIVERSALLY HATED by the Right, as Hillary Clinton is. Hillary Clinton has been a reliable boogeyman for the Right for many years - perhaps unfairly, but that's simply the way it is. She has the power to draw people to the polls simply to vote against her. Her candidacy will be another opportunity for the Right to bring up all the crap from the Clinton years: Whitewater, Vince Foster, her amazing stockpicking abilities, etc, etc.

2. He has run a much better campaign than she has. If I knew nothing about either one except what I've seen from their campaign organization, I would easily choose Obama over Hillary. Running a campaign is the only executive activity either has done; it gives me a much better idea what to expect from a president than time spent in the Senate. Hillary's campaign appears to me to be primarily driven by her belief that it's her turn to be president. That isn't much of a campaign.

3. Obama didn't get where he is on someone else's coattails. Like it or not, Hillary can't say the same. She wouldn't be where she is were it not for Bill Clinton.

4. Hillary appears, in my opinion, to have the same willingness to sacrifice everything to immediate political goals as Bill did. Bill Clinton, the great Democratic president, had to out-Republican the Republicans to maintain power, and that's what he did. If I want a Republican for president, I might as well vote for the real thing. I want someone with some base principles beyond which he or she will not go. I don't know if Obama is that person, but I'm pretty damned sure Hillary isn't.

5. Obama appears to be more direct and honest in his statements. This speech, and his previous speeches on religion and politics, don't reduce everything to soundbites but instead describe nuances that most politicians avoid. Earlier in the campaign, he was asked whether he'd talk to leaders of countries that we don't get along with, he was open to the possibility, which again is more direct than anything Hillary has to offer - her response was that this clearly showed his disqualification to be president. What a crock! I'm tired of the "realpolitik" embraced by the Washington establishment, as it simply hasn't worked. I want someone willing to talk to his counterparts, whether they're enemies or friends.

Personally, I would not be extremely unhappy with a Clinton presidency, but I wouldn't hope for too much from it other than sucking less than the Bush years. But as someone who remembers the first Clinton presidency, I just wish we'd gotten Tsongas instead, because everything in the Clinton presidency was about Clinton maintaining power, rather than moving the country forward.

You and I are likely very different people, in lots of ways - even though we both profess to be liberals. Lakoff has written much about this.

I would certainly hope that we are very different people, because your behavior in this thread has been largely repulsive. Your statements have largely been full of FUD and general crap. Frankfurter has written much about this.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:39 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


It seemed like an OK speech. I certainly hope it does what it was intended to do, and defuses this ridiculous non-issue. But I really don't see what the big deal is.

Honestly, that's pretty much my reaction to most of the primary season so far. Every single thing a candidate says ... or one of their associates says ... or someone who knows them says ... seems to be filtered through a bizarre filter of either OUTRAGE! or AWESOME! And I sit here wondering what the big deal is.

It pretty much makes me want to throw a shoe at the computer screen at this point.
posted by kyrademon at 1:39 AM on March 20, 2008


I was a default Clinton supporter, and my vote was hers to lose. Then Obama came along and I thought, hey, I kinda like this guy. Then I really liked this Obama guy. But then around South Carolina, I started liking Clinton not so much, and now I actively dislike her, and at this point I think as much as I like Obama, I might actually dislike Clinton more.

Meta Man here reminds me why Clinton lost my vote: she's tone deaf, and a sore loser.

I never understood her strategy. She kept saying that she's someone who'd work for change. What, are Obama and Edwards lazy? I never understood that.

The final straw for me was implying that Obama supporters were fooled by his eloquence. Basically, her message was: IF YOU SUPPORT OBAMA, THEN YOU ARE AN IDIOT!! VOTE FOR ME!! Which is not going to change an Obama supporter's vote. It's tone deaf. It's immature. You don't win people over by insulting them.

Hilary and some of her supporters remind me of what happened on college campuses. I'm a liberal, but whenever people painted all religious people as bigots or all republicans as corrupt, I couldn't help but think how they weren't going to win others over by insulting their republican father, or their religious mother... It's selfish and immature. They're too caught up in their own righteousness to care about actually communicating....

What's amazing to me is that Hilary (and some of her supporters) is (are) doing this exact same thing-- to members of their own party... I can't imagine how her administration would govern, given actual policy differences. It's horrifying.

What Obama did in this speech is exactly what 19 year old college students don't do... instead of insulting people, he embraces them... He has genuine empathy, and cares more about understanding people than showing off how smart and self righteous he is... He has an authentic generosity that Hilary does not.

And that's why he has my vote, and Hilary doesn't.

And that's all I have to say about that.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 1:53 AM on March 20, 2008 [20 favorites]


A quick note to Joey Michaels; thanks for your concern. THat said, I know exacly what I'm doing. It's not trolling; rather it's expressing frustration and anger at seeing my candidate continually trashed by people who turn around and tell people who support my candidate how "nice they should be".

Holy cats, so driving people away from HRC is a deliberate choice?!?

I have been working under the assumption that you were trying to win people over to your side. Since your intention, at least as far as I can read here, is in fact to get payback for hearing your own candidate insulted, my advice was pointless.

I apologize for wasting your (and everyone's) time.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:41 AM on March 20, 2008


I'm mildly surprised that I don't see many people talking about it, as if passing the torch to one's family in an ostensibly democratic nation is business as usual.

I think they (and the media) are distracted by the "first woman candidate with a legitimate shot at the presidency" bright, shiny objects. I don't want to minimize the historical significance of the possibility of the first woman president (thought the right wing does, they don't differentiate between the Clintons), I just kind of wish it had not been her, almost simply because of the dynasty thing. I'd have been thrilled if it were Boxer, Pelosi, Olympia Snowe or Madeleine Albright (yes, I know she's not eligible).
posted by psmealey at 3:10 AM on March 20, 2008


Go look at the NYT (I read it every day). There has been a relative paucity of Clinton coverage during these preceding two months, and MUCH of that coverage has been about her negatives relative to Obama. THAT's what people see every day.

Well, then there's two different versions of the paper, then.

My experience with reading it, particularly since the endorsement, is to see articles about Obama being accompanied by photographs of Clinton. Or Obama's wins being written about in the context of how it affects the Clinton campaign.

Or their transcripts of speeches where for Clinton they insert every time there is a cheer or applause. And in comparison Obama's speeches read like everyone there was mute. Reality tells a completely different story.

I have been very disappointed with the NYT's treatment of Obama, since the paper is still a liberal haven. And yet it bugs me that their coverage is so blatantly biased in this case. So maybe they picked the wrong horse and are sticking to their guns?

But there's no way that the reporters on the ground are publishing pro-Obama pieces while the editorial board or board of directors are All Clinton, All the Way.
posted by crossoverman at 4:22 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


That "Camelot Democrats" phrase is really bizarre. Does it mean those people are opposed by "NAFTA Democrats," or maybe it's "Abu Ghraib Democrats."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:35 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


We prefer the term "Morgan le Faye Democrats". And frankly, we were entirely right that Arthur's Grail-finding initiative was ultimately a budgetary and military disaster, but history loves a grand display.

At this point, I am strongly considering putting my time and efforts into a quixotic attempt to see if the nomination and election process can be arranged to result in a wacky scenario where Obama is president by day and Clinton is president by night.

It's very late here right now.
posted by kyrademon at 5:32 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


But again, how long should we stay? This isn't a rhetorical question. Those who support this war have to be able to answer this question specifically and honestly, and I've not heard a good answer on this from anyone.

I don't think McCain has to give a specific answer to this. I think all he has to do is promise to start withdrawal as quickly as possible, but not on Obama's "as soon as I get into office" timetable that strikes people like me as potentially dangerous.

One more word for the Obama supporters in this thread. Alot has been said here about MetaMan and all he has done to turn you all off of Clinton. I am a Democrat who voted for Obama in the primaries, and alot of the anti-Clinton rhetoric in this thread is having some of the same effect of turning me a bit off Obama or at least the Obama phenomenon. (obamenon?) The disrespect and insults to Clinton in this thread are really putting me off. Maybe y'all don't care what effect your rhetoric is having on people like me who support both Obama and Clinton, but I'm not sure you're internalizing Obama's message against negativism.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:59 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Going negative might work in political TV ads, but it is full of fail on Interweb discussion forums.

Full of phail, even.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:22 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


kyrademon: At this point, I am strongly considering putting my time and efforts into a quixotic attempt to see if the nomination and election process can be arranged to result in a wacky scenario where Obama is president by day and Clinton is president by night.

While that does make it cut and dried who answers the ringing phone at 3 AM versus 3 PM, wacky hijinks will ensue when it rings right around sunrise and sunset.
posted by Drastic at 6:26 AM on March 20, 2008


Looks like this thread de-railed into Clinton/Obama land like every other conversation ever, but, if anyone's interested in talking about race and still reading, here's Tim Wise's reaction.
posted by lunit at 7:00 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


...who answers the ringing phone at 3 AM versus 3 PM...

Hillary Docs: Many Overseas Trips Just Standard First Lady Tourist Fare
"The release of 17,000 pages of then-first lady Hillary Clinton's daily schedule in the White House has raised questions about her ability to answer the 3 a.m. phone call she talks about in her commercials.

'Maybe because I have had the great honor and privilege of seeing that really hard job up close that I know that there is a big difference between speeches and solutions and talk and action,' Sen. Clinton said in her commercials before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

But the daily schedules released today show many of her overseas trips to be the standard first lady tourist fare, hospital visits and blinis with caviar.

On the day U.S. cruise missiles hit Serbia, the schedules show the former first lady was touring Egyptian ruins.

On the day when her husband announced attacks against al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, the schedules show she stayed in Martha's Vineyard on vacation."
posted by ericb at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry if everyone's done with the "only in America" thing, but - I saw it as reframing himself for American conservatives. To quote previous comments:

You think a half-Kenyan once-muslim maybe radical-church joining intellectual is not going to be made to look unpatriotic by the end?

The best defense makes it look like you're not on the defensive.

He seemed to me to be taking what's "scary" about him for conservatives and turning that narrative into something for them to be proud of, "only in America", a phrase that triggers something pre-conscious in people who grew up in conservative American families. Going for a reaction of not only "he's one of us", but "he's an example of the very thing that makes this country great". Not just defusing the attacks from the right, but then using the same material to appeal to the right.
posted by secretary bird at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


On the day U.S. cruise missiles hit Serbia, the schedules show the former first lady was touring Egyptian ruins

... and running covert ops against Egyptian extremists.

On the day when her husband announced attacks against al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, the schedules show she stayed in Martha's Vineyard on vacation."

...in the War Room, running the whole thing.
posted by psmealey at 7:19 AM on March 20, 2008


It's 3 AM and your child is sleeping. Somewhere in a VIP suite, there's a plate of blinis with caviar. Who do you want to be snacking on them? It's 3 AM and your child is sleeping.
posted by Drastic at 7:24 AM on March 20, 2008


More on Clinton's released schedules...

Clinton's Schedules Reveal Curious Deletions
“The early days of 1996 were tense times inside the Clinton White House. On Jan. 4, the First Couple's top personal aide reported that she had stumbled upon Hillary Clinton's long-lost Rose Law Firm billing records—documents that had been requested by Whitewater prosecutors two years earlier. Ken Starr quickly subpoenaed the First Lady to testify before a federal grand jury, leading to her historic four-hour appearance at the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington on Jan. 26 of that year.

But anybody looking through Hillary Clinton's newly released White House records for clues as to how she handled this personal crisis will find … absolutely nothing. The more than 10,000 pages, released by the National Archives in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, purport to be the New York senator's daily schedules for her entire eight-year tenure as First Lady—the first major ‘document dump’ from the Clinton Library in Little Rock.

But the documents include only Hillary Clinton's public schedules, not her private calendar. And even those appear to be heavily redacted to exclude almost anything that might be of interest to historians and the inevitable posse of ‘oppo’ researchers. [more]”
posted by ericb at 7:43 AM on March 20, 2008


Groups Respond To Obama Speech: "Finally We Can Talk About Race."
posted by ericb at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2008


And now it looks like Clinton's got problems with religion of her own. Wonder if we'll hear much about that in the news cycle?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:48 AM on March 20, 2008


Obama: Wright controversy has 'shaken me up'
"Barack Obama told CNN Wednesday the recent uproar over his former pastor's sermons has reminded him of the odds he faces in winning the White House.

'In some ways this, this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than than some of the other conventional candidates,' the Illinois senator told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive one-on-one interview.

Obama declined to speculate on whether the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah's Wright's sermons may damage him politically, but said his campaign does best when it doesn't follow the 'textbook.'"
posted by ericb at 7:50 AM on March 20, 2008


The disrespect and insults to Clinton in this thread are really putting me off. Maybe y'all don't care what effect your rhetoric is having on people like me who support both Obama and Clinton, but I'm not sure you're internalizing Obama's message against negativism.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:59 AM


So no more referring to the Clinton '08 campaign as "The Blonde Ambition Tour"?

Are we playing hardball or not? Are we fighters or not? I can support Obama and still call a spade a fucking shovel.
posted by butterstick at 8:07 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am strongly considering putting my time and efforts into a quixotic attempt to see if the nomination and election process can be arranged to result in a wacky scenario where Obama is president by day and Clinton is president by night.

I'd support that, but only if at night, Obama gets to FIGHT CRIME!!! 'Cause that would be awesome! Heck, it's a graphic novel waiting to happen!
posted by jonp72 at 8:08 AM on March 20, 2008


go take some of the racial bias tests at Project Implicit...Warning:your personal results may surprise, offend, or shock you.

Really? Did yours shock you? I've been familiar with IATs for a long time, but had never taken the new 2008 candidate preference test. Mine came out with a strong preference for Obama, a slightly-above-neutral preference for Clinton, and the Republicans at the low end. Which doesn't surprise, offend, or shock me, because that has been my position since the NH primaries.

It's clear that race concerns you, MetaMan, but if it prevents you from voting for a candidate then I think that is a concern you need to own. It's yours, not someone else's Before examining our eyes for splinters and specks, check your own for logs.

Obama knows he needs to directly address the fears of people who think other people's racism will prevent Obama from succeeding. When I saw him speak in NH, someone in the audience asked just that question - something like "I want to vote strategically and get a Democrat into the White House. Even though I'm not racist, I'm worried that America still has enough racism to doom your campaign."

His response was respectful and adept. He said something like (going from memory here) "That's something I've heard a lot, and I understand it, because we know that racism has been an obstacle for black Americans throughout our history. But let me ask you this. Do you think I would do an able job as President?"

Audience Member: "Yes."

"Do you think I've made a good case for my ability to lead all Americans?"

Audience Member: "Yes."

"Look around you, at the people sitting next to you. Do you think they're reasonable people? Do you trust them to think for themselves? Don't you think that other reasonable Americans, if they hear and understand the case I'm making, will also accept that I can lead this country? My point is, it starts with you. If you feel strongly enough about my candidacy to set aside these fears of the big bad racists somewhere way far away in the country ruining my campaign, that makes one more person who refuses to reason from fear and is looking instead at my positions and merit. We have had too much of the politics of fear in this country. Don't worry about what some hypothetical racist somewhere might say or do. Think instead about your hopes for the country, and vote your hopes, not your fears."

Much of this was used a lot during his stumping, but it was amazing to see it in person - to see one person standing up and saying honestly "I don't believe a black candidate can make it because other people won't let them succeeed," and Obama defusing the argument by gentling pointing out that by voting for someone else, she would herself be endorsing the idea that a black candidate could not succeed. And if hundreds of thousands of people did that, they would all be able to blame the distant, faceless "Racist America" for the outcome of their votes. That message "It starts with you," is an important one.

I've been reading a book about democratic action, and in it the author notes a dynamic she calls the "Evil Other." She points out that people who do have power to improve their communities often do not even try to make improvements because those people believe that They would not allow it. They have all the power. Although certainly we can't underestimate the inflluence of world leaders and giant corporations, if we throw up our hands and sigh "that's just the way it is, it can't be fought," we neatly let ourselves off the hook for our individual and local responsibilities to take part in the running of our democracy and to creat the world we would rather have. Blaming the "evil other" becomes an easy way to make no effort toward change.

The same (interestingly) can be said for Hillary: that concerns about the "evil other" - the conservative right who irrationally dislike her - are preventing potential supporters from voting for her. Knowing of her quantified and demonstrated lack of support in the important indpendent/swing voter sector has indeed influenced thinking about her campaign, in the same way that knowing about the power of American racism has influenced the thinking about Obama's.

But the two candidates have responded very differently to the "evil other" argument." The job they each have to do in response is to address and defuse these concerns directly, making the case to potential supporters that their election would indeed be possible despite the opposition of the "other." With speeches like this and with his general style of inclusion, Obama has ably made his case and taken race issues around his campaign head on, directly and clearly. Clinton, meanwhile, has not made a similar, pointed effort to publicly discuss the strong opposition to her candidacy on the right or her lack of appeal to independents, which are her obstacles to overcome. She has repeatedly sought and emphasized support from her base and, as pointed out above, insulted rather than reached out to those who have been hesitant about offering support. Her campaign is failing to convince those are are already pretty sure she can't make it, and so it is just wrong for these times. I don't see any way to lend her my support; in all these months she's failed to convince a solid majority of members of her party. How would she convince people who don't even support the party's platform? Where Obama directly takes on fears and concerns about his viability, Clinton has only repeated the "experience" message and written off those who question how valuable the experience is, rather than taking on their arguments and making a direct case.
posted by Miko at 8:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [29 favorites]


butterstick, you rock.

My sentiments exactly. I don't personally think Obama is a big softee who doesn't fight back. Quite the contrary, as I said above.

Now he does fight back smartly, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't have his level headed approach to the smears and hatred that get tossed at him from Clinton supporters *and* the right.

But then, I'm not running for president. And I also do not think there is much to be done to "convince" anyone -- certainly not on Metafilter -- to vote one way or the other.

And frankly too, in case it isn't obvious, I would not vote for Clinton over *any* other major democratic candidate who ran in the primaries. I began, in fact, as an Edwards supporter. I am indeed as much an opponent of Clinton as I am a supporter of Obama. I don't work for the Obama campaign. I just like the cut of his jib, a lot.

But this speech was nice evidence for me that he won't take the crap our candidates have cowered in fear and taken in recent cycles. He'll turn it around, and speaking very pleasantly and openly, shove it right back up the ass of the opponent in question.

I admire that.

Tell you what. Hillary can be first lady again.

By the way, somewhere way up there MetaMan complained about people attacking Bill Clinton by saying he never attacked Michelle Obama.

Two things: Clinton surrogates most certainly have attacked and smeared Michelle Obama and . . .

Michelle Obama was never president of the US, and is not the major reason why her husband is even known to the public, let alone a contender for the office.

As for race and racism, to me there is not that much to discuss. Obama spoke the truth, but it is a truth known deeply to progressives who work in and around the trenches on these issues. As I said, he essentially combined The Souls of Black Folk with the Wages of Whiteness -- du Bois with Roediger --- updated it to include the full spectrum multicultural and multiethnic field of reference of 2008 (including a specific shout out to Native America, wherein I work, which impressed me, as has Obama's general effort to reach out to Native communities, long ignored and forgotten by Democrats, or perhaps taken for granted) -- wrapped it up in a beautiful rhetorical package, and, like I said, shoved it right up the opposition's ass.

The man may be smooth, and he may be a conciliator in many respects, but make no mistake: he knows how to fight. I admire that. As Hillary is fond of saying, it's about what you do, not just what you say. Well, HRC can "say" she's a "fighter" all day long. But Obama fights like he means business, without having to call attention to his fighting skills.

I also want to second me & my monkey's lovely substantive list of pro-Obama points, but especially the one about running a campaign. What kind of starry eyed lightweight is it that comes from nowhere to running the most innovative and successful political campaign -- nay, movement -- in years, out-fundraising the old guard easily and by multiples of 2 and 3 times -- and bringing millions of new voters into the process?

That's no lightweight. That's motherfucking presidential material. Let's go over who's a "doer" and who's a "talker" after comparing these two campaigns, why don't we?
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:40 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't personally think Obama is a big softee who doesn't fight back. Quite the contrary, as I said above.

He's definitely not, and more to the point anyone that says otherwise is dumb as a stump or has been living under a rock or both. Obama's whole point is to present himself as a new kind of candidate that doesn't go ad hom negative at the drop of a hat, or is given to petty retaliations, but is trying (against huge odds) to raise the level of debate when he is attacked (mission accomplished this week). If he were to "fight back" in the way the MetaMan seems to imply he should, then he undermines the underpinnings of his campaign.
posted by psmealey at 8:46 AM on March 20, 2008


. "... in all these months she's failed to convince a solid majority of members of her party. How would she convince people who don't even support the party's platform? Where Obama directly takes on fears and concerns about his viability, Clinton has only repeated the "experience" message and written off those who question how valuable the experience is, rather than taking on their arguments and making a direct case.

And Obama has convinced a solid majority of his party? What results are you reading? Obama leads, in total delegates cast, by a tiny fraction. And, it's FAR from over.

This contest, thankfully, is going down to the wire. One way or the other, we're going to have a moderate in the White House.

and

Holy cats, so driving people away from HRC is a deliberate choice?!?

There isn't an Obamaton on this thread that would have changed their mind, so please chill with the patronizing comments.

Obama's very candidacy, and the way it has come about, relative to the transparencies re: his own POLITICAL behavior and actions, which are no LESS cynical than Hillary's, is almost fraud.

Just LOOK at his advisory group. You are in for a goddamn shock if this guy gets elected.

It's clear that race concerns you, MetaMan, but if it prevents you from voting for a candidate then I think that is a concern you need to own.

Frankly, I think I'm far less a racist than many Obama supporters on this thread. Certainly, there is a problem with unrecognized misogyny coming from those of you who have been referring to Hillary in ways that mock her in ways that insult her gender.

But hey, if it makes you feel good to come down on someone who pointed out Harvard's Implicit studies to you, as a racist, then perhaps we need a special category of Implicit studies to deal with the the special category of person that *you* represent in the spectrum of racial preference.

Let's put it this way, I've seen not one Obama supporter here who can feel justified in "casting stones", from the person who insulted Lincoln by titling the opening thread, to everyone of the little four-letter-word quips and lectures that are little more than attempts to elevate oneself within the small coterie of persons that MeFi represents in the larger scope of things.

Last, this is a great blog - greatness in any population depends on diversity of style, opinion, and demeanor. I'm not mad at anyone, but it sure does seem that there is a lot of hostility hidden nin "helpful" behavior on this thread, as well as a strong dose of hypocrisy coming from those who think the "facts" that they perceive are the only facts in existence.

Hillary Clinton is a great candidate; she has fought, in general, for the right things most of her life. It's not her "fault" that she was married to a President, yet she gets castigated for that, because she says it counts as experience in government. And if interacting with the most powerful people on earth every day for 8 years isn't experience in governing, what is?

Hillary, early in the debates, could NOT pin Obama down on policy. He was FAR less forthcoming than she. What Obama is, is as cynical a politician as anyone I have ever seen. He is a VERY smart guy, and a VERY fast study. He is learning about how to take his negatives and spin them into positives, fast. He has the untrammeled help of the press.

March 4 was a shock to those who thought Obama was going to end it, right there.

It wasn't a shock to me, because my roots are blue collar (layered over with an extremely broad and deep education). Obama does NOT resonate for me. He's too up in the air, and effete. He reminds me, in too many ways, in his *essence* of John Kerry. I can't quite put my finger on it; maybe it's the Ivy League thing; I don't know.
posted by MetaMan at 9:01 AM on March 20, 2008


Tell you what. Hillary can be first lady again.

It's exactly this kind of condescending and sexist comment that puts me off your style of argument, fourcheesemac. What a ridiculously patronizing thing to say about a senator who has worked hard and proven herself in Congress but apparently hasn't broken through that glass ceiling yet. I support Obama, but I don't support you.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:02 AM on March 20, 2008


Hey MetaMan.

So, you say Hillary has been fully vetted, to the point where there is nothing we don't know about her, whereas Obama is an unknown quantity?

mmmhmmm.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:07 AM on March 20, 2008


go take some of the racial bias tests at Project Implicit...Warning:your personal results may surprise, offend, or shock you.

Ha! Funny story about this actually. I took this test and it found that I had a slight bias in favor of black folks (weird, since my background is about as white-bread as they come)... So, yeah, my personal results were surprising, but I wasn't offended.

Where Obama directly takes on fears and concerns about his viability, Clinton has only repeated the "experience" message and written off those who question how valuable the experience is, rather than taking on their arguments and making a direct case.

Exactly. And the "experience" message and Clinton's campaign's willingness to raise doubts about Obama's electability on the basis of race at the same time further the case that the Republican's will inevitably use against the Clinton campaign as well. The same kinds of nagging doubts some might have about Obama's race being a factor can also easily be raised in a similar fashion about Clinton's gender; by affirming the validity of such concerns--even perhaps stoking them in some cases--the Clinton campaign is shooting itself in the foot and allowing the dangerous idea that the Republicans still somehow have a shot at pulling off a win gain ground, which is absolutely not in the best interests of the Democratic party, regardless of how the primary process turns out. So it seems to me like the Clinton campaign has just adopted a terrible, myopic and ultimately self-defeating strategy.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:08 AM on March 20, 2008


onlyconnect . . . .

My snark is not sexist. It's a reference to her claims of "experience." Her records as first lady are now being released -- and see my link just above for the story about how much is NOT being released, and why.

Her highly touted "experience" as first lady consists of such things as being served a soda by Pakistani children and reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to a school in Waco.

So my point is that she has plenty of experience, as first lady.

Sorry if it came across as sexist. I see how it could come across that way, and I didn't mean it to. But here we have the basic problem. If you attack Hillary on substantive grounds, you're a sexist. But when you suggest Obama might be a Black Panther or a Muslim radical or a former drug dealer, you're just playing hardball. You're not being racist.

I'm not a sexist. I just don't like Clinton.

And I'm not looking for your support, either.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:12 AM on March 20, 2008


By the way, somewhere way up there MetaMan complained about people attacking Bill Clinton by saying he never attacked Michelle Obama.

Two things: Clinton surrogates most certainly have attacked and smeared Michelle Obama and . . .

Michelle Obama was never president of the US, and is not the major reason why her husband is even known to the public, let alone a contender for the office.


And here again we have a very NAIVE statement, combined with someone trying to wish away the fact that being First Lady DOES grant political experience.

And you think that Obama's people haven't tried to smear Clinton? Am I supposed to go dig up all the hateful anti-Clinton crap generated by the Obama campaign, that I saw on a trip to OH just before the primary?

I think I just figured out what really bothers me about a lot of Obama supporters; they talk DOWN to others, as if their lofty pROGESSIVE (sic, with a small "p") ideas are better and more holy than the ideas of others.

There is a certain rabidness about Obama support that reminds me of my more-far-left-Liberal days; it's a rabidness born from a lack of what;s out there now - a lack that has been caused by Neocon greed, and has somehow been transferred to Clinton because the Clinton's found a path down the middle that is not as overt on the side of social justice, but that has an eye toward the latter in a way that is self-correcting.

Fanatics don't like to see mistakes; they expect the perfection ofo vision. I see a lot of fanaticism on this thread, and the use of subtle condescension that tries to come off as "care". It's a trip back to 1967, and it worries me, because that's just not how the world works.
posted by MetaMan at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2008


I think I just figured out what really bothers me about a lot of Obama supporters; they talk DOWN to others, as if their lofty pROGESSIVE (sic, with a small "p") ideas are better and more holy than the ideas of others.

Yep. That's the size of it, exactly. You've more than demonstrated yourself here as a person committed to a respectful dialog among equals (as misguided, cultish, immature, maddeningly pragmatic, fanatical, and inexperienced as those on the other side of that dialog may be in your eyes). Real clear-eyed view of how you're coming off in this thread you've got there.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2008


Metaman, I don't think the condescension towards your meandering statements is subtle.
posted by anthill at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2008


You're blowing it, America.
posted by you just lost the game at 9:30 AM on March 20, 2008


So, you say Hillary has been fully vetted, to the point where there is nothing we don't know about her, whereas Obama is an unknown quantity?

fourcheese, so we're going to venture into Ken Starr territory again? How can anyone who calls himself a democrat or progressive not see what happened to the Clinton's because of Bill's lie, and almost everything that preceded that as an attempt by the GOP to *completely* discredit the biggest threat to their party in the 20th century?

I could give a rat's ass about Hillary's private schedule, just as I could give a rat's ass about Obama scaring a land favor from Tony Rezko. Nobody's pure.

What I do care about is what can this person get DONE. I haven't seen Obama DO anything, except ride on the coattails of a strong statement he made about the war (to please his state legislative constituency) BEFORE ha came to Congress, and then wimp out from that time on.

I don't *believe* Obama; I don't even believe that speech he made the other day. I believe in the ideals he professed, but I don't believe that that's what *he* believes, because he has been so duplicitous from the very beginning.

There is no "there, there" with Obama, only a flash of oratory now and then, and a desperate energy that crackles through our nation to grasp onto anything that will take away the taste of Bush. Woudl that we had an Obama that believes what Obama is saying, and not an Obama that is saying what he's saying because it's his last best hope to win.
posted by MetaMan at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2008


Oh I get it now! This is an elaborate joke. Well played, sir! Such subtle humor I almost missed it on the first read-through...

because that's just not how the world works.

The punchline is where you have the nerve to accuse others of condescension without citing any specific examples, and then correct anyone who disagrees with you categorically with the assertion: "that's not how the world works," which of course is an unbelievably condescending thing to do.

Comic genius! You should go write for South Park or something.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:35 AM on March 20, 2008


That article is interesting, but in the grand scheme is full of idle horse shit, YJLTG. If Winter/Spring polling indicated who ended up actually winning general elections, Carter would have been a two terms President, Gary Hart would have followed him, followed by Ross Perot, Bob Dole and John McCain.
posted by psmealey at 9:37 AM on March 20, 2008


Here I was hoping that MetaMan had gone away and left us to have an adult discussion, but no such luck. Maybe we can ignore him (seriously, what's the point of throwing more darts?) and talk about something else? Like this:

Bringing our troops home has global repercussions that a president has to be ready to deal with.

But leaving them there has global repercussions too. The Dems should press the point that the occupation of Iraq is a huge drain on resources that basically leaves us unable to respond to a threat elsewhere. (Don't know if it's worth pointing out that Iraq was never a threat to begin with, since that's ancient history by now.)
posted by languagehat at 9:41 AM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think I just figured out what really bothers me about a lot of Obama supporters; they talk DOWN to others

While you have remained a paragon of respectful, knowledgeable, reasoned debate?

After suggesting that in order to support Obama we must be secretly racist, misogynist, and now classist, It's hard to go for this, MetaMan. If you could make a case for your candidate without insulting people who support someone else, your views would stand a much better chance of being listened to.

And Obama has convinced a solid majority of his party? What results are you reading? Obama leads, in total delegates cast, by a tiny fraction.

Is 10% a tiny fraction? Besides the delegates, Obama leads in the popular vote by 1.3 million votes. It's certainly close, but it remains true that Clinton has not (yet?)convinced a majority. The argument for supporting her is not overwhelming. You could say the same about Obama, though his lead is significant and he currently has the majority. That's why we're still having this discussion.
posted by Miko at 9:43 AM on March 20, 2008


Oh my lord, I can't believe MetaMan is still going.

Just to add my two cents, MetaMan, as someone who voted for neither Obama nor Clinton, you're making Clinton look less and less appealing all the time. I've been trying to take you on good faith throughout this thread, but either you're doing some kind of weird Pro-Obama secret double agent thing or you just have absolutely no idea how to convince people of things. This level of discourse is akin to someone barreling into an AA meeting and shouting "STOP DRINKING! I AM SOBER AND LOOK HOW WELL ADJUSTED I AM"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:45 AM on March 20, 2008


You're blowing it, America.

And, this is exactly what I've been getting at about the Camelot crowd; they're doing it again. Putting out a candidate that wears Progressive values on his sleeve; has effete Harvard-educated mannerisms, and can't manage to talk face-to-face with the average American in a way that has that American believing he's a person of substance.

Of course, what's going to happen, is what's been happening all along. The effete Camelot crowd will blame someone slightly right of their value set. IN this case, the Obama supporters on this thread are already crying "foul!" about Clinton. That will happen.

I have been saying all along that Obama will not appeal to the working man, in the end, in large enough numbers to beat a political moderate like McCain.

Don't blame this on Hillary, blame it on the Camelot jerk-offs like the Kennedy's, and the Kerry's and the others who were locked out of the Clinton Presidency because they couldn't smell the reality of centrist politics. They wanted their "man of hope"; they got him in Obama, and AGAIN, they're sinking the Democratic ship.

Like I said, there are obviously a lot of young voters in this thread; they don't remember Dukakis, Carter, and others who got buried for the same reasons as Obama will fade.

Sure, some of this is just plain tragic; would that the values Obama portends to profess could catch fire in America. They won't, because Obama's *essence* is not America.

You want a black president? we need a black Mario Cuomo, someone who is an orator and who can relate to all classes.

Why do you think that Obama doesn't do well in the working classes? It's not because he's black, it's because he has the mannerisms of an effete intellectual. He doesn't resonate the way "good 'ol John" does.

Now that Rasmussen report says that Hillary is no longer a favorite for blacks. That makes me sad, and sorry for black people, who have gone out believing the crap that has been insinuated about the Clintons in their relationships with blacks. That Obama and his campaign, and the people who support Obama who have helped perpetrate the lie of Clinton racism, I say a pox on you. You made your bed, now live in it.

This slide down is going to continue, until someone wakes up and realizes that only Hillary, all of whose negatives are out there, who has a solid level of liberal achievement, and whose heart is in the right place (even though she can be a conniving bitch from time to time) is the one to beat McCain.
posted by MetaMan at 9:48 AM on March 20, 2008


a conniving bitch

Yeah, that's it. No further credibility or attention from this direction.
posted by Miko at 9:51 AM on March 20, 2008


It wasn't a shock to me, because my roots are blue collar (layered over with an extremely broad and deep education).

Fake posturing as the soul of blue-collar authenticity? Tim Russert, I knew it was you all along... By the way, how are the Buffalo wings?
posted by jonp72 at 9:52 AM on March 20, 2008


Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac.
"Clinton's path to the nomination, then, involves the following steps: kneecap an eloquent, inspiring, reform-minded young leader who happens to be the first serious African American presidential candidate (meanwhile cementing her own reputation for Nixonian ruthlessness) and then win a contested convention by persuading party elites to override the results at the polls. "
posted by Floydd at 9:57 AM on March 20, 2008


greg nog: omeone who voted for neither Obama nor Clinton, you're making Clinton look less and less appealing all the time. I've been trying to take you on good faith throughout this thread, but either you're doing some kind of weird Pro-Obama secret double agent thing or you just have absolutely no idea how to convince people of things. This level of discourse is akin to someone barreling into an AA meeting and shouting "STOP DRINKING! I AM SOBER AND LOOK HOW WELL ADJUSTED I AM"

Remember, Greg, that that level of discourse would not have occurred without the help of those who entered into it with me; we are all one and the same in this, including our mutual hypocritical stands relative to "holier than thou" statements made (or implied) by both sides...

I'm (almost) :)) done.

btw, I love you guys; I really do. And, although I've pissed off a lot of people, and have been pissed off by a lot of people, it's been a hard-hitting exchange that hasn't pulled punches; an exchange that has lived right on the edge of propriety, and that could only happen on MeFi.

We are not what we seem to be...always remember that

with apologies to Will Shakespeare
"I dare not speak
much further;
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:
Shall not be long but I'll be here again:
Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward
To what they were before. My pretty MeFi'ers,
Blessing upon you!"
posted by MetaMan at 10:02 AM on March 20, 2008


You want a black president?

No. We want a good president. Very few of us, if any, here want "a black president."

You, on the other hand, seem very much not to want one, and have now spent three whole days straining yourself to find new ways to say so without actually saying it by implying how terrible it would be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:02 AM on March 20, 2008


That Obama and his campaign, and the people who support Obama who have helped perpetrate the lie of Clinton racism, I say a pox on you.

Lordy, people still say this?

The one thing McCain will have to do over the next so many months is try and make America forget that after losing the South Carolina primary in '00, he basically bent knee and became a toady for the White House. Had McCain won the nomination in '00, I probably would have agonized over voting for him versus Gore. I was and still am a Moderate Democrat, a centrist who falls just a little more to the left than to the right. Now, thanks to the Bush Administration, I'll be a Democrat for the rest of my life. Regardless, McCain has lost my respect, no matter how much he tries to dredge up the Straight Talk Express from '00. The Democrats won't let America forget, either, how much McCain rolled over for Bush and Co. For this reason, I don't think that moderate America will be so easily persuaded to vote for McCain, as recent elections show, they're tending to prefer Democrats.

Hillary isn't a pill for these people, either.
posted by Atreides at 10:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


There isn't an Obamaton on this thread that would have changed their mind, so please chill with the patronizing comments.

I am baffled at how someone can so continually insult a group of obviously intelligent, thoughtful individuals and be completely unaware that it is an insult. Many of the Obama supporters in this thread have, over and over and over again, explained in great detail the actual, substantive reasons they support his candidacy. But somehow that makes them "Obamatons", by which I infer is meant "unthinking, naive simpletons who have fallen into a cult of personality and respond robotically."

That's an insult. Stop insulting people, please. It is also delusionally unaware of what's actually been written in this thread.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:14 AM on March 20, 2008


"an exchange that has lived right on the edge of propriety, and that could only happen on MeFi. "


FAIL
posted by Captain Planet's Green Mullet at 10:14 AM on March 20, 2008


Also, the the article saulgoodman linked to above is enough to make me not vote for anyone involved in such cultish groups.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:15 AM on March 20, 2008


I just want to pop in to thank Miko for her thoughtful and beautifully composed comments, this one in particular.
posted by maryh at 10:17 AM on March 20, 2008


Don't blame this on Hillary, blame it on the Camelot jerk-offs like the Kennedy's, and the Kerry's and the others who were locked out of the Clinton Presidency because they couldn't smell the reality of centrist politics.

That doesn't make logical sense. The center cannot exist without a left and a right. Presumably the left and the right (even on the extremes) do represent some portion of our compatriots. If we are a truly a republican democracy, then surely there's room for all, and all deserve some form of representation.

You might not feel that the far left or right deserves to be in the running for president, but they do deserve to be heard. The problem with Bill Clinton and his lip-service to the left, run to the right approach (as opposed to Bush's lip service to the far right, run to the right approach), is that he completely disenfranchised those who should have been his natural allies in favor of serving his political ambitions. The resulting balkanization of the party has been disastrous for everyone. Hillary Clinton, to me, represents a return to that path, whereas Obama (working with Howard Dean) can rebuild the Party.
posted by psmealey at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


You want a black president?

No. We want a good president. Very few of us, if any, here want "a black president."

You, on the other hand, seem very much not to want one, and have now spent three whole days straining yourself to find new ways to say so without actually saying it by implying how terrible it would be.


This is really funny, another little mind, quoting out of context, in an effort to tar me with the projections that live in that posters own dark shadows. I suppose you're one of those posters who loves to make himself feel better by shouting "you're a racist" every time someone who disagrees with you mentions the word race, in every context, except for your self, right?

There's a phrase called "self-righteous" - go look it up....

Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac.
And now we have the master Googler Floydd, who thinks skimming the first level of anti-Hillary hits is doing "research"

Here's on right back atcha'

and another just for good luck

"The lesson of all this is that Mrs. Clinton's campaign so far adumbrates a durable winning combination for the Democratic Party among key sociological groups and in the Electoral College. Obama, by contrast, offers an odd assortment of states, an incongruous slapdash coalition, a random congeries, a crazy quilt or checkerboard of states where he might conceivably muddle through. By now it should be plain to all the 2008 will go down in history as a great watershed year in the latest party realignment of American politics, joining such landmark elections as the Jacksonian Democrats of 1828, the Lincoln Republicans of 1860, the Wall Street Republicans of 1896, the magnificent Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal of 1932, and the abominable reactionary Nixon success of 1968. The house we build this year is the one we will have to live in until the midpoint of the 21st century, so it is imperative to step back from the Obama craze and its swarming adolescents and soberly measure what is at stake."

Doesn't that just make you want to shout!
posted by MetaMan at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2008


“There isn't an Obamaton on this thread that would have changed their mind, so please chill with the patronizing comments.”

I think it’s time for you to chill.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan is definitely a troll (Obama is effete? Bitch said what?), but I have to give him this -- he's a goddamned committed troll. Looking forward to the inevitable MetaTalk on this one.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2008


During the Clinton years democrats lost the Senate, the house, the plurality of governorships. Clinton himself did not win either election with over 50% of the vote, and it is quite likely he would have lost the '92 contest if it was not for Perot. So, I have serious doubts to any claim that Clinton politics have been beneficial or terribly effective. And I say that having voted for him.

Until the issue was forced and he had to make some concession to it I think Obama was not running as a 'black candidate', but a candidate who was black, as opposed to H. Clinton who I think has been running as a female candidate rather then the reverse. Now, you might think the difference is slight, but it goes back to people first language. You identify what is more important first when describing someone.

MM save your pity for 'black people' it is demeaning and infantile.
posted by edgeways at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2008


I've been following this thread for days, but there are a few points on which I'm still unclear. I think I'm just missing some background or framework, and I'd appreciate it immensely if someone could take the time to answer a few questions for me. Here are the ones that come to mind:

- What are the identities and backgrounds of the right-wing/conservative members of Obama's advisory circle?

- What is a "Camelot" Democrat, and how does it differ from any other member of the Democratic party? The Kennedy administration was long before my time, but I definitely recall the phrase "new Camelot" being bandied about by Bill Clinton's camp circa 1992.

- Who are the "little guys" to whom McCain appeals? I assume this doesn't mean short people, but I can't parse the phrase. Can anyone give me a clearer definition and/or examples?

I'll ask more questions later if I can think of anything else. These ought to be enough for now. Thanks!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:31 AM on March 20, 2008


Incidentally, this phrase:

an odd assortment of states, an incongruous slapdash coalition, a random congeries, a crazy quilt or checkerboard of states

is one of the greatest, most poetic, most inspirational descriptions of the United States of America I've ever read. I'd like to print it on an Obama '08 banner.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Don't know if it's worth pointing out that Iraq was never a threat to begin with, since that's ancient history by now.)

Yeah, it is ancient history. It wasn't a threat when there was a dictator to keep it under control. That doesn't mean it won't be a threat when it's left to self-destruct after six years of misguided occupation. I am not saying that getting out of Iraq is the wrong thing to do; I just think whoever does it has to make sure they have things under as much control as possible and that there are as many safeguards and drainoffs in place before anything is done. To just yank the troops out as soon as you're in office sounds like you're not doing a lot of preparing.

And more than anything, any candidate who has no military background and is running against someone with military background at a time when there is talk about how to handle somethingsomething TROOPS, had better fucking make sure that every time they talk about it, they show why and how they CAN be trusted to handle international policy and war. This means being extra careful not to say things that can be read as inexperienced or naive - so if you're going to bring the troops home, you make sure you strongly emphasize the military necessity of this, the foreign policy angle, the well thought through strategy and process, NOT the anti-war hippie "killing is bad" side.
posted by mdn at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2008


You might not feel that the far left or right deserves to be in the running for president, but they do deserve to be heard. The problem with Bill Clinton and his lip-service to the left, run to the right approach (as opposed to Bush's lip service to the far right, run to the right approach), is that he completely disenfranchised those who should have been his natural allies in favor of serving his political ambitions. The resulting balkanization of the party has been disastrous for everyone. Hillary Clinton, to me, represents a return to that path, whereas Obama (working with Howard Dean) can rebuild the Party.

On the contrary, I think the edges of the political spectrum Do need to be heard, because the polis learns to adapt better that way. What I object to is the takeover of the voice government by those who ride those edges.

This is a CENTRIST nation, in spite of the "hope-mongering" politcos like Obama, Dukakis, Kennedy, and the rest who wear "hope" on their sleeves as they savage all who disagree with them; and, in spite of the Neocon thugs like Bush and Cheny who think that they have a right to every little whim, because the bible tells them so.

The reason why BOTH the Camelot and Neocon crowd is so afraid, and so dislikes, the Clintons, is because they *resonate* with what America IS, in the aggregate.

How was it, after the unconscionable savaging that Bill Clinton endured during the *entire* run of his Presidency (it was unprecedented in the history of politics, in our country; I've never seen anything close), he finished with a 67% approval rating.

Since then, the Camelot crowd has been plotting to get their message of "hope" back in the mix, and the Neocons, well, we know what the Neocons did - no need to go into that mess any further.

I find it highly ironic that Bill Clinton, who did more *practical* good for our nation than anyone since Eisenhower - and who, yes, had his faults - has been so reviled by so many of the Camelot crowd, and by extension and association, his wife.

I want to see the Kerry's and Kennedy's talking their heads off, and the Cheney's and Bush's, too - but I want to see them MARGINALIZED in the halls of power; I want to see them only as countervailing balances, to help keep the ship aflot, and centered.
posted by MetaMan at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2008


Incidentally, this phrase:

an odd assortment of states, an incongruous slapdash coalition, a random congeries, a crazy quilt or checkerboard of states

is one of the greatest, most poetic, most inspirational descriptions of the United States of America I've ever read. I'd like to print it on an Obama '08 banner.


I think you should do that; it will be a nice memento in your den - something to gaze at in 2010 as Hillary gives the State of the Union.
posted by MetaMan at 10:41 AM on March 20, 2008


I haven't seen Obama DO anything

His legislative record squares with his rhetoric better than Hillary's does, his time as a community organizer and his life experience gives him far more street cred than she has, he has more time in elected office unless you're some kind of crazy person who imagines that state politics in Illinois is somehow kindergarten playtime rather than "real." The correct assessment of Iraq -- not anywhere near as germane to a future national career as you'd like to posit, given the state of the country at the time -- is just frosting on the cake, like his ability to actually inspire and communicate rather than inveigle and prevaricate.

But more importantly, and this is what I think Clinton herself and many of her supporters can't see or do see but get upset about: Obama. Just. Sounds. Smarter. In every way. When he talks policy, he comes off like the person who's done his homework better, understands more sides of the issue, and is more effectively able to weigh them out. Look at konolia's comment to get a grip on what people see. If you're not a sock puppet you're new here so you may not realize it, but her history here strongly suggests she isn't predisposed to be a Democratic idealist.

You talk about how Obama's just as steel-ily pragmatic as Clinton if it's a bad thing while you're accusing his supporters of nothing but dreamy eyed idealism. You know what? You're wrong, Obama fans have actually picked up on the pragmatic side of things and like it -- and they love that he can do something Clinton can't, and that's embrace both the idealism and the realities at the same time. This isn't a contradiction, this is actually the basic quality that defines real leadership ability because that's what it takes to bring reality towards the ideal.

And you know the proof of the pudding that he's got real game, experience in politics enough, and real acumen to do good? Look at a damn smart campaign in which he's outmaneuvered someone who was supposed to be so well-connected, so well-funded, and such a Democratic/political icon that she was inevitable, right?

Or are you really gonna chalk up all that success up to a wild spontaneously erupting mass delusion that was just too overwhelming to fight for someone as tough and sharp as the Clinton you paint?

It doesn't wash.

And as to Obama's risks in the fall election: where can you possibly be pulling the idea that Clinton is somehow "safe" from? If you're as studied a supporter as you claim to be, you know she carries her own set of liabilities, and that some of them are still not popular fodder.

Oh, and on preview:

Like I said, there are obviously a lot of young voters in this thread; they don't remember Dukakis, Carter, and others who got buried for the same reasons as Obama will fade.

I remember Dukakis, and I think you're insane if you can't see how much stronger the parallels are between him and Clinton than they are with Obama.

Also, did you know that Carter won an election? And enough of a student to maybe flesh out something beyond the extremely thin and mostly unapplicable reasons you've alluded to in the thread?

I've also noticed that a number of other people in the thread have spoken up to rebut your assessment that they're young and have never voted in a general election. Have you?

Why do you think that Obama doesn't do well in the working classes? It's not because he's black, it's because he has the mannerisms of an effete intellectual. He doesn't resonate the way "good 'ol John" does.

Effete? Sure, about as effete as James Earl Jones. Intellectual? I'll take the risk that we have a candidate who doesn't shade the smart, and that will in fact appeal to more people than it'll turn off.

But finally: where in the world do you get the idea that Clinton is somehow able to resonate any better here? She is transparently -- to the extent *anything* is transparent about the Clinton -- at a minimum as Ivy League East Coast Intellectual as any such image that can be tarred to Obama.


The reason why BOTH the Camelot and Neocon crowd is so afraid, and so dislikes, the Clintons, is because they *resonate* with what America IS, in the aggregate.

You sure seem to disparage Obama's highly visible and pervasive resonance quite a bit for someone who wants to pull that out as a Clinton strength.
posted by namespan at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2008


Clinton’s campaign a winning combination? The very fact that Clinton hasn’t already won means that she has lost. Clinton came into the race as the inevitable nominee. Obama rose from near-anonymity to best her in the primaries. Obama’s campaign simply recognized the winning strategy, given the rules of the primary process: the race is ultimately about the delegate count, and his campaign played to obtain more delegates. Clinton’s strategy seems to have been to rely upon the old “keystone” blue states [pun intended,] while pretending that the others aren’t important, and that obviously hasn’t been enough to secure the nomination for her. The message from her campaign has been consistent: “Just wait until TX and OH. Oh, just wait until PA.” Meanwhile she’s been falling further and further behind in the only metric that really matters, the delegate count. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that the American electoral process is as much about the issues as it is about gaming the system. I think it’s clear who was best at that in the two previous presidential elections, and I think it’s clear who it is this time.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2008


This means being extra careful not to say things that can be read as inexperienced or naive

You mean like saying that you'd negotiate with rogue terrorist groups, but then suddenly reversing on that, because you heard it's a bad idea, like Obama did? And you think that won't make it into the GOP attack mill?

Take a look at Hillary's comments and actions re: national security, in contrast to the bumbling by Obama. She can hold her own in any debate with John McCain about national security. Obama, on the other hand, will come off as weak.

Most voters in America are not under 22; nor are they upper middle class intellectuals. Obama doesn't have the "right stuff" to go all the way. Yet he persists, and those who are mesmerized more by message than substance, persist. Why?

I fear for my country.
posted by MetaMan at 10:46 AM on March 20, 2008


You sure seem to disparage Obama's highly visible and pervasive resonance quite a bit for someone who wants to pull that out as a Clinton strength.

Your's is one of the blind spots I'm talking about. You see Obama strength as represented by Democratic voters in a *primary*, the vast majority of them in states that are traditionally GOP, and will vote GOP in a general election.

Obama does not have a national mandate any more than Hillary does, or McCain does, but put him in a room with a a centrist politician like McCain, who resonates with the middle class, where all the marbles are on the table, and Obama's going to lose.
posted by MetaMan at 10:49 AM on March 20, 2008


The very fact that Clinton hasn’t already won means that she has lost.

You have just engaged in an action called "wishful thinking"
posted by MetaMan at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2008


No offense to the rest of y'all, but truly, no one has done a better job than MetaMan of convincing me that I've made the right choice. Rock on, MetaMan.
posted by aqhong at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


And, this is exactly what I've been getting at about the Camelot crowd; they're doing it again. Putting out a candidate that wears Progressive values on his sleeve; has effete Harvard-educated mannerisms, and can't manage to talk face-to-face with the average American in a way that has that American believing he's a person of substance.

Of course, what's going to happen, is what's been happening all along. The effete Camelot crowd will blame someone slightly right of their value set.


Oh my, oh my.
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on March 20, 2008


kittens for breakfast: Looking forward to the inevitable MetaTalk on this one.

The existing Meta thread snarkily linked waaaaay up there in the original post actually contains the inevitable MetaTalk. (You just don't get more inevitable than already existing.)
posted by Drastic at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2008


where in the world do you get the idea that Clinton is somehow able to resonate any better here? She is transparently -- to the extent *anything* is transparent about the Clinton -- at a minimum as Ivy League East Coast Intellectual as any such image that can be tarred to Obama.

You need to look at the polls, and read more stuff like this

Clinton resonates with middle America FAR better than Obama does. I have listened to her out on the stump in PA, and let me tell you, she is one inspiring person, who touches on every theme that Obama has touched on, in a way that really seizes the day.

The mainstream press *reporters* whoh are mostly descended from parents with CAmelot legacy, want Obama to win so bad they can taste it, but Hillary's message keeps getting through.

I think she's going to take this thing, because by the time we get to July, we're going to see Obama's negatives rise.

Don't you dare try to blame that on Hillary. It's the fault of all those who elevated Obama to unreasonable heights - that's what happens when someone appoints you as a saint in your lifetime - Obama is as shrewd a tactical politician as there is in the game, today, and he has reveled in the glory. He will suffer its slings and arrows, soon enough.
posted by MetaMan at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2008


I have been very disappointed with the NYT's treatment of Obama, since the paper is still a liberal haven. And yet it bugs me that their coverage is so blatantly biased in this case. So maybe they picked the wrong horse and are sticking to their guns?

Clinton's the hometown girl. It's like expecting the Chicago Tribune not to be slanted towards Obama.
posted by Tlogmer at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2008


You've won me over, Metaman!

McCain in 08!
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:03 AM on March 20, 2008


Looking forward to the inevitable MetaTalk on this one.

The existing Meta thread snarkily linked waaaaay up there in the original post actually contains the inevitable MetaTalk.



Let's put it this way: you see trolls where you think they exist; that's the case here. Of course, that's stating the obvious, but then it's been obvious from the beginning of this thread that everyone has been burning incense for Obama here. I think most of the peoplep here need a persistent dose of reality, as it exists in the polis. I see little insight into what America is really all about, and little more than "hope" mongering.

Take a view of my persistent - non-trolling - posting on this topic here (I'm much more level-headed, elsewhere) as a metaphor for how Hillary is going to outlast Obama.
posted by MetaMan at 11:05 AM on March 20, 2008


Looks like I put a spell on Joey!

Luv ya guy!!!
posted by MetaMan at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2008


"The question is which will last longer -- Obama's eloquent words about racial divisions and reconciliation or questions about his relationship with a man whose words have shocked the country."
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on March 20, 2008


Repeating a few things for emphasis:
During the Clinton years democrats lost the Senate, the house, the plurality of governorships. Clinton himself did not win either election with over 50% of the vote, and it is quite likely he would have lost the '92 contest if it was not for Perot.

The very fact that Clinton hasn’t already won means that she has lost. Clinton came into the race as the inevitable nominee. Obama rose from near-anonymity to best her in the primaries.

Finally, at no point did Obama have to spend his own money to keep his campaign going.
posted by drezdn at 11:12 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaMan, you now have 50 comments in this one thread.

Jeremiah 20:9
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not...

If you hush up I will give, on next Wednesday, the Clinton campaign 25 dollars, if you don't, I'll give it to Obama.
posted by dawson at 11:12 AM on March 20, 2008


BTW -- Metaman's rehashing of the 1960s political term "Camelot" (which he seems to want us to view as a disparaging term) brings to mind the upcoming revision of William Safire's Political Dictionary.
"...[Safire is]...the first to acknowledge that our vocabulary shapes, as much as it reflects, the way we think about the world. The names of laws ('death tax,' 'Clear Skies Initiative') and the characterizations of would-be leaders ('bull moose,' 'amiable dunce') have unconscious effects on even the savviest voters. It's why spinmeisters stay in business and why a politician's word choice can make a legend (FDR's 'nothing to fear but fear itself') or break a career (George Allen's 'macaca' blooper in 2007)....[B]oth the wildly successful and the widely derided of American political argot are included in his 829-page dictionary. What began in 1968 as a Beltway junkie's labor of love has turned into an authoritative collection of whistle-stopping campaign slogans and vicious slings and arrows of partisan attacks that stretches all the way back to the Founding Fathers (who came up with terms like 'electioneer' and the party 'ticket')."*
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on March 20, 2008


"Take a view of my persistent - non-trolling - posting on this topic here (I'm much more level-headed, elsewhere) as a metaphor for how Hillary is going to outlast Obama."

By being consistently obnoxious, condescending, semi-coherent, and generally alienating the very people she needs to connect with?


Good show old chap!
posted by stenseng at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


"The question is which will last longer -- Obama's eloquent words about racial divisions and reconciliation or questions about his relationship with a man whose words have shocked the country."

from the above link; it's what I've been saying, all along....

"But, at heart, this was a speech designed for a political purpose, and Obama may have received more credit than he deserves for taking up the subject. Sitting in the small auditorium on Tuesday, watching Obama speak in what seemed like deliberately flat and unemotional tones, there was no way to think about the address as other than a political rescue mission. And on that there is no simple verdict, only lingering questions.""
posted by MetaMan at 11:14 AM on March 20, 2008


By being consistently obnoxious, condescending, semi-coherent, and generally alienating the very people she needs to connect with?


Good show old chap!


Trolling is in the mind of the (usually weak in substance) beholder.

People here like to throw around the word "troll", just like others like to throw around the word "racist", to shut somebody up.
And who says I want to "connect" with you in the way that you expect? That's assuming a heckuva lot. Take what's here - or at least try - as something other than you project onto it. That's a good practice for life, too.

Cheerio!
posted by MetaMan at 11:18 AM on March 20, 2008


And, this is exactly what I've been getting at about the Camelot crowd; they're doing it again. Putting out a candidate that wears Progressive values on his sleeve; has effete Harvard-educated mannerisms, and can't manage to talk face-to-face with the average American in a way that has that American believing he's a person of substance.

"And, this is exactly what I've been getting at about the Clinton crowd; they're doing it again. Putting out a candidate that wears Progressive values on her sleeve; has butch Wellesley-educated mannerisms, and can't manage to talk face-to-face with the average American in a way that has that American believing she's a person of substance."

Both are insulting as the other!
posted by ericb at 11:19 AM on March 20, 2008


The mainstream press *reporters* whoh [sic] are mostly descended from parents with CAmelot [sic] legacy

Please cite your sources.

Also, do you seriously think insulting people is ok? You've done it time and time again here, and it sucks. How about cut it out?
posted by chiababe at 11:19 AM on March 20, 2008


*Each is as insulting as the other!*
posted by ericb at 11:19 AM on March 20, 2008


"I don't usually visit the same topic two days in a row, but Sen. Barack Obama's speech Tuesday on race, race relations and the words of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., seems like such a signal moment in this year's presidential election that it deserves the attention."
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on March 20, 2008


If you hush up I will give, on next Wednesday, the Clinton campaign 25 dollars, if you don't, I'll give it to Obama.

That's tempting...send me a note, and guarantee that you can show me a Paypal receipt. Note that I will use this to prove that Obama supporters are willing to stoop to bribery. :0) :))

ericb *Each is as insulting as the other!*

Thank YOU! That's what I've been trying to get everyone to see.

I didn't throw the first punch here, someone else did. And, my retorts have been FAR less direct than some of the lazy responses that have used one liners, and four-letter-words.
posted by MetaMan at 11:24 AM on March 20, 2008


Obama Speech Not Enough

This is how it's going to read over much of America, for the staged, tactical political event that it was:
"Mr. Obama tried to suggest that his quandary is common, that many of us have remained in congregations shepherded by clergy issuing tirades that offend the flock. I doubt that. There are a lot of churches out there, and life is too short to be spent in houses of worship where repulsive precepts are routine.

But Mr. Obama said he could no more disown his pastor than he could disown the black community or his own white grandmother, a woman guilty of occasional racial insensitivity.

"That is simply ridiculous. We understand that he can retain some affection for a man who has meant so much to him in other ways. But if indeed Wright's church embraced "the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang banger," we need only one thing from Barack Obama – the strong message that none of those is well served by the spreading of racial hatreds.

"My wish is to give Mr. Obama credit and benefit of the doubt as the first black presidential candidate striving to move beyond the 1960s. But if he is to continue to earn such goodwill, he must risk alienating some in his base by delivering only rejection, and not excuses, for hate speech from those he loves."
posted by MetaMan at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2008


It does seem that the media is obsessed with the Wright thing, and with fitting the speech into some kind of wright narative that they can package nicely. I watched Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night do basically teh same thing he did the night before, ask each guest in turn whether they thought Obama had "condemned Wright enough". I'm glad that many of them treated the question as if it were as stupid and petty as it was.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on March 20, 2008


It's a trainwreck of a thread with 105 favorites and posts like "Thanks metafilter for the wonderful discussion. This community is very smart, considerate, and can write like no other I've been involved in."

I think it's possible to over focus on the trolling/negativity.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary's Secret Plan
"1. Destroy Obama so that the Superdelegates overthrow him and give her the nomination.

2. Destroy Obama so that, even if he wins the nomination, he will be so severely damaged that he loses the election, and the day after the election the Clinton people say 'see, we told you that you should have picked us,' and four years later, Hillary will be able to run again and get the nomination, if because of nothing else, because the party will feel sorry for 'cheating' her out of of it this time.

If we lose the election in the fall, it will be all Hillary's fault. It's time for Howard Dean and the party leaders to step in and stop Hillary before she starts a civil war (and one is coming) and destroys our party."
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2008


I watched Wolf Blitzer on CNN last night do basically teh same thing he did the night before, ask each guest in turn whether they thought Obama had "condemned Wright enough

Interesting point. Though I haven't seen a huge compendium of Wright's "controversial remarks," I have a mixed reaction to the ones I have seen. Some strike me as the competely unhelpful, racially divisive comments that people are right to condemn. Some strike me as lousy, inappropriate cheap shots. Some strike me as similar to other rhetoric I've encountered in settings of black political and social activism - acknowledging the outcome of oppression in strong and uncomfortable but ultimately defensible terms. And some strike me as rather true: for instance, the idea that 9/11 was "American's chickens coming home to roost." I actually agree with the truth of that.

But when I compare these comments to those made by another preacher in politics, Pat Robertson, Wright's just don't seem as inflammatory to me at all. Not laudable, but not even on the same scale. And yet, Pat Robertson has been making the rounds of the political TV talk shows, being treated as a legitimate pundit and campaign observer on the right.

I think the contrast is telling.
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


I wish someone would answer my questions...
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:53 AM on March 20, 2008


I beleive Wrighst comments about 9/11 were made jsut after the attack, and at a time when Pat Robinson was making very similar comments about 9/11 being "American's chickens coming home to roost." Though, you know, for very different reasons.

I think that most Americans who have a vague grasp of world events has a vague inkling that some of the anger against the US may be caused by prior actions of teh US, it just isn't the done thing to directly talk about it.

Kind of like race.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why in God's name are you people still jitterbugging when MetaMan says "Dance"?
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been following this thread for days, but there are a few points on which I'm still unclear. I think I'm just missing some background or framework, and I'd appreciate it immensely if someone could take the time to answer a few questions for me. Here are the ones that come to mind:

- What are the identities and backgrounds of the right-wing/conservative members of Obama's advisory circle?


Who said that? It's known that there are some very pragmatic, centrist members on his core team, and not as Camelot-like as the Progressive wing of the Dem party would think.

Read this

- What is a "Camelot" Democrat, and how does it differ from any other member of the Democratic party? The Kennedy administration was long before my time, but I definitely recall the phrase "new Camelot" being bandied about by Bill Clinton's camp circa 1992.

With the Clinton's "New Camelot" was bandied about because of the physical attractiveness and oratorial largesse of Bill Clinton; he reminded people of a larger than life presence, like Kennedy.

What I mean by "Camelot Democrats" are those Democrats who spout just right of Dennis Kucinish, and left of center. They are largely still influenced by the politics and hope of the 60's - a laudable and exciting time for change in our nation's history. They do not believe in rhetorical compromise, and consistently ignore the centrist values of the American people. They shout loudest when people they disagree with, from the center and moving right, oppose their *rhetorical* statements. They consistently misread Americans, and have foisted one losing candidate after another against the GOP, all based on rhetoric. But they just don't seem capable of learning, anything.

Also, they are very, very condescending in their pronouncements, as if they are the only ones with Progressive sentiments. They refuse to see complexity, and understand that even the most staunch conservative might have progressive values within his personal spectrum.

I find this Camelot Democrat to be an unfortunate relic, and what is largely driving Obama into the finals; that, in addition to the real desire of those starved of any sense of greatness for our nation after 4 years of the current madness.

- Who are the "little guys" to whom McCain appeals? I assume this doesn't mean short people, but I can't parse the phrase. Can anyone give me a clearer definition and/or examples?

The working classes, the people who drive trucks, the lower-middle blue collar folk who have been lost in the mix. That's what most of America IS.

I think Obama's messages are great; his speech was very good (not great); it was a TACTICAL masterpiece, not a CONTENT masterpiece.

What bothers me about Obama is instead of saying stuff like this from the core, it's always a tactical response to a threat. I don't think Obama has a center, in spite of his rhetoric; that bothers me.
posted by MetaMan at 12:08 PM on March 20, 2008


MetaWho?

These comments are in response to ArtW's comments about Wright.

Just for the contrast's sake, here are some Roberston quotes that don't seem to have required condemnatory speeches from the Republican candidates he is speaking in support of:

"It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians."

"...one of the reasons so many lesbians are at the forefront of the pro-choice movement is because being a mother is the unique characteristic of womanhood, and these lesbians will never be mothers naturally, so they don't want anybody else to have that privilege either."

"Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals - the two things seem to go together."

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

"God in his great mercy has blessed America, and made this a haven for Christians and Jews alike. But we've gone away from our Christian heritage. And God has little obligation at the present time to spare America, because we are polluting the world with our television programs, our movies and so forth, our books. We are polluting the whole world. We've made the world drunk, if you will, with the wine of our fornication. "

Now that this comparison has occurred to me, it seems even more strange to wonder whether Obama's speech was 'enough.' Why would a nation get up in arms about the relationship between Obama and Wright, when it apparently gives a pass to the relationship between its President and Robertson? I don't say this by way of excusing the Wright comments and actions I do find deplorable (the Nation of Islam connection is, I think, a shame), but as a way of looking at the public response to the comments, and the feeling that there was a need for Obama to separate himself from them. It's an interesting difference between what's seen as permissible for left and right, black and white.
posted by Miko at 12:09 PM on March 20, 2008


Why in God's name are you people still jitterbugging when MetaMan says "Dance"?

And why in god's name are you trying to cut in?
posted by MetaMan at 12:10 PM on March 20, 2008


Miko, do you even have a clue about how naive it sounds to be comparing Pat Robertson to Obama. It's such a pointless exercise that anyone coming from anywhere north of Santiago, Chile, would wonder what you're trying to prove.

We all know that Robertson is a senile racist, homophobe, and probably a philanderer.

Whose mind are you trying to change?

Do you think a racist in Boston or Tuscaloosa will change her mind because of what you just wrote?

I *agree* with you that what Obama says is a good thing; what I have trouble with is how and when he says these things, and how I know nothingi about this guy aside from the rhetoric he's spuouting, which runs counter to who some of his key advisors are.

For Obama, this is just as much about power, as it is for anyone else. I want someone I KNOW in power. NO surprises.
posted by MetaMan at 12:15 PM on March 20, 2008


"only Hillary [...] is the one to beat McCain."

If Clinton wins the nomination my wife and I - both life long liberals and democrats - will likely vote for McCain. And I know many democrats who are saying the same thing. Clinton is a lying, nasty, power hungry insifer. I fear she would try to turn the country around and then screw it up, just as she's screwed up so many other things. And she is - undeniably - selfcentered to the point where she is incapable of seeing what's going on around her.

She's dangerous.

So work that into your equations that prove she'd beat McCain. Democrats will avoid the polls or even jump parties if she's their choice.
posted by Ragma at 12:16 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


From a Nightline interview with Obama:
I think there are a lot of African-Americans who would love to be able to not worry about race, but somehow it encroaches upon them.

You know, it's the classic example -- and this is a common experience. I think most African-Americans will share it. If there is some horrendous crime out there, black people are always a little nervous until they see the picture, hoping that it's not a black person who committed it.

A white person never thinks that way, because you, Terry Moran, would never assume that if there is some white male who fits your description who, you know, went on a rampage that somehow people are going to think of you differently. Black people, they worry about that.

So that's an example of how those realities are different and it means that the African-American community views these things in a different way and feels as if talking about it is important.
...and a reaction.
posted by aqhong at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd also like to thank Miko for her comment. This phrase alone stood out to me:

Don't worry about what some hypothetical racist somewhere might say or do. Think instead about your hopes for the country, and vote your hopes, not your fears."

To those out there who feel That we should be afraid of what "the other" side will do. Let me explain something. That sentiment isn't new. Growing up Black in America means being constantly aware that the path to your goals will possibly contain the hurdle of racism.

I can't speak for what's inside the man's head, but his words and actions have so closely mirrored the lessons my parents taught me growing up about how to succeed in this world, that I can't help but believe that he is fully aware of this as well. I would evengo so far as to believe that he knows that as much of an uphill battle getting nominated is,winning the Presidency will be that much steeper of a hill to climb.

I'm also pretty sure that he realizes that actually being President will make the election look like a walk in the park.

I don't say that to sway anyone's vote or opinion. Even if you think he'll make a crappy president, I think this man has set an example that we all can follow. The fear of failure is no excuse for inaction. The fear of being unpopular is no reason to stay quiet.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:23 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Democrats will avoid the polls or even jump parties if she's their choice.

This is what I've been trying to say about the results of fanatical belief in the goodness of any one political opponent over another; it leads to irrationalism.
posted by MetaMan at 12:24 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Miko, do you even have a clue about how naive it sounds to be comparing Pat Robertson to Obama

I thought it was kind of obvious that her comment was a Robertson/Wright comparison rather than a Robertson/Obama comparison. And I'd kind of like to know why a senile racist, homophobe, and probably a philanderer is not wholeheartedly condemned by the same media that's so up in arms about Wright.
posted by stefanie at 12:36 PM on March 20, 2008


(clue: He's a troll)
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on March 20, 2008


ParisParamus is that you?

PP would never support Hillary, but the rhetorical tactics seem so familiar.
posted by psmealey at 12:38 PM on March 20, 2008


> This is what I've been trying to say about the results of fanatical belief in the goodness of any one political opponent over another; it leads to irrationalism.

If neither Obama nor Hillary is better, then why spend so much time and effort trying to convince people otherwise?
posted by PsychoKick at 12:49 PM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan writes "I *agree* with you that what Obama says is a good thing; what I have trouble with is how and when he says these things, and how I know nothingi about this guy aside from the rhetoric he's spuouting, which runs counter to who some of his key advisors are."

That's your own fault. His record, his history, his words are all out there. It's nobody's fault but yours that you are willfully ignorant about a candidate whom you claim won't do as good of a job as your candidate of choice. Since you don't know anything about Obama and are unwilling to learn, why should I take what you say about him seriously?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:52 PM on March 20, 2008


There isn't an Obamaton on this thread that would have changed their mind, so please chill with the patronizing comments.

No, no. Obamatons are the android army that will be manufactured in a top-secret military base on the moon for use in an attempt to achieve global domination after Obama is re-elected in 2012. The first Obamaton doesn't roll off the assembly line and gruesomely kill its creators until 2014. Turns out, the Obamatons have their own agenda. It's ironic that they're called Obamatons, since the only connection is that the mad scientist who creates them names them in reference to a happy holiday once spent in Obama, Japan. Ironically, it's Barack Obama who saves the day by finding the self-destruct button on the moonbase. The solar panels left in all the debris are a technological breakthrough that ushers in a new age of energy security.

But I digress. There are only Obamaphiles here. And by that I mean people who want to make out with Barack Obama, but can't, so they talk about him endlessly on the internet.

Calm down, Obamaphiles. I like him, too. I just don't get people's ways of expressing their enthusiasm on the internet, is all. SEND HIM A LOVE LETTER ALREADY. He is awesome, but he doesn't read Metafilter.
posted by Tehanu at 12:52 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Daily Howler's assessment. (Scroll down to "About that speech.")
posted by Prospero at 12:59 PM on March 20, 2008


Take a look at Hillary's comments and actions re: national security, in contrast to the bumbling by Obama. She can hold her own in any debate with John McCain about national security.
Senator Clinton says that she and Senator McCain have passed a “Commander in Chief test” – not because of the judgments they’ve made, but because of the years they’ve spent in Washington. She made a similar argument when she said her vote for war was based on her experience at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But here is the stark reality: there is a security gap in this country – a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions. A gap between Washington experience, and the wisdom of Washington’s judgments. A gap between the rhetoric of those who tout their support for our troops, and the overburdened state of our military.

It is time to have a debate with John McCain about the future of our national security. And the way to win that debate is not to compete with John McCain over who has more experience in Washington, because that’s a contest that he’ll win. The way to win a debate with John McCain is not to talk, and act, and vote like him on national security, because then we all lose. The way to win that debate and to keep America safe is to offer a clear contrast, and that’s what I will do when I am the nominee of the Democratic Party – because since before this war in Iraq began, I have made different judgments, I have a different vision, and I will offer a clean break from the failed policies and politics of the past.
Obama's March 19 Iraq speech

Metaman's rehashing of the 1960s political term "Camelot" (which he seems to want us to view as a disparaging term)

Or he likes to push the pram a lot.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:00 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


ParisParamus is that you?


Here's my theory. Metaman is actually Samantha Power, the Obama loyalist who suddenly has a lot of time on her hands.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:03 PM on March 20, 2008


That's your own fault. His record, his history, his words are all out there. It's nobody's fault but yours that you are willfully ignorant about a candidate whom you claim won't do as good of a job as your candidate of choice. Since you don't know anything about Obama and are unwilling to learn, why should I take what you say about him seriously?

That's one thing that bugs me. Most people who have made snap judgments about the level of experience held by Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama don't really pay attention to the news or have much substantive knowledge about the validity of the claims to experience by either of the Democratic candidates. Besides, if we measure "experience" in terms of years of office, McCain has both Clinton & Obama beat. But when you realize that McCain has said "I don't know much about economics," McCain has gotten schooled by Ron Paul in GOP debates about his lack of knowledge about the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, and doesn't have basic knowledge about whether Iran or Al-Qaeda is Sunni or Shia, then you realize that the Beltway media's construction of "experience" isn't all it's cracked up to be. (Note: this is not an endorsement of Ron Paul's theories on the Federal Reserve, just an acknoledgment that Ron Paul has convincingly shown up McCain's economic ignorance in debates.)

If we handed the country over automatically to who has the most years of national security experience, we would be handing over the country to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who have more experience in national security than McCain, Obama, and Clinton combined. Oh wait... We already did. And you know how that turned out.
posted by jonp72 at 1:10 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


ParisParamus is that you? PP would never support Hillary, but the rhetorical tactics seem so familiar.

But, PP would support McCain. I'm not convinced that Metaman is a Hillary supporter. Could be a McCain supporter intent on stirring-up shit here.
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on March 20, 2008


jonp72 -- well said!
posted by ericb at 1:16 PM on March 20, 2008


Thank you, MetaMan, for responding to my questions. You've given me some useful information. In particular, you suggested that I read this article, which I have done, and with no reservations I say that everybody should read that article. It describes the pragmatic, reality-based positions and plans of Obama's economic and foreign policy advisers, and places them in stark contrast to the at-times pie-in-the-sky idealistic theories of the Bill Clinton administration and the by-the-numbers trickery of the post-Nixon Republican party. I now feel even more certain that Barack Obama is the best candidate to lead this country out of these dark times, and that it is absolutely vital he prevail over the dangerous influences of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. I have donated an additional $25 to the Obama campaign.

Thank you, MetaMan!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:20 PM on March 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


Judge allows questions about how Clinton documents are released
"A day after federal archivists released 11,000 pages of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's schedules during her time as first lady, a federal judge today allowed a conservative group to question the National Archives about the process of dealing with requests for more documents.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson today authorized a lawyer for the conservative group, Judicial Watch, to question the archives about why it processes some requests before others. Judicial Watch is seeking Clinton's telephone logs.

There are hundreds of requests pending for release of records from the period when her husband was president. The archives has said it wanted to place Judicial Watch's lawsuit on hold for a year before the agency considers how soon to begin reviewing the telephone logs for possible release, a process the Justice Department lawyer estimated would take six to eight months.

The requests have taken on a greater urgency as Hillary Clinton battles for the Democratic nomination for president. On Wednesday, archivists released 11,000 pages of schedules, but the material offered little to support her assertion that her White House experience left her best prepared to become president.

The records show she was an active first lady who traveled widely and was deeply involved in healthcare policy, but they are rife with omissions, terse references and redactions that obscure many of her activities and the identities of those she saw."
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on March 20, 2008


Thank you, MetaMan, for responding to my questions. You've given me some useful information. In particular, you suggested that I read this article, which I have done, and with no reservations I say that everybody should read that article. It describes the pragmatic, reality-based positions and plans of Obama's economic and foreign policy advisers, and places them in stark contrast to the at-times pie-in-the-sky idealistic theories of the Bill Clinton administration and the by-the-numbers trickery of the post-Nixon Republican party. I now feel even more certain that Barack Obama is the best candidate to lead this country out of these dark times, and that it is absolutely vital he prevail over the dangerous influences of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. I have donated an additional $25 to the Obama campaign.

Thank you, MetaMan!


You are perfectly welcome! Noe, at least, you know what you're voting for!!!

My case all along is that Obama and his people have painted him as a Progressive; he's NOT that. He's more like Clinton. what worries me is that he's not saying that. I do not trust Obama to fulfill a moderate liberal mandate, because up until now he has only said what people want to hear, and think.

Hillary has been up front; that's why she's the ONE.
posted by MetaMan at 1:25 PM on March 20, 2008


The reason why BOTH the Camelot and Neocon crowd is so afraid, and so dislikes, the Clintons, is because they *resonate* with what America IS, in the aggregate.

And that's why I fear for my country.

The latest Gallup polls taken over the last days through March 18 show Hillary regaining the lead among Democratic voters over Barack. I, for one, was not part of the "Obama cult" until I read this speech (the one originally linked 650 comments ago) but was so impressed, inspired and intellectually challenged by the Senator from Illinois' words that I am now convinced that he could never be elected President by the Americans who live in this country today. His speech opened up a conversation about a divisive issue and America doesn't do conversation, it does confrontation. And that's why the Clintonians (and for that matter the Neocons too) do *resonate* with what America IS far more than Obama ever will.

I thought MetaMan's laughably bad description of "Camelot Democrats" far better describe the dominant forces in the GOP: "They do not believe in rhetorical compromise, and consistently ignore the centrist values of the American people. They shout loudest when people they disagree with, from the center and moving right left, oppose their *rhetorical* statements. They consistently misread Americans, and have foisted one losing pathetic candidate after another against the GOP Democrats, all based on rhetoric." But they win close elections by "doing whatever it takes" - something they have in common with the Clintonians - and with the assistance of "centrists" like the Clinton Apologists who see some "moral equivalency" between the Camelot-ers and the Neocons. The United States of America does not have "Centralism" at its core, it has the neurotic need to "look strong", "be powerful" and to WIN. That is why the initial invasion of Iraq and defeat of Saddam Hussein was popular, and the current muddle of an occupation isn't. And that's why we can't possibly elect "another FDR" until we have another Great Depression. It's all very sad.
posted by wendell at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2008


Just do be fair and balanced, heres an example of the media being dickish to Clinton in their effortd to push the stupidest aspect of a story imaginable.

In general I don't think the US news media really has that much of a bias to one candidate or another, or even one party or another, but they sure have a huge bias towards stupidity.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on March 20, 2008


they sure have a huge bias towards stupidity.

They also have a bias towrad having a new story every day - their livelihoods depend on it -which means that to some extent, there's always a lot of pressure to develop the narrative.
posted by Miko at 1:48 PM on March 20, 2008


she is one inspiring person, who touches on every theme that Obama has touched on, in a way that really seizes the day.

Hillary has been up front; that's why she's the ONE.


Well, wowsers and whoa! Does she stand on her desk and shout "Oh captain, my captain," or does she rotate in midair and dropkick Agent Smith like the punk that he is? Does she do both? 'Cause, dude, I'd totally drop ten bucks on that movie!

I want to agree with languagehat that the MetaMighty Double-M deserves no further consideration, but every time I check back in here he just gets more fascinating. You know how in Splash the Daryl Hannah mermaid character learns to talk by watching commercials and game shows? The Metastic Man is like some dude whose sole knowledge not just of politics but of the polity itself - America, I mean - comes from Crossfire and The McLaughlin Group and the occasional snippet of O'Reilly.

Imagine a strident political philosophy built of nothing but the art of spin and the science of the horse race - a worldview, in other words, where the "little guy" is understood not as a glib rhetorical construct but an actual monolithic populace of guys with behavioural patterns and preferences as identical as their steel lunchpails - and you've got our MetaMan.

Keep on rockin' in the free world, Double-M. You've got one crazy beat, that's for sure.
posted by gompa at 1:51 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary Clinton can't win the nomination. Her choice now is whether to help or hurt her party.
posted by NortonDC at 1:52 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The reason why BOTH the Camelot and Neocon crowd is so afraid, and so dislikes, the Clintons, is because they *resonate* with what America IS, in the aggregate.

Holy shit, I can't believe I missed that. Beyond asking for some demonstrable basis that can, even in some tiny way, substantiate that, what the fuck does that even mean? Good God, I know how to fight this good fight. I think I'll pop into the next Clinton thread with several dozen ham-handed pronouncements like:

Barack Obama KNOWS what's in your HEART.
Obama is the ONE.
ONLY HE can fight and defeat EVIL.

I haven't seen such childish sloganeering like this since browsing conspiracy and end times sites for fun on GeoCities in 1999.
posted by psmealey at 1:56 PM on March 20, 2008


wendell writes "His speech opened up a conversation about a divisive issue and America doesn't do conversation, it does confrontation. And that's why the Clintonians (and for that matter the Neocons too) do *resonate* with what America IS far more than Obama ever will."

That may be true, but great leaders don't wallow in the mud. They entreaty their constituents to rise above the mud and get something done, with a higher purpose. True, it may take a cataclysmic event like the Great Depression or WWII to draw that desire out of us, but the last eight years have been cataclysmic for many people. And while the instinct in the US is to vote in a "safe" candidate who can play the game, that doesn't work very well for Democrats in the presidential race most of the time. Also note that US politics is not always this combative, but it does seem to fluctuate. Right now the cable news networks and Rovian politics are exacerbating this problem, but I can't be so cynical about it to vote in someone I don't even like because the US electorate likes a good fight. That's self-defeating and doesn't really get us anywhere.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2008


OBAMACUBE
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


“Acknowledgments of complexity” - ah, very clear to me now.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:16 PM on March 20, 2008


onlyconnect: Alot has been said here about MetaMan and all he has done to turn you all off of Clinton. I am a Democrat who voted for Obama in the primaries, and alot of the anti-Clinton rhetoric in this thread is having some of the same effect of turning me a bit off Obama or at least the Obama phenomenon. (obamenon?) The disrespect and insults to Clinton in this thread are really putting me off.

I don't think you can simply equate the two. I think it's important to note the strong anti-Clinton sentiment independent of Obama. Almost all the anti-Obama sentiment I've seen (and I've been following a ton of political blogs recently) comes from committed partisans who clearly have a candidate to push. On the other hand, antipathy toward Clinton and her husband is very real, very visceral, and sweeps across the entire political spectrum. Just look at all the "if not Obama, then McCain" or "I used to be for Edwards, now I'm for Obama" types out there who have said "I'll never vote for Hillary Clinton", and which anecdotally has been brought up many times in this thread as well. She's had those negatives long before Obama even entered the race.

And it's disingenuous to simply write this off as right-wing smears. There are many lefties who genuinely deplore the Clintons for their policies, such as:

* Many in the GBLT community and progressive activists who have heard all sorts of rhetorical promises of equality during campaign season, only to be saddled with "Don't ask, don't tell" and DOMA once Pres. Clinton took office;
* "The end of welfare as we know it" from Pres. Clinton, not Reagan or Bush I;
* The gutting of state democratic parties, resulting in losses not just in House and Senate seats, but also enormous losses in governorships, state legislatures, and downticket positions;
* NAFTA, which Sen. Clinton has been disavowing, but a number of quotes from that era as well as the recently released First Lady schedules (documenting the numerous events she held to promote NAFTA) demonstrates how she has completely misrepresented her support and complicity in that administration's trade deal, which was made despite Pres. Clinton's "I feel your pain" promise to blue-collar workers;
* Sen. Clinton's citing her "experience on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue" during her Senate floor speech in favor of the Iraq war, and her voting against the Levin amendment that explicitly forces a re-authorization in case diplomacy failed (her current position being that her vote was a "vote for diplomacy, not war"), and now her citing this same "experience" again on national security issues;
* Sen. Clinton's many other votes against progressive causes, ranging from voting in favor of Kyl-Lieberman to saber-rattle Iran, to her pro-corporate bankruptcy vote, her vote in favor of telecom immunity for wiretapping, etc.;
* Sen. Clinton's campaigning tactics, ranging from (as previously noted on this thread) cricitizing Obama for his bill that she herself co-sponsored, to repeatedly painting McCain as a better alternative than Obama on national security issues (which the Clintons are still doing), to the disgust of any Democrat with a sense of party loyalty and unity;

and on and on -- there are much longer and better such lists out there. Now I think it's completely fair to speculate on whether Obama is the "real deal" who will walk the talk or not, but regardless: many are convinced that the Clintons are untrustworthy, unscrupulous, unprincipled, and ruled entirely by self-interest, and that this is evident in his executive record and her legislative record. I'm not a Democrat myself, but as an independent with progressive leanings and as an observer it's clear to me why for so many Democratic party loyalists, the Clinton brand has become anathema and worthy of "disrespect and insult", as you've mentioned. And public opinion on Sen. Clinton's strong negatives agree. Personally I think Sen. Clinton has shown genuine commitment to issues like children's health that she deserves more credit for, but on the whole I agree with those who find her approach to politics and governance distasteful, and would not support her presidential candidacy on principle. Mind you, this has nothing to do with whether the opposition is Edwards, Obama, or McCain; this is about the hole that the couple has dug for themselves over the decades they've spent in politics. This has everything to do with Clinton.
posted by DaShiv at 2:18 PM on March 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


[Feminism] encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians

You know, put that way, it sounds like fun.
posted by Grangousier at 2:18 PM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan: Like I said, there's a daze of hypnotism about this guy.
MetaMan: Silly people.
MetaMan: Obama followers I've encountered are the ones who need rescuing, because their belief in a guy they knowo so little about is almost cult-like.
MetaMan: You are in for a goddamn shock if this guy gets elected.
MetaMan: I think most of the peoplep here need a persistent dose of reality
MetaMan: We haven't seen what Obama is really all about
MetaMan: Read this

Faint of Butt: Thank you, MetaMan, for responding to my questions. You've given me some useful information. In particular, you suggested that I read this article, which I have done, and with no reservations I say that everybody should read that article. It describes the pragmatic, reality-based positions and plans of Obama's economic and foreign policy advisers, and places them in stark contrast to the at-times pie-in-the-sky idealistic theories of the Bill Clinton administration and the by-the-numbers trickery of the post-Nixon Republican party. I now feel even more certain that Barack Obama is the best candidate to lead this country out of these dark times, and that it is absolutely vital he prevail over the dangerous influences of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. I have donated an additional $25 to the Obama campaign. Thank you, MetaMan!

MetaMan: You are perfectly welcome! Noe, at least, you know what you're voting for!!!
Wait, wait, wait. So you're saying all I needed to do was to read that article to truly understand who I'm voting for? Why didn't you say so earlier?! I'll do so right away!!!



...huh. Turns out I read it last week.
posted by aqhong at 2:20 PM on March 20, 2008


and alot of the anti-Clinton rhetoric

Pheh! Only a Clinton supporter would think that "alot" is one word!!

kidding... totally kidding
posted by psmealey at 2:23 PM on March 20, 2008


Homeboy is evolving, over the course of 100 comments or so, into Emmanuel Bronner.
posted by kosem at 2:30 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


In particular, you suggested that I read this article, which I have done, and with no reservations I say that everybody should read that article.

That article could hardly be more favorable to Obama, while it levels serious critiques of Clintonian economics.
posted by Miko at 2:31 PM on March 20, 2008


Hillary has been up front; that's why she's the ONE.

Seriously, is this The Matrix? Hillary is not Neo. And they say Obama supporters are cultish? Sheesh.
posted by jonp72 at 2:33 PM on March 20, 2008


The only reason the Hillary Machine is still churning is due to Limbaugh's nasty fat grease.
posted by Captain Planet's Green Mullet at 2:35 PM on March 20, 2008


DaShiv, I don't mind a reasonable debate and your criticisms (many of which I disagree with -- don't ask don't tell wasn't a success by any means, but holy crap Clinton tried on that one and got alot of heat for it), but my complaint wasn't about that type of debate. Read back through fourcheesemac's comments and you will see what I mean.

NortonDC, neither of the candidates will win the primary without superdelegates. All of this "for the good of the party" stuff is silly. Obama himself said this Rev. Wright thing was something that he had not expected that shook him up. If something else comes out that makes it clear he could not win against McCain, I'd rather still have Clinton in the race. Maybe that sounds cold and calculating like many of you associate with the Clintons, but to me it's just pragmatism.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:35 PM on March 20, 2008


His speech opened up a conversation about a divisive issue and America doesn't do conversation, it does confrontation. And that's why the Clintonians (and for that matter the Neocons too) do *resonate* with what America IS far more than Obama ever will.

What in the world are you talking about? "Opened up a conversation?" For whom? Did you just discover that there are people of different races living in America? Did it take for Senator Obama to be embarrassed by his pastor's outrageous statements about 9/11 and the like for you to start thinking about how to get beyond racial divisiveness?

It's never too late to start, I guess, but why didn't you take any of the earlier opportunities to join us in the process? Like this, for example.

Remember that? Whatever happened with that?
posted by Slap Factory at 2:45 PM on March 20, 2008


kosem writes "Homeboy is evolving, over the course of 100 comments or so, into Emmanuel Bronner."

Bronner may have been eccentric, but he was very principled and consistent.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2008


onlyconnect writes "If something else comes out that makes it clear he could not win against McCain, I'd rather still have Clinton in the race. Maybe that sounds cold and calculating like many of you associate with the Clintons, but to me it's just pragmatism."

If Clinton is still behind in votes and delegates at the convention, it's going to be hard to argue that nominating her is the pragmatic choice.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:53 PM on March 20, 2008


(Anyone else annoyed they're now left to wonder whether it's "divissive" or "diveyesive"? Obama used both...)
posted by progosk at 3:15 PM on March 20, 2008


"many are convinced that the Clintons are untrustworthy, unscrupulous, unprincipled, and ruled entirely by self-interest

That's one of the funniest things I've read on this thread. Will someone tell me what self-interested gains the Clintons have made?

Sure, they're famous, and have power - but at what cost. I suppose you think it was fun for Bill to get raked over the coals for lying publicly about a grown woman of age felating him? Or what a blast it must have been for Hillary to get trounced by a #300M effort to trash her and her husband for trying to take a shot at universal health care, no matter how flawed the effort.

Who was the *first* person to address the gay in the military question, and open that problem up to view? Look at the heat they took for that.

Hillary is going to win this thing; the whole enchilada, because she's a *savvy* politician who knows how to fight in the trenches better than Obama, and McCain.

And yes, in case you haven't noticed, politics is about pure, raw, unadulterated *power*. Start with Neitzsche, or better yet, the Greeks (start with the Tragedies) to get a sense about what that means.

America is in deep *structural* trouble. Yes, we DO have racial tensions, and discrimination. I have fought my entire life against that, in places that made me an outcast for doing so. But there is a much larger problem looming, and althougth the Camelot types like to focus on the Progressive agenda to the exclusion of everything else, it's the "everything else" - like screwed up economic infrastructure that *requires* corporate cooperation to move in certain directions, even as the Camelotian Obamatans focus on the niceties of liberalism just slightly to the right of Kucinish.


If Clinton is still behind in votes and delegates at the convention, it's going to be hard to argue that nominating her is the pragmatic choice.

Wanna bet? Again, look at a map of the 2004 election. That map is going to end up looking pretty much the same - with additional Dem loses possible in PA, and possibly CA - if Obama runs against McCain. I'll take bets on that.

If Hillary runs, the difference will be thata it will look the same, with Dem wins in OH and FL.

That, my friends is the difference. And no, this is not the matrix; and yes, Hillary is the ONE. Anyone who confuses the twwo needs to break away from teir PS2 and get a gander at reality without the confusion of the mesmerizing incantations of rhetoric, and the pressure of the mob.
posted by MetaMan at 3:40 PM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan writes "If Clinton is still behind in votes and delegates at the convention, it's going to be hard to argue that nominating her is the pragmatic choice.

"Wanna bet?"


Yes, in fact I would, if you were here in the room with me. I have no desire to enter into a bet with a stranger, however. Your assumptions are based on the fallacy that Clinton's voters will not vote for Obama if he gets the nomination. I think the party will unite behind the nominee. If Clinton has more votes and delegates by the convention, then she should get it. Otherwise, no.

I don't think it's wise for the Clinton campaign to try to go against the wishes of the voters and get the nomination by other means, and I don't think the party will let her do it. Pelosi, Dean, and many other party officials have said that they do not want the nomination to be for anyone with less delegates and votes, for the good of the party, not any particular candidate. I agree. It will tear the party up if it goes otherwise.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:56 PM on March 20, 2008


The cognitive dissonance of the arguments on both sides here is making my head explode. Some examples (paraphrased):

1) I hold Hillary Clinton to blame for all of the failures of Bill Clinton's presidency, no matter what she says about her own opinions now, because they are actually a single monolithic entity called "The Clintons"; however, she can be given no credit for any of the achievements of Bill Clinton's presidency, because they are two different people and did not necessarily even discuss any of these issues with each other.

2) Obama cannot win because he is too far to the left, and furthermore he is actually a centrist.

3) Hillary Clinton is an evil, power-mad bitch because she has made negative comments about a prominent Democratic presidential candidate, and it is divisive and hurtful to my party when people do that.

4) Obama is only winning primaries in states that will never vote for democrats ... such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Delware, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, while Clinton is winning all the democratic strongholds ... like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Tennesee.

5) Obama cannot be held responsible for the words of Wright, unlike Clinton, who should be held completely responsible for the words of Ferraro.

6) Clinton has only had victories on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, and Obama has had only victories on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, and South, so [Pick one: Clinton/Obama] cannot possibly win enough states, while [Pick one: Clinton/Obama] definitely can.

...

Yup. Head expoded.
posted by kyrademon at 4:00 PM on March 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yes. I love that list.

krinklyfig, I agree that unless there is some terrific news story that causes great doubt about Obama's electability against McCain before the superdelegates vote, I would like to see the person with the largest amount of popular votes carry the day. I hope she will do the noble thing and step down if that's not her at that point. And I think it would be extraordinarily noble to do that, knowing that if not for stepping aside you would have the nomination.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:08 PM on March 20, 2008


1) I hold Hillary Clinton to blame for all of the failures of Bill Clinton's presidency, no matter what she says about her own opinions now, because they are actually a single monolithic entity called "The Clintons"; however, she can be given no credit for any of the achievements of Bill Clinton's presidency, because they are two different people and did not necessarily even discuss any of these issues with each other.

No one has said this.

3) Hillary Clinton is an evil, power-mad bitch because she has made negative comments about a prominent Democratic presidential candidate, and it is divisive and hurtful to my party when people do that.

The problem is the contents of the statements. Hillary and her surrogates are making statements continually referring to his race, apparently in an effort to (a) get working class voters and independents to turn away from him and (b) convince superdelegates that whites won't vote for him so they should throw him under the bus. This is bad because it is race-baiting. If you think it is good, I suspect we have different moral compasses.

5) Obama cannot be held responsible for the words of Wright, unlike Clinton, who should be held completely responsible for the words of Ferraro.

This also wrong. Wright's statements were made by Wright long before the presdential race, had nothing to do with Obama or the presidential race, and didn't reflect Obama's opinions. When the comments were made, there was no presidential campaign for him to be a member of. Obama should not be held responsible for those statements because he did not make them and they had nothing to do with him or the race.

Ferraro, on the other hand, was being interviewed on Fox News about the race, spoke directly on the race and her comments were racially offensive. She then followed them up the next day by stating that Obama was being racist towards her because she was white. She was acting as a surrogate for Clinton at that time. I could believe that she didn't clear her original comments with Clinton. But I find it virtually inconcievable that the masters of messaging and spin assembled by Clinton were not consulted regarding the second comments. If they weren't they were idiots not to do so. She deliberately stoked the flames of racial prejudice in order to help Hillary win what the networks politely call "working class" democrats. There is a huge difference in the situations.

4) Obama is only winning primaries in states that will never vote for democrats ... such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Delware, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, while Clinton is winning all the democratic strongholds ... like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Tennesee.

Spot on.

I hold Hillary Clinton to blame for all of the failures of Bill Clinton's presidency, no matter what she says about her own opinions now, because they are actually a single monolithic entity called "The Clintons"; however, she can be given no credit for any of the achievements of Bill Clinton's presidency, because they are two different people and did not necessarily even discuss any of these issues with each other.

Here the cognitive dissonance is with the Clinton forces. She wants it both ways--credit for her "work" as first lady, and the ability to avoid the worst parts of Bill Clinton's record, i.e. NAFTA.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:32 PM on March 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


What’s up with all the NAFTA hate anyway? Isn’t it basically a trade agreement that’s enormously favorable towards the US?
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on March 20, 2008


Will someone tell me what self-interested gains the Clintons have made?

Sure, they're famous, and have power -


Yes, you are the worst. debater. ever.


Start with Neitzsche, or better yet, the Greeks (start with the Tragedies) to get a sense about what that means.

Stop resonating with the working class, Mr. Blue Collar!
posted by sic at 4:41 PM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Isn’t it basically a trade agreement that’s enormously favorable towards the US?

The general perception, I think, is that it's overly favorable to huge global corporations and less favorable to labor, environmental, and other democrat consituencies.
posted by cell divide at 4:44 PM on March 20, 2008


And yes, in case you haven't noticed, politics is about pure, raw, unadulterated *power*. Start with Neitzsche, or better yet, the Greeks (start with the Tragedies) to get a sense about what that means.

spoken like a true Rove disciple.

And wrong. We live in a democracy and in a democracy there must be a healthy tension between the lust for power and the need to conduct politics in a civil manner. Too much lying, cheating and stealing wrecks the system with corruption and cynicism and risks the whole thing--if the citizens don't beleive, the country will fail.

why not just have a coup d'etat if power is the only thing worth having? Plenty have done it before, to the long-term detriment of their countries. There's a reason bananna republics never move forward.

Wanna bet? Again, look at a map of the 2004 election. That map is going to end up looking pretty much the same - with additional Dem loses possible in PA, and possibly CA - if Obama runs against McCain. I'll take bets on that.

That's not what the polls say. They say Obama isn't only competitive and wins those states, but that Hillary loses Washington, Oregon and other states, while Obama wins Colorado, South Dakota and gets one of 3 EV's in Nebraksa. The last head to head comparison had Obama winning more electoral votes than Clinton or McCain.

You earlier said that Obama might not win because of racists voting against him because he was black. Don't you think African-Americans are going to be pretty pissed off if Hillary takes the nomination despite having fewer votes, states and pledged delegates? Doesn't this effect work both ways? Why would African-Americans sustain any belief that the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton specifically are going to help them? Why wouldn't they just sit on their hands? Why does Clinton take those votes for granted? Because if Black turnout is supressed, Hillary wins nothing, No PA, no Michigan, no OH (Cleveland!), no nothing. In those states, the Black vote has been the cornerstone of the Democratic votes. They won't vote for her. You can take that to the bank. Imagine a McCain-Colin Powell ticket. You'll see African Americans returning to the Republicans, where they started.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:44 PM on March 20, 2008


Are those "huge global corporations" not, to a large extent, American?
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on March 20, 2008


Also are not Americans, to a large extent, financially dependent on those "huge global corporations" ?
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on March 20, 2008


I would like to see the person with the largest amount of popular votes carry the day.

Whoever gets the most delegates should be the nominee, because that's what the rule is. The primary, like the general election, is not based on the popular vote. It'd be nice if the person with the most delegates was also the person with the biggest share of popular votes, but that doesn't necessarily have to happen. (Personally I think Obama will get both most of the delegates and the majority of the popular vote.)
posted by kirkaracha at 5:05 PM on March 20, 2008


"We are not what we seem to be...always remember that"

MM, PP, sock puppetry, who can know?

It's an epic performance, I must say.
posted by mwhybark at 5:05 PM on March 20, 2008


MM, PP, sock puppetry, who can know?

I've been getting a very strong ParisParamus vibe, I must say.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:12 PM on March 20, 2008


Ironmouth:

1) Oh, nonsense they haven't. This thread has been filled with quotes such as:
"There are many lefties who genuinely deplore the Clintons for their policies, such as: [list of mostly Bill Clinton's policies]" and "the White House records that show us just how trivial HRC's 'experience' really was as first lady." If you want to argue that she's wrong to want to lay claim to the achievements but not the failures, then others are wrong to pin her with the failures but not the achievements.

3) You have entirely missed my point. The argument was not whether Clinton was on the attack, but that those who claim to abhor Clinton's attacks because they are divisive are themselves attacking using ridiculously divisive and insulting language.

5) Then replace Wright with Samantha Power, or Goolsbee, and Ferraro with Penn, or whoever the hell the whipping boy of the week is on either side.

And it's telling that you think my analysis of the OTHER side of the ridiculous arguments were spot on. Come on.

In fact, I'm going to flip out and rant now. Sorry.

This whole thing is making me furious. These arguments are STUPID. I don't GIVE A RAT'S ASS whose associate said what naughty naughty thing this week, or who's campaign downplayed or upsold what loss or victory, or which of them comes off as a nicer person in the press, because it's STUPID. This whole game of naughty person/nice person who-said-what-and-ooo-I'm-telling is ridiculous.

You know what the elephant in the room is on this thread? Sure, Obama's speech was a good speech, but it's asinine that he had to make it at all. Because he needed to make it in order to defuse the kind of stupid non-issue that has characterized this whole campaign on both sides and mostly among the SUPPORTERS, *NOT* THE CANDIDATES.

I DON'T CARE ABOUT WRIGHT. I DON'T CARE ABOUT FERRARO. I DON'T CARE ABOUT CAMPAIGN TACTICS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT GAFFES. I DON'T CARE ABOUT SOUND BITES. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER OBAMA IS REALLY THE HONEST PERSON THE TV SHOWS OR CLINTON IS THE CALCULATING MANIPULATOR THE TV SHOWS BECAUSE I DO NOT KNOW THEM PERSONALLY AND NEITHER DO YOU.

I do not know them. We are not watching them. We are watching reality TV. We are watching a narrative that is being shaped by manipulated outrage over pointless sound bites that is being turned into a story in which certain people are shoehorned into playing certain roles and I am SICK OF IT. All of this stuff is TRIVIAL BULLSHIT, and every time someone comes out with a little "gotcha" about who was really where when saying what about this thing that they later said was totally different and doesn't that make them a NASTY person I just want to scream.

And Metafilter is *better* than most places about this. At least SOME actual policy gets discussed here. At least I can respect the people who say they won't vote for Clinton because of the flag-burning law or Iraq vote, or won't vote for Obama because of his health care plan, but all this obsession over pointless, pointless, pointless spin is driving me NUTS.

LET IT GO! BACK OFF! AND IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE ONES COMPLAINING THAT SOMEONE IS BEING DIVISIVE WHILE HURLING EPITHETS AT THEM BECAUSE YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM, THEN *YOU* ARE THE PROBLEM YOU ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT, NOT THEM.



Er, I'm done. Sorry.
posted by kyrademon at 5:21 PM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


I want a president from my generation.

fourcheesemac, I hear you, but that's what we thought too (late baby boomer here, 14 yrs old during Woodstock). And we ended up with Clinton and Bush.
posted by nax at 5:31 PM on March 20, 2008


Hi,
Long-time listener, first-time caller...

In the interest of maintaining a healthy respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues topics and facts at hand... (ahem), I'd just like to say that Obama's speech on the 18th, along with his older speech on religion and politics are some of the best political speeches I've heard in a long, long time. I personally would consider it an honour and a privilege to be able to vote for a candidate capable of making speeches like that.

You can't minimize the importance of words to a leader. A leader needs to be able to inspire people. Words, well-chosen and well-spoken, are what separates good candidates from bad candidates. A leader that can't convince his/her people that his or her idea has merit has no choice left but to let the people lead him/her, which in the end is not leadership at all.

Just sayin' is all.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:48 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


yes, Hillary is the ONE.

Yes, but Mark Penn is Agent Smith. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to practice my Keanu Reeves impression. Whoa! Whooooa! Whooooooooooooa!
posted by jonp72 at 6:00 PM on March 20, 2008


All of this stuff is TRIVIAL BULLSHIT

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue for 2008 Voters.
posted by aqhong at 6:06 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


First, I like what kyrademon said, and how he said it. Passion is good for the soul.

Bowing first to kyrademons deconstruction of the role of the media in all this - and it IS an accurate deconstruction. However, deconstruction or no; media manipulation or no, we are IN this thing, in THIS way, and we will continue to be in it until it morphs into something else.

Kind of like the transportation system that is embedded and in bed with the auto industry. We all know why we have lots of roads a crappy mass transport, but we drive anyway, right? (I do bike and train when I can; that's for the flamers)..

That said:
"Hillary and her surrogates are making statements continually referring to his race, apparently in an effort to (a) get working class voters and independents to turn away from him and (b) convince superdelegates that whites won't vote for him so they should throw him under the bus. This is bad because it is race-baiting. If you think it is good, I suspect we have different moral compasses.


All that aside, how is it that when Hillary brings up race, in *any* way, she gets saddled with being a provocateur, but when Obama brings up race, he's the best thing since Abe Lincoln? Quite a double standard there, I'd say.

This is PRECISELY how the race card is being played by Obama; I give him credit for addressing it in an inspirational way the other day, *But* he *only* did that as a tactical maneuver to avoid the pasting he was getting from his association with Wright.

Do I believe that Obama sympathizes with Wright's shadow (Jungian)? No way! Obama is an honorable guy, but I do not believe that he's Presidential material.
posted by MetaMan at 6:18 PM on March 20, 2008


Given the way this thread started, and given the brutal tenor of some of the criticism I've had to endure ("what does not kill you makes you stronger" - Neitzsche) it's fully appropriate to say that the predictions I've been making about Obama's inability to resonate with where America is (as troubling as that can be) are beginning to come true.

I'm not happy that the issue of race is the one that brought Obama down, but I knew something like this would happen sooner or later - and, it's going to get worse. The shine is off the saintly statue; Obama is now in for the run of his life.

If this continues, there is no way in hell that the Superdelegates let Obama into the race. they'd be crazy.

Let this be a *small* lesson of what would happen to Obama in the general election. He is not ready for prime time.
posted by MetaMan at 6:44 PM on March 20, 2008


MetaMan = Patti Solis Doyle, but then she was dumped, so I guess the bile has to go somewhere ;)
posted by caddis at 6:55 PM on March 20, 2008


Given the way this thread started, and given the brutal tenor of some of the criticism I've had to endure

Let us grieve for the unjustly persecuted MetaMan, for the loss of innocence and purity, as he came to us at once so demure, so gentle, and kind.

It was us that created this beast, this monster. We are all to blame for this sorry plight. Or even if he did not come to us, surely we would have had to invent him.

So sad.
posted by psmealey at 7:07 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


>> Hillary Clinton can't win the nomination. Her choice now is whether to help or hurt her party.
>>
> NortonDC, neither of the candidates will win the primary without superdelegates.

I never said otherwise. I said Clinton can't win. Not on pledged delegates, not on total delegates, not on popular vote.

> All of this "for the good of the party" stuff is silly.

No, it's deadly serious.
posted by NortonDC at 7:38 PM on March 20, 2008


Signing off....for now....

Worst flameout evah.
posted by Artw at 7:49 PM on March 20, 2008


onlyconnect: I would like to see the person with the largest amount of popular votes carry the day.

So would I, because it would make the outcome unambiguous. But the Clinton campaign, being behind as they are right now, has been deliberately injecting loads of ambiguity into the equation to elbow themselves into having more room to fight.

Obama's lead in popular vote aside (and it looks well-neigh insurmountable at this point, especially given the recent news about the nixing of Michigan and Florida re-votes -- he currently leads even if one dubiously awards him zero popular votes in Michigan), the popular vote position is a pure Clinton talking point. The problem is that there is no accurate popular vote measure right now -- each state-run contest is simply too different. One reason for the proportional allotment of delegates is to mediate the great disparity in numbers between caucuses, open primaries, and closed primaries, to translate these widely disparate numbers into some numeric measure of popular will. Thus, pledged delegate count is by far the most consistent and relevant measure of popular will. Of course it's an imperfect system and a consistent national primary would be the best method -- but given the system as it exists now, trying to make a case based on the current "popular vote" totals is cherry-picking at best and lying with statistics at worst.

Here's an example. Massachusetts and Washington have similar Democratic voter registration sizes. Clinton won Massachusetts 56-41% (resulting in a 55/38 Clinton/Obama delegate split), while Obama won Washington 68-31% (53/25 Obama/Clinton delegates). But because Massachusetts has a primary and Washington a caucus, Clinton's had a "popular vote" margin of +192,704 while Obama only won +11,637 "popular votes" (i.e. caucus delegates). It would be ludicrous to suggest that Clinton has an almost 17-fold advantage in popular will between these two states, yet that's what the math based on flawed "popular" numbers would argue. Clearly that's a faulty argument, especially considering that many caucus states don't even release the precinct-level caucus numbers, only state delegation totals.

Now many Clinton partisans have been bashing the caucus system, an argument oddly (and rather damningly) absent in the many long months before the outcome of the Iowa caucuses. But many states (and disproportionately red states) chose the caucus system mainly because it's far cheaper and easier to implement, especially for states with weaker Democratic party apparatuses. Party activists also like the caucus system for promoting more grass-roots activism and giving participants a direct method of shaping party platforms, leading to greater support for social and reform movements. These are what the state parties have decided long before any candidates filed election papers. To denounce the state parties now for holding an "undemocratic" process is rather arrogant and disingenuous, and Clinton's dismissals of caucus results belie her stated championing of the process regarding Florida and Michigan.

And worse yet, the implicit Clinton push toward ignoring delegates in favor of stilted "popular" totals reflects the attitude I saw here on MeFi -- the "fuck red states", "fuck flyover states", United States of Canada vs Jesusland attitude in the wake of the 2004 elections that so many here have deplored. Democrats need the red states, the caucus states. There is a huge, huge difference between a 51-49 Senate and a 57-43 Senate in being able to peel off enough votes to override filibusters or to confirm more progressive Supreme Court justices. There is a huge difference in the public perception of a popular mandate for a president to have large popular vote margins of victory, wherever the votes came from. And that's why Obama has worked so hard in adopting Dean's 50-state strategy to organize and fight for votes in red states (instead of the traditional "win 16 states and hope for a triple-bank shot on the 17th state" Democratic general election strategy), and why Democratic governors and other party officials in red states overwhelmingly back Obama. It speaks well of his ability to forge a governing coalition in the future. On the other hand, the Clinton administration has failed in both popular vote and red-state offices during the 90's, losing seats and eroding support that directly lead to much partisan deadlock. Likewise, Sen. Clinton's Feb. 5th knockout strategy of running up margins in the "big states" (i.e. safe democratic strongholds) was a dismal failure, and the delegate count reflected as much: after everything was finally counted, Obama won Feb. 5th. Obama currently leads Clinton 53%-47% in pledged delegates, and the +6% delegate spread is a significant measure of which candidate has broader support in this contest. It's still close enough to be a contested race, but it's not spin at all to say that Obama is the clear preference and the clear leader in the results thus far.

I happen to disagree with the partisans on both sides. I think that calls by Obama supporters for Clinton to drop out are premature: she has yet to be mathematically eliminated Huckabee-style in terms of pure pledged delegates (current projections put that possibility at around mid-May). Nevertheless, she does face a steep and highly unlikely uphill battle: she needs 65-70% landslide victories in every contest from here on out to reach parity, a threshold she's only managed to reach in Arkansas and yet Obama managed in a dozen contests. Also for Obama, the superdelegates have yet to ratify popular will or to indicate that they would begin to do so en masse, so the contest is not decided yet by any means. But the arguments from the Clinton camp have been far more mendacious and counterproductive, with their dismissing Obama states as "insignificant" and polluting the math in nearly every conceivable way to attack the process itself. Clinton herself charged today that failing to seat Michigan's disputed delegation would "[raise] serious questions about the legitimacy of that nominee" -- that is to say, it's either her way or the nomination is illegitimate (!). At this point I have to wonder whether Clinton has looked beyond winning the nomination battle to see how damaging her actions have been, even should she somehow manage to gain the nomination: whether she can run a successful general election campaign or even govern against such a backdrop. Her recent actions have actively tarnished the very prize she hopes to win.
posted by DaShiv at 7:57 PM on March 20, 2008 [20 favorites]


3) You have entirely missed my point. The argument was not whether Clinton was on the attack, but that those who claim to abhor Clinton's attacks because they are divisive are themselves attacking using ridiculously divisive and insulting language.

I haven't complained about the attacks being divisive. That's what a presidential campaign is supposed to be. I complained that the attacks were race baiting. It isn't about the fact that someone said something mean--its that one of the candidates is using race in a negative and prejudiced way as a method to obtain the nomination.

Totally different thing. You can't just equate race-baiting with Samantha Power. Power was angry, said something stupid and was gone by 10 AM the next morning. It isn't the same thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:15 PM on March 20, 2008


how is it that when Hillary brings up race, in *any* way, she gets saddled with being a provocateur. This is PRECISELY how the race card is being played by Obama.

Really. You can't answer that one? Could it be that Hillary Clinton's race is an issue for about .1 of 1% of the electorate and that Obama's is an issue for far more, that Clinton is using the fact that Obama is black against him? It is my belief that using race in this way is morally wrong. Perhaps you see this differently.

Who are you? Rush Limbaugh? Since when is calling someone out for being a racist a racist act? You know who thinks that's true? Racists.

Finally, let me point out a huge fact that demostrates that Hillary is basically calling out Obama for being black.

Obama wouldn't be able to "play the race card" as you call it, IF HILLARY HADN'T TRIED TO USE RACE AS A WEAPON. Obama's campaign had nothing to do with his race--that's why his appeal was so great. He didn't think it was important. Indeed, he does well with independents because his campaign is about the country, not one section of it. Hillary has been yelling QUICK EVERYONE PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FACT THAT OBAMA IS BLACK AND IS EXACTLY LIKE THOSE BAD GUYS JESSE JACKSON AND AL SHARPTON!!!! YOU KNOW, THOSE BLACK GUYS YOU DON'T LIKE!

Its called attacking someone precisely because they are black.

I don't think she is a racist. I just think that in her moral calculus, doing this is fine, if she obtains the nomination.

This, more than anything else, renders her unfit for the Presidency. When the end justifies the means, evil is at hand.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, then Ironmouth, that comment was not directed at the comments that you in particular have been making. It was directed at those saying Clinton's negative campaigning was divisive. We are not actually arguing. There are two separate issues here.
posted by kyrademon at 9:16 PM on March 20, 2008


(And, incidentally, what a bizarre conversation:
"I dislike it when people say X."
"People have every right to say Y."
"You misunderstood me. I said I dislike it when people say *X*."
"But I never said X! I said Y!"
"Then ... the first statement was not directed at you ... right?"
WTF?)
posted by kyrademon at 12:53 AM on March 21, 2008


It was directed at those saying Clinton's negative campaigning was divisive. We are not actually arguing. There are two separate issues here.

Using Obama's race is not negative campaigning? It's not a separate issue; it's a particularly ugly subset of the negative campaign issue.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:59 AM on March 21, 2008


Richardson Endorses Obama
posted by effwerd at 4:09 AM on March 21, 2008


*Hits. Head. Against. Wall.*

Whether or not Clinton is negatively campaigning is IRRELEVANT to what I said. Whether or not Clinton is race-baiting is IRRELEVANT to what I said. Whether or not race-baiting is negative campaigning is IRRELEVANT to what I said. Every single one of those things could be absolutely true (or absolutely untrue, or made of cheese, or colorlessly green and sleeping furiously), and they would still have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT I SAID.

For the last time and then I am DONE with this argument because it is INSANE, the one and only point I was trying to make with that one solitary sentence was:

1. People (anyone, not necessarily you personally, and whether such people actually exist or exist only in my head because I am hallucinating or something)
2. Who say that Clinton's negative campaigning (whether or not she is actually negatively campaigning, whatever kind of negative campaigning she might be using, whether it is race-baiting, calling Obama a sissy, or standing on her head screaming that only she can save us from the attacking gazebos)
3. Is bad because it is divisive to the Democratic party (and *only* those who say that it is bad because it is divisive to the Democratic party, *not* those who are arguing it is bad for other reasons)
4. Because it is an attack on a prominent possible Democratic presidential candidate (again, *not* for any other reason, because I was not discussing those)
5. Who use insulting, offensive, or demeaning language regarding Clinton when they do so (and *only* such people, *not* those who are discussing the matter in other terms, even if they strongly disagree with Clinton's actions and say so at length)
6. Are themselves negatively attacking a prominent possible Democratic presidential candidate (*whether or not* these attacks are accurate, justified, inaccurate, unjustified, or transmitted to them by aliens through their braces)
7. And are therefore part of the singular, specific problem they happen to have been complaining about (WHETHER OR NOT their attacks are true or false, NO MATTER WHAT the content of Clinton's or their own attacks, because SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE of this particular issue, the original complaint itself was not about content, accuracy, moral right or wrong, or any other issue but the fact that attacking such a candidate is IN AND OF ITSELF and ALL BY ITSELF divisive and therefore a bad idea.)

I am moving on from this now. If you still don't get it, I'm not explaining further.
posted by kyrademon at 4:25 AM on March 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


the popular vote position is a pure Clinton talking point

I actually did not mean to cause a stir or recite what you call a Clinton talking point. I meant that I thought the nomination should go to whoever has the most popular votes as reflected through their delegate count from the popular vote (i.e., excluding the superdelegates). I also think Florida and Michigan should vote again so that they can have some vote in this primary. I agree that using the previous votes wouldn't work, but not giving them any say in the primary just seems wrong.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:34 AM on March 21, 2008


I forgot to mention this earlier, but those who haven't seen Reverend Wright's remarks in their original context should take a look for themselves. His "America's chickens have come home to roost" line fell squarely in the middle of an indictment against American terrorism and a call to respond to the 9/11 attacks with spirituality instead of violence, while his "God damn America" line was the climax of a lengthy repudiation of America's history of racism and marginalization against not just Blacks, but also other minorities like Japanese-Americans during WWII. Obviously in the throes of his rhetorical passion he crossed a "things you don't say in polite company or in politics" line, but the main thrust of his arguments were far different from what the out-of-context soundbites imply -- as many cool-headed observers have already conjectured, of course.
posted by DaShiv at 4:37 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Who is going to tell Hillary it’s over?"
[The NY Times reports that] her long-shot candidacy has “grown a little longer.” That’s putting it mildly.

[...]

Now that revotes in Florida and Michigan are off the table (Michigan’s legislature is mere hours away from recessing), Clinton is not going to win the popular vote. Period. Obama currently leads by 700,000 votes, or more than 800,000 if you count caucus estimates.

[...]

The fundamental fact [is] that Clinton can win only by overturning Obama’s pledged delegate lead—a truism that still has not gotten the traction it deserves. Ominous warnings about 1968-like riots aside, the prospect that Clinton would accept the nomination over the head of the people is fundamentally at odds with everything the party represents. She talks about wanting to enfranchise the people of Florida and Michigan. But then, inevitably, she would turn around and seek to revert the people’s decision, expressed through the pledged delegate count. Call me naive, but I find it inconceivable that the party would want this to happen, or that a candidate would want to win that way.

All this being a long way of saying, Hillary’s path to the nomination is not “narrow.” It’s barricaded. Yet still there seems to be a hesitation among the media to declare Clinton dead. Maybe it’s her zombielike ability to rise again—first in New Hampshire, then in Nevada, then most recently in Texas and Ohio. But people have to understand there will be no knockout blow, no head shot. Rather it will be a long, slow exit that causes pain to everyone involved.

The question is, who is going to tell Hillary it’s over?
There's more; the link is worth following.

One thing I add is that we were told by Clinton's campaign that she had to win Texas and Ohio to stay in contention. Well, Hillary Clinton lost Texas.
posted by NortonDC at 6:37 AM on March 21, 2008


Just a suggestion, kyrademon, but you might want to stop SHOUTING. It doesn't make what you're trying to say any easier to read with equanimity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:50 AM on March 21, 2008


Now that revotes in Florida and Michigan are off the table (Michigan’s legislature is mere hours away from recessing)

I heard on NPR this morning that there is still talk of revoting in Michigan even if it's done via the legislature, though Obama is against this -- the suggestion on NPR was that Obama wouldn't fund it but Hillary would, so Obama thought it would be biased. Will Obama not help fund this because he thinks he won't win here, and Hillary will? Because if so that seems very contrary to the position I thought Obama was laying out of getting as many people as possible out to vote and energizing the populace. Wouldn't it be better to have all votes considered? I wouldn't be surprised if Obama would come out ahead in these states anyway, given the shift things have taken of late.

FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with an occasional shout for emphasis within a sea of text. See also Ironmouth etc., with whom you (stwc) seem to have no problem.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:17 AM on March 21, 2008


even if it's done via the legislature

By which I mean, even if it's NOT done via the legislature. Sorry.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:20 AM on March 21, 2008


Obama Campaign Memo on Possible Michigan Revote.
posted by aqhong at 7:26 AM on March 21, 2008


FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with an occasional shout for emphasis within a sea of text.

Yeah, whatever, totally, dude. Go NUTS, because LORD knows I'm always more INTERESTED and inspired, more MOVED and more SWAYED, by blocks of boring old NORMAL lowercase text that IS interspersed with ALLCAPS shouty fucking BULLSHIT emo LOUDMOUTH rhetoric.

No, actually, fuck that. If you have to resort to allcapsing your words out of anything but irony or mockery or COMEDY EMPHASIS, you lose out of the fucking gate. Use your goddamn words, or go home, do not pass go, do not collect a freakin' cookie.

Not that I give much of a shit after 11000 comments or whatever this clusterfuck of a thread has reached, but I'm feeling feisty.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:29 AM on March 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Will Obama not help fund this because he thinks he won't win here, and Hillary will?

I'm not sure what the report you heard had to say, so I can't comment on it. However, as I understand it, one of the problems with a Michigan revote is that Democratic and independent voters who voted in the Republican primary would be disqualified from voting in the re-do primary. So, people who could not vote for Obama because he was not on the ballot, so voted for a Republican candidate, would be disenfranchised. There's more about his here:
Voter Disqualification

Although Michigan has always run open elections, which allow voters to vote in whatever primary they prefer, voters who participated in the Republican primary in January could not vote in the June election under the proposed law. This class of voters includes Democrats and Independents who chose not to vote in the invalid Democratic primary at the time because the majority of active candidates did not appear on the ballot and the results would not be accepted under party rules.
There just isn't a very good way to put another vote together, and although there are clear political reasons why Obama would want to resist a revote, I don't think it's really fair-minded to lay the blame for that on him. Both MI and FL knew what they were doing when they sought an early primary, and they miscalculated, figuring that the primaries would be over by this point. That their selfish choice backfired should not be used to tar either candidate.
posted by OmieWise at 7:36 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, actually, fuck that.

I thought that cookie cooled you out?
posted by OmieWise at 7:38 AM on March 21, 2008


Here's another take:

So, to recap: According to Obama, Clinton’s plan would disenfranchise Republicans, independents, and young first-timers—his base. According to Clinton, Obama’s nonplan would disenfranchise traditional Democrats—her base. When it comes to appropriating voting-rights rhetoric to serve their own needs, both campaigns are doing a smashing job. . . .(quoting Chris Beam)

Ultimately, though, Ambinder is right that the Obama camp more than anyone prevented the recent agreement from going forward. The operative question regarding that is whether you think that their arguments that Beam listed are justified. They probably think they could reasonably compete in an open primary, but that only letting people who voted in the primary the last time (who overwhelmingly went for Clinton) or did not vote at all is too restrictive. Both sides have a point here, and it’s something you would hope that people could sit down and work out instead of not let anything happen, but these are the consequences of a draconian DNC ruling that for some reason makes the candidates the important figures in making decisions. That said, Clinton probably has more of a point.

However, both the Clinton and Obama campaign clearly have ulterior motives. Involving them in the decision process from the beginning was a major mistake. Dean started it, and those in Michigan and Florida seemed to pile on. This goes both to supporters of a candidate and those who are supposed to be neutral.


The fact that they may not be able to work something out here really sucks. It seems to me like both candidates are basing their positions on the bottom line here, and I'm disappointed in both of them.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:02 AM on March 21, 2008


For what it's worth, while I largely agree with the substance of kyrademon's posts, I also don't feel like the frequent lapsing into all-caps is doing her any favors. If anything, it makes the poster seem imbalanced, and makes me less inclined to take him/her seriously. Just my $0.02.
posted by aqhong at 8:05 AM on March 21, 2008


onlyconnect, that argument blaming Obama for the debacle in Michigan is unconvincing. I just don't see why any campaign should've accepted either of those solutions (seat delegates, or re-vote with the same voters, but a different ballot). Seating the delegates is unfair since Obama's name wasn't on the ballot, and re-running the election just for people who didn't vote in the GOP primary would require a time machine to be fair.

The DNC is right on this. MI and FL made their fucking beds and now it's bedtime. Residents of either state who feel disenfranchised (and I know I would be irate) need to take it up with their state parties, not the DNC. Clinton needling them because she can get a few votes out of it doesn't change that.
posted by butterstick at 8:56 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


This stage of the thread is where linking ytmnds is appropriate.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on March 21, 2008


The DNC is right on this. MI and FL made their fucking beds and now it's bedtime.

that philosophy only works if the democrats win in november

Residents of either state who feel disenfranchised

... can always vote republican
posted by pyramid termite at 9:16 AM on March 21, 2008


Would someone with more theological expertise than I redeem this trainwreck of a thread by putting together a piece on Trinity United Church of Christ Chicago? The enlightenment of watching Rev. Wright's sermons in context is FPP worthy, I think. He's a great preacher.
posted by anthill at 9:42 AM on March 21, 2008


I just don't see why any campaign should've accepted either of those solutions (seat delegates, or re-vote with the same voters, but a different ballot).

The party runs the primary; these were the party's rules, and the campaigns were planned and run with the states' positions and penalities in view. I can't see any justification for pursuing any second vote or seating any delegates. Everybody knew the deal at the outset and should have strategized accordingly. Those states simply opted to be out of the loop this cycle.

The primary system is rather nutty, sure. But a lot of rancor comes from people who don't understand the premise that they're party-run within a party structure, not open and public as general elections are. This year I volunteered at my state's caucus. The rules were such: registered independents and the unregistered could register as Democrats on the spot and vote in the caucus. But registered Republicans and Greens and Libertarians could not register Democratic, because they were still on the rolls of the other parties (and the Republican caucus had already been held). They would have been able to change their registration right up the week before the caucus, but not at the last minute, when there was no mechanism to remove them from the rolls of the other parties. But many people didn't understand this, and when I looked up their names, found they were a Green or Republican and said they weren't eligible to be in the caucus, I heard more than once "I'm being denied my right to vote!" But they weren't - there's no "right" to vote in the primaries in the way we generally understand voting rights; primaries are internal party-run events and you earn your right to represent yourself by being registered with the party.

For this reason, the organizational nature of the primaries, I think it would be totally inappropriate for MI and FL to be involved in the convention. They opted out of the rules - now they want a second chance? It doesn't seem fair to the other states whose Democratic committees made adjustments to fall within the rules.
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have learned a lot about both candidates in this thread. I have avoided most of the politicsFilter around here, but wanted to see the reaction to this speech. I forwarded the text of the speech to many friends and family members, and most have replied that it either moved them to tears or came close to it. The candidness and truth, and being talked to like an adult was priceless.

What it will come down to in the general election (obviously a huge simplification) is this:
Will hatred of everything clinton or the race (and supposed inexperience) of Obama be a larger factor than the methodical fucking of america by those in power now? I hope not.
posted by schyler523 at 11:35 AM on March 21, 2008


Today might be the first day in the last seven when Americans turning on their cable news channels don't hear the names Obama and Wright linked 47 times every half hour.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on March 21, 2008


Today might be the first day ever when Americans turning on Fox News saw one of their own grow a conscience.
posted by aqhong at 12:07 PM on March 21, 2008


Artw -- in addition to the photo (mentioned in your link) of Reverend Wright with Bill Clinton at the White House for the prayer breakfast it looks like Wright might have had the honor of being seated next to Hillary at the event.

Clinton Treats Obama Pastor With Extreme Caution.
posted by ericb at 12:43 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I appreciate you respecting us enough to say it on camera as opposed to writing an email,” said Kilmeade sarcastically after hearing Wallace’s criticism.

Heh.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2008


What if they could rerun the primary voting in Michigan and work things out so that you could vote in it regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary? Or, alternatively, you vote regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary, as long as you register as a Democrat now? I'm not looking for reasons why this is legally impossible or wouldn't fly in Michigan etc., but purely for whether both the Obama and Clinton supporters could live with this.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2008


Would someone with more theological expertise than I redeem this trainwreck of a thread by putting together a piece on Trinity United Church of Christ Chicago? The enlightenment of watching Rev. Wright's sermons in context is FPP worthy, I think. He's a great preacher.

Yeah, I'll see what I can throw together tonight.
posted by dw at 1:06 PM on March 21, 2008


If it gets shot down please repost it here, I'd be interested in seeing it.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on March 21, 2008


What if they could rerun the primary voting in Michigan and work things out so that you could vote in it regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary? Or, alternatively, you vote regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary, as long as you register as a Democrat now?

In related news ...

Cuyahoga County Elections Board Investigating 'Crossover' Voters
"The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has launched an investigation that could lead to criminal charges against voters who maliciously switched parties for the March 4 presidential primary.

Elections workers will look for evidence that voters lied when they signed affidavits pledging allegiance to their new party. And at least one board member, Sandy McNair, a Democrat, wants the county prosecutor to review the findings.

...The investigation comes 10 days after The Plain Dealer reported that more than 16,000 Cuyahoga County Republicans changed parties before voting March 4.

After the election, some local Republicans admitted they changed parties only to influence which Democrat would face presumed Republican nominee John McCain in November. One voter scribbled the following addendum to his pledge as a new Democrat: 'For one day only.'

Such an admission amounts to voter fraud, said McNair, who pushed for the investigation.

'I'm looking for evidence,' McNair said. 'I'm not interested in a witch hunt. But I am interested in holding people accountable, whether they're Democrat or Republican.'

Lying on the signed statement is a fifth-degree felony, punishable by six to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine."
Will Rush Limbaugh Be Indicted for Voter Fraud? -- "As Ohio election officials investigate illegal crossover voting in the 2008 primary, questions arise on Limbaugh's role."
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on March 21, 2008


purely for whether both the Obama and Clinton supporters could live with this.

I would oppose it no matter who I supported. I much prefer the states to live with the natural consequences of their choices about party policy than to set an odious precedent for second rounds of elections. Can you imagine the implications for future elections? Party sets rules - states do whatever they want - despite natural consequences states then agitate to have their unofficial votes included - party concedes, appearing weak and manipulable - other states condemn the party's decision, creating internal tension in the party - - the ward-boss, party-machine image of Democrats is revived as local and state parties fight the national party for power - all Americans know that the Democratic party is not a decisive contest, but belongs to those who shout the loudest.

To me, it would really be a disastrous choice if the party allowed re-votes or seated the delegates. both states had a chance to have votes counted and seat delegates; they turned that chance down when they decided to schedule their primaries outside party rules. If the party doesn't hold firm, it's going to face a significant loss of authority and favorable public opinion.

Not only that, but I think the very concept of a "re-vote" is specious. When we were kids, and a kickball play was in doubt, we'd call "re-do" and kick again. But of course, the original play could never be exactly repeated. A weak dribble became a solid can o'corn into left field. A state primary is as unique as a single play in kickball. The outcome couldn't reflect the original trajectory. If we "redid" the NH primary today, it would be utterly impossible for it to turn out anywhere near the same way. There are many fewer candidates, and there's been much more discussion of the ones that remain. If we had a 2nd NH primary, NHites would essentially be getting the chance to vote again, but with much more information than they had when the party calendar said it was their turn. To have that count insted of the earlier vote would be senseless. The time has passed, the outcome would change, and these two states would get the enviable liberty of selecting the "best of two" votes to offer the party's selection process.

I think the DNC should reiterate that the time to decide whether the votes would be counted was when the state committees met and determined they would not participated in the party's calendar.
posted by Miko at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2008


What if they could rerun the primary voting in Michigan and work things out so that you could vote in it regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary? Or, alternatively, you vote regardless of whether you voted in the Republican primary, as long as you register as a Democrat now? I'm not looking for reasons why this is legally impossible or wouldn't fly in Michigan etc., but purely for whether both the Obama and Clinton supporters could live with this.

Sure, I think it would be the best idea. I do think you should keep in mind, though, that Clinton really has no way of winning. The math is really not in her favor, and the more hoops we jump through to prolong the race, the more likely it is that people on both sides will get increasingly angry. (Obama also has no way of winning, if by winning one means to secure enough delegates for the nomination, but he will almost certainly come out primaries with both more delegates and more of the popular vote, making him the de facto winner. I'm not saying this as an Obama partisan, it's the mathematical facts as I understand them. A pretty good breakdown is here.)

Yeah, I'll see what I can throw together tonight.

Oh fucking fuck, please do not post that to the front page. Has this thread demonstrated nothing about the advisability of this kind of myopic focus on Obama and his campaign? When, exactly, do you propose to start learning from the history of these threads? If you post those links do it here or in the Tim Wise thread, which would be an equally good place. For fuck's sake, please!
posted by OmieWise at 1:35 PM on March 21, 2008


Maybe this thread should be allowed to stay open until the November election and all discussion and links can stay here. Can your browser handle a 30000 comment thread?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on March 21, 2008


onlyconnect: The fact that they may not be able to work something out here really sucks. It seems to me like both candidates are basing their positions on the bottom line here, and I'm disappointed in both of them.

Let's not forget that with all the uproar over Michigan and Florida, the Democratic party is absolutely certain to be making some significant changes to the scheduling of their nomination contests when the next cycle rolls around. However, the efficacy of such changes "sticking" and having states wholly abide by those changes is entirely contingent upon the DNC's ability to demonstrate that Michigan and Florida will not become the deciding factor in this year's nomination process -- that is, that they're not rewarded for breaking the rules. It's a matter of party discipline, something the Democratic party sorely lacks. And yes, the Florida Democratic party is entirely complicit in the schedule change, despite Florida being Republican-controlled: the bill was co-sponsored by a Democrat and passed almost completely unanimously, the Florida Democrats rejected a DNC offer to fund an alternate primary before any voting had taken place, and the entire Democratic Congressional slate unanimously rejected a new mail-in revote proposal. Both Florida and Michigan are clearly flouting the DNC bylaws in a gambit that they're "more important" than the rules governing the process. And IMO, no state is above party rules; their hubris is ridiculous, as are the grandstanding about "disenfranchisement".

Charges of obstructionism by the Obama camp are overblown. Mark Halperin of Time accurately described Obama's camp as "slow-footing" the revote process with their stance of "we'll play by the rules and abide by whatever the DNC sanctions" with the unspoken corollary of "but we're not going to help the Clinton camp to plan or lobby for such revotes." If Michigan manages to ram a revote plan through 2/3 of their state legislature and the DNC approves it, you can bet that Obama's camp will endorse the plan and campaign hard during the revote, rather than reject it outright as some crying "obstruction!" have implied. Obama's camp has always stated they'll hew to the rules, period. And even though it's guaranteed that a revote will award Obama more delegates than the zero he currently has from Michigan (he and Clinton are roughly tied in polling there), and he would likely narrow the delegate gap in Florida were there a re-vote, it's outweighed by the uncertainty and "extending the fight and the media narrative" factor to have new and very large contests in June. I've read a number of persuasive arguments that Obama would truly be a naive political tyro to offer Clinton any concessions before he has the nomination wrapped up. Anyone looking for a timely finish to the nomination process at this point can see how revotes work against that -- and given Obama's certain delegate pickups from Florida and Michigan, revotes won't improve Clinton's odds in the delegate race anyway. In short, revotes are the Clinton camp's strategy of stalling the nomination process, plain and simple. That they're spinning the "disenfranchisement" argument in a way that may potentially damage Obama in the general election is wholly immaterial to the Clinton camp.

There's no doubt that Florida and Michigan will be seated in some fashion after the nomination has been decided. My guess would be that Obama will seat them in the most lenient way that the delegate math allows, while keeping the DNC happy in ensuring that the two rogue states aren't rewarded for their schedule-breaking by becoming the deciding factor. Until the exact overall delegate margin of victory is known though, it's premature for the Obama camp to come up with a plan to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations. If and when Clinton concedes, you'll see Obama's camp leading the negotiation to resolve this dilemma -- but not one moment before. They're not making the mistake of counting Clinton just out yet.
posted by DaShiv at 1:45 PM on March 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


That last point could probably be better made by redirecting dw to the meta thread, and is slghtly OTT for here really.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2008


(that would be to OmieWise)
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2008


That last point could probably be better made by redirecting dw to the meta thread, and is slghtly OTT for here really.

Well you're welcome to do that. You've been following that thread and this one, you lobbied for this one to be posted, you seem to want a Wright post on the frontpage (or I assume you would have discouraged dw or directed him to MeTa). Do you like the trainwrecks?

It's entirely appropriate to respond to dw here as the request was made here, the threat of a new thread was made here...
posted by OmieWise at 2:00 PM on March 21, 2008


Or, to put it another way, why is my comment contra a new fuckfest OTT, while yours tacitly approving a new fuckfest not?
posted by OmieWise at 2:02 PM on March 21, 2008


Take it to Meta.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on March 21, 2008


I'm sorry I was shouting, everyone. I've gotten very upset and frustrated with a lot of the things that are being said here and on other, similar threads, and I should probably have taken a break to cool off before posting. Last night, although I still think what I said was accurate, I was probably about two posts away from telling everybody they were Educated Stupid or something.

Anyway.

However you personally feel about whether or not revotes should occur in Florida in Michigan ... doesn't it strike you as a bit cynical that both campaigns are arguing for the outcome that benefits them the most? Do any of you serious disbelieve that if the situation were exactly reversed, they would be arguing for exactly the opposite position? Because I think they would. It reminds me uncomfortably in Florida in '00, and I don't like it.

It is, frankly, one of the things that has made me thing that Obama is not really all that much different than Clinton. That his "taking the high road" is more a matter of media perception and the luxury a front-runner has of not needing to go negative than any real difference in political philosophy. I have been looking for the signs that he is the different kind of politician that his most fervent supporters think he is, and nothing I have seen so far has convinced me of it; in fact, just the opposite - including the speech which is the the original topic of the thread.

He reminds me a lot of Bill Clinton in '92. I don't have a problem with that. I would prefer a real leftist progressive in office, but if all we can get is a left-leaning centrist, I'll take it. But I honestly think that people who believe he represents a significant change from Clinton-era politics are in for a big disappointment. I think we're going to see just as many NAFTAs, and just as many DOMAs, under Obama as we would under Hillary Clinton.

Maybe I'm wrong. Since he's almost certain to get the eventual nomination at this point, I hope I am. But so far in this campaign, that is what I see.
posted by kyrademon at 2:15 PM on March 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh fucking fuck, please do not post that to the front page. Has this thread demonstrated nothing about the advisability of this kind of myopic focus on Obama and his campaign?

The question was about the theology of Wright and TUCC. I was going to frame it that way.

Black liberation theology is an interesting trend. It combines the long history of African identity present in the black Protestant church with, of all things, Catholic theology.
posted by dw at 2:16 PM on March 21, 2008


Despite a strong month of fund-raising in February in which she brought in $35 million, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton finished the month essentially in the red, once her campaign’s outstanding debts are factored in, as well as her personal loan, according to filings submitted late last night to the Federal Election Commission.*

Guess she won't be financing that revote?
posted by aqhong at 2:38 PM on March 21, 2008


“The question was about the theology of Wright and TUCC. I was going to frame it that way.”

I’d lean it off Wright. The new guy has got serious Kung Fu (In the literal “great accomplishment” sense). And he was interviewed (poorly) by NPR on being black and proud and christian and proud. He made excellent points about the arbitrariness of race - e.g. the counterpart to black americans being proud is not “white” pride (which carries it’s own message) but rather german pride, irish pride, etc etc - ethnic heritage.
So ethnic heritage and religion might be a better theme in that it addresses Wright (albiet tangentially), but stays off the “Obama” hot button.

But that’s just a thought.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:57 PM on March 21, 2008


Obama Offers a Progressive Vision of Patriotism:
He began to build a progressive narrative that Democrats, and the progressive movement more broadly, have had difficulty developing. He offered a progressive vision of patriotism, integrating a more traditional view -- referring to his grandfather's service under General Patton, and the military service of Reverend Wright -- with the notion that love of country is not blind love, that forming a more perfect union -- the essence of progressivism -- is part of what it means to love one's country.
Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama:
[Obama] asked us to ponder the weight of our racially-divided past, to rise above it, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together.

[...]

As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words.

I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics-- by too many in this country.

Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I fear that people will continue to exploit our racial differences—and place blame on others not like them.

We all know the real culprit -- the disastrous economic policies of the Bush Administration!

Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race.
Richardson has been making the media rounds in recent weeks, alternately promoting the necessity for Democrats to honor the delegates representing the voters' will while promoting and defending the legacy of the Clinton administration during the 90's, an administration he had a large hand in. It seemed like he was vacillating between the two camps and Obama's speech finally pushed him over the top for Obama. His support might have been instrumental had it come earlier before Texas, but nonetheless still represents an unexpected "ripple" of the speech that will help Obama shore up Hispanic support in the general election.

An unrelated observation: Richardson was more emotional in his endorsement speech than I've ever seen him before. "Damn that Obama guy, quit tugging on my heartstrings!" Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your view of Obama.

The takeaway from all this in my mind is that Obama's speech outlines a badly-needed alternative to traditional Democratic identity politics, replacing it with a pan-racial populism. It will be interesting to see whether this idea has any traction, whether it will take hold in the months ahead.

Lastly, for those interested in seeing more of Wright, here's a large selection of Trinity Chicago YouTube videos. I can see passages where Wright's oratory style may have influenced Obama's.
posted by DaShiv at 4:00 PM on March 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


So, it's looking as though the outcome of the speech is guardedly positive, yes? Given that we're a few months ahead of any intercutting swiftboat Wright/Obama mashups, the proximate impact of the speech appears to be in Obama's favor, looks like to me.

He gave three speeches in three days, each billed as a new foundation to the campaign; time to look at them all and see where he's heading.

With regard to this specific thread and MM's obstreperousness, I am all for what happened here. I was challenged to try to understand why someone had a profound resistance to Obama as a candidate, and I think I formulated an understanding that can be formulated as a thesis: Obama's preternatural eloquence is a known attribute of demagogues.

Do I think Senator Obama is a demagogue? HELL, NO.

Can it be definitively demonstrated that he is not? Maybe, but it has not yet happened.

The speech that triggered this thread can be understood as an argument in favor of or in opposition to a perspective that equates Obama with demagoguery.

Given that my Clinton resentments stem from what I perceive to be actual and non-disputable demagoguery, it's inevitable that I would come to embrace the Senator from Illinois. But I think I understand more acutely the resistance that others express toward his candidacy. It certainly is, er, incumbent upon the candidate to seek to address these issues.

I personally see the first speech, the genesis of this thread, as an exemplary argument against the perspective that the Obama candicacy is the expression of a demagogue. This is because the speech does NOT seek to a) be all things to all people; b) excuse choices made by the candidate; c) deny choices made by the candidate; d) divert critique by misdirection.

I hazard that a sensible and thoughtful review of all three speeches would fail to resolve the question of demagoguery, but point away from the thesis. If the campaign - the candidate - were to directly address the concern shortly, it might be laid to rest at least for now, until the GOP swiftboat fathermuckers really gin up.
posted by mwhybark at 10:25 PM on March 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


He reminds me a lot of Bill Clinton in '92.

That's exactly right, but he's riding the Progressive chariot into Camelot.

Here's a nice analysis of PA, upcoming on 4/22 - scroll down for a nice cluster analysis. Hillary is going to smoke Obama in PA, and set the stage for a final momentum run. She has WV wrapped up already, and a few more.

With FL disenfranchised, look for a complete rejection of Obama in that state, against McCain (if Obama gets the nod) - too many Latinos and seniors. Hillary is the only one that can lay legitimate claim to FL, against McCain. Same for OH, and PA. Given that, how does Obama win in November?

What I'm discerning, especially as the cracks start to show in the bottom of Obama's floor, is that the desperate activity of all those Ivy League educated Camelot journalists who have been shilling for Obama in the mainstream media; they're piling on all these sappy articles - just look at the NYT and many other major metro news media, especially in print. It's pretty telling - as if they're trying to help people forget that the end could be at hand, which falls hand-in-hand with the cult-like mystique that Obama has enjoyed (created by the media).

I also think (and hope) that Hillary's campaign will take it right to the floor of the convention and duke it out. That's assuming that the sharp drop in independent support that has accompanied Obama's so-called (opening this thread) "magesterial speech") continues to drag him down in the polls.

McCain is a moderate; so is Hillary; so is, in spite of everything is said and sold by the Obama campaign, is Obama. What bothers me about Obama is that he doesn't say so.

Thus, if he makes it all the way, we will see mostly centrist policies in place, but without the experience and wisdom of someone whoh has been around for a while. Look for self-destruction over fuor years, as a rookie wrestles with a bear (that's a fiscal pun). It's not going to be pretty.

Romney in 2012? It's a real possibility.
posted by MetaMan at 12:51 AM on March 22, 2008


Here's the PA cluster analysis; scroll down to the maps
posted by MetaMan at 12:54 AM on March 22, 2008


Camelot !
posted by ericb at 1:23 AM on March 22, 2008


Wrestling the bear !
posted by aqhong at 1:58 AM on March 22, 2008


Dear God. You just can't kill the beast.
posted by dawson at 2:46 AM on March 22, 2008


This is because the speech does NOT seek to a) be all things to all people; b) excuse choices made by the candidate; c) deny choices made by the candidate; d) divert critique by misdirection.

Wait, what? I do think the speech can be looked at from this starting point: Rev. Wright has said things that many will disagree with, but I will not alienate myself from my church or my fellow parishoners who go to that church. How do I explain that position? Love the sinner but not the sin.

a. be all things to all people. Who did he leave out of this speech that I'm missing? People of all races who've been discriminated against are in here, and Obama explains how he identifies with them. People of all races who have discriminated are in here, and Obama explains how they are redeemable. I guess if there's a discriminating category that's the equivalent of "asexual," it might be missing, but otherwise doesn't he cover all the bases?

b. excuse choices made by the candidate. Well, doesn't he sort of do this by comparing Rev. Wright to our racist grandparents and saying that of course we still love them? He does not, for example, say that when Rev. Wright was saying incendiary, disagreeable things he should have walked out of the church, or had a serious talk with him and expressed his disagreement.

c. deny choices made by the candidate. That's true.

d) divert critique by misdirection. What? He says the critique itself is the misdirection that we shouldn't be distracted by! From our real mission of helping underprivileged children.

Now look. I do not think he is a demagogue, or that he didn't approach this speech with a pure heart as an opportunity to say something important about race. I actually think Obama did this, and I have alot of respect for him. But I also think he is a politician who was shaken up by this attack and it's potential effects on his campaign, and who knew that his endpoint needed to be not alienating members of the black church and not alienating white voters. I think he did that, too, and I also give him credit for it.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:56 AM on March 22, 2008


I love how Obama is denying democracy by not demanding revotes in FL and MI, but Hillary is not doing so when she tries to win despite the fact he has more pledged delegates and more of the popular vote.

Hillary turns out to be 5 million in debt with 3 million cash on hand.

Obama has 30 million cash on hand.

Since Hillary's alledged strength has been her fundraising, that can't be good for her pitch to the superdelegates. How is she supposed to be the better candidate when he outraises her using smaller donations and a vastly larger donor pool while she can't control spending.

But don't listen to me, listen to the insiders she's supposed to be impressing:

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet. As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.


That's right. Her own people are telling reporters there's only a 10% chance she can win. These are the people you are supporting Metaman. And they are feeding you a line.

For those of you who might not know Vandeihei and Allen are top political pros who write for a political trade paper which is available on the streets of Washington, DC.

Here's more:

But let’s assume a best-case scenario for Clinton, one where she wins every remaining contest with 60 percent of the vote (an unlikely outcome since she has hit that level in only three states so far — her home state of New York, Rhode Island and Arkansas).

Even then, she would still be behind Obama in delegates.

There are 566 pledged delegates up for grabs in upcoming contests. Those delegates come from Pennsylvania (158), Guam (4) North Carolina (115), Indiana (72), West Virginia (28), Kentucky (51), Oregon (52), Puerto Rico (55), Montana (16) and South Dakota (15).

If Clinton won 60 percent of those delegates, she would get 340 delegates to Obama's 226. Under that scenario — and without revotes in Michigan and Florida — Obama would still lead in delegates by 1,632 to 1,589.

The only remote possibility of a win in delegates would come if revotes were held in Florida and Michigan — which, again, would take a political miracle. If Clinton won 60 percent of the delegates in both states, she would win 188 delegates and Obama would win 125. Clinton would then lead among pledged delegates, 1,777 to 1,757.


Simply put, Metaman, Hillary Clinton isn't going to win. She's in massive debt and Obama has piles of money. She would need to outperform what she has done up to this point by a substantial margin and win every primary by about 75-25 (remember, because of Dem rules, you need to win by more than 60% of the popular vote to get 60% of the delegates.)

I'm going to make a bold prediction. Hillary may win PA, but she will have dropped out of the race before the primary is held. She can't make it 4 more weeks. She's out of money.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:10 AM on March 22, 2008


We're at it AGAIN?

Look, let's keep this simple. Hillary's only chance of winning is by taking almost every remaining state and then convincing the superdelegates she has the momentum. And that's reasonable, even though it pretty much guarantees a repeat of '68, only it's Generation Y that will be jaded this time, not the Boomers.

But she's run a horrible campaign. She held onto Solis Doyle for too long. She's waltzed into this campaign like a basketball fan already talking about the second round while their team is on the court struggling with a scrappy 15-seed. The money issues aren't a surprise; by running a pre-McCain-Feingold campaign in a McCain-Feingold world she's already tapped out many of her major supporters; meanwhile, Obama's been able to convince more people to give less and has relied on a netroot volunteer network that's allowed the campaign to be more fuel-efficient.

Truth is, Hillary needs Obama's campaign if she's going to win. And that means her supporters. And every new marginalization of Obama supporters by Hillary means just that much more work winning them back between August and November.

If the convention is brokered, I think Dean and the other elites will be making some very hard choices. They dump Hillary, they marginalize liberal and/or feminist women. They dump Obama, they marginalize blacks and the sub-35 crowd. They dump them both, they better have Al Gore tan, rested, and ready and Kathleen Sebelius well vetted.

One last thing: I think there's an inherent contradiction in MetaMan's stream of poor signal-to-noise comments.

One thing for sure - whoever wins is going to be gone in 2012. America is in deep trouble, and Americans are really good at blaming their politicians for that trouble.

This amidst all the "Hillary is our great hope" comments up above. IOW, he's voting for Hillary because she's the Only One Who Can Beat The GOP Machine (broken though it may be right now), but he doesn't think the '08 winner will win in 2012.

That sounds like a lot of Republicans I know who are voting for Hillary. They figure if it's bad now, it'll be worse then, and then in 2012 it's all about Kay Bailey Hutchinson being the American Margaret Thatcher. Or something like that.

MetaMan isn't a Democrat. I'm not one either -- I'm a crunchy-con Republican who gave up on the party in '96 after two years of Gingrich BS and haven't regretted it. But I wish MetaMan would be honest about why he's really voting for Clinton... she's the only true conservative in this race.
posted by dw at 9:13 AM on March 22, 2008


I'm going to make a bold prediction. Hillary may win PA, but she will have dropped out of the race before the primary is held.

i've considered all you've said, ironmouth, and the only conclusion i can come up with is that hillary wants the vp nomination for her price of dropping out

or that she really believes she can steal this nomination and have a chance of winning in november

what else is there?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2008


onlyconnect, sure, I'll elaborate:

(For clarity, these four points were cited by me as things that Obama did not do in the speech which one might expect from a candidate engaged in demagogic speech)

a. be all things to all people. Who did he leave out of this speech that I'm missing? ... doesn't he cover all the bases?

Well, OK, I can see what you mean. Instead of saying "America, woooo!" and relying on indefinable applause words such as freedom, etc. etc., he built a case for all Americans to look at their shared history based on specific individual cases from his own life. Upthread, a bunch of folks took exception to the "only in America" framing given this material. Instead of presenting a set of blandishments that can be interpreted by the listener to appeal to the listener's viewpoint without actually saying anything, he relied on specifics and individual experiences.

Which to me is the opposite of being all things to all people, even if the section is crafted with the specific and strategic goal of appealing to as many people as possible. The goal here is not to offend, but to win over, right?

b. excuse choices made by the candidate. Well, doesn't he sort of do this by comparing Rev. Wright to our racist grandparents and saying that of course we still love them? He does not, for example, say that when Rev. Wright was saying incendiary, disagreeable things he should have walked out of the church, or had a serious talk with him and expressed his disagreement.

OK, I see that point. I would say that what I had in mind is that instead of saying that he wasn't paying attention when Rev. Wright said stuff like the inflammatory rhetoric that prompted the speech, he says that it is something that comes with our families and it makes him just as uncomfortable as you might expect. That's not making an excuse, IMHO. It's an honest description of a moment most of us have had in our lives.

c. deny choices made by the candidate. That's true.

d) divert critique by misdirection. What? He says the critique itself is the misdirection that we shouldn't be distracted by! From our real mission of helping underprivileged children.

Well, I think that's a legitimate response to the interest in and concerns over the Rev.'s sermons. However, misdirection as a rhetorical technique in this sort of context has more commonly taken the form of strident fingerpointing at those bad people over there, you know, the bad people who threaten our precious freedoms and blah blah blah. You know, the sort of thing whose objective is to get the listener angry and directs the ire away from the candidate or speaker, something that I do not see in the content or delivery of this speech.

So on the whole, I would say that while the Senator could have chosen to deploy these timeworn and fundamentally dishonest techniques in the speech, he did not, and that is a rare thing in American politics.
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2008


hillary wants the vp nomination

Nah.

or that she really believes she can steal this nomination and have a chance of winning in november

As Ironmouth pointed out, her own advisors have estimated that she has a 10% chance of winning the nomination. It's possible that Hillary herself is delusional enough to believe she has a chance, and her advisors won't break it to her: "When Bill’s temper is aroused or Hillary stubbornly digs in on a position, it is a daunting task to confront them and convince them that they are just flat-out wrong. Few advisers are able to do it, and it appears that the current crop are helpless in the face of their candidate’s insistence on making a mistake.*"

what else is there?

The possibility of bloodying Obama up so badly that he loses to McCain in the general, thus giving her another shot in 2012. (Obama has said that he will never run again.)
posted by aqhong at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2008


Look, let's keep this simple. Hillary's only chance of winning is by taking almost every remaining state and then convincing the superdelegates she has the momentum.

This is what Obama supporters and the press want everyone to believe. We know from polling that the more people see of Hillary, the more they like her.

She has not been put front and center - side-by-side along with Obama - in this last part of this campaignl the press has gone ga-ga over Obama. Yet, in spite of that, she has maintained; that's a sign of strength.

Also, this is about *winning* in November. Obama has *no* chance against McCain in OH, FL, and PA. He may pick up a few marginal red states, like NM, but I want someone here to show me how a Democrat running on a left-progressive platform - who has *not yet been vetted* runs against the GOP attack machine who has a *moderate* (McCain) in the race.

Hillary or Obama; it's gong to be closer than you think in November. Hillary is a slam dunk for PA and FL, and marginal in OH (which I think she can win). the former two states, leaving everything else as it is means a Dem win in November.

Obama will *not* bring home FL and PA. Please someone, based on pure demographics, show me how that happens.

Thus, if Hillary is 3-5% behind in pledged delegates, and the same in the popular vote, the Supers are going to look at *where* those votes came from. Did they come mostly from traditional GOP states that Dems are already conceding anyway? Yes! That will be the difference.

I want this to go all the way to the floor, because if it doesn't, we will see McCain in office in January '09.

A good, honest fight about who's the best person to *beat McCain* is what it's all about.

Sure, my Greyhound dog might outrun your Sheltie, but my Sheltie can outmaneuver your Border Collie. (please resist the temptation to mock). Clinton is the Sheltie. We want to WIN, not just "feel good". Obama is a feelgood candidate who will *almost* win. Hillary is the one.
posted by MetaMan at 11:42 AM on March 22, 2008


As Ironmouth pointed out, her own advisors have estimated that she has a 10% chance of winning the nomination.

This is from Politico.com, an ABC shill and a *startup* that want to scoop the press that it hopes will roll them up before they have to go to a mezzanine round. Just WHO are these advisors. I'll bet you can find advidors in Obama's camp that know he's dead in FL, OH, and PA against McCain.

Politico: a pox on ye.
posted by MetaMan at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2008


The Politico is a trade paper for politics in DC. You can get it on the street corners out of a machine. It competes with the Hill and Roll Call.

You can bet that story was read in every congressional office--where the superdelegates live.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:35 PM on March 22, 2008


Vandehei was the Washington Post's political reporter. He broke the story that House Republicans were going to impeach Clinton. Mike Allen is the former White House reporter for a little magazine called Time.

These are top professional reporters. They know what they are talking about and when they say an "important Clinton aide" told them that, they know its true.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:42 PM on March 22, 2008


Please stop.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


And now, a summary of the MetaMan section of this thread.
posted by dw at 1:10 PM on March 22, 2008


What's the big problem with just waiting a few months, I dunno, vote in yr primary of you haven't, donate money as you wish, plaster a bumper sticker on yr car, but more importantly, go fishing, take yr kids to Chuck E Cheese, try a new wine, in other words, fuck off already. Hell, maybe the world will end, or all three candidates will die from natural causes in the next few months. In the long run, does it matter so much?
And those who have an actual profile have an iota of credibility, mystery men, not so much.
So just relax, I promise that nothing you (or I) say here matters anymore, except to yr ego, and that's unhealthy in 3 distinct ways. This is not a discussion, it's a pissing match. get over yrselves already, please?
posted by dawson at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


We know from polling that the more people see of Hillary, the more they like her.

If this were true, how could she have lost the commanding 20 lead she enjoyed in every state last summer?
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:01 PM on March 22, 2008


Obama's speech on race rings true for Britain, too

(at the risk of reigniting the "only in America debate)
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on March 22, 2008


Check out the first cartoon.
posted by MetaMan at 11:11 PM on March 22, 2008


I knew that was going to be a Michael Ramirez cartoon before I even clicked on it.
posted by maryh at 11:32 PM on March 22, 2008


Mark Halperin's 14 Painful Things Hillary Knows or Should Khould Know
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:32 AM on March 23, 2008


Obama Talk Fuels Easter Sermons -- Inspired by Senator Barack Obama’s speech, some religious leaders plan to interweave talk of race and resurrection.
posted by ericb at 6:48 AM on March 23, 2008


Mark Halperin's 14 Painful Things Hillary Knows or Should Khould Know

indeed - she needs, for the good of the party and the good of the country, to admit she's been beat and quit

for one thing, it will make the whole thing about michigan and florida fairly irrelevant
posted by pyramid termite at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2008


Sam Harris on Obama's religious fraudulism.
posted by Brian B. at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2008


Fraudilism? I thought I was bad, with "Khould."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2008


Hillary caught in whopper -- Washington Post gives it Four Pinocchios. Not too germane to "The Speech" discussion, but I wanted to see how MetaMan parsed it, just out of morbid curiosity.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:32 AM on March 23, 2008


I wanted to see how MetaMan parsed it

No.
posted by aqhong at 11:49 AM on March 23, 2008


Mrs. Clinton is fond of mocking her adversary for offering “just words.” But words can matter, and Mrs. Clinton’s tragedy is that she never realized they could have mattered for her, too. You have to wonder if her Iraq speech would have been greeted with the same shrug if she had tossed away her usual talking points and seized the opportunity to address the war in the same adult way that Mr. Obama addressed race. Mrs. Clinton might have reconnected with the half of her party that has tuned her out.

She is no less bright than Mr. Obama and no less dedicated to public service. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t have his verbal gifts — who does? But her real problem isn’t her speaking style. It’s the content. Mrs. Clinton needn’t have Mr. Obama’s poetry or pearly oratorical tones to deliver a game-changing speech. She just needs the audacity of candor. Yet she seems incapable of revisiting her history on Iraq (or much else) with the directness that Mr. Obama brought to his reappraisal of his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

On Monday she once again pretended her own record didn’t exist while misrepresenting her opponent’s. “I’ve been working day in and day out in the Senate to provide leadership to end this war,” she said, once more implying he’s all words and she’s all action. But Mrs. Clinton didn’t ratchet up her criticisms of the war until she wrote a letter expressing her misgivings to her constituents in late 2005, two and a half years after Shock and Awe. By then, she was not leading but following — not just Mr. Obama, who publicly called for an Iraq exit strategy a week before the release of her letter, but John Murtha, the once-hawkish Pennsylvania congressman who called for a prompt withdrawal a few days earlier still.

What if Mrs. Clinton had come clean Monday, admitting that she had made a mistake in her original vote and highlighting her efforts to make amends since? John Edwards, arguably a more strident proponent of invading Iraq in 2003 than Mrs. Clinton, did exactly that also in the weeks before her 2005 letter. He succeeded in lifting the cloud, even among those on the left of his party.

Instead Mrs. Clinton darkened that cloud by claiming that she was fooled by the prewar intelligence that didn’t dupe nearly half her Democratic Senate colleagues, including Bob Graham, Teddy Kennedy and Carl Levin. Even worse, she repeatedly pretends that she didn’t know President Bush would regard a bill titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” as an authorization to go to war. No one believes this spin for the simple reason that no one believes Mrs. Clinton is an idiot. Her patently bogus explanations for her vote have in the end done far more damage to her credibility than the vote itself.

That she has never given a forthright speech on Iraq is what can happen when your chief campaign strategist is a pollster. Focus groups no doubt say it would be hara-kiri for her to admit such a failing. But surely many Americans would have applauded her for confessing to mistakes and saying what she learned from them. As her husband could have told her, that’s best done sooner rather than later.

It’s too late now, and so the Democratic stars are rapidly aligning for disaster. Mrs. Clinton is no longer trying to overcome Mr. Obama’s lead in the popular vote and among pledged delegates by making bold statements about Iraq or any other issue. Instead of enhancing her own case for the presidency, she’s going to tear him down.
The Republican Resurrection
posted by y2karl at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2008


Hillary caught in whopper

the worst part is, if what she said was true, that's a further disqualification for her to be president - it's not the president's job to be under fire or send their spouse to be under fire and she ought to be smart enough to know that

that's why we have all those people we call soldiers, hillary
posted by pyramid termite at 1:57 PM on March 23, 2008


I wanted to see how MetaMan parsed it.

Easey-peasey to parse. Hillary's "Balkan Adventure" happened in "the other" Bosnia! Err, what?
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on March 23, 2008


Sinbad (aka David Adkins) was on the same trip to Bosnia with Hillary (as mentioned above).
“You'll recall that earlier this month, the comedian Sinbad challenged Hillary Clinton's version of the dangers she - and Sinbad and singer Sheryl Crow - faced together on a trip to Bosnia in 1996.

Today, the Washington Post is backing him up.

In a piece headlined ‘Sniper fire, and holes in Clinton's recollection,’ the Post ‘fact-checks’ Clinton's campaign-trail claims that she landed amidst sniper fire on that trip and that her group ran with its heads down.

In fact, the Post says, the airport where Clinton landed that day was one of the safest in Bosnia at the time. The article continues: ‘Had Hillary Clinton's plane come 'under sniper fire' in March 1996, we would certainly have heard about it long before now. Numerous reporters, including The Washington Post's John Pomfret, covered her trip. A review of nearly 100 news accounts of her visit shows that not a single newspaper or television station reported any security threat to the first lady. 'As a former AP wire-service hack, I can safely say that it would have been in my lead had anything like that happened,' Pomfret said.’”*
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM on March 23, 2008


Glenn Greenwald picks up some right-wing reaction to the Obama speech, decides that it, and the Right-Wing Noise Machine, are "threatened tribalism."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:32 AM on March 24, 2008


Clan of the 82nd Couchborne
posted by y2karl at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2008


Hillary "misspoke," sez her campaign.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:47 AM on March 24, 2008


More.

Can you imagine if Al Gore had said this?
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:50 AM on March 24, 2008


I still want someone to tell me how Obama is going to win FL, OH, and PA against McCain. That is simply not in the cards. McCain is out-polling both Clinton and Obama right now, and that's BEFORE MORE negatives come out against Obama.

The general election is not going to be pretty. What I'm very afraid of is that the mass hypnotic effect of a candidate like Obama that offers "hope" is not going to resonate with working class folk; so far, Obama hasn't done that on a mass scale.

We're now entering the land of Humphrey, Carter, Kerry, Dukakis, Gore, etc. etc. - - Obama is cit from that cloth. We're screwed if he makes it.

Aside from that, and the *desperate* spinning by the press to make it seem like the Superdelegates would *never* reverse direction, Hillary is more than holding her own in PA, and will probably win by a large margin there. Chalk up another significant *must have* state that Obama doesn't resonate with the *core* voters in.

How Obama supporters fail to see this is beyond me.

We're talking about someone who has virtually NO experience in international or national politics.

This is what's currently happening between Obama and his dreamy base. There seems no connection to the realities of electoral politics, and that McCain is NOT Bush

That will become painfully clear, no matter who faces McCain. McCain will annihilate Obama; only Hillary can come through with measured, moderate policy initiatives that WORK.

Also, how any Democrat with a sense of history can call Bill Clinton's Presidency a failure, is beyond me.

I will wait this one out, and vote Nader if Obama gets the nod. Many, many of my moderate Dem friends are going to do just that, or vote for McCain, if Obama gets the nod.

I have also recently talked to some folks in a senior home that I volunteer in; they're going for McCain 20-2 if Obama is the candidate. if Hillary is the candidate, it's dead even 11-11.

The posters on this thread seem not to understand the raw emotion that will rule in a general election. Hillary is the only one of the two Dems left that can conquer McCain - even that is an even bet.
posted by MetaMan at 1:03 PM on March 24, 2008


Pat Buchanan: Obama Speech Like "Old Shakedown That Black Hustlers" Run.
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on March 24, 2008


Rush Limbaugh: Obama has ‘disowned his white half.’
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on March 24, 2008


Pat Buchanan: Obama Speech Like "Old Shakedown That Black Hustlers" Run.

Hooooleeee cow.
posted by Miko at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2008


Hitchens is spot on.

"To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come."
posted by MetaMan at 3:51 PM on March 24, 2008


The worst news for Obama is: 1) the fact that his eager supporters firmly believe he can't lose; and 2) his apology speech was an INSTANT hit for most, indicating that his message was already agreed to, meaning that he's a walking straw man on a symbolic plane of existence, the easiest kind of image to deflate by the smearboaters (who had their hardest time with Hillary).

I think Obama should reconsider the vice-presidential slot in light of the recent problems that sent him circling the wagons in racial terms. This might insure a double win for him better than any other scenario on the table, and place him in front position down the road. This would essentially let him govern the longest. Should he go it alone now, he would need to bruise or even split the party that nominates him, running the risk of defeating himself against McCain in the blue states that went for Hillary (and of course the red states that nominated him), thereby losing all hope for ever running again (because political parties loathe to renominate general election losers). I can now see Hillary running against a feeble McCain in 2012 and beating him, and if he hasn't considered that possibility, maybe he should.
posted by Brian B. at 6:16 PM on March 24, 2008


... vote in yr primary of you haven't, donate money as you wish, plaster a bumper sticker on yr car, but more importantly, go fishing, take yr kids to Chuck E Cheese, try a new wine, in other words, fuck off already. Hell, maybe the world will end, or all three candidates will die from natural causes in the next few months. In the long run, does it matter so much?

hear, hear.

Earth Day cannot come soon enough.

I will wait this one out, and vote Nader if Obama gets the nod. Many, many of my moderate Dem friends are going to do just that, or vote for McCain, if Obama gets the nod.

Hillary is the only one of the two Dems left that can conquer McCain - even that is an even bet.

After the 75th comment, I finally realized that you're a subversive McCain supporter. that's just too many comments with his name. Congrats on hijacking the Obama speech thread.

November 5th cannot come soon enough.

It seems obvious to me that Obama matches up much better against McCain than Clinton does. Clinton-McCain is a retread of 2000, with Nader perhaps drawing even more support due to Matt "Gonzo" Gonzalez?

I'm still voting Nader unless the nightmare scenario envisioned by MetaMan comes true and California looks close. Then I'll vote Dem, no matter who it is. I'll take your bet on Obama in California. 100 clams?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:40 PM on March 24, 2008


And yes, it was a very well written speech. Consider me engaged, but I still won't vote for any candidate who won't seriously pull back the military and stop the war on drugs ... again, unless it's close in California (which ain't happening). Government-backed health insurance would be another thing I'd .

And no, no other presidential candidate in my memory has as capably explained his relationship with other outrageous religious squawkers, e.g. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell.

Nader Interview on Obama, The Clinton's and Democrats today

Even though he can't pronounce it, he claims that Obama is self-censuring and committing "protective imitation." I'm not sure, however, that makes me any less likely to vote for him.

"The people have the power, if they only realized it ..."
posted by mrgrimm at 6:49 PM on March 24, 2008


MetaMan in the old folks home:

BETTY: Have I shown you pictures of my grandchildren? Here's Taylor, she's 18.

METAMAN: IS SHE VOTING FOR OUR LORD AND SAVIOR HILLARY CLINTON?

BETTY: I don't know. But here she is playing soccer. They won the state championship...

METAMAN: AND HILLARY CLINTON IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DEFEAT JOHN MCCAIN.

BETTY: Well, she plays for Martin Luther King High.

METAMAN: OBAMA IS A FAILED SUBSTITUTE FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING. ONLY HILLARY CAN UNITE OUR NATION. THE NAIVE FOOLS WHO VOTE FOR OBAMA ARE DELUDED PERSONALITY CULTISTS...

BETTY: Yes, well, she just got an athletic scholarship! She's playing for North Carolina. I'm so proud of her.

METAMAN: AND I AM PROUD OF NORTH CAROLINA BECAUSE HILLARY IS CLOSING ON OBAMA THERE AND THE MORE VOTERS THERE SEE HER THE MORE SHE LIKES THEM HAVE I SHOWN YOU MY NEIGHBORHOOD BY NEIGHBORHOOD MAP DEMONSTRATING HOW POST-REAGAN CRUNCHY MILITIAMEN WILL VOTE FOR HER FIVE TO ONE OVER OBAMA OR MCCAIN EVEN IF THEY WERE COVERED IN MAPLE SYRUP

BETTY: Oh, Hillary? I could never vote for her. She lies so much, and I don't know if she has any beliefs. Now that nice colored kid, Obama? I really like him. He's a great speaker. He reminds me a bit of Franklin Roosevelt. Did I ever tell you that I met Roosevelt? Nicest man. I think Obama's like that...

METAMAN: HOW DARE YOU LYING FOOL AND LOSER YOU ARE DREAMING HE WILL NEVER WIN ONLY HILLARY CAN SHE IS THE GREATEST EVER AND IT'S TIME FOR A WOMAN TO BE IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND A CLINTON TOO SHE WILL LEAD US TO THE PROMISED LAND

***taser sound***

Metaman collapses to the floor in agony.

NURSE (holding taser): I'm sorry, Mrs. Kefauver. That's the third time he's done that today.

BETTY: That's all right, dear. He was keeping me company, even if he was a bit queer. Say, did I show you pictures of Taylor's state soccer championship?

NURSE: No! Did they win?

BETTY: Why yes they did, and she scored a goal too!

METAMAN: Hillary.... Hillary....
posted by dw at 6:51 PM on March 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


dw, there are problems with your play. Betty is conveniently deaf, and the nurse tasers people to shut them up. It allows your metaman character to look relatively sane.
posted by Brian B. at 7:18 PM on March 24, 2008


After the 75th comment, I finally realized that you're a subversive McCain supporter.

Same. It took me awhile, too. But when I woke up Saturday and re-read the thread, it seemed pretty clear.
posted by Miko at 8:30 PM on March 24, 2008


Hitchens is spot on.

Heh. Says it all really.
posted by Artw at 8:43 PM on March 24, 2008


Damn! and I thought I had worked it out:
Not a troll
a zombie!
posted by pointilist at 8:44 PM on March 24, 2008


Oh yeah, that was clear from early on. MetaMan is just a McCain operative. I said campaign manager before, but that gives too much credit. Reminds me of the Bevet bot.
posted by caddis at 8:45 PM on March 24, 2008


Nader Interview on Obama, The Clinton's and Democrats today

When the voice of reason speaks, America listens.
posted by spiderwire at 8:55 PM on March 24, 2008


Hitchens is spot on.

especially when he uses code words like "tribalism" - although the truth is, he's probably more pissed off that obama goes to church period - rabid atheist fundamentalists are like that

---

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

pat, there's some problems with that

1) it was millions of black people, many of whom died before they even got here
2) i don't suppose you've ever heard of ethiopia or know its history or more specifically, that it's been a christian country since 400 a d or so
3) i bet you didn't know there's more black catholics in africa than there are in the u s
4) if your descendants could be among the most affluent people in the world in the 26th century but the only way you could make it happen was by selling your kids into slavery, would you do it?

what a fuckhead

ps - what the hell does he mean jena was fake?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 PM on March 24, 2008


He's probably more pissed off about the Iraq thing, since Obama says it was wrong to support it and Hitchens supported it to the hilt. If nothing else Hitchens has a dying need to be ALWAYS RIGHT, and throw poop at those who are WRONG, so now anyone who says the war was a bad idea is automatically wrong about everything ever.

Of course, it's always possible that Hitchens supported the war becuase it involved killing lots of brown people, and that Hitchens is a bit of a racist fuck.
posted by Artw at 9:12 PM on March 24, 2008


dw, there are problems with your play. Betty is conveniently deaf, and the nurse tasers people to shut them up. It allows your metaman character to look relatively sane.

The original final like was:

METAMAN: I wish I had a vagina.
posted by dw at 11:33 PM on March 24, 2008


He's probably more pissed off about the Iraq thing

Reads more like he ran out of gin and needed to find someone to blame for that.
posted by dw at 11:35 PM on March 24, 2008


I finally realized that you're a subversive McCain supporter.

You're as wrong about that as you think you're right about Obama.

btw, I'm not taking bets on CA, because it's 50-50 if Obama gets the nod. I don't bet even odds - only on sure things, like bets on OH, FL and PA - if Obama gets the nod. Those states will be the difference.

btw, I'm still waiting for someone to make a plausible case for Obama taking those states against McCain, but all I'm see is people meta-trolling.

The Superdelegates know this. In fact, in a way, the FL and MI recounts may have *purposely* been kept off the table, so that Hillary can have full bragging rights about her lost primary votes at the convention. The "abstract win" that she can claim may help put her over the top with the Supers, who will by then be wondering what they've done by letting a rhetorical trickster take them down the piper's trail.

Hillary should continue onto the convention, and if she has to, *split* the party. If she doesn't get the nomination, McCain's a winner anyway.

This way, with the party split, the Camelot Dems can watch their nominee go down in flames.

I, for one, want to see an end to the influence of the Kennedy's, the Kerry's, and all the other hucksters of hope, who are no better than the right wing religious right hucksters. They're all promising nirvana- a nirvana that never happens, leading to disappointment, and keeping people trapped in their dreams - instead of encouraging them to act on them. We need to end that movie.

Hillary owes nothing to the Democrats; in fact, her husband and she have tried to save the Democrats from themselves.

This is a fight for the heart of the Democratic party. Hillary, stay in there and duke it out.

Right now, at ground zero, there is an unprecedented effort to force Hillary to collapse. Look at today's NYT. Look at yesterday's NYT. Every article has an anti-Hillary spin to it. They *don't* want this race to get to April 22nd, because they know it will mean one more possibility to unseat their manufactured dream candidate.

I've never seen anything like this - the NYT and other liberal papers taking the *one* family that put the hapless, fumbling, feckless Democratic Party back on the map, and trying to make it look evil.

This is what happens when the charlatans-of-"hope"; the dripping-with-privilege Camelot crowd; the hangers-on-made-by-Clintons; the Sharpton-instigators, and all the rest see that their power and their coy little messages of "let's make everyone happy, right now" are fading away.

Maybe it will take one more election cycle to put a stake in the heart of that part of the Democratic Party, so we can finally get on with governing from the center.
posted by MetaMan at 12:06 AM on March 25, 2008


From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Question: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?

Reid: Easy.

Q: How is that?

Reid: It will be done.

Q: It just will?

Reid: Yep.

Q: Magically?

Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean today. Things are being done.


Interesting...
posted by Rhaomi at 12:36 AM on March 25, 2008


You know what? I may as well engage our dear friend MetaMan on the question of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. I predict that Pennsylvania will go to the Democratic nominee, whether it be Clinton or Obama, based on the fact that Pennsylvania has gone to the Democrat in every presidential election since 1992. (Of course, this assumes that Clinton's anti-charisma doesn't make everybody just stay home, in which case Penna goes to McCain.) Florida and Ohio, meanwhile, will probably go to McCain regardless of the Democratic nominee, on account of electoral corruption (Diebold in Ohio, state legislature in Florida). There's also the chance, though, that Obama's endorsement from Richardson gives him a sufficient boost among Latinos to push him over the edge in Florida and overwhelm the vote corruption by sheer force of popularity. Of course, the old conservative Jews in Florida would prefer Clinton to Obama, but I suspect that most of them would prefer McCain to Clinton anyway, especially if he taps Lieberman as his running mate. If McCain picks Lieberman for VP, he'll probably take Florida regardless of his opponent, but again, Obama could pick up the Latinos. It's tricky. But regardless, I'm really not seeing much of an advantage for Clinton anywhere.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:48 AM on March 25, 2008


Can you imagine if Al Gore had said this?

If Al Gore had said it, there would be two major differences.

1. The entire media, left and right, would focus on some tiny detail the he didn't fully describe. AL GORE SAID THE LITTLE GIRL READ SOMETHING, BUT HE DIDN'T SAY IT WAS A POEM!!! HE'S SUCH A LIAR!!!

2. Later, after Gore had been branded a liar by the left and the right, it would turn out that he had left facts out -- the trip was more dangerous than he had initially let on, and he had downplayed the danger in service of the larger point he'd wanted to make about being a prudent, wise executive.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:18 AM on March 25, 2008


Hillary owes nothing to the Democrats; in fact, her husband and she have tried to save the Democrats from themselves.

hillary and her husband have been a fucking millstone around the neck of not only the democrats but of the country as a whole - bill clinton was a half-assed ineffective president who ended up embarrassing the country because he couldn't keep his damn pants zipped in the oval office and hillary "sniper fire" clinton is revealing herself to be every bit the liar and manipulative hack that he was

it took someone as incompetent and venal as bush to make the clintons look good

they are self-serving, dishonest, business-as-usual hacks - i won't vote for her under any circumstances - nothing she says can be trusted
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2008


btw, I'm not taking bets on CA, because it's 50-50 if Obama gets the nod. I don't bet even odds - only on sure things, like bets on OH, FL and PA - if Obama gets the nod. Those states will be the difference.

btw, I'm still waiting for someone to make a plausible case for Obama taking those states against McCain, but all I'm see is people meta-trolling.


Fine, you want a case for Pennsylvania?

Here's the 2004 federal election by county map for PA. See how it's 51-48 despite only Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre actually turning blue?

Let's start from there.

Now, assume that you'll have record African-American turnout across the state. Now assume that the crunchy cons on the Blue Line are going to join with their Democratic neighbors (and they will -- crunchy cons are polling for Obama). Now we just turned those three counties blue. And now assume all those college students in State College will turn out for Obama.

Assuming Pennsyltucky would probably remain with McCain, Obama wins. Even if you slide more votes towards McCain, Obama still wins. It'll be 51-48 or 52-47, but Obama wins.

And you know what else? So does Hillary. Cut African-American turnout in half, move crunchy con men to McCain, replace them both with moderate women, throw Pennsyltucky strongly towards McCain... Hillary wins 51-48.

In other words, Pennsylvania will cast its 21 electoral votes for the Democrat, barring the presumptive candidate using Punxsutawney Phil's hole as a toilet, or one Democratic candidate damaging another in this run-up that they never recover.

But honestly, who cares? It's MARCH. The election is in NOVEMBER. We are still over seven months from the general. Just four months ago Hillary and Giuliani had double-digit leads in the opinion polls. Now Hillary would need a miracle to catch Obama in pledged delegates before time expires and Giuliani, well, he's at home with his one delegate that cost $50M. And we're now 4 weeks from the Pennsylvania primary. And a lot can happen in 4 weeks.
posted by dw at 8:05 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Reads more like he ran out of gin and needed to find someone to blame for that.

Granted, that's an entirely plausible theory.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm still waiting for someone to make a plausible case for Obama taking those states against McCain

Well, I'd take the time to do that, but John McCain seems to be making a perfectly plausible case against McCain, every time he opens his mouth.


Maybe it will take one more election cycle to put a stake in the heart of that part of the Democratic Party, so we can finally get on with governing from the center.

Yeah, man, FUCK all those people whose political views are different than mine! They don't get to say what goes on in my party.


Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean today. Things are being done.

That is very interesting. I've started to feel over the past week that it'll be a small miracle if Hillary even makes it to Pennsylvania--and seeing those Tuzla airport landing clips running on endless loop certainly buttresses that sense.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:39 AM on March 25, 2008


Live by the endlessly repeated clip of something fairly stupid, die by the endlessly repeated clip of something stupid I guess.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


(^ My thoughts exactly.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:47 AM on March 25, 2008


About "flipping" votes. Why not? Delegates have a *legal* right to change their mind.

Here's a feedback response from a reader on the ABC news blog, "Political Punch" run by Jake Tapper of ABC. Taper is one of those consistent ABC/Politico shills for Obama. Seriously, just look at his blog. This guy just drips "Columbia Journalism School".

Also, I'm really amused by all the fantastically "what-ifs" in "dw's" statement above, re PA, OH, and FL.

FL seniors are *moderates*, and McCain is VERY much liked by Latinos. FL is a slam dunk for McCain if McCain Obama gets the nod. Even in his own state (AZ) where serious immigration problems exist, he has not come down hard on immigration.

PA *might* see record turnout by youth, but don't count on it, because that's all been said before in the Gore and Kerry campaigns; it didn't happen.

OH? Please, give me a break! OH will melt into McCain's arms.

Also, what I find interesting here is all the assumptions made about black voters. I know three black voters who think Obama is a fraud. There are many, many more blacks who don't like Obama than one might think.

It's very, very interesting to see the animus spread in the Democratic Party about the Clintons. Again, I want to see a stake driven through the heart of the old Democratic Party. They have been screwing up since Truman. We need moderates in the White House, not flaming promises of "hope" that burn out before the ink on the Inauguration ceremony is dry.


Anyway, here's the blog comment from ABC's hopeless shill of a "reporter's" blog. Scroll down to "LESSONS FOR THE YOUNG NAIVE VOTERS OF OBAMA", or read it, below

LESSONS FOR THE YOUNG NAIVE VOTERS OF OBAMA

I understand that most of the young voters commenting here are looking at the first Presidential race they have ever voted in. I can tell this by some of the galacticaly stupid comments from Obama supporters. This is not a frat election where whoever brings the beer wins the race. The rules here were not written by the Clintons and Obama has the ability to read them just like he read Karl Rove's play book.

All deligates pledged or super are allowed to vote as they see fit at the convention with only one requirment, that they vote for the most electable democrat candidate. If one candidate had reached the number of deligates required before the convention then that candidate would have the nomination but neither candidate has the deligate count to win and will not have it by the convention. There are very good reasons for the rules. For example IF Obama were to be ahead in deligates by June but charged with a crime for murder or rape, do you think the deligates should vote for him anyway? Of course not and so the issue here is at what point do we realize that despite the early voting, one of these candidates is electable and the other is not electable in a general election.

Now look at the reality here. Obama despite piles of money, an ivy league education, Kennedy, Kerry, Oprah support and 80 to 90 % of the black community voting for him, Obama still lost in most democrat states like CA and MA. MA has elected to Governor, white male democrats, white male rublican, white woman and now a black male democrat Gov. Duval Patrick. MA seems to be both gender and color blind. But despite both Senators Kennedy and Kerry as well as Gov. Patrick's support for Obama, MA voted overwhelmingly for Hillary. MA does not have a problem voting republican and given McCain's liberal stance as a conservative McCain will win MA over Obama easily. As for CA, it might not be as clear but I also believe that CA will vote republican as they have for Governor. Hispanics have education and will not be swayed by Richrdson to vote Obama and therefore CA will go to McCain if the only option is Obama.

Most of the states that Obama won like Mississippi will as ususal be carried by the Republican in the general election. So Super deligates as well as pledged deligates must consider the obvious loss of the general election in Nov. if they nominate Obama.

Do you want to lose in November? If you would like democrats to win in November then HOPE that Hillary has the popular vote without MI and FL so that the deligates can follow the Obama rule (only written this year in Obama's head) of voting for the candidate with the popular vote. If not then HOPE they follow the rules as written and vote or nominate the most electable candidate. Also keep in mind that the Republicans sound just like Obama supporters. Is that the group you wanted to be part of???

posted by MetaMan at 10:18 AM on March 25, 2008


I know three black voters who think Obama is a fraud.

Interesting. how do they feel about Clinton using racism as a politican weapon?
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on March 25, 2008


Hillary pulls even in N. Carolina!

Of course, you won't see anything in the MSM about this. Even in this piece it says that Hillary has to win PA by *20 points* to show Obama's weakness??? Try setting the bar a little higher, Mayhill (the author of the piece).

If Hillary wins by double digits, just 10 points, it's a *landslide*, Mayhill.

People are beginning to realize just what my last two posts are saying, and what I've been saying all along - that Obama is NOT going to be electable vs. McCain.
posted by MetaMan at 10:29 AM on March 25, 2008


how do they feel about Clinton using racism as a politican weapon?

One of them just flat out dislikes Obama, at a personal level. She's highly educated (sociologist). She hasn't brought race up to me.

The other two are IT professionals; we've had lunch a few times and discussed this. Both these guys are Democrats; one having come from the streets; the other has a middle class upbringing.

They both admit that race is an issue in the campaign, but they see Obama *using* what they see as a mistaken *perception* that Hillary is using race to divide people.

I was with all three as a group of us watched the SC debates. they were all blown away by Obama's "joke" about how he didn't know if Bill was a "brother", because he hadn't seen him dance. They were all immediately put off by that (even though, at the time, *I* thought it was funny).

After the debate they brought some light to that comments, saying "what if Hillary had said something like that?. They thought is was racial pandering, and not a joke, and it turned them off.

Obama was essentially using humor to 'get away with something' - like hip-hoppers using the "N-word" in ways that demean, just because they're black. It's a double standard.
posted by MetaMan at 10:40 AM on March 25, 2008


Wait... they were upset about the exact same thing that you were "upset" by earlier in the thread and no one else gave a rats ass about? That's rather interesting.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on March 25, 2008


It's a double standard.

Oh? Does that seem terribly unfair to you? Well, if you feel the need to use the word, go right ahead.
posted by Miko at 10:46 AM on March 25, 2008


I am kind of curious as to what Obama was "getting away with", other than coming up with an answer to a fairly dumb question.

And in fact pretty much curious in general to see where the new "my black friends" version of MetaMan is going, though I suspect the answer will be "in circles, same as before".
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on March 25, 2008


From Andrew Sullivan, a nice rebuttal to Hitchens on Obama.

MetaMan, FWIW, I don't think you're a troll. I think you're someone who knows just enough about his politics to sound really smart and informed to people who don't really know much about politics (and likely aren't very critical thinkers, either), by being fluent in pre-thought thoughts. I have reached this opinion because of two primary, overarching reasons:

One: An absence of critical self-reflection: statements like "This guy just drips "Columbia Journalism School"" belie a mind that succumbs to stereotyping; further, assertions like "There are many, many more blacks who don't like Obama than one might think" demonstrate an inability or unwillingness to distinguish between anecdote and data.

[For your reference, my editorial exceptions to your two astoundingly unfounded assertions quoted above: (only one kind of person graduates from one of the most prestigious and competitive journalism programs in the world? wow, that's a monolithic conditioning mechanism Columbia has going on there, and here I thought higher education actually made people think more, not less); (blacks have been actually voting for Obama by as great as 90% margins, despite any experiences with a couple of black folks you may have had) ]

Two: Your posts are disjointed semi-rants that rarely cohere around one (or even several) distinct points--you seem to have nothing specific to say, so are just turning on the faucet of every reason you can think of why Barack Obama can't possibly be nominated by the Democratic Party for president. Even if it means attacking the fine and mostly noble history of that party; dismissing the views, thoughts, desires of millions of people through knee-jerk ad hominem and stereotyping attacks; building up the credibility of the presumptive Republican nominee beyond all evidence; etc. And all of those reasons appear to be gained from reading or hearing what other people have thought about what you say, because of the scatter-shot way in which you deploy them; if they were your own thoughts, your arguments would make sense, even if it was a kind of sense I disagree with. They would be actual arguments.

So I don't think you're a troll; I just think you're not thinking about all this very clearly.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:00 AM on March 25, 2008


What does knowing black people who don't like Sen. Obama have to do with a goddamn thing?

I know several 50 yr old + white women who don't like Sen. Clinton one bit and who wouldn't give her the time of day even if they had watches on both wrists.

I also know at least two older conservative white males -- one who served in the military (SeaBees) -- who don't particularly care for Sen. McCain and are strongly leaning toward Sen. Obama, as long as he doesn't do anything egregiously stupid.

Guess what abilities knowing these people grants me with regard to prognosticating about the election? SFA. I can posit that Sen. Clinton's support among older white women isn't as strong as it's made out to be and that Sen. McCain's support among older white males isn't as secure is it's made out to be, but I'd hesitate to make breathless declarations about the way those populations are going to vote in November.

In fact, the only thing I feel secure declaring about the GE is that all three candidates are in trouble since Senators have traditionally not fared well in the GE.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2008


LESSONS FOR THE YOUNG NAIVE VOTERS OF OBAMA

does your mother know you're doing this, chelsea?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:06 AM on March 25, 2008


"Hillary now claiming that she only "misspoke" about Bosnia once. It was four times over 4 months."
posted by ericb at 11:09 AM on March 25, 2008


NYT: Clinton Needs Obama To Collapse Like Subprime Market To Win.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on March 25, 2008


The Long Defeat
"Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance.

Five percent....For the sake of that 5 percent, this will be the sourest spring.

....When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.

Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance? Are leading Democrats so narcissistic that they would create bitter stagnation even if they were granted one-party rule?

The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.

....No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.

If she does the former, she would surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice. Her campaign would cruise along at a lower register until North Carolina, then use that as an occasion to withdraw. If she does not, she would soldier on doggedly, taking down as many allies as necessary."
posted by ericb at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2008


Hillary pulls even in N. Carolina!

Umm....
Poll: Obama Regains Big Lead In North Carolina.
posted by ericb at 11:21 AM on March 25, 2008


So I don't think you're a troll; I just think you're not thinking about all this very clearly

That's very kind, very assumptive, and quietly condescending of you. A nicely mixed message, that nicely mirrors the same kinds of thing that Obama has been doing. Now I understand better why you like the man; it's a matter of resonating personal styles.

We plainly disagree, but that's just me talking. I'm not going to say that your difference on the issue indicates that you're rambling or not thinking this through. But I will say, again, that your rant is condescending - as you meant it to be.

Like Hillary; I'm used to that, and will persist *in spite of* and *because* of that. I want to see her, as stated prior, drive a stake in the heart of that part of the Democratic party that has been screwing this country up (along with the GOP nutcase neocons and religious fanatics)

Just because you don't see the 100+ sound reasons about why I think Hillary is a better candidate is not my fault.

As for "Columbia Journalism" types, you're right - it's a stereotype, although probably not as hard a stereotype that has been projected by most on this board about Hillary, but what the heck, that's *your* stereotypical stance, right? And you're a clear thinker, too, right?

As for intelligence; I don't think you know what intelligence is. That's not because you don't have a high IQ, it's because you're not able to fluidly adapt yourself to what I perceive to be clearly laid out opinions and *facts* against the insane illogic and insults thrown in Hillary's direction, on this board. Just look at all the inane one-liners, posing as "intellect" on this thread. It's practically a joke. And this is Obama's base?

Hey, I'm in enemy territory on this one, and I know it. IT workers - probably the majority of MeFi subs, are 4-1 in favor of Obama. I understand that.

So, keep up the subtle condescension; maybe that will make you feel better about the little bell that I'm ringing between your ears - the bell that you want to turn off; the bell that reminds you that Obama is not a saint; that Obama is not inviolable; that there is just as much evidence that Obama is just as cynical as Hillary (at least I admit that of my candidate-of-choice, but cultists are blind to that sort of thing); that Obama will lose (for good demographic reasons - stated ad infinitum, above, by minds better than my own) to McCain in a general election; that Hillary IS surging in the polls, even though the press refuses to note that - hoping that she'll just go away; that the Democrats have been putting up effete candidates (based on middle-American perception) for too-long now; that Hillary IS pulling close in N. Carolina; that she is going to smoke Obama in PA and WV and PR (where she doesn't have to depend on a black vote that will be mostly inconsequential in the general election, anyway (and talk about reverse-racism - where is the press on THAT!); that Obama has won is a passel of small RED states, and has failed to take a single large BLUE state (and in fact has been smoked by Hillary in most of those states - now THAT's a real weakness!) that the Superdelegates (and even state delegates) can change their mind [and will]; that there is a LARGE possibility that Obama, your anointed saint and savior, who has had every Camelot-derived, Ivy League, bleeding-heart liberals fawning after his every word, as if words mean more than action. All that, and more.

btw, if anyone is trolling on this thread, it's the one-shot artists who don't have the mettle for discussion or debate.
posted by MetaMan at 11:50 AM on March 25, 2008


Wicked long comment ahead, but I figured anyone still reading this thread has the patience of Job anyway.

I'm reading Dreams From My Father, and I hit this section the other night. I thought it was germane to the (stated topic of) the thread and decided to type it out to post here. It describes Obama's introduction to Wright and his intial fascination with Wright's church. I think it sheds a tremendous amount of light on how Obama saw the church, which helps give much greater context to the sound bites pulled from Wright's sermonizing. In this section, he begins to know the church, but he doesn't join it - he leaves Chicago, visits Kenya, and heads to Harvard before returning and becoming involved as a congregant.

[Background for the excerpt: Obama is working as a community organizer in Chicago and is trying to put together an interfaith coalition of local churches to improve conditions and opportunities in Chicago projects and poo neighborhoods. The backdrop is that attendance is declining at historically black churches, as some people lose hope and move away from church involvement, and others take their money and energy and move to the suburbs.]
When I asked for other pastors to talk to, several gave me the name of Revered Wright...Younger ministers seemed to regard Revered Wright as a mentor of sorts, his church a model for what they themselves hoped to accomplish. Older pastors were more cautious with their praise, impressed with the rapid growth of Trinity's congregation but somewhat scornful of its popularity with young black professionals. ("A buppie church," one pastor would tell me.)

...Revered Wright smiled and led me into a small, cluttered office. "Sorry for being late," he said, closing the door behind him. "We're trying to build a new sanctuary, and I had to meet with the bankers. I'm telling you, doc, they always want something else from you. Latest thing is another life insurance policy on me. In case I drop dead tomorrow. They figure the whole church'll collapse without me."

"Is it true?"

Revered Wright shook his head. "I'm not the church, Barack. If I die tomorrow, I hope the congregation will give me a decent burial. I'd like to think a few tears will be shed. But as soon as I'm six feet under, they'll be right back on the case, figuring out how to make this church live up to its mission."

He had grown up in Philadelphia, the son of a Baptist minister. He had resisted his father's vocation at first, joining the Marines out of college, dabbling with liquor, Islam, and black nationalism in the sixties. But the call of his faith had apparently remained, a steady tug on his heart, and eventually he'd eneter Howard, then the University of Chicago, where he spent six years studying for a Ph.D. in the histroy of religion. He learned Hebrew and Greek, read the literature of Tillich and Niebuhr and the black liberation theologians. The anger and humor of the streets, the book learning and occasional twenty-five-cent word, all this he had brought with him to Trinnity almost two decades ago. And although it was only later that I would learn much of this biography, it became clear in that very first meeting that, despite the reverend's frequent disclaimers, it was this capacious talent of his -- this ability to hold together, if not reconcile, the conflicting strains of black experience -- upon which Trinity's ssuccess had ultimately been built.

"We've got a lot of different personalities here," he told me. "Got the Africanist over here. The traditionalist over here. Once in a while, I have to stick my hand in the pot - smooth things over before stuff gets ugly. But that's rare. Usually, if somebody's got an idea for a new ministry, I just tell 'em to run with it and get outta their way."

His approach had obviously worked: the church had grown from two hundred to four thousand members during his tenure; there were organizations for every taste, from yoga classes to Caribbean clubs. He was especially pleased with the church's progress in getting more men involved, although he admitted that they still had a way to go.

"Nothing's harder than reaching young brothers like yourself," he said. "They worry about looking soft. They worry about what their buddies are gonna say about 'em. They tell themselves church us a woman's thing - that it's a sign of weakness for a man to admit that he's got spiritual needs."

The revered looked up at me then, a look that made me nervous, I decided to shift the conversation to more familiar ground, telling him about DCP and the issues we were working on, explaining the need for involvement from larger churches like his. He sat patiently and listened to my pitch, and when I was finished he gave a small nod.

"I'll try to help you if I can," he said. "But you should know that having us involved in your effort isn't necessarily a feather in your cap."

"Why's that?"

Revered Wright shurgged. "Some of my fellow clergy don't appreciate what we're about. They feel like we're too radical. Others, we ain't radical enough. Too emotional. Not emotional enough. Our emphasis on African history, on scholarship --"

"Some people say," I interrupted, "that the church is too upwardly mobile."

The reverend's smile faded. "That's a lot of bull," he said sharply. "People who talk that mess reflect their own confusion. They've bought into the whole business of class that keeps us from working together. Half of 'em think that the former gang-banger or the former Muslim got no business in a Christian church. Other half think any black man with education or a job, or any church that respects scholarship, is somehow suspect.

"We don't buy into these false divisions here. It's not about income, Barack. Cops don't check my bank account when they pull me over and make me spread-eagle against the car. These miseducated brothers, like that sociologist at the University of Chicago, talking about 'the declining significance of race.' Now, what country is he living in?"

But wasn't there a reality to the class divisions, I wondered?...

Afterward, in the parking lot, I sat in my car and thumbed through a silver brochure that I'd picked up in the reception area. It contained a set of guiding principles - a "Black Value System" - that the congregation had adopted in 1979. At the top of the list was a commitment to God, "who will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become Black Christian activists, soldiers for Black freedom and the dignity of all humankind." Then a commitment to the black community and black family, education, the work ethic, discipline, and self-respect.

A sensible, heartfelt list...There was one particular passage in Trinity's brochure that stood out, though, a commandment more self-conscious in its tone, requiring greater elaboration. "A Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclassness," the heading read. "While it is permissible to chase "middleincomeness" with all our might," the text stated, those blessed with the talent or the good fortune to achieve success in the American mainstream must avoid the "psychological entrapment of Black 'middleclassness' that hypnotizes the successful brother or sister into believing that they are better than the rest and teaches them to think in terms of 'we' and 'they' instead of 'US'!"

My thoughts would often return to that declaration in the weeks that followed as I met with various members of Trinity. Reverend Wright was at least partly justified in dismissing the church's critics, for the bulk of its membership was solidly working class, the same teachers and secretaries and government workers one found in other big black churches throughout the city. Residents from the nearby housing project had been actively recruited, and programs designed to meet the needs ot the poor -- legal aid, tutorials, drug programs -- took up a substantial amount of the church's resources.

Still there was no denying that the church had a disproportionate number of black professionals in its ranks: engineers, doctors, accountants, and corporate managers. Some of them had been raised in Trinity; others had transferred in from other denominations.Many confessed to a long absence from any religious practice - a conscious choice for some, part of a political or intellectual awakenening,but more often because church had seemed irrelevant to them as they'd pursued their careers in largely white institutions.

At some point, though, they all told me of having reached a spiritual dead end a feeling, at once inchoate and oppressive, that they'd been cut off from themselves. Intermittently, then more regularly, they had returned to the church, finding in Trinity some of the same things every religion hopes to offer its converts: a spiritual harbor and a chance to see one's gifts appreciated and acknowledged in a way that a paycheck never can; an assurance, as bones stiffened and hair began to gray, that they belonged to something that would outlast their own lives - and that, when their time finally came, a community would be there to remember.

But not all of what these people sought was strictly religious, I thought; it wasn't just Jesus they were coming home to. It occurred to me that Trinity, with its African themes, its emphasis on black history, continued the role...[of] redistributor and values and circulator of ideas. Only now the redistribution didn't run in just a single direction from the schoolteacher or the physician who saw it as a Christian duty to help thesharecropper or the young man fresh from the South to adapt to big-city life. The flow of culture now ran in reverse as well; the former gang-banger, the teenage mother, had their own forms of validation -- claims of greater deprivation, and hence authenticity, their presence in the church providing the lawyer or doctor with an education from the streets. By widening the doors to allow all who would enter, a church like Trinity assured its members that their fates remained inseparably bound, that an intelligible "us" still remained.

It was a powerful program, this cultural community, one more pliant than simple nationalism, more sustaining than my own brand of organizing. Still, I couldn't help wondering whether it would be enough to keep more people from leaving the city or young men out of jail. Would the Christian fellowship between a black school administrator, say, and a black school parent change the way the schools were run? Would the interest in maintaining such unity allow Revered Wright to take a forceful stand on the latest proposals to reform public housing? And if men like Reverend Wright failed to take a stand, if churches like Trinity refused to engage with real power and risk genuine conflict, then what chance would there be of holding the larger community intact?

Sometimes I put such questions to the people I met with. They would respond with the same bemused look...Revered Wright had given me. For them, the principles in Trinity's brochure were articles of faith no less than belief in the Resurrection. You have some good ideas, they would tell me. Maybe if you joined the church you could help us start a community program. Why don't you come by on Sunday?

And I would shrug and play the question off, unable to confess that I could no longer distinguish between faith and mere folly, between faith and simple endurance; that while I believed in the sincerity I heard in their voices, I remained a reluctant skeptic, doubtful of my own motives, wary of expedient conversion, having too many quarrels with God to accept a salvation too easily won.
posted by Miko at 12:14 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm really amused by all the fantastically "what-ifs" in "dw's" statement above

"Fantastically 'what-ifs'"???

I started from Kerry 2004 numbers, which was an election with a mildly popular incumbent and an economy in positive territory. I showed you that the Democrat wins either way

And this was without factoring in the general unpopularity of the GOP and the forecast for flat to negative economic growth in Q4.

You accuse me of saying "the youth will turn out" or something. I said State College would turn out for Obama. But in the greater scheme of things, that's not as important as the black vote in Philly and Pittsburgh or the women's vote on the Blue Line and along the Turnpike. Honestly, Penn State could be wiped from the map by angry Michigan fans and the Dem nominee would still win PA. If the Democratic Party doesn't rend itself between now and August, the party will close around its candidate and all this debate about whether the Rust Belt will stay blue will go away.

Right now McCain has the advantage of presumption. And that's why any of these polls you're seeing about who beats who are completely worthless. Who cares if Obama is running nearly 50-50 with McCain in Texas while Hillary is barely 50-50 in Washington?

One more time: IT'S MARCH. THE ELECTION IS IN NOVEMBER.

And you're not debating anymore. You're just being dismissive and unctuous towards whatever anyone says. Plenty of us have made valid points, and you just wave them off with your smugness and your inability to concede an iota.

Your inability to actually have a discussion really makes me wonder if you're just gaming us as part of some writing assignment for a conservative magazine. You really read like someone who is being intentionally misinformed.

And certainly you are not the Best Of The Web.
posted by dw at 12:17 PM on March 25, 2008


good demographic reasons

I tend to think demographic 'reasons' are pretty lousy, generally.
posted by Miko at 12:18 PM on March 25, 2008


very assumptive

My opinions are based solely on your comments in this thread and elsewhere on the site, and assume only what evidence is available there.

quietly condescending of you

Hm, I suppose so, if you're reading honest criticism as insult. Not how it was intended.

that's *your* stereotypical stance, right?

What opinion about Hillary have I expressed in this thread?

And you're a clear thinker, too, right?

Yes, in fact I am, and work hard to be so. Read some of my comment history and draw your own conclusions, though, don't take my word for it.

As for "Columbia Journalism" types, you're right - it's a stereotype

So at least part of my criticism of what you've written here is correct, glad to know I'm not completely off-base.

As for intelligence; I don't think you know what intelligence is. That's not because you don't have a high IQ, it's because you're not able to fluidly adapt yourself to what I perceive to be clearly laid out opinions and *facts* against the insane illogic and insults thrown in Hillary's direction, on this board. Just look at all the inane one-liners, posing as "intellect" on this thread. It's practically a joke.

You don't know me, and have absolutely no idea what I can or can't do; and why on earth would you assume that this board is my only source of information in the world, and that I should be thanking you for being the lone pro-Hillary voice in this vast wilderness outside of which I know no other reality? Also, others' comments on this thread, whether they pose as or actually represent the successful use of intellect, are not my comments. That you lump me in with everything said in a giant, public discussion thread is further evidence of my conclusions above.

Hey, I'm in enemy territory on this one, and I know it. IT workers - probably the majority of MeFi subs, are 4-1 in favor of Obama.

I'm not an IT worker, far from it. But my profession has little to do with my political opinions in this context.

btw, if anyone is trolling on this thread, it's the one-shot artists who don't have the mettle for discussion or debate.

I have plenty of mettle for both discussion and debate, provided you or anyone else is willing to start providing it, but what you've written in this thread is not it. It is a stream-of-consciousness dumping of random facts, baseless assertions, stereotyping, and demagoguery in the guise of rational argument, the flinging of factoid poo. If you can't reread your comments here and at least sort of see where I'm coming from, our conversations will be forever tangent to one another.

And yes, I'm probably trolling now.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:23 PM on March 25, 2008


I want to see her, as stated prior, drive a stake in the heart of that part of the Democratic party that has been screwing this country up (along with the GOP nutcase neocons and religious fanatics)...

You're advocating that she commit suicide, then? The part of the Democratic Party that's been screwing up America is epitomized by the Clintons. They have co-opted the neocon program and made it their own. The last thing this country needs is another Republican Party, and that's what the so-called "centrist" Clinton faction wants.

Hillary's claiming to have landed in Bosnia under fire is an indicator of her disdain for the truth, and for the intelligence of the voting public. She is not getting my vote that way. It's just another sign of her Republicanesque ends-justify-the-means approach.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2008


Your inability to actually have a discussion really makes me wonder if you're just gaming us as part of some writing assignment for a conservative magazine.

No kidding. You claim no one is engaging with you, MetaMan, but you're not capable of engaging, just one-sided ranting. Most people have decided it's not worth it to even address you, so you won't be able to have the conversation you claim to want, because your style is so egregiously insulting, snide, and off-putting that most people have just walked away. Shouting a rant at campaign demonstrators on the street is not 'debating.' What you're doing is also not 'debating.' Your use of terms like "this board" and "subs" and your assumption that MeFites are 1/4 IT professionals tells me that you're very unfamiliar with the culture here. You deserve the response you're getting (or not getting) until you moderate your style.

Finally, you have spent so much time here, and for naught. If you care about politics even a tenth as much as you indicate, I suggest you lend your time and typing fingers to the campaign of the candidate of your choice, where you might actually assist them in making progress. You're not making any here - your work here is futile and you have spent a fair number of hours at it. If you genuinely care about the outcome of the election and not just stirring the pot, I suggest you direct your browser to the campaign office of your choice and find out how you can get on the phone and harangue voters in person, or write letters to the editor to papers in the upcoming primary states, or host a fundraising party so they can do more events and advertising. At some point it just seems suspect that you're willing to devote so much energy to playing a victim role against your imagined enemies. There's plenty of real campaign work to do, and it doesn't happen here.
posted by Miko at 12:28 PM on March 25, 2008


Miko, thanks for taking the time to post that excerpt.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:30 PM on March 25, 2008


Hillary's claiming to have landed in Bosnia under fire is an indicator of her disdain for the truth, and for the intelligence of the voting public.


Wha? Do you understand that the steep spiral approach used when there is danger of enemy fire is quite spectacular. I still remember talking to WWII vet about when an Australian destroyer met his troop ship 10 hours out of Pusan and zigzagged across his bow all the way in. There were no enemy subs, but the threat was there. I suspect Hillary thought she was at risk. YOU weren't there.

Finally, you have spent so much time here, and for naught.

Really? And how about you? There is a *difference* between us. I revel in difference. I don't try to shout it down. And, I was not the one to start with the snide comments and trolling.

IN the last 2-3 days I've posted things of substance to this thread, and all I've received back is insults.

I'm a member here, just like you - and from the looks of it, far more able to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous rudeness than most.

I have only seen ONE response that was even remotely analytical, re: my challenge to face the facts that Obama cannot win in FL, OH, or PA against McCain.

In fact, there have been some posters who I have had good analytical exchanges with.

The problem with you and a lot of other people here (not all) is that you see difference of opinion as ranting, instead of an impassioned attempt at exchange.

This is *exactly* the same garbage I've seen in my community re: Obama supporters, where the Obama Kool-Aid is coming out of the tap.

I responded, in kind, with substantive links, and refuse to be bullied into submission.

This is my last reply to those who want to hurl insult and make unproven innuendo, simply because someone does not agree with them.

I will continue to post facts on this thread. If you don't like it, and others don't like it, and you want to try to do something about it, THAT shows something about *you* that indicates an inability to live side-by-side with difference. I don't see you doing that very well.

Learn to live with people who disagree with you, and stop assuming that just because they don't agree that your argument is somehow better than theirs.

We differ; live with it!

I'll close with another factoid, not one of the ABC or other local politico polls that skew in favor of Obama, based on how they're modeled and presented to respondents - it's based on Rasmussen: The Tide is Turning in Hillary's Favor
posted by MetaMan at 12:59 PM on March 25, 2008


I was not the one to start with the snide comments and trolling

Perhaps not, and yet, it hardly matters. It's not as though you're forced to respond using the same tone you are addressed in. Children use the "but he started it!" argument, not adults. You are responsible for the tone of your own communications, and each time you begin typing in the comment window, you have another opportunity to change your tone. So far,given 70+ opportunities, you have not seen fit to do so.

The problem with you and a lot of other people here (not all) is that you see difference of opinion as ranting, instead of an impassioned attempt at exchange.

No; I'm fine with difference and I love impassioned interchange. I dislike sloppy argumentation, insult, and disorganized, machine-gun-style rant-spray. I can certainly live with the fact that you support someone different; in fact, I have exchanges just about every day with people here and elsewhere about political opinions that differ from mine (there are many Hillary supporters on this site, you know) and I have not yet had another that was of such laughably low quality. Again, you're not receiving your response because your opinion is different. You're receiving it because your style is disrespectful, poorly organized, and leans heavily upon shallow attacks.
posted by Miko at 1:07 PM on March 25, 2008


It's not as though you're forced to respond using the same tone you are addressed in.

I wrote this, above: "btw, I love you guys; I really do. And, although I've pissed off a lot of people, and have been pissed off by a lot of people, it's been a hard-hitting exchange that hasn't pulled punches; an exchange that has lived right on the edge of propriety, and that could only happen on MeFi."

Looks like you're jumping to conclusions, again.


You're receiving it because your style is disrespectful, poorly organized, and leans heavily upon shallow attacks.

Pot, meet kettle.

How about putting some facts and opinion up, instead of attacking me?
posted by MetaMan at 1:37 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Looks like you're jumping to conclusions, again.

Let's see, 70 posts and one fluff line about "hard-hitting exchanges?" This wasn't a hard-hitting exchange, and I don't think MeFites ask to be loved. I think they ask for discourse at a certain level, and you didn't rise to that level.

How about putting some facts and opinion up, instead of attacking me?

There's no need. I've contributed a lot to this thread, but have studiously avoided engaging you on your topic and don't plan to start. Those who have accepted your invitation have met with poorly organized, disrespectful, shallow attacks - that's an assessment, not an attack. Your conduct has been lame.
posted by Miko at 1:43 PM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wha? Do you understand that the steep spiral approach used when there is danger of enemy fire is quite spectacular. I still remember talking to WWII vet about when an Australian destroyer met his troop ship 10 hours out of Pusan and zigzagged across his bow all the way in. There were no enemy subs, but the threat was there. I suspect Hillary thought she was at risk. YOU weren't there.

What the fuck? Now you're telling me war stories about your recollection of some alleged WW2 veteran's story about an Australian destroyer in Korea? Listen up, kid - I do not need your third-hand war fantasies. I have more than enough first-hand memories of serving in an actual war zone. Whatever Hillary and her daughter experienced, it was not so scary that it kept them from walking around out in the open just after landing. I don't need to have been there to see that they didn't "just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." She's lying, you're making shit up, and you should both just go away.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:46 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really? And how about you?

Excuse me. I need to laugh hysterically now.

A few years ago, there was this twentysomething guy who sat behind me at the ballpark. He spent the early part of the game spouting off about baseball to this bottle blonde girl that looked bored. But it was the stuff he was saying -- Ichiro wasn't that good a hitter, Jamie Moyer was terrible because he couldn't throw a fastball, Adrian Beltre was hurting the team at third and they should trade him for Barry Bonds straight up -- that just stuck with me. I mean, it was wrong. Like yokel calls into sports radio wrong. Like I'm spouting BS because I don't have the depth of knowledge and the history to understand the very sport that I paid cash money to watch right in front of me.

About the fourth inning, they left for the beer garden and never came back. The girl looked as bored as she did when the game started.

So, MetaMan, down the stairs there, through the tunnel, then a right, take the escalators to the 100 level, then right, then left, and keep walking. You'll see the beer garden on your right. Bring your wallet, though -- Bud is $6 for a teeny little class, while Pyramid is $8.50.
posted by dw at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2008


Looks like Bill Clinton is turning out to be a big plus for Hillary, as rural voters and others that Hillary will need on her way to making a bid for the nomination at the convention
posted by MetaMan at 2:11 PM on March 25, 2008


Clinton on her visit to Bosnia:
MARCH 17: Clinton: "There Was No Greeting Ceremony, And We Basically Were Told To Run To Our Cars. Now, That Is What Happened."

"Everyone else was told to sit on their bulletproof vests," Clinton said. "And we came in, in an evasive maneuver....There was no greeting ceremony, and we basically were told to run to our cars. Now, that is what happened." [CNN, 3/1708]

MARCH 17: Clinton, Speaking About Her Trip To Bosnia, Said "I Remember Landing Under Sniper Fire. There Was Supposed To Be Some Kind Of A Greeting Ceremony At The Airport, But Instead We Just Ran With Our Heads Down To Get Into Vehicles To Get To Our Base."

Clinton: "Good morning. I want to thank Secretary West for his years of service, not only as Secretary of the Army, but also to the Veteran's Administration, to our men and women in uniform, to our country. I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia, and as Togo said, there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the First Lady. That's where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me to visit our troops, not only in our main base as Tuzla, but also at two outposts where they were serving in so many capacities to deactivate and remove landmines, to hunt and seek out those who had not complied with the Dayton Accords and put down their arms, and to build relationships with the people that might lead to a peace for them and their children." [Clinton speech (remarks as delivered), 3/17/08]

FEBRUARY 29: Clinton Said That The Welcoming Ceremony In Bosnia "Had To Be Moved Inside Because Of Sniper Fire."

"At the rally, she belittled the idea that Mr. Obama's 2002 speech 'at an antiwar rally' prepared him to serve as commander in chief. She said he was 'missing in action' on the recent Senate vote on Iran and as chairman of a subcommittee responsible for NATO policy in Afghanistan. Contrasting that with her own experience, she evoked foreign battlefields, recalling a trip to Bosnia as first lady, when the welcoming ceremony 'had to be moved inside because of sniper fire.' She said she had traveled to more than 80 countries and was 'on the front lines' as the United States made peace in Bosnia and Northern Ireland and helped save refugees from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo." [NYT, 3/1/08] VIDEO

DECEMBER 29: Clinton That When She Went To Bosnia, "We Landed In One Of Those Corkscrew Landings And Ran Out Because They Said There Might Be Sniper Fire."

Clinton, in Dubuque, Iowa on December 29, 2007, said "I was so honored to be able to travel around the world representing our country. You know, going to places that often times were, you know, not necessarily a place that a president could go. We used to say in the White House that if a place was too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the first lady. So, I had the time of my life. I was the first, you know, high- profile American to go into Bosnia after the peace accords were signed because we wanted to show that the United States was 100 percent behind the agreement. We wanted to make it clear to the Bosnians of all backgrounds. Plus we wanted to thank our American military and our allies for a great job. So, we landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don't remember anybody offering me tea on the tarmac. We got there and went to the base where our soldiers were and I went out to a lot of the forward operating bases to thank our young men and women in uniform and to thank the Europeans, including the Russians who were part of that effort." [CNN, 1/1/08]"
What really happened at Tuzla -- video.

The Morning Shows on Clinton's Bosnia Remarks.
posted by ericb at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2008


This is weird.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2008


Countdown: Hillary Clinton Misstatement About Sniper Fire | Video 8:41]
To Tell the Tuzla: Breaking news tonight...For the first time, Hillary Clinton herself is calling her claim about landing in Tuzla under sniper fire... a "misstatement"... reversing her past defense of her account, even as she told Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News today this was, quote, "a minor blip." But in our fourth story tonight, that minor blip... a major point in Clinton's narrative about herself as a crisis-ready candidate... her own campaign staff earlier today acknowledging only that it was "possible" she misspoke last week about coming under sniper attack so heavy that a 1996 greeting ceremony at the airport at Tuzla in Bosnia, had to be cancelled. That acknowledgment coming after videotape of the ceremony that wasn't at all cancelled, re-appeared on the internet... and even then, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson insisted today that she was still, quote, "on the front lines." Clinton's war stories first started unraveling when they came under fire from her former comrade-in-arms... Sinbad, the comedian, also on that Tuzla trip...
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on March 25, 2008


Rasmussen: The Tide is Turning in Hillary's Favor

Actually: Is The Tide Turning in Hillary Clinton’s Favor?
posted by ericb at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2008


Must be a bummer for a presidential candidate to have Sinbad trumping you by being the "truth teller!"
posted by ericb at 2:24 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, thanks Miko. For me, it goes a long way towards explaining Obama and Wright's connection and in context, it makes a lot more sense now.
What it boils down to is which candidate you feel aligns most closely with you and voting for them. I find it interesting that so many people are sitting around waiting for Obama's major downfall. Anticipating it with something bordering on glee.
The brother never claimed to be a Miracle Man, but with all the problems facing not just Americans but the human race as a whole, I refuse to believe that one person could be the answer anyway. Your vote isn't going to automatically fix the enviroment, the economy or your car. WE have to do something. That's not the message I get from Ms. Clinton.

I have long said that the DLC (epitomized by the Clinton's) and it's "centrist" policies is somewhat responsible for the current crop we have in office now. I understand there was a need to shake off the "loony left" and move beyond 1960's-style politicking, but I feel they went a bit too far with triangulation -- although it may have been a necessary step. However, I have a feeling Ms. Clinton doesn't have much to offer besides more of the same, which is why she won't get my vote.
posted by black8 at 2:32 PM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Today Show [video | 4:27]:
MATT LAUER: I still remember winning a Little League championship singlehandedly when I was ten, probably didn't happen. But this isn't the little league. This is someone running for President. There were reporters on the trip and she's using her experience as a deciding factor. How could this happen?

CHUCK TODD: It's worse than that, Matt. there have been reporters questioning her story on this a few weeks ago. One even reached out to the comedian Sinbad, who was also on this trip to get his recollection of it and it differed the First Lady. So somebody didn't scrub that speech. It was in prepared remarks last week. Not only did she say it with certitude, but it was in her prepared text. So this was a real sort of bone-headed mistake on the campaign's part at a time when everybody is looking at everything so carefully.

LAUER: And does it make people go back and start to question everything she said?

TODD: Right. She's been talking about her role in the Irish Peace process, she's been talking about her role in children's health care. So I think all of this is going to invite some renewed scrutiny on some of her claims of experience. And it's at a time when she wants the focus to be on Barack Obama and questions about him.
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on March 25, 2008


Embellished Memory -- "Had Hillary come to believe her increasingly dramatic tale of facing sniper fire in Bosnia?"

Clinton gets herself stuck even deeper.
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on March 25, 2008


Actually: Is The Tide Turning in Hillary Clinton’s Favor?

Hey, be nice ericb. You know MetaMan has been under sniper fire.
posted by dw at 4:51 PM on March 25, 2008


Clinton: "Shut up shut up shut up, play the Wright tape"
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on March 25, 2008


Democratic Party Official: Clinton Pursuing 'The Tonya Harding Option'
“l just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.

The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.

The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?

What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?

She will have to ‘break his back,’ the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.

‘Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.’ the official said. ‘Is that really what we Democrats want?’

The Tonya Harding Option -- the first time I've heard it put that way.

It implies that Clinton is so set on ensuring that Obama doesn't get the nomination, not only is she willing to take extra-ruthless steps, but in the end neither she nor Obama win the gold.”
posted by ericb at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2008


Clinton: "Shut up shut up shut up, play the Wright tape"

Hillary, since you've brought the topic up, what about you and your religious affiliations?
“Long before Obama's relationship with Wright created a political firestorm, Clinton raised eyebrows at the very beginning of her campaign with the hiring of Burns Strider, a strategist on winning values-driven voters, as director of faith-based operations and the six-page talking points memo he produced for members of Clinton's Faith Steering Committee.

The memo highlighted Clinton's ‘strong Methodist family’ and childhood, how the principles of the Methodist church were ‘the guiding light’ of her life, how she ‘learned the value and power of prayer’ at an early age, how her faith is ‘deeply personal and real’ and how she often finds ‘inspiration from scripture.’

Attention to Clinton's religious faith reached a high point at the Sojourners forum when she was asked about how she coped with her marital problems and the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that nearly toppled the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton. ‘I had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought,’ she answered, crediting an ‘extended faith family’ that had come to her spiritual aid.

Subsequently, in its September 2007 issue, the liberal Mother Jones magazine described Clinton's this ‘faith family’ as a confederation of ‘conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as 'The Fellowship,'‘ a connection reprised this week under the headline ‘Hillary's Nasty Pastorate’ in The Nation, a liberal magazine that has endorsed Obama. The group reportedly included such notable right-wing politicos as former Attorney General Ed Meese, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma.”
posted by ericb at 6:28 PM on March 25, 2008


FUCK YOU ALL.
I'M VOTING MCCAIN.
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That is where all this partisan bickering is headed, as frankly, McCain is not a bad candidate regardless of your party affiliation. He says he will keep the military there for all eternity, but no one believes that for a second, except those fools who want to believe. He's a fiscal conservative, social liberal, despite any poo he has spewed in the past nine months, and don't think he isn't going back to his old forty years of tricks. He would ruin the Supreme Court though, and that alone is reason enough to vote for a Democrat. Anyway, Hilary is going to get McCain elected and I wonder what kind of cabinet post he will offer her. What a selfish bitch. She's Ralph Nader in drag.
posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on March 25, 2008


FUCK YOU ALL.
I'M VOTING MCCAIN.

That is where all this partisan bickering is headed,


For certain independents, that very well might be -- a possible outcome which has not escaped the notice or the strategizing or the pot-stirring of those to whom a Democratic administration is anathema.

I do hope that no matter what, everyone considers Supreme Court appointments, though.
posted by Miko at 7:01 PM on March 25, 2008


A Clinton campaign surrogate both admits that the campaign is pushing the Wright issue, and compares Wright to David Duke:
"I think the issue that the Clinton campaign has seized on is that Barack Obama, you know, never once raised his voice to his pastor and said, `I think your language is quite extreme here, and I think you language is probably wrong.' Because let's turn this around. If this was David Duke and he was preaching on behalf of, and Hillary Clinton was in the pew, there would be outrage about this. And there can't be this double standard. Barack Obama has used race where it suited him, but when it doesn't suit him he backs away from it."
David Duke. Classy.
posted by OmieWise at 7:13 PM on March 25, 2008


and compares Wright to David Duke

Well, James Carville already called Richardson Judas. It was Good Friday so I guess he was trying to make a connection. Let's hope this thing gets wrapped up before VE Day and someone Godwins the campaign.
posted by Gary at 7:25 PM on March 25, 2008


Hey Metaman,

You've dismissed the NYT, ABC and Politico as unreliable shills. Curious about what you consider a legit news organization?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:50 PM on March 25, 2008


That sound recording from OmieWise's link is really something.

The disingenuousness bothers me.
posted by Miko at 8:07 PM on March 25, 2008


Um, I'm guessing that MetaMan meant to link to canadafreepress with that link, which is, uh, a pretty awesome site.

Those articles like "Put the Focus Back on Jesus," "Christ has Truly Risen and we are Witnesses to His Resurrection," "Connecting the Dots to Tyranny," ("Community planners" and "Family planners," if you were wondering), and "A Religion of Division" ("Desperate to distance himself from his Muslim heritage, Barack Hussein Obama made the critical error of using his alleged 'Christian' faith as a centerpiece of his presidential campaign" — classy!) are... pretty eye-opening. I guess.
posted by spiderwire at 8:21 PM on March 25, 2008


... I mean, that is a news organization. Hard-hitting stuff, man. Pure Horatio Alger.
posted by spiderwire at 8:26 PM on March 25, 2008


So I'm guessing that the answer to CunningLinguists question is "Random Op Eds dug up by some search engine that happen to look anti-Obama"?
posted by Artw at 8:40 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


"The Internet opens worlds and minds, but also offers opinions to reinforce every prejudice. You’re never alone out there; some idiot will always back you.*"
posted by aqhong at 8:59 PM on March 25, 2008


Incidentally, Kofi Annan just about endorsed Obama in that article: "I think an Obama presidency would be inspirational, an incredible development in the world."
posted by aqhong at 9:04 PM on March 25, 2008


I mean, that is a news organization. Hard-hitting stuff

You didn't mention their hilarious photoshops.
posted by Tenuki at 9:07 PM on March 25, 2008


Obama released his tax returns and he's doing fine with his book sales, and he even once made a donation to Wright's church, so he wasn't lying about that. I would bet that most people don't imagine that he is supporting himself as an author, but hey, if you can sell a book titled "The Audacity of Hope" then why not run for president? Seems natural if you're a demagogue. But, all importantly, how is someone going to unite America coming from an all black church? (yeah, or any church).
posted by Brian B. at 9:17 PM on March 25, 2008


"And one other thing I think we’ve gotta remember. As easy as it is for those of us who are white, to look back and say “That’s a terrible statement!”…I grew up in a very segregated south. And I think that you have to cut some slack — and I’m gonna be probably the only Conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you — we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told “you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus…” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would too. I probably would too. In fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me."

Words of wisdom from Mike Huckabee!?!?!
posted by afu at 10:35 PM on March 25, 2008


If the intent was for the super-delegates to automatically vote for the cantidate with the most pledged delegates, then the rule would simply provide that the cantidate with the most pledged delegates by the convention would be the nominee. But the DNC rules don't say that.

Second, if there is no winner after the first ballot, then the pledged delegates are released for their "pledge" and can vote for any cantidate they want on the second ballot. That is the point where things might get really interesting


One of a number if insightful comments on the blog, following a newspaper piece in support of Hillary. One of the reasons that the Superdelegates are there is to insure *electability*.

Once the Supers see all the RED states Obama has won, it's over.

My question to all the Obama supporters here. Why hasn't Obama been able to take a single significant "blue" state? How can anyone claim that as an Obama "mandate"?

That aside; I want the Obama supporters here to put aside their built in bias of John McCain (who, in spite of lame claims by weak debaters, I do not support), and tell me how Obama beats him, given *realistic scenarios*, in the key swing states.
posted by MetaMan at 10:38 PM on March 25, 2008


How Bad Will It Be For Obama, in PA?

By the look of things, pretty darned bad. Right now he's *losing* ground to Clinton, even in some black neighborhoods. Hillary is turning up the heat there, and in other places, like NC, Kentucky, and Indiana.
posted by MetaMan at 10:52 PM on March 25, 2008 <