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Perhaps the end of the hype cycle?
April 16, 2008 2:39 PM   Subscribe

"Bitter" harvest The week started off in classic campaign form: a report of remarks made by Obama percolated through the media and came to dominate the news cycle. In typically circular fashion, the exhaustive coverage came to provide its own justification, as journalists covered the controversy that they had largely created...

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum in Philadelphia. It turns out that despite the fuss, the remarks have had no discernable impact on the levels of support enjoyed by either candidate. We've had seven Pennsylvania polls released over the past two days, and not one shows a statistically significant gain for Hillary.

... all too often, the relentless focus on controversy serves to reinforce a superficial narrative that obscures the underlying forces and concerns that actually drive voter behavior. And that's a shame
posted by psmealey (282 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Btw... I hope I framed this well enough. My hope is not that any kind of Clinton v. Obama depend will now ensue (seen enough of that lately), but I was interested by this latest controversy in that it seemed entirely media created, yet has not appeared to have blown up into the firestorm that the media were waiting for/betting on/stoking. It may be too early to declare victory for the serious over the superficial in the long term with respect to media coverage of elections, but it's at least an encouraging sign.
posted by psmealey at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


['MSNBC Live' anchor Contessa Brewer]: It's interesting, though, because you always have this question that erupts around election time: Who would you rather have a beer with? And so, it's not just what the candidates are saying to appeal to folks -- they want to be seen as the guy or the gal next door -- but they also have to do it. So, we've seen these candidates now in Pennsylvania -- here's Hillary Clinton doing shots in a bar. And then we have video of Barack Obama tossing back a Yuengling, which, anybody who's been to Philadelphia knows they're very proud of their local beer out there. How important is the video? I mean, if -- do these pictures really speak a thousand words, Jon?

[Reuters Washington correspondent Jon Decker]: They do. And let's not forget Barack Obama bowling. You know, this cuts to "is this person real? Do they connect with me as a voter?" You know, for someone who's in a bowling league in northeast central Pennsylvania, in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, they can't identify with someone getting a 37 over seven frames.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the media coverage of this has been totally insane. What's bizarre is all these millionaire journalists claiming that they're really just average folks and were totally offended.

Well, if you're a millionaire you're not going to be one of the people who's upset.

If anything this just proves that the mainstream political media out there is, in fact, totally insane.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Bittergate" was a clearly choreographed "gotcha" attempt, albeit an extremely feeble tempest-in-a-teapot one, on the part of the mainstream media, McCain, and Clinton, to undermine Obama's momentum. And it backfired. Badly.

It backfired b/c:

a) it was so feeble it made the Rev. Wright affair look like Watergate
b) people in general are wising up to the degree which the media's distraction tactics and the status-quo politicians practice perception management on them in an effort to avoid all discussion of substanitive issues
c) the economy sucks and the country's pendlulum is finally swinging back somewhat from a disasterous 30 year swing to the right
posted by ornate insect at 2:49 PM on April 16, 2008


all these millionaire journalists

1. Who??
2. I didn't think I'd ever hear that combination. Millionaire journalists. That's novel.
3. Where can I sign up?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:49 PM on April 16, 2008


I think that I speak for most of my state when I say, "I can't wait for this damn primary to be over and everybody goes back to ignoring Pennsylvania."
posted by octothorpe at 2:50 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I really thought that Chris Matthews's crazy was just an act, but referring to this Obama flap as the "domestic Abu Ghraib"? Someone should throw a net over that guy and take him away in a rubber truck.
posted by psmealey at 2:51 PM on April 16, 2008 [16 favorites]


Of interest: bittervoters.org
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:51 PM on April 16, 2008


We've had seven Pennsylvania polls released over the past two days, and not one shows a statistically significant gain for Hillary.

FYI, "not" and "one" don't link to Pennsylvania polls. Those are national polls.
posted by smackfu at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2008


Some Perspective on ‘Bitter’.
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2008


media and political hacks break out in hives when candidate tells the truth - news at 11
posted by pyramid termite at 2:54 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why go to Japan when American politics provides all the kabuki you'd ever want to see?
posted by Bromius at 2:54 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


FYI, "not" and "one" don't link to Pennsylvania polls. Those are national polls.

Sorry... bad HTML... Here they are (among others).
posted by psmealey at 2:56 PM on April 16, 2008


Why the "Elitism" Smear Against Obama Won't Stick.
“[Hillary Clinton is] currently running attack ads in Pennsylvania and Indiana trying to capitalize on this non-issue because at this point in her campaign the poor woman is completely bereft of affirming ideas.

Add to this cacophony the full-throated shrieks from the likes of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, and the rest of the Right-wing chorus, and the last four or five news cycles have been a banner display of everything that is wrong with our for-profit, media-dominated political discourse. Civility makes for boring television; better to cast our politics into the mold of a food fight and ignore the substantive issues and challenges facing the nation that Obama has been consistently articulating.

But you know something? Barack Obama is not an ‘elitist.’

Unlike Al Gore he's not a Senator's son. Unlike John Kerry he didn't marry a woman worth $600 million, (and he doesn't wind surf). And most importantly, unlike Hillary Clinton, Dowd, Brooks, Kristol, Dobbs, Hannity, and the rest of them, Obama can walk into just about any storefront church or community center in the poorest inner city neighborhood in America's toughest cities and relate to the people there as a true friend and advocate.

What's more, Obama's presidential campaign has successfully organized, mobilized, and energized a growing coalition of working people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. There is nothing remotely ‘elitist’ about a grassroots ground campaign that has registered millions of new voters and garnered small donations from over 1 million people with the average donation being about $109. Union households support him overwhelmingly.

…Obama has inadvertently exposed the folly of the political punditocracy. Here they are fulminating about Obama's ‘elitism’ when his two opponents are far more privileged than he has ever been. John McCain is wed to a beer-brewing heiress who is worth about $200 million. And Hillary Clinton's tax returns show that she and Bill raked in $109 million since 2000. The Obamas struggled for years to pay off their student loans -- how ‘elite’ is that? And really, let's be serious, do you think David Brooks and William Kristol and Maureen Dowd and Sean Hannity and the gang are somehow less ‘elitist’ than an African-American couple from the Southside of Chicago?”
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on April 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


It took me 'til the fourth link to even find out what the hell this story was.

Talk about bitter. ME.
posted by birdie birdington at 3:00 PM on April 16, 2008


Slow news day? If you can't report the news, make it.

Charles Foster Kane: "You provide the prose poems. I'll provide the war."

That quote's really fresh in my mind, just watched Citizen Kane. Good stuff.

Someone should throw a net over that guy and take him away in a rubber truck.

Swap out "that guy" for "everyone on Fox News" and you've got yourself a winner. The looks of righteous indignation they all wear when reporting on Democrats - ohh, the urge to take shovels to their faces in an unrelentingly violent manner is so strong!
posted by WalterMitty at 3:03 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm very happy that this fail media troll failed. I'm very bitter that Mr. Obama is unable to throw out his own garbage and is sending it daily to a former tenant of my apartment.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:04 PM on April 16, 2008


3 Step American Media Solution.

Step One: Acquire Turd.

Step Two: Run up flag pole.

Step Three: Salute.
posted by tkchrist at 3:06 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Clinton Heckled, Obama Cheered Over 'Bitter' Remarks.

AP: "Many More" PA Voters Think Obama Remarks "No Big Deal"; Poll: By 2 To 1, Dems Not Offended By Comments.
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on April 16, 2008


When I heard about this story over the weekend (and all over the Sunday talk shows), I was crestfallen. I figured, this was it... business as usual.

It seems like it shouldn't matter because all the candidates have to play the same hand (everyone gets constantly scrutinized and is in constant danger of having a YouTube Macaca moment at any time. But then, there's this:

1. Obama is Jackie Robinson. He has GOT to be perfect because to be otherwise gives fuel to those people who are either worried about or have a pathological need to prove that a black man cannot be elected president. So, any gaffe he makes, no matter how slight, is invariably met with, "see? I told you he wasn't perfect... now he's really going to lose."

2. There may or may not be liberal/conservative bias on campaign trail reportage, but there definitely are personal biases. As I understood it, in 2000, Bush was Towelie-Snappy McGrabass frat boy douche bag on the campaign bus, but he seemed to (go figure) be able to use this to charm reporters, and was generally well-liked by them. Gore, on the other hand, was deemed unfriendly, stiff, terse and a bit of a prick based on how he handled the press on the bus day-after-day-after day (after day, after day). So, the way I've heard it described is that the press didn't necessarily look to slime Gore, but delighted a bit when there was bad news to report on him, and gave Georgie boy a pass when something came up about him.

With Obama's tendency to allow the press minimal access to him, and his personal reserve, he has already been deemed "aloof" by the press corps. Contrast this to McCain, who has the reputation with the press as always been open, candid and if not likeable, almost always quotable. Hillary is probably less well-liked than either, but she'll always give you a story, she knows the drill.

When you have to file stores or blog reports every day, which candidate do you think you'll favor?

I hope and pray that the country has moved past such frivolous criteria in choosing a presidential candidate to vote for, but I couldn't help but think we'd been down this road many, many times before and we were headed that way again. It still may come apart because of this non-event, but I'm a little encouraged by the polling that maybe people just don't care about this trifle any more.
posted by psmealey at 3:13 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


That the mainstream American media is now, as never before, a rightwing smear and innuendo machine, is often acknowledged; less often understood is how this happened. This article helps shed some light. And on a related note, when HRC was recently seen cozying up to none other than the king of the VRWC, Richard Mellon Scaife, in order to share notes on how to bring Obama down, I knew things we're bound to get nasty. It is not the end of the hype cycle: the hype cycle has just begun.
posted by ornate insect at 3:15 PM on April 16, 2008


Umm, well, it's like this - 6 weeks between primaries makes our pundits (who, let's face it, don't have a very high bar for what constitutes "news" even in the most hectic of times) salivate over any little morsel that gets thrown their way.

Keep in mind that bloggers and pundits are two groups of people who are occupationally forbidden from ever shutting the fuck up. Always gotta find something to say, I suppose.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:16 PM on April 16, 2008


Geez, could people use quotes when they copy whole paragraphs (with links) from the story.
posted by smackfu at 3:16 PM on April 16, 2008


"People" could. But are you asking me to specifically, smackfu? Yes, I definitely can, and should have when I composed the post.

But if you have any more sytlistic or editorial points to make, could you please email them to me directly?
posted by psmealey at 3:18 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama: "So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,"

Who cares if he called them bitter? It's much more insulting that he said they "cling to guns or religion".
posted by smackfu at 3:21 PM on April 16, 2008


I really think there's something funny going on with the media. They have, consistently, pretended like Hillary has a mathematical chance of victory, and have consistently portrayed the race as 'close', when it's essentially done. Kucinich had a better chance than Hillary does.

Something is badly, badly amiss. Even the BBC is doing it.
posted by Malor at 3:24 PM on April 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


smackfu--are you getting paid to beat this dead horse, b/c I don't see many who have been insulted--juts a lot of pundits feigning insult? It's been so thoroughly debunked by so many people now it's laughable. Even FOX friggin' news ran a piece that interviewed Republicans who thought Obama was saying nothing controversial. There is no there there. If you want to feel insulted, perhaps McCain's comments today that the question of whether or not the Iraq war was justified is an "academic" question. Talk about pouring sand into a raw wound.
posted by ornate insect at 3:27 PM on April 16, 2008


I have to say, though ... the problem is not just the media. The "bitter" thing may be failing to catch fire (perhaps because it's so ludicrously weak), but it's not like this campaign hasn't been filled with non-media people on *all* sides saying "Gasp! That thing the candidate I oppose said! Or perhaps one of their supporters said or someone loosely associated with their campaign or perhaps someone the candidate vaguely knew! It is shocking and offensive to my delicate sensibilities! This one-time off-the-cuff comment obviously shows their *true* feelings about whatever the issue is because that accords with my established preconceptions!"

One place, I must say, that I have seen that happen with some frequency is on Metafilter.

If you like Obama and this bullshit or the Wright bullshit or the Powers bullshit or the Goolsbee bullshit or whatever bothers you, PLEASE take that into consideration when it is done to a candidate you oppose.

To keep well away from the standard Clinton/Obama Metafilter mess, let me bring up a recent one - the guy who called Obama "boy". Was that a dumb thing to say? Sure. Was it a racist thing to say? Possibly. But I don't know. I didn't get any *context*. I don't know that guy's history. Is he a race-baiter with a long history of keeping blacks out of the country club, who's been calling every black man "boy" his whole life? Or did he get his start as an inner city public school teacher, who one day said something dumb, the way we all do sometimes? I don't know. No one in the media provided any context. I could have looked it up, but I didn't. Did you look it up? If you didn't, what assumptions did you make, and how did you react?

If you don't like gotcha politics, please stop screaming "GOTCHA!" when it's someone on the other side.
posted by kyrademon at 3:28 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's much more insulting that he said they "cling to guns or religion".

They said, reaching for their good book and shootin' iron.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:30 PM on April 16, 2008


Kucinich had a better chance than Hillary does.

That's clearly not true, and I say this as a huge Obama supporter. If the delgate count remains fairly close, which it probably will, there are enough uncommitted superdelegates to swing this either way.

I would hope they'll honor the popular vote, but who the hell knows?
posted by lumpenprole at 3:30 PM on April 16, 2008


smackfu--are you getting paid to beat this dead horse, b/c I don't see many who have been insulted--juts a lot of pundits feigning insult?

If it makes you feel better to think everyone who doesn't agree with you is a paid shill, sure, you can think that.

They have, consistently, pretended like Hillary has a mathematical chance of victory

She does have "a mathematical chance of victory". She doesn't have a realistic chance of victory, but that's not the same thing.
posted by smackfu at 3:31 PM on April 16, 2008


LULZ HILL BOZNIA SNIPR PWNED!!!

Just kidding. I agree with you. Kyrademon.
posted by psmealey at 3:35 PM on April 16, 2008


smackfu--I was actually joking about you being a paid shill, but maybe you're missing your calling. are you really insulted though? That's the question I'm dying to know. B/c if so then you would appear to be very thin skinned.
posted by ornate insect at 3:36 PM on April 16, 2008


Is Obama a millionaire? having a non-millionaire in the White House would be a bit of a novelty.
posted by Artw at 3:37 PM on April 16, 2008


Was it a racist thing to say? Possibly. But I don't know. I didn't get any *context*

the past 200 years of race relations in america not being enough context for you?

"boy" has a certain meaning in this context and it IS a racist one
posted by pyramid termite at 3:37 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Boy, I should have known to stay out of an Obama thread.
posted by smackfu at 3:38 PM on April 16, 2008


As soon as the whole 'bitter' story started getting play, I guessed (and fervently hoped) it would be a non-issue. Because people are bitter, and we aren't offended when it's recognized. We are bitter because we have been systematically disenfranchised, and we have spent the better part of the last decade watching the middle class disappear, and the gap between us and our rich bosses grow to epic proportions, all while we worry that we might not have a job next year.

I don't mind that Obama used that word, in fact, I applaud it, as long as it is spoken with the understanding that I expect him, if he gets the job, to do what he can to make me less bitter.
posted by quin at 3:39 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


You're right, smackfu, I used exactly the wrong word.... realistic is correct, not mathematical. Sorry.
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on April 16, 2008


It's a cookbook!
posted by Artw at 3:41 PM on April 16, 2008


To second what quin said, and for those of you who did not yet see BHO bat this nonsense out of the park, here you go.
posted by ornate insect at 3:42 PM on April 16, 2008


1. Who??
2. I didn't think I'd ever hear that combination. Millionaire journalists. That's novel.
3. Where can I sign up?


Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, etc. I suppose you could call these people pundits if you wanted too though.

I really think there's something funny going on with the media. They have, consistently, pretended like Hillary has a mathematical chance of victory

It is mathematically possible for her to win the actual election, if Obama dies or something like that. In practice it's not going to happen.

On the other hand, it's also theoretically possible that Hillary could win an overwhelming majority of remaining super delegates. It would be suicidal for the democratic party, but it could happen.
posted by delmoi at 3:46 PM on April 16, 2008


Something is badly, badly amiss. Even the BBC is doing it.

No kidding, Malor. It's disturbing and eerie. The mainstream media are now all in conspiracy against the Republic. Perhaps all republics.
posted by jamjam at 3:53 PM on April 16, 2008


I really think there's something funny going on with the media. They have, consistently, pretended like Hillary has a mathematical chance of victory

This primary election is golddust for the commercial media, and they want to prolong it. That means boosting the underdog.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:56 PM on April 16, 2008


Obama Tied To Lobbyists, But Boasts Of Not Taking Money

What we have here is one of the cleverest passive-aggressive campaigns ever run, by anyone, of either party. Obama is an effete elitist, another Dukakis in the making, in spite of the cognitive dissonance of his followers who have to convince themselves, over and over, that he "really didn't mean what he (Obama) said" when he (Obama) makes a gaffe.

That won't wash in the general election.
posted by MetaMan at 3:58 PM on April 16, 2008


According to Benjamin Barber (and agreed to by Harry Boyte), HRC back in 1995 told her husband to throw working class white "Reagan democrats" under the bus. If true, then what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Like "the Family" pastor David Coe (vs. Wright), like snipergate (vs. bittergate), in which HRC repeatedly lied, and unlike the numerous not-so-subtle and deeply offensive episodes of race-baiting that Bill Clinton has used against Obama, the Clintons seem far quicker to dish out dirt than Obama has been.
posted by ornate insect at 4:01 PM on April 16, 2008


Oh, MetaMan, I was halfway through a rebuttal before the smell of troll penetrated my head cold.

Nice try, though.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:03 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Well, he'd better be in an "elitist."

Because I think we have had enough of the "in-touch with mainstream drooling goober" contingent. It be nice to have something elite in public office. You know. Somebody that can read and shit.
posted by tkchrist at 4:05 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:06 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


lumpenprole - you should probably check this thread. If MetaMan repeast the same behaviour I would urge you not to engage with him but just to flag him to hell and back.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on April 16, 2008


I really think there's something funny going on with the media.

Yeah, but it's tough, because if the media took up an explicit "it's over, why doesn't she drop out" stance, it would be accused of drumming her out. Even though there isn't really a realistic chance that she's the nominee, procedurally we haven't gotten to the part where she's ruled out yet, and so they still have to treat her as a candidate. At least that's what I see happening more than a conspiracy against the Republic.
posted by yarrow at 4:08 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the main problem with the media, US media particvular, is their desperate need to weave everything into a “narrative”, which frequently gets in the way of actually reporting on things.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on April 16, 2008


Then there was Bill Clinton's implication (parsed in a way so as to be obscure) that Obama is unpatriotic.
posted by ornate insect at 4:19 PM on April 16, 2008


Is Obama a millionaire? having a non-millionaire in the White House would be a bit of a novelty.

He's a millionare but barely (mostly from his book sales)

Obama Tied To Lobbyists, But Boasts Of Not Taking Money

It would be impossible to have a job in Washington without having some ties to lobbyists, he says he's not taking their money, and he's not.

Dishonest people continually try to claim that Obama falls short of the high standards he sets for himself. Hillary doesn't have that problem, because she never sets any standards.

I think the main problem with the media, US media particvular, is their desperate need to weave everything into a “narrative”, which frequently gets in the way of actually reporting on things.

Yup. Seems like Obama has done a pretty good job of beating that fucked up system so far though.
posted by delmoi at 4:23 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


"effete elitist"

Why not just call him a faggot? It's what you mean, right?
posted by empath at 4:25 PM on April 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


I hadn't heard those remarks from Bill, but I'm not surprised. My theory on his behavior is that he so badly does not want to be First Gentleman that he has launched a stealth (or subconscious) effort to sandbag his wife's campaign.
posted by psmealey at 4:30 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


media and political hacks break out in hives when candidate tells the truth - news at 11

No, see ericb's link directly above your comment. This was a polite attempt to dance around the race issue, and ended up touching things just as sensitive. Truth would have been "some people just won't vote for a black man" but I have no idea what the follow-up to that could have been.

Around here we like the guns and religion remark for obvious reasons, but I don't think there's much of a question that he was avoiding giving a straight answer, not delivering one. But yeah, the media adds another ring to their circus; news at 11.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:33 PM on April 16, 2008


In typically circular fashion, the exhaustive coverage came to provide its own justification, as journalists covered the controversy that they had largely created...

Watching the mainstream American media cover presidential politics is like reading a tabloid magazine while traveling in a cramped car on a hot day with the air conditioning broken on a windy road after smoking cigarettes and drinking a pot of bitter black gas station coffee: slightly nauseating.

Why can't the US call snap elections and hold short, two-month campaigns like every other democracy in the world?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:33 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


my theory is that Bill & Hillary are hoping for death by a thousand cuts in fighting Obama; that's why they push these things past their selling date. HRC was booed (booed!; there's video) for trying to make Obama out to be an elitist. Even her supporters are not drinking this particular kool aid.
posted by ornate insect at 4:34 PM on April 16, 2008


And here I was just about to post how impressed I was that there has been no candidate bashing in this thread, and how it almost brought a tear to my eye ... could it be that my very thought jinxed it?
posted by jabberjaw at 4:43 PM on April 16, 2008


No jinxing necessary as long as MetaMan is around.
posted by aqhong at 4:51 PM on April 16, 2008


This was a polite attempt to dance around the race issue

no, it really wasn't just an avoidance of the race issue - it was a deeper statement than that

it was an recognition of how some americans feel about how their country has treated them and how they have tried to find answers in religions, in taking up arms, and in xenophobia - that's precisely what was behind the militia movement of the 90s - dispossessed people taking up arms and warning of "enemies" in the name of an angry "god"

i've met people like that and read much more of what they've written - they're still around, and a lot of them were behind ron paul

you see, the facile, brush-them-off statement would have just been - "oh, they won't vote for me because i'm black" - play the race card, brush them off, and ignore the reasons why they embrace that sort of philosophy and what else it leads them to

but the political and media establishment don't like hearing about such people - it pisses off the conservatives and their perpetual flag waving clusterfuck (tm) and it scares the shit out of the liberals - a lot of people on both sides of the establishment would just like to have these people take their jobs at walmart and their "opportunties" in the armed services and their government handouts and shut the hell up about how they feel bitter and suck it up

and here is obama actually acknowledging that these people ARE bitter and indicating that he's actually perhaps talked and listened to them about it and even more importantly, proposing that instead of calling them political enemies that their opinions should be listened to compassionately

to call this a "dance around the race issue" totally misses the significance of what's been said here
posted by pyramid termite at 4:57 PM on April 16, 2008 [19 favorites]


procedurally we haven't gotten to the part where she's ruled out yet, and so they still have to treat her as a candidate. At least that's what I see happening more than a conspiracy against the Republic.

I said 'conspiracy against the Republic', because what the US news media are doing now so strongly resembles what media do in authoritarian countries when the party in power is planning to steal the election because they know they are so unpopular they have no chance if they actually count the votes.

The media acts as if it's close all the way up to the election, and that provides the needed cover to steal it.
posted by jamjam at 5:01 PM on April 16, 2008


Rank hypocrisy is the smell.

I will not engage in candidate bashing this time, because what's the point? Acts of desperation are obvious. So are acts of mutually assured destruction, which doesn't really work if you have missile guidance systems designed by boomerang engineers.

(As Mose Allison said, You call it jogging, but I call it running around.)

Obama is the most exciting politician of my lifetime. His teflon makes Bill Clinton's look like wax paper. I'm so please he is going to win this thing walking away, as is now obvious.

And did y'all see Michelle Obama on Colbert last night? The light of a thousand suns.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:02 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wait, what, you guys are still talking about Obama? Barack Obama?

C'mon, haven't you even heard of Orange-Juice gate yet?! Sure, that "bitter" thing is old news now, but with this new scandal, that poor elitist is toast for sure. It was nice knowin' him, though!
posted by washburn at 5:08 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


jamjam - no, it's not like what you see in authoritarian countries, that stuff has a tinge of insane surety to it that’s lacking in US media, which is more willfully crap, self obsessed and purile than anything else.
posted by Artw at 5:10 PM on April 16, 2008


Metaman is a weird robot, knowing where most weird robots come from I have to assume that Halliburton has sent him to us.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:13 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


That orange juice thing is just really... really weird.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on April 16, 2008


Barack Obama Shows Disrespect for Rural Americans.
posted by aqhong at 5:16 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


C'mon, haven't you even heard of Orange-Juice gate yet?

My goodness. Maybe there's some sort of delivery or context that can make the linked story not sound like the most desperate smear I've ever read.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:16 PM on April 16, 2008


It seems like it shouldn't matter because all the candidates have to play the same hand (everyone gets constantly scrutinized and is in constant danger of having a YouTube Macaca moment at any time.)

But that simply isn't true. John McCain gets a complete pass on pretty well anything he does. McCain campaigns with a certifiable nutcase like Hagee and the "mainstream media" simply ignore it and write about McCain's barbeque and give him doughnuts.

An ethical reporter should not accept gifts or favours from a political candidate that e is supposed to be covering critically.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:17 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


One of the things I really enjoy is when The Daily Show pastes together all those clips of the various MSM talking heads spouting exactly the same phrase when they offer their "analysis" of the situation and its possible repercussions. At times I wonder whether, when a news item comes off the wire, if it is tagged with those phrases as "suggested talking points" because I mean, shit! When you see every channel couching the issue in the exact same terms they really come off as mere manufacturers of memes, trying to frame every discussion and establishing the terms of debate. Engage a thesaurus, fer fuck's sake! Cuz there's nothing more annoying then hearing the same talking point come from someone in real life, parroting what they saw on their favorite news channel, verbatim, in an attempt to enlighten me to an issue.

If only there were a way to analyze content on broadcast TV the same way we can do on the web. We could have little "BS Clouds" in the corner of the screen so that whenever we watch a news channel, you could see how often every media outlet is recycling the same phrase and you'll have a visual cue that you're probably in the middle of being fed manure.
posted by krippledkonscious at 5:23 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


That orange juice thing is just really... really weird.

Not weird: predictable. And proof of how little dirt they have to throw, as they are now just making stuff up so absurd it reads like parody. Maybe they just wanted a chance to say "OJ" and "Obama" in the same sentence.
posted by ornate insect at 5:24 PM on April 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


MetaMan: Obama is an effete elitist

Ah, the MetaMan returns. His previous playlist includes charges against Obama as being effete, elitist and a Camelot Democrat. While maintaining that he is a Hillary supporter, some of us have concluded that he carries McCain's water. Likely a troll as per his poor "performance" in the previous Obama thread.
posted by ericb at 5:32 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is just a distraction from the more important news that ‘Islamofascists’ are campaigning for Democrats.
posted by homunculus at 5:43 PM on April 16, 2008


That orange juice thing is just really... really weird.

Chris Matthews has lost what was left of his goddamn mind. What a fucking thing to zero in on.
posted by psmealey at 5:52 PM on April 16, 2008


As a Clinton/Obama agnostic, all I know is that I'm watching a debate right now that's a travesty. God forbid we should have any discussion of policy when there are flag pins and sniper fire to worry about.

It's like the moderators are mocking not just the candidates, but me.
posted by Prospero at 5:52 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


in other news, clinton's losing the 18 months and under vote
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 PM on April 16, 2008


I guess it's too much to ask that when there's really not any real campaign related news, traditional media actually find some other news to report. It's pretty clear that most of them aren't in the news collection business any more, but rather the commercial-selling business. It's not like there aren't plenty of other more important things going on, though.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:08 PM on April 16, 2008


Here we go again. Seriously you guys, stop feeding trolls. Attention, positive or negative, is oxygen.

I love how the criticisms range from 'he's a radical populist' ("Most liberal member of the senate!") to 'he's a rich elitist.' Then every once in a while some deadender from the civil war admits that he wouldn't want 'that boy' with his finger on the button. Throw in some 'omg he has a funny name you guise' and you have a good understanding of the mainstream basis for opposing his candidacy. Not exactly standing on the shoulders of giants.
posted by mullingitover at 6:11 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously you guys, stop feeding trolls.

Nice juvenile, rhetorical touch there - i.e. assigning the title of "troll" to anyone who disagrees with your point of view.

With that said, I continue to be amazed by threads like this, because they continue to idealize Barack Obama, who is a good enough man, a gifted orator, and a darned good politician.

There seems to be lacking any historical context about the Clintons that's positive. To anyone who has been around for awhile, that indicates something lacking in critical skills.

I readily admit that Hillary is not perfect, but believe she's better prepared to lead our country than Obama. I continue to maintain that belief, and hoep she takes this all the way to the convention floor.

Notice how even balanced commentators like Travis Smiley have been taken to harsh task by the Obama "faithful", who attack anyone who questions the "second coming" of Barack Obama

What's even more astounding is that complete lack of attention paid to the vicious misogyny leveled in Hillary's direction by the MSM - and others - with a not insignificant minority of Obama supporters - including Obama (and his wife) himself saying even one word about it. What's with that?

Hillary Clinton is a moderate centrist with a long record of liberal accomplishment.

Barack Obama is a moderate centrist with virtually no record, who claims he is a Progressive Democrat. Obama is deceiving those who believe in him most.

I KNOW that Hillary will disappoint me from time-to-time if she becomes President. However, I also know that she will go in a general liberal direction, from a centrist base.

Obama would do the same, but will be FAR more ruthless in tempering this nation back towards centrism, because he will be fighting *against* (and disappointing) those that voted for him.

YOu want to see disappointment? Just wait until 2011 rolls around, if Obama gets the Presidential nod. Obama is a man who will say anything to get elected. THis is not to say that his ideas are all bad. they're not. He's not what he says he is, and has in the most passive-aggressive way taken advantage of the MSM's hatred of the Clintons. THis is the MSM that most of you revile, yet support when it's convenient to your candidate.
posted by MetaMan at 6:55 PM on April 16, 2008


More on the disgusting misogyny exhibited throughout this campaign by these teleprompter-reading, overpaid morons who are so far from the enlightenment that they gladly claim for Obama, even though the latter has enjoyed the pillorying that the MSM has sent in Hillary's direction.

The savagry of the MSM and the Progressive wing of Hillary's own party is going to backfire, because moderate democrats, and Reagan Democrats (of which i am not one) are going to RUN from Obama.

Here, at a time when we had a chance for a very good moderate candidate, with liberal impulses, to win the Presidency, the Democrats AGAIN anoint someone with an elitist liberal demeanor to be their savior.

Hillary: Take this to the convention floor and help cut the heart out of the lying Progressive wing of the Democratic party. These are the same people who have done NOTHING but betray their base, time-and-again, as they continue to bask in power given to them by those who are sold "hope" every four years.
posted by MetaMan at 7:13 PM on April 16, 2008


I'm awaiting the day that artificial intelligences can take over the role of talking heads (it'd just be a natural-sounding digital voice, along with some top shelf CGI), so that we can finally reach that journalistic holy grail of objectivity. The computers will just scour the Internet5, write their own stories, and put them out automatically on TV/blogs (which will have merged, natch). They won't have bias because they'll just be silicon.
posted by zardoz at 7:21 PM on April 16, 2008


I readily admit that Hillary is not perfect

water.monitor.spew
posted by dw at 7:23 PM on April 16, 2008


do you think David Brooks and William Kristol and Maureen Dowd and Sean Hannity and the gang are somehow less ‘elitist’ than an African-American couple from the Southside of Chicago?”

Funny. I went to college with David Brooks on the South Side of Chicago. He wasn't an elitist so much as a dork.
posted by stargell at 7:31 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think I saw this linked here yet...a rather amusing, if unscientific poll.

And this might just mean that people are truly sick of the way the media is acting. Or else it is a massive, well co-ordinated attempt by some group to give the media a kick in the shins.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:50 PM on April 16, 2008


Has ANYONE ever stood on the shoulders of a Giant?

I would venture a guess we all have....That GIANT might have been your dad or your mom, or maybe even your grandmother. Teachers can be giants too. As can your very best friend, or your favorite author who "sees" things in a way you hadn't seen things before.

But . then . we . grow. up.

To be someone else's big "G" Giant....Maybe the giant for your kid, or your neighbor or for the needy or those who work for you.

Well, fellow Mefites, you are someone's GIANT, in this day, in your corner of the world. And Clinton, Obama, McCain are doing the very same thing as you are in their corners of this world.

"EQUAL OPPORTUNITY" to step up to be the GIANT you can be, and in the corner you select.

We all have our 90 degrees, and we all make of it what we will.
posted by LiveLurker at 8:05 PM on April 16, 2008


Hillary Clinton is a moderate centrist with a long record of liberal accomplishment.

Barack Obama is a moderate centrist with virtually no record,


Not to feed the troll, but for anyone looking to whack this mole, the records are available.
posted by vira at 8:41 PM on April 16, 2008


Calling Obama "elitist" is the acceptable way of calling him an "uppity negro."

I read about this lovely tactic by way of John Hodgman's blog (Hillary's folks passing out homemade looking "I'm not bitter" stickers at campaign rallies). I really, really hate this woman.
posted by bibliowench at 8:43 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, I mean I'm an Obama dude, but that's just because I'm so far to the left that he's the only one I can barely palate, I'm not crazy in the loins for him, but metaman really makes me want to quit my job, sell my worldly possessions and sleep in my car and eat slimjims and door to door campaign for Barry O till the bitter end just so I can never have to read his cut and paste talking points on mefi again ... I'm a gambler however, so there we are.

(although I guess if Hillary wins he won't be a mefi regular either)
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:43 PM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Calling Obama "elitist" is the acceptable way of calling him an "uppity negro."

Calling people racist ain't so grand a tactic either.
posted by smackfu at 8:46 PM on April 16, 2008


I readily admit that Hillary is not perfect, but believe she's better prepared to lead our country than Obama.

Mrs. Clinton voted for the war. She never recanted. She must not be President. This isn't a small mistake. A million people are dead; a trillion dollars have been pissed away. She's learned nothing at all, take a look at her uber-Hawkish voting record.

Also, if Mrs. Clinton were to run the country as badly as she's run the election campaign, we'd be in deep, deep trouble.

Finally, I don't believe that Mrs. Clinton is electable. She's one of the most hated people in the country by the right. She offers nothing to the left except "not being Republican." I would have supported pretty well anyone over Mrs. Clinton, and it's just luck that Mr. Obama is actually someone I like.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:48 PM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


although I guess if Hillary wins he won't be a mefi regular either

Are you kidding. I LOVE mefi, and have participated in other threads. I'm here to provide some balance.

Incidentally, if my words drive you to the kind of irrational behavior that you've hinted at, above, you'll have to blame that on the naivete of youthful enthusiasm that believes that any one person can "save" America.

Calling people racist ain't so grand a tactic either.

Also, smackfu is right on as he refers to "Divine_Wino" 's comments, above.

Turning people's words around to mean something else other than what was intended, in an effort to call them names, and chill speech, is unacceptable - John Hodgeman should be ashamed of himself.

I'm waiting for people like Hodgeman to start pointing out the blanatnt sexism in this campaign - engaged by the MSM, commentators, pundits, and in a passive-aggressive way by Obama himself. the latter has not said ONE word about blatant sexism in this race, and instead has enjoyed the mostly "hands off" policy that he has enjoyed from the press *partly* because of his race. I don't envy Obama the latter; it's a "just dessert" for years of official abuse visited on people of his race. However, as a person who has come from an oppressed people, and is supposed to represent ideal enlightenment (according to most of his followers), ikt's disappointing to not hear him utter a word in defense of those who attack Hillary based on sex. (btw, to insist that the Clinton's have inserted race into this campaign, is like saying that Obama has inserted class into this campaign - they're both bogus attacks by the MSM, made to gain ratings. I want to see the MSM die so bad, I can feel it in my bones.

Last, there are no racists on this thread as far as I can tell - only individuals who are impassioned with a belief in their candidate.
posted by MetaMan at 9:09 PM on April 16, 2008


If you think it's bitter
But it's not!
It's ... CLIN-TON
posted by lukemeister at 9:10 PM on April 16, 2008


Calling people racist ain't so grand a tactic either.

This primary has been filled with some of the most racist and sexist undertones (or overtones in some cases) I've seen in a long while, and it's mostly coming from the pundits. It's refreshing to see that some of it is not sticking with the voters.
posted by bibliowench at 9:12 PM on April 16, 2008


Hi! I just stopped by to discuss how media focus on the personal issues of political candidates may or may not be out of touch with what voters really care about. Can somebody direct me to that thread?
posted by jabberjaw at 9:38 PM on April 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sorry, jabberjaw, I surely can't. What I can do is walk out of here with you though...seeing as neither one of us are media.

Wanna have a chew about how the word "media" might appear in the Oxford ten years from now?
posted by LiveLurker at 10:22 PM on April 16, 2008


Mrs. Clinton voted for the war. She never recanted. She must not be President. This isn't a small mistake. A million people are dead; a trillion dollars have been pissed away. She's learned nothing at all, take a look at her uber-Hawkish voting record.

Plus, the only actual new policy proposal in this psycho-train wreck of a debate tonight: Hillary pledge that she would work towards a new framework whereby any attack on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE or Isreal would be met with immediate and automatic retaliation by the US, as if they were a part of NATO or something.

WTF is that shit? (I'm sure the US would defined those vital oil sources countries anyway but do you really see Saudi Arabia and Israel in the same sort of crazy NATO type organization? And why the hell should we be on the hook if those nations screw something up diplomatically, or attack their neighbors? Ugh)
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here.
posted by flotson at 10:44 PM on April 16, 2008


Not weird: predictable. And proof of how little dirt they have to throw, as they are now just making stuff up so absurd it reads like parody. Maybe they just wanted a chance to say "OJ" and "Obama" in the same sentence

Excellent, ornate insect, you brought to mind the 2nd trial of the real OJ, on charges of robbery and kidnapping. It was postponed from its originally scheduled April 7 date.

Care to guess what the new date is? My guess was off by two weeks. The new beginning date is September 8-- two months from the presidential election, right at the height of campaigning.
posted by jamjam at 10:46 PM on April 16, 2008


Well, it was a good thread for a while. At least it's still, shall we say, proof of concept? You want to know why the media is jumping on every little ridiculous thing? Because when it's about [candidate you don't like], most of us *love* it. Mote, log, eye, I'm outta here.
posted by kyrademon at 12:45 AM on April 17, 2008


Well, it was a good thread for a while.

Agreed. Honestly, I was disappointed to see you know who weigh in here with his predictable double-spaced litany of items to grind his axe. I quite sincerely was only interested in examining the fact that another manufactured scandal had failed to catch fire, despite the media's every effort to enable that for almost two full news cycles. If it had been levied against Hillary, I would have been tempted to post that one, it just so happened that it was Obama this time.

Look, I make no attempts or apologies to hide the fact that I support, but I'm no longer going to trash Senator Clinton and her candidacy. You know why? Because it poisons the well. Does her vote for Iraq still upset me? Yes, it does. But I know if we continue down this path, with the two camps sniping at each other, two things are certain to happen: the losing candidates supporters will not give enough support to the winner to enable a victory in November, and all of this gives McCain's campaign more ammunition for his summer campaign. This is very, very dangerous. Why?

John McCain is a panderer and an exceptionally dull man. In the past two years, he has pretty much recanted every position he's held during his very long political career in order to curry favor with the far right of his party. I don't think anyone wants that kind of a president. But worse than this is that McCain, despite his undoubtedly long experience (and yes, his sacrifice to his country as a young man), is dumb and arrogant. Possibly dumber and more arrogant than George Walker Bush. Think about that for a minute. For all of Bush's malapropisms and intellectual incuriosity, he at least managed to graduate middle of his class at Yale. McCain, a third generation legacy at Annapolis (USNA) graduated DEAD LAST in his graduating class. Over the years, he has done nothing to establish any kind of intellectual credibility. It's one hardheaded, hotheaded response after another. Yes, the McCain-Feingold thing was well-intentioned (an appeal to the maverick voters in his own state ... God love you, Arizona), but largely ineffectual. And, for all his bluster about torture, he didn't make a peep when Bush added his signing statement that largely invalidated all his work.

So, the next time you get trolled in a thread to dish dirt on Hillary, please resist the temptation. I believe that those are entreaties to pull you into a fight that ultimately will benefit John McCain. We are teetering ln the bring right now, and if your goal is to drive the car into the ditch, by all means continue. But if you think there's a chance we can pull back from this, please bite your tongue and ignore mud slinging.

I'm psmealey and I endorse this message.
posted by psmealey at 2:48 AM on April 17, 2008 [11 favorites]


Meta: I get the feeling that you've got an iron in this fire somewhere, but I'll try anyway.

Very few MeFites give a shit what kind of genitals or skin color either candidate has, other than the fact that it's just superb to have both a woman and black man on the same ticket. That's historic, and I think most of us are pretty pleased about that.

Now, we're a pretty intelligent and discerning crowd, and the fact that there's such universal disdain here for Mrs. Clinton is something you should listen to. Closely. The MeFites are are seeing something you aren't. Don't casually dismiss it. This population is far too intelligent for that. If this many people that are this intelligent are telling you she's a bad candidate... you should seriously, seriously consider that they might be right. As liberal as this place is, it should be tilted very strongly in favor of a female candidate, painting her in the best possible light. It isn't, and you really should spend some time thinking about that.

This is, in other words, a liberal bastion that hates Hillary Clinton. You can be quite certain that it's not because she's a woman. People don't like her because she's dishonest, manipulative, and panders to the voters. The legislative attempts I've seen from her are lowest common denominator; they're not solutions, they're grandstanding.

She's not really about fixing problems. She's not about making your life better. I don't know why she wants to be President, but I'm absolutely certain that neither your benefit nor mine are even remotely a part of her motivation.
posted by Malor at 3:27 AM on April 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


This reminds me of a term used by the chairman of the mass communications department where I went to college: media masturbation. I guess the american public would rather hear this crap, than to actually find out relevant, meaningful facts that differentiate candidates from one another. The "debate" last night on ABC was nothing more than an hour long interrogation of the candidates about what they said, why they said it, what they meant, and on and on.
Yet, the current office holders continue to spew spin, bulls%$t, and outright lies, and the media lap it up, questioning nothing.
posted by GreyFoxVT at 3:30 AM on April 17, 2008


and in a passive-aggressive way by Obama himself. the latter has not said ONE word about blatant sexism in this race

The minute he did you'd accuse him of being patronising in assuming Clinton couldn't fight her own battles.
posted by Sparx at 3:43 AM on April 17, 2008


The DailyKos link was brilliant.

This issue goes wayyy beyond Obama, Clinton, and McCain. We have a self-perpetuating structure that reinforces its own stupidity, and I personally don't see any way out of the circle jerk.

The big media consistently panders to the lowest common denominator and treats both its readership and viewership like drooling idiots.

Does anyone have any sense of how to stop this? Require John Stewart as commentary after each segment on any new channel, so as to shame the 'pundits' into paying attention to the real issues? That's a joke but I would really love to hear some ideas so as to staunch my despair. Seriously, I hadn't seen anything about that orange juice thing, and it makes me ill. These pundits wouldn't know a real American if he or she walked up and pissed in their faces.

And regarding MetaMan: get your own blog. This is not a thread about how much you love Hillary and hate Obama, or like him OK but wouldn't vote for him, or he's a liberal homo with a Camelot complex, or whatever it is for the next fifteen minutes. Do you have anything to say about how the media creates a self-perpetuating cycle of bullshit? Say it.
posted by miss tea at 4:25 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]



Incidentally, if my words drive you to the kind of irrational behavior that you've hinted at, above, you'll have to blame that on the naivete of youthful enthusiasm that believes that any one person can "save" America.


Phooey.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:26 AM on April 17, 2008


Calling people racist ain't so grand a tactic either.

Except when it's obviously true of so many people who warn us in forbeboding tones that Obama "cannot win," I'd say.

Hillary jumped the shark when she a long time ago, but the last straw was her people digging out the Karl Rove playbook for her scorched earth retreat and branding Obama as an uppity negro "elitist" because he doesn't wear a flag pin, has friends on the left, or dares to repeat what every social scientist who has studied working-class politics in America has written for 30 years (I'm one, as I happen to have written a book on the cultural politics of white, working-class communities in the south). Not to mention the absurd spectacle of someone with 100 million in the bank bowling and knocking back boilermakers and telling obviously exaggerated huntin' wit' ma grandaddy stories (along with so many other obvious exaggerations, going back to "35 years of experience") and pretending she was "in touch" with the "regular folks" who don't trust the uppity dude in the nice suit.

Shades of George W. Bush, mon dieu! The guy raised by a single mother on food stamps who worked his way to the top is a show off, effete, condescending elitist. Wellesley to Yale to Washington makes you a regular Jane. I expect this cynical crap from the right; from a member of the democratic party not named Lieberman, not so much. Not at all.

Calamity Jane, maybe.

I knew it was over was when I heard HRC trash Al Gore as too effete to have won in her comments at the "compassion forum" event (which disgusted me, what are either of them doing speaking at Messiah College?). And then when Obama came back and simply reminded us that "Al Gore won." At that moment, it became very clear what was going on, if it wasn't already.

Hillary is angling to be McCain's VP. There can be no other reasonable explanation.

I tried to resist, really I did. Just one post on the subject is all.

PS -- It bears repeating: Hillary Clinton voted for the war; hundreds of thousands are now dead; and even when she did it her apparent reasoning, which she practically acknowledged, was political expediency and fear of looking too "liberal" in the general election for president she felt entitled to reach. She was a *coward* on the question of war and peace. I don't care about "elitism" nearly as much as I care about politically expedient cowardice. But like I said above, this is all over but the shouting, so I send a magnanimous invitation to metaman and his friends in Camp Clinton to get a goddamn clue.

PPS -- How many people have even heard that Rev. Jeremiah Wright *volunteered* to join the Marines in Vietnam and gave up his deferment to do so?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:36 AM on April 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Check out the Comments on ABC news' site about the recent debate. There are over 11,000 posted and almost all negative. That debate was a joke and it's pretty much being ridiculed around the blog sphere.

I talked to a friend of mine who is was politically active during the Iowa Caucuses. She was a big Edwards supporter (and also liked Biden). She dosn't follow political news nearly as closely as most of us here, but she did watch part of the debate last night. I say part because she was actually really bored by the first part. Why was she bored?

Well, she had no idea what they were even talking about. She hadn't heard of Wright, and she certainly had no idea who Ayers was. None of that stuff made any sense to her at all.

For those who are not political junkies, who are not following the story closely, the Wright/Ayers slanders by proxy don't have any legs, and why should they? They're not even about Obama himself.

Those that are political junkies will have made their minds up long ago, and won't be swayed by this kind of nonsense, most of which has obvious refutations they would have heard in the past.
posted by delmoi at 4:54 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a Clinton/Obama agnostic, all I know is that I'm watching a debate right now that's a travesty. God forbid we should have any discussion of policy when there are flag pins and sniper fire to worry about.

It's like the moderators are mocking not just the candidates, but me.


Quote of the night, seriously.

There used to be all this talk about elections being a "battle for the nation's soul." This one is a battle for the nation's intelligence. I'm not really sure which candidate is which side, honestly, but I do know that the outcome of this election is truly going to determine whether or not the media feels validated in treating every adult in America like a retarded child.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:03 AM on April 17, 2008


You want bitter?

(And yes, I'll pre-emptively make the "eponysterical" comment about my own username, although it predates it)

How about "the Dean scream"? That has got to be the single most egregious and offensive example of the media jumping all over something stupid and elevating it to the BIG IMPORTANT MEDIA THING that it was. And not only that, it was NOTHING.

As soon as the whole 'bitter' story started getting play, I guessed (and fervently hoped) it would be a non-issue. Because people are bitter, and we aren't offended when it's recognized. We are bitter because we have been systematically disenfranchised, and we have spent the better part of the last decade watching the middle class disappear, and the gap between us and our rich bosses grow to epic proportions, all while we worry that we might not have a job next year.

I'm with quin on this. I've watched my pay and the pay of many friends and family slip like crazy over the past 8 years (when it had consistently gone up the 8 years before that), I've seen jobs bleed out of the city I was born in, and yeah, I'm fairly pissed off about the fact that we're spending a royal fuckload of money on a stupid war that should be used to help our domestic economy and education instead. I'm pissed that people in Ohio (where I live) and Pennsylvania, and the rest of the rust belt somehow seem to think the manufacturing jobs are going to come back and save us all. At this point, I don't care who wins so long as they turn their attention to the economy so we don't keep sliding down into a rich-poor feudal divide.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:48 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have any sense of how to stop this?

It's close to a very cliched stance, but a good first step is to unplug the cable or antenna from your television. You can still watch things. Just download them from the internet or if you still believe in copyright buy a DVD at the store, but getting rid of the push content and advertising does wonders.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:00 AM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's close to a very cliched stance, but a good first step is to unplug the cable or antenna from your television.

Well, yeah, but I really don't watch this shit on TV. I think there's definitely a group of people who are doing what you suggest, but most just aren't going to. The media's echo chamber also extends to the internet, unfortunately, although the crap on TV does tend to be the most egregiously stupid.
posted by miss tea at 6:05 AM on April 17, 2008


Attywood: An open letter to Charlie Gibson and George Stephanapoulos:
It's hard to know where to begin with this, less than an hour after you signed off from your Democratic presidential debate here in my hometown of Philadelphia, a televised train wreck that my friend and colleague Greg Mitchell has already called, quite accurately, "a shameful night for the U.S. media." It's hard because -- like many other Americans -- I am still angry at what I just witnesses, so angry that it's hard to even type accurately because my hands are shaking. Look, I know that "media criticism" -- especially when it's one journalist speaking to another -- tends to be a genteel, colleagial thing, but there's no genteel way to say this.

With your performance tonight -- your focus on issues that were at best trivial wastes of valuable airtime and at worst restatements of right-wing falsehoods, punctuated by inane "issue" questions that in no way resembled the real world concerns of American voters -- you disgraced my profession of journalism, and, by association, me and a lot of hard-working colleagues who do still try to ferret out the truth, rather than worry about who can give us the best deal on our capital gains taxes. But it's even worse than that. By so badly botching arguably the most critical debate of such an important election, in a time of both war and economic misery, you disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself. Indeed, if I were a citizen of one of those nations where America is seeking to "export democracy," and I had watched the debate, I probably would have said, "no thank you." Because that was no way to promote democracy.

You implied throughout the broadcast that you wanted to reflect the concerns of voters in Pennsylvania. Well, I'm a Pennsylvanian voter, and so are my neighbors and most of my friends and co-workers. You asked virtually nothing that reflected our everyday issues -- trying to fill our gas tanks and save for college at the same time, our crumbling bridges and inadequate mass transit, or the root causes of crime here in Philadelphia. In fact, there almost isn't enough space -- and this is cyberspace, where room is unlimited -- to list all the things you could have asked about but did not, from health care to climate change to alternative energy to our policy toward China to the deterioration of Afghanistan to veterans' benefits to improving education. You ignored virtually everything that just happened in what most historians agree is one of the worst presidencies in American history, including the condoning of torture and the trashing of the Constitution, although to be fair you also ignored the policy concerns of people on the right, like immigration issues.
posted by psmealey at 7:25 AM on April 17, 2008 [11 favorites]


The Collapse of the National Press:
Only a few weeks ago, we were presented with what was considered by many to be a historic speech by a presidential candidate on race in America -- historic for its substance, tone, delivery, and stark candor. Last night, we had an opposing, equally historic example -- and I sincerely mean that, I consider it to be every bit as significant as that word implies -- of the collapse of the political press into self-willed incompetence. You might as well pull any half-intelligent person off the street, and they would unquestionably have more difficult and significant questions for the two candidates. It was not merely a momentarily bad performance, by ABC, it was a debate explicitly designed to be what it was, which is far more telling.
posted by aqhong at 7:36 AM on April 17, 2008


As much as the venting on the media is very appropriate and feels good, it's probably not going to make any difference. In the end, what'll happen is what happened in 2004 after Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire and the criticism of Bob Schieffer about asking the "who is the most important woman in your life" question during the last Bush/Kerry debate. They'll arrogantly laugh it off and say "there, there... you run along now and leave the journalism to us pros."
posted by psmealey at 7:45 AM on April 17, 2008


I think this line from the Washington Post inadvertently summed up the debate better than anything else I've read from an MSM outlet:
The debate also touched on Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, taxes, the economy, guns and affirmative action.
If you can't spot the absurdity in that sentence, read it again.
posted by aqhong at 8:02 AM on April 17, 2008


Tom Shales, Washington Post:
"When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

The fact is, cable networks CNN and MSNBC both did better jobs with earlier candidate debates. Also, neither of those cable networks, if memory serves, rushed to a commercial break just five minutes into the proceedings, after giving each candidate a tiny, token moment to make an opening statement. Cable news is indeed taking over from network news, and merely by being competent.

...At the end, Gibson pompously thanked the candidates -- or was he really patting himself on the back? -- for 'what I think has been a fascinating debate.' He's entitled to his opinion, but the most fascinating aspect was waiting to see how low he and Stephanopoulos would go, and then being appalled at the answer."
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on April 17, 2008


USA Today: Blogosphere buzzing with criticism of ABC News debate.
posted by ericb at 8:12 AM on April 17, 2008


And regarding MetaMan: get your own blog. This is not a thread about how much you love Hillary and hate Obama, or like him OK but wouldn't vote for him, or he's a liberal homo with a Camelot complex, or whatever it is for the next fifteen minutes. Do you have anything to say about how the media creates a self-perpetuating cycle of bullshit? Say it.

Actually, with talk turning back to the myopic, self-congratulatory, infantilizing mess that is the American mainstream media, I do think the bizarro world aspect of MetaMan's one-note hectoring has somehow gone through the looking glass to become apropos.

Does he have anything to say about hte media's self-perpetuating cycle of bullshit? Hell, yeah - he's it's first-born son. He's the little squirt barking noisily at its ankles. He's a walking talking study in its very nature. Let the bullshit cycle coalesce into a worldview that sees the commonweal exclusively through the lens of the punditocracy's reeking fumes, and you've got MetaMan. His Mefi handle's a masterstroke in that regard: he's pure spin personified. He - like the moderators of last night's debate - sees politics as nothing but a contest between gotchas, a schoolyard game of the dozens in which the best burn wins.

Maybe it goes without saying that everyone else loses in this game. I wonder if this in the end won't be the real consequence of this year's Democratic race - if Obama can win this thing despite Bittergate and Chris Matthews' forensic study of his breakfast beverage choices, if he can win not on the colour in his glass but on the content of his character, then just maybe America's political culture can finally kick these halfwit talking heads into the gutter of irrelevance and find its way to redemption. This, I think, is what Clinton supporters fail to see: a great deal of the distaste for her campaign has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her skill and zeal at playing the game that has all but completely destroyed America's political culture. If she wins the gotcha game, it'll vindicate every cynical hack spinmeister's six-figure fees for another entire generation.
posted by gompa at 8:21 AM on April 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


In endorsing Obama this morning the Philadelphia Dialy News says it well. Excerpt:
“Contrary to Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan, we believe Barack Obama is more likely to be ‘ready on Day One’ to lead us in a new direction. Because of his experience.

Sure, Clinton has more ‘experience’ of a sort. For one thing, she has 14 more years on earth. How much of this experience is directly applicable to the job of president is, at best, debatable.

We are frankly troubled by her assumption that her husband's administration and accomplishments were her own. And if her equation holds, that the first spouse is an equal partner in the administration, then the reappearance of Bill Clinton in the White House is a prospect we have a hard time reconciling with the work that needs to be done.

THERE IS a way to match Clinton's and Obama's performances on a relatively equal playing field: their campaigns.

A candidate's campaign may be the best indicator of how she or he will govern. If so, an Obama administration would be well-managed, inclusive and astonishingly broad-based. It would make good use of technology and communicate a message of unity and, yes, hope.

It would not be content with eking out slim victories by playing to the narrow interests of the swing voters of the moment while leaving the rest of the country as deeply divided as ever. Instead, an Obama administration would seek to expand the number of Americans who believe that they have a personal stake in our collective future - and that they have the power to change things.

It would motivate them to hold their representatives accountable for making it happen. That is, after all, the only way to get us out of Iraq, to address global warming, to make us energy-independent. It's the only way to resist the forces arrayed against providing universal health care, rebuilding our infrastructure and returning our schools to world-class status. It's the only way to give our children the means to compete with children in other parts of the world who are healthier, better-educated and have more opportunities than many of our own.

An Obama administration would be freer of the the corrupting influence of big-money donors and corporate interests. Obama has raised $240 million overall, with half coming in contributions of less than $200. People who contribute to political campaigns can feel they ‘own’ a candidate and so Obama would owe allegiance to the wide swath of America that has financed his campaign.

Based on his experience in running a quarter-billion-dollar enterprise with thousands upon thousands of volunteers, we could expect an Obama administration to be well-managed and cost-effective, with the president choosing forward-thinking advisers committed to his program, demanding that they work as a team and pay attention to details.

He would be steady and calm, given neither to irrational exuberance or outbursts of anger. He would make mistakes, that's for sure, but he could be expected to recognize them, adjust, and move forward.

He would adjust his views to reality rather than trying to adjust reality to his views.

Obama's unprecedented appeal to younger voters is significant not only because it expands the electorate, which is vital. It's also a validation of his promise as a president to be free of the baby-boomer/Vietnam/segregation-era hangups.

Younger people are more egalitarian, more accepting of diversity, and more comfortable with rapid change. They also are less confined by old resentments or regrets.

AND AN OBAMA administration would lower the tone of the rhetoric that separates us.”
posted by ericb at 8:46 AM on April 17, 2008


Cable news is indeed taking over from network news, and merely by being competent.

I attempted watching CNN once in the past couple years, I think, when bored in a hotel room. I learned a lot about Paris Hilton and a little about how bad illegal immigrants were.

They're all made of fail, including the newspapers. I skim USA Today sometimes (don't pay for it) just to keep a sense of the official line being fed to the plebes, which always confirms some Middle American fantasyland.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:50 AM on April 17, 2008


Wow, gompa. Beautifully said.

Every once in a while I think "most people I know are moderately intelligent, at least, so how much longer are we going to walk around in this media-induced stupor? Or is it that I don't know enough ignorant and stupid people?"

The roar of outrage about last night's "debate" is heartening. As is the failure of the smear machine to drive the poll numbers. I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but man can I get worked up at the possibility of even a partial repudiation of this shit by an American people scared and worried enough to finally think before they vote.

Putting Clinton out to pasture is step one, then it's on to McCaiN *and* the congress, goddammit.

/elitism
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:51 AM on April 17, 2008


[...] if Obama can win this thing [...] then just maybe America's political culture can finally kick these halfwit talking heads into the gutter of irrelevance and find its way to redemption. This, I think, is what Clinton supporters fail to see [...]

I see what you're saying here, but this isn't about Clinton representing the old guard and Obama representing new politics--this is an endemic problem with the American mainstream press, and it has little to do with partiality.

When a hitch in Hillary Clinton's throat and a glistening eye got spun by the press as "crying," and when Bill Clinton's use of the word "fairy tale" was interpreted as some sort of racial slur, Obama supporters and Republicans didn't make much noise about it; when the press lifted a quote from John McCain out of context in order to claim that he wants to send us to war in Iraq for the next hundred years, regardless of the consequences, the left actually kind of liked it, and let that slide too. I don't think either of those instances is as egregious as what happened last night, but to a press that seemingly feeds on those sorts of things, they were arguably emboldening.

The past expedient silence of the progressive left on similar issues is what's going to allow right-wing pundits like David Brooks to claim that all of these Internet complainers are whining because they're obviously Obama supporters and it's presently expedient, not because the trivialization of American political discourse has now become so apparent that anyone with two eyes should be able to see it, regardless of which candidate they back. (Note also the partisanship evident in the USA Today article linked by ericb above--we all know, wink wink, that "blogosphere" is code for "Obama's base," right? And that the word "blogosphere" has a negative connotation for anyone who doesn't have a blog? Silly bloggers.)

It might already be too late (at least for this election cycle), but I believe that if something is going to change about this, we have to resist framing the problem in partisan terms.
posted by Prospero at 9:22 AM on April 17, 2008


Question for the Class:
Do you think if Barack Obama had left his seriously ill wife after having had multiple affairs, had been a member of the "Keating Five," had had a relationship with a much younger lobbyist that his staff felt the need to try and block, had intervened on behalf of the client of said young lobbyist with a federal agency, had denounced then embraced Jerry Falwell, had denounced then embraced the Bush tax cuts, had confused Shiite with Sunni, had confused Al Qaeda in Iraq with the Mahdi Army, had actively sought the endorsement and appeared on stage with a man who denounced the Catholic Church as a whore, and stated that he knew next to nothing about economics -- do you think it's possible that Obama would have been treated differently by the media than John McCain has been? Possible?
posted by aqhong at 10:00 AM on April 17, 2008


John McCain is OLD. You have to make allowances.
posted by Artw at 10:06 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaMan writes "Nice juvenile, rhetorical touch there - i.e. assigning the title of 'troll' to anyone who disagrees with your point of view."

Notice how I didn't actually mention you, but I said 'troll' and you immediately went on defense. It's not something that a person discussing things in good faith would feel the need to do.

MetaMan writes "Are you kidding. I LOVE mefi, and have participated in other threads. I'm here to provide some balance."

You're doing this for free? Don't you know there's a career in it?
posted by mullingitover at 10:38 AM on April 17, 2008


Leave him alone. If he does anything actually weird or disruptive he will be dealt with, but freaking out at his mere presence is counter productive.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 17, 2008


but freaking out at his mere presence is counter productive

ftfy
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:52 AM on April 17, 2008


I'm no-one to talk I know but that isn't helpful either.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on April 17, 2008


First, the MSM sucks. We agree on that.

Second, saying that Hillary is a shill is just flat out wrong, and another indicator of the relative immaturity of *some* of the Obama supporters here - as if Obama had never mislead and compromised his stated positions


fourcheese: "This is, in other words, a liberal bastion that hates Hillary Clinton. You can be quite certain that it's not because she's a woman. People don't like her because she's dishonest, manipulative, and panders to the voters. The legislative attempts I've seen from her are lowest common denominator; they're not solutions, they're grandstanding."

What you fail to see is that ALMOST HALF of the votes in this primary are for Clinton. THAT's what most don't get around here.

At least I'm admitting that Obama is a good candidater (but not ready for high office), and AT LEAST I'm knowledgeable enough about BOTH candidates to admit that they both have good and bad positions. It's just that when the latter is pointed out re: Obama, you freak out.

Hillary Clinton (and her husband) practically SAVED the Democratic party, *single-handed*.

They are not the Progressive-left shills (well-meaning though they may have been) like Kennedy, Kerry, Napolitano, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. who promise "hope and change" every four years and then end up doing NOTHING. I've had it with that, and so have ALMOST HALF of Dems voting in these primaries.

So, please don't try to sell me on the wosdom of MeFi posters, relative to this issue.

And please, don't try to sell me on your relative intelligence, because the only thing I judge intelligence by is *adaptation* to new realities and environments. (please, no cheap puns).

It's my contention that our nation has been screwed over by BOTH parties, with the Dems a little more concerned about the future of the planet - and our nation - than the GOP.

Hillary HAS accomplished many good things in her career.

What I find ironic is that the very MSM that you rant about here, is the SAME MSM that has completely distorted her intentions, and years of service. Don't you see that?

On the one hand, you have been complaining (finally) about the MSM (something I've been ranting about for the last 6 months, to anyone who would listen). On the other hand, you (and Obama) have enjoyed a relative free ride on the back of one of the most biased media presentations of a leading Presidential candidate, in my memory (if not history).

Now, you're just *beginning* to get a taste of what Hillary supporters have been suffering through for the last 6 months.

Remember the first debates? EVERYONE piled on, as if she was a pariah. You can't be serious is your belief about how *essentially* corrupt you claim Hillary to be. It's naive, and flies in the face of what you're saying about the MSM, where MOST of that perception has come from.

Hillary HAS made bad votes, but so has Obama - why not hear about ALL of that, instead of just the focus on Hillary's faults.

The Wright thing was the FIRST time that Obama got called in the MSM, seriously called, yet there are MANY other examples that could have been played up. Why hasn't that been done? And, given this, how can you say what you say about "intelligence". I don't see intelligence in what you say; I see a lack of discerning judgment that neglects the pragmatic realities of attempts to gain POWER. Do you really think Obama is above all that? If so, you have been suckered.

THere isn't even any difference between the advisory core of Clinton and Obama operatives. Can't you see that? Then, why is Obama trying to sell hjimself off as "not Hillary". He IS Hillary; in fact, he's FAR more straight arrow centrist than she is, WITHOUT experience. That scares me. THis guy has not been around long enough to see deep into the structural problems that this country has; he's a lightweight, regardless of his magnificent oratorical notions.

Obama has been genius in his use of the media (including publishing his books) to create the Obama meme. He has sat by and watched his opponent get savaged - often debased - in the most crude ways that have to do with her gender, and said NOT ONE WORD about that? In doing so, has Obama injected sexism into the campaign? I think he has, and in a very passive-aggressive way that let others do his fighting for him.

So now, when you start to see his patine rubbed away by the same MSM that has been hounding Hillary for 15 YEARS, you suddenly get religion about how awful the MSM is.

Well, welcome to the club; and, welcome to just a fraction of what you're going to see if Obama gets the nod.

Somehow, Clinton and Obama are BOTH going to have to come to some *equilateral* agreement on how this thing will turn out. Hillary WILL have a say in all this, if she ends up not being the candidate.

I want her to take this to the floor, and in doing so force a full deconstruction of the Obama myth, of the myth of the Progressive wing of the Democratic party, filled with millionaires who have done NOTHING to reduce our dependency on oil, improve our health care, stop this war, etc. etc.

And please don't insult me with "Obama was against the war". He's a POLITICIAN, and said that as a state representative of the MOST LIBERAL district in Illinois. What would you expect? You need to get a clue.

These are both good candidates; I think one is better than the other. The difference between us is that you follow unquestioningly, and expect that perfection lies in you candidate of choice. That's what worries me about the Obama phenomenon (and it IS a phenomenon, one that will wear thin, soon enough).

He is promising something that his own advisors, as they have made their careers, have not acted on in a way that Obama says they will. What about that?

I do NOT trust Obama's rhetoric; his actions belie his words. And that includes the actions he has chosen NOT to take, as he has enjoyed watching his oppenent get bashed by the MSM in the most insulting of ways.

As for the MSM, it will not go away, but will evolve into something else. We're close to that tipping point.
posted by MetaMan at 11:39 AM on April 17, 2008


ALMOST HALF of the votes in this primary are for Clinton

A true classic of rationalization; yes, almost half!

Democracy is a bitch, ain't it?

posted by fourcheesemac at 12:04 PM on April 17, 2008


Also, dude, look before you attribute; I did not write the text you quoted as coming from me ("liberal bastion etc"); Malor did!

I'm the one who called your presence counter-productive
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:06 PM on April 17, 2008


Obama on last night's debate:
"I will tell you it does not get more fun than these debates. They are inspiring debates. I think last night we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people.

It took us 45 minutes — 45 minutes before we heard about health care, 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq, 45 minutes before we heard about jobs, 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices.

Now, I don’t blame Washington for this because that’s just how Washington is. They like stirring up controversies and getting us to play gotcha games and getting us to attack each other. And I’ve got to say Sen. Clinton looked in her element.

She was taking every opportunity to, you know, get a dig in there.... That’s all right, that’s her right, that’s her right to kind of twist the knife a little bit....

Look, I understand though, because that’s the textbook Washington campaign, because that’s the politics that’s been taught to be played, that’s the lesson that she had heard when the Republicans were doing the same things to her back in the 1990s."
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on April 17, 2008


And please don't insult me with "Obama was against the war". He's a POLITICIAN, and said that as a state representative of the MOST LIBERAL district in Illinois. What would you expect? You need to get a clue.

You really are obsessed with rationalizing everything, because as we all know Hillary Clinton is not a politician and has no constituents who opposed the war. Talk about having a clue; she represents New York, not Idaho. She would have been politically safe in her senate seat had she opposed the war; but that was not her ambition, and we all knew it then. (I am a New Yorker, and voted for her for senate, which I now regret. I don't think she can count on another term in the senate from New York when this is all over by the way.)

So if the plain truth "insults" you so be it, I suppose: Hillary supported the war when she had an opportunity (and the knowledge) to oppose it. Obama did not face that decision because he was not in the Senate. That does not excuse your candidate's action; as usual, you are trying to make the case *for* Clinton by making a case *against* Obama. And by introducing passive aggressive and counter-factual conditions on what you'll accept as "true." Obama did indeed oppose the war, strongly, despite his limited platform for doing so and at some risk to his political career according to the widespread conventional wisdom at the time, much as Hillary clearly made her vote in favor of the resolution that gave Bush an open playing field because she feared being tarred as "unpatriotic" in the 2008 general. (Either that, or because she believed Bush, which is even worse.) That Obama opposed it matters to me; it shows courage and judgment, and you're utterly nuts to think the "liberal" constituents of his state district determined that stance, because he clearly had national political ambitions by that time and he was beloved in his district. But it's much more significant to me that Senator Clinton voted for the resolution, also for reasons of national political aspiration, because *she was wrong to do so,* as nearly everyone in the country agrees.

She showed bad judgment, driven by political expediency, as she has done at every turn in this campaign.

Her long history of spinning that bad decision -- denying it was a bad decision, followed by blaming Bush for lying to "everyone," with no acceptance of the wrongness of her decision, let alone an apology, to *this* day!


So in the interest of making sure YOU "have a clue," here is some context from "Why Hillary Clinton’s Iraq Vote Does Matter" By Stephen Zunes:

In the months leading up to the Iraq war vote, Senator Clinton was briefed by a number of arms control specialists, former arms inspectors, strategic analysts, and others who informed her that the Bush administration’s WMD claims were not to be taken seriously and that Iraq had achieved at least qualitative disarmament.

Despite this, in an apparent effort to discredit those questioning the administration’s hyperbolic statements about Iraq’s supposed military threat and to justify her vote to authorize the invasion, Senator Clinton insisted that Iraq’s possession of chemical and biological weapons was “not in doubt” and was “undisputed.” In reality, she knew there were serious doubts about Iraq’s purported possession of such weapons at that time and, indeed, no such weapons were ever found.

Similarly, even after the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report prior to the war vote that Iraq no longer had a nuclear program and despite the 2001 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that confirmed there was no evidence that such work on Iraq’s nuclear program had resumed, Senator Clinton also defended her vote by claiming that, “If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will . . . keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” In reality, Iraq had completely eliminated its nuclear program a full decade earlier.

Although top strategic analysts also correctly informed her that there were no apparent links between Saddam Hussein’s secular nationalist regime and the radical Islamist al-Qaeda, Senator Clinton insisted that Saddam “has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.” This came despite a subsequent definitive report by the Department of Defense which noted that not only did no such link exist, but that no such link could have even been reasonably suggested based upon the evidence available at that time.

Clinton’s supporters have defended her false pre-invasion allegations by citing the public summary of the 2002 NIE which appeared to confirm some of the Bush administration’s claims. However, there were a number of reasons to have been skeptical of this summary: this NIE was compiled in a much shorter time frame than is normally provided for such documents and the report expressed far more certainty regarding Iraq’s WMD capabilities than all the reports from the previous five years, despite the lack of additional data to justify such a shift. When the report was released, there was much stronger dissent within the intelligence community than about any other NIE in history and the longer classified version, which was available to every member of Congress, included these dissenting voices from within the intelligence community. It was also well-known through media reports at that time that the administration was applying enormous pressure on the intelligence agencies to put together a report emphasizing the alleged Iraqi threat.

Despite this, the NIE also challenged the notion of any operational ties between the Iraqi government and Al-Qaeda and questioned some of the more categorical claims by President Bush about Iraq’s WMDs. However, Senator Clinton didn’t even bother to read it. She now claims that it wasn’t necessary for her to have actually looked at the 92-page document herself because she was briefed on the contents of the report. However, since no one on her staff was authorized to read it, it’s unclear who could have actually briefed her.

Whether Senator Clinton lied in order to frighten the American people into accepting a costly U.S. takeover of that oil-rich country or whether she was simply naïve and ignorant, her false statements regarding Iraq’s WMD capabilities - given that this was her central argument in justifying the invasion - raises serious questions regarding her fitness to become president of the United States. There is little reason to doubt, therefore, that she would again be willing to either lie or to blindly accept transparently inaccurate and alarmist intelligence data in order to lead America into another tragic war.

Indeed, Senator Clinton later admitted that she supported the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq regardless of the fact that Iraq did not really threaten U.S. national security. Many months after the U.S. invasion and the formal acknowledgement that Iraq neither had any WMDs or WMD programs nor any ties to Al-Qaeda, Senator Clinton declared, “I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote” and was one that “I stand by.”



And a final thought from me: this war has killed hundreds of thousands of people for almost no purpose and damn near ruined the international standing and the economy of the US. This is not a matter of political "optics" or whatever that word is you like to use for surfaces and appearances. This is as substantive as politics get: I don't vote for war mongers.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


passive-aggressive

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by flotson at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2008


Really?

As I am using it, it means acting like you are offended that anyone would think you mean ill and protesting your good intentions despite being an asshole right below the literal surface; I know full well what it means and I think it's the tone of the entire Clinton campaign.

Thanks for the summons, though. It's not every day I get called out on my vocabulary what with the PhD and all.

As for me, I like to be an asshole more directly, so here I am.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:41 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Barack's Bitter Truth: America shouldn't give a damn about the Iraqis
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on April 17, 2008


That's a good article, homunculous. I don't agree with Young's assessments and projections of behavior

But this would show that Obama, who has sold himself as a man of vision at home, is selfishly unimaginative abroad. Worse, because it is unlikely he will be able to much alter U.S. policy in Iraq, since Iran will not cede much more to the next administration than it did to this one, Obama's promises are potentially deceitful.

But I do think he understands that a President Obama would engage in realpolitik as it relates to Iran and Iraq. Based on eight years of magical thinking, I think this might be exactly what the situation calls for.

We have over-extended our military and broken it, and a such have lost an incredibly potent bargaining chip with Iran (short of the the nuclear option, which is unacceptable), so there will need to be some maneuvering and sleight of hand to compensate for the lack of military threat. Based on how Obama approached questioning of Petraeus and Crocker, I think he's right to try to feel out a solution on another axis. From what I have heard from Clinton, I think she'd try a much more conventional ("carrot and stick" approach) that we are just not properly resourced for.

It's all speculation right? Just thought it worth mentioning that Young's obervations are astute, but I came away with a much more positive impression of the what's possible from Obama as commander in chief than it triggered any doubts.
posted by psmealey at 1:13 PM on April 17, 2008


Barack's Bitter Truth: America shouldn't give a damn about the Iraqis

From the article:
That's why Obama's comments were so off-putting. He effectively told the Iraqis, once again, that they weren't worth anything to America.
So? The Iraqi's don't want us to give a damn about them. They want us to get the hell out.

That's very, very clear and anyone who claims we're doing the Iraqis favors by staying is full of shit.
posted by delmoi at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is as substantive as politics get: I don't vote for war mongers.

Obama voted for massive war appropriations WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A PEEP! So, please, stop leaning on the covenience of Obama's "anti-war" stance. A stance taken as a legislator for the MOST liberal demographic in IL. Please, don't flatter your candidate with something that he did to please his constituents, because THAT's what he did. Just as Hillary pleased her NY constituents, who, with her unfortunate help, were duped into liking her vote for the war.

That said, I have many times stated my disappointment with her vote. That said, she has a plan to get out of Iraq.

As for the MSM, I'll say again that the most fervent (and often insulting) Obama fans here haven't said ONE WORD about the blatant sexism in this campaign. Could that be because most here are males?

[[[and please, fourcheesemac, stop trying to slip in references to your intelligence, with [paraphrase] 'how I got a PhD and shit'. Who the ^&*% cares? ]]]. You're no smarter than me or anyone else on this board - not when it comes to subjective references made from tacit impressions about something one likes. I don't have time to go into the brain science implications of what I just said, so just take my word for it - i.e. my opinion matters just as much as yours. Suck it up.]]

Back to the MSM. Again, the senselessness of the media; the sheer disregard by the MSM to anything but ratings and the bottom line; the sheer, blatant, cloying *ignorance* of most MSM moderators, who sit there drumming up conflict on their way to becoming cover-boys-and-girls that most of America F888*** LOOKS UP TO (yet another indication of the trouble America is in); the sickening, tactical (for profit) diversion of true political passion into gutter politics - all this is something we all play a part in.

Initially, I supported Obama; then, once I got a whiff of what was really going on, and watched the Democratic Progressive left savage one of a handful of people (the Clintons, among them) who saved their sorry asses, I began to get suspicious.

You complain about the MSM. Hell the MSM CREATED the Obama sensation. So, get off your high horses and start deconstruction your own implicit role (and mine, too) in all of this. And PLEASE, stop trying to impress me with the number of mefi-ers who disagree with my position, because it insults YOUR intelligence, even as you attempt to use that fact to demean my position. Think about it.

Now, in an ironic turn back to the MSM debate last evening , undecideds gave the debate to Hillary

You might also note another 'gaffe'???

In another ironic twist, for all those who revile the MSM (but failed to complain as long as their candidate was the positive recipient of MSM bias), one might ask the question "just how soft has the media been on the Obama campaign?"

Or, on the other hand, just how much contempt the Obama campaign has shown for certain elements of our population, and our government

So, now the shoe is on the other foot. The crass MSM is pointing more at Obama, AS I PREDICTED, and will continue to do so. I DON'T like that, but I have little sympathy for those here who are only hollering about it now, as they see what it is doing to their candidate, instead of hollering about it before, when it was debasing the quality of a campaign, and gave true voice to only ONE of the candidates, Barack Obama.

Now that the dogs have smelled blood, the GOP attack machine will take over. DON'T blame Hillary for that - blame yourselves for reveling in the thrashing that Hillary has taken, with the gathered insight to realize that sooner or later, it would be your candidates reputation, along with his promised hopes and dreams, that would be on the line. Examine yourselves!
posted by MetaMan at 2:50 PM on April 17, 2008


That's very, very clear and anyone who claims we're doing the Iraqis favors by staying is full of shit.

NPR had ann interview with someone the other day who said that most Iraqis do want America out, BUT NOT UNTIL things get a "little more secure". That's probably closer to the truth.

Is that tipping point of security possible? I don't know, but what I do know is that not one of these three candidates will be pulling all troops out of Iraq, anytime soon. That's disappointing to me, but I'll bet on it.
posted by MetaMan at 2:53 PM on April 17, 2008


I DON'T like that

Liar.
posted by empath at 2:57 PM on April 17, 2008


Liar

It takes one to know one. btw, ABC is looking for someone just like you.
posted by MetaMan at 3:00 PM on April 17, 2008


Gee, that Taylor Marsh guys blog doesn't have much of a slant to it at all.
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on April 17, 2008


I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I??
posted by aqhong at 3:05 PM on April 17, 2008


MetaMan, why are you so *afraid* of the right? Should we cower in fear for the next generation? Or stand up and tell them off?

You sound like someone with Stockholm Syndrome, seriously. OMG, wait til we see what they'll do to poor, effete, unvetted Obama.

So far, Hillary's worst hasn't even touched him, and the right's been busy trying too. Whereas you're telling us that HRC is the candidate the right will respect or who can stand up to them?

She can't even stand up to effete elitist Obama.

I know it's pointless to argue with you; you're convinced everyone else must be stupid for not seeing the world as a scary place to be progressive. Word, dude: it always was.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:09 PM on April 17, 2008


PS -- I am not claiming I am smarter than you; I am better educated than you. Big difference.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:10 PM on April 17, 2008


But, to be clear (since you have trouble associating words with correct speakers of said words, and targets of those words as well), I referenced my education level sarcastically when challenged on whether I know the meaning of "passive-aggressive." I do know it -- I looked it up in the dictionary and there was a picture of Howard Wolfson, that's how I know (he of "well, some people say Obama has a problem with 60s radicals as friends, not US of course at HRC Central, but some people).

Yeah, people like Sean Hannity. I am, unlike you, neither impressed by nor afraid of people like that, whereas you are practically citing his agenda chapter and verse in support of your supposed "democratic" standard bearer. No wonder each of these cycles bounces off Obama and sticks to her. She's even claiming Gore lost the election because he TOO was "too effete" or "too elitist."

Gore won. Remember that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:14 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


BTW, one more question for MetaMan before I wash the troll juice off my fingers:

Hillary Clinton, when asked if Barack Obama could win the general election against McCain, replied:

"Yes, yes, yes."

So why do you disagree so vehemently with your candidate?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:16 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Trashing Congress, small town Americans, and career national security professionals, while befriending Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers may be a winning electoral strategy. Who knows? Time will tell. But I suspect that many small town Americans are as offended as my professional colleagues and I by this display of contempt from one who seeks our consent to govern.

I haven't kept up with Joe Wilson's career since the Libby verdict last year, but I am utterly stunned that Wilson would deign to publicly attach his name to such hackery. A person that has spent his entire career in the foreign service and diplomatic corps doesn't make such intemperate remarks about anything unless he's maneuvering for something. These people don't ever "speak from the heart". Message discipline and is like a religion to people in that trade. Something odd is going on there.
posted by psmealey at 3:18 PM on April 17, 2008


Tell me about it; I lost all sympathy for Joe Wilson when he couldn't shut up and let the facts speak in the Libby case, and came to realize he was a self-involved grandstander whose wife had suffered the real harm in the whole episode, but whose troubles were compounded by her husband's big mouth. He's a tool.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:23 PM on April 17, 2008


And actually, MetaMan exemplifies a particular species of online passive-aggressive political commentary, known as "concern trolling." I am increasingly convinced he's a republican trying to make Clinton look as bad as Obama and set us against each other. So much *worry!* He is so *concerned* that we Obama voters are making a *terrible* mistake! Good thing the grownups like him are around to tell us what to do.

Talk about condescension and elitism!
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:27 PM on April 17, 2008


I am not claiming I am smarter than you; I am better educated than you. Big difference.

There you go again; that makes you wrong on two counts.

Gore won. Remember that.

Gore LOST. [and don't blame it on Ralph or the Supremes] He let his handlers turn him into an effete debater, who changed demeanor at every turn. It was sad to watch, especially given the true passion of the man. He could have blown Bush away if he had remained HIMSELF.

"Passive-aggressive", in the context I bring it up in, re: Obama, is his dismissal of the MSM's implied attacks on Hillary's gender, and doing NOTHING about it, SAYING nothing about it.

why are you so *afraid* of the right?

Are you kidding? I'm not afraid of anything; there's proof enough in that by my presence in this forum. I'm rather *concerned* that Obama doesn't have the right stuff to win an election this November, because (look at his halting answers in the debate last evening) he does NOT resonate with middle America in the same way that McCain does.

Rasmussen's polls don't currently reflect what I'm getting at, but wait until the GOP attack machine gets into gear. I WANT to be wrong about this; I really do - but I don't think I am.

Also, ,I'm pissed that Obama is not saying who HE REALLY IS, re: policy, which IS centrist and even somewhat RIGHT leaning in certain areas. Many of his supporters have glossed over this as they've been mesmerized by his speeches.

I think the way forward is to enter Washington as a Trojan Horse (Hillary), rather than a knight on a white horse (Obama), because it's easier to change the direction of power when you mingle with it, rather than oppose it.

One has to get close to one's enemy in order to understand it.

Hillary is the one for that job. I trust she will be more successful at changing our nation's *essential* course than Obama will. Thus, my support for her.
posted by MetaMan at 3:28 PM on April 17, 2008


I am increasingly convinced he's a republican trying to make Clinton look as bad as Obama and set us against each other.

Agreed.
posted by ericb at 3:32 PM on April 17, 2008


He's got the Republican Talking Points® down pat.
posted by ericb at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


And actually, MetaMan exemplifies a particular species of online passive-aggressive political commentary, known as "concern trolling." I am increasingly convinced he's a republican trying to make Clinton look as bad as Obama and set us against each other. So much *worry!* He is so *concerned* that we Obama voters are making a *terrible* mistake! Good thing the grownups like him are around to tell us what to do.

This is really weak, and another attempt to use personal attack - as you decry the MSM for doing to your "savior" - to derail substantive debate.

I could also say that you're a GOP operative that's been planted here to encourage debate with my points of view, but I won't, because it's patently absurd.

I suggest you stop taking my substantive points personally, and try answering them with something other that responses that give away what is more and more looking like some kind of inferiority complex - a complex that keeps looking for ways to one up one's opponent in debate, to rationalize it's own positions.

We disagree; we can agree to disagree. Leave it at that. Have at it on the substance of opinion, rather than the substance of person. That's the last free lesson you'll get from me, today.
posted by MetaMan at 3:36 PM on April 17, 2008


""THE ESSENCE OF THE LIBERAL OUTLOOK LIES NOT IN WHAT OPINIONS ARE HELD, BUT IN HOW THEY ARE HELD: INSTEAD OF BEING HELD DOGMATICALLY, THEY ARE HELD TENTATIVELY, AND WITH A CONSCIOUSNESS THAT NEW EVIDENCE MAY AT ANY MOMENT LEAD TO THEIR ABANDONMENT." - BERTRAND RUSSELL"

On that evidence, there seem not to be many liberals present in this audience.
posted by MetaMan at 3:39 PM on April 17, 2008


but wait until the GOP attack machine gets into gear

I loathe myself for biting, but I have to ask. What exactly is the Republican attack machine going to do if Hillary gets the nomination? Do you think they're going to roll over and say, "well, we've done all we can on Hillary in the past 16 years, we have nothing left", and she gets a pass to the White House?

Or, do you think we're going to see and hear photographic evidence of every single one of Bill's extramarital dalliances that have occurred since Bill left office, hear all about Whitewater, Travelgate, Socialized Medicine, Vince Foster and the Clinton death list, blah, blah, blah-deee blah every day until the election. Do you think the net effect of these attacks will be.

I'm comfortable not knowing what I don't know about Obama. Does he know some unsavory characters? I lived in Chicago for 8 years so I say, yes. It is a certainty. But I also know that he's not wealthy, he's young and he hasn't had the chance to make as much history yet.

I will of course, vote for Hillary without hesitation if she wins the nomination, but I fully expect the worst, most ghastly slime to be thrown at her (and unfortunately, some of it will be true), and we'll all be up to our noses in the muck again. I think the net result will be suppression of voter turnout, an energize Republican base (however much they hate McCain, they will not countenance HRC as President, and misogyny is certainly a part of that) and an identical electoral map to the one we saw in 2004.
posted by psmealey at 3:42 PM on April 17, 2008


It goes without saying that that is an utterly unacceptable outcome. But, I see no evidence that the much feared Republican attack machine will do more damage to Obama than it will to HRC. If anything, Obama's halo effect can fend off some of the more vicious attacks in a way the Clinton cannot. If they come after her, you know she'll go right back at them, and in the end, we lose the election, and our national dignity. Again. At least with Obama, we still have a prayer at having a productive positive campaign.
posted by psmealey at 3:46 PM on April 17, 2008


Hillary is the one for that job.

No, Hillary Clinton, who in the middle of the 2005, during the outing of a CIA operative, questions of illegal detainment and torture of prisoners, and an ongoing war which appeared to be based on completely fabricated evidence, she is the one decided that the worst threat America faced, and required investigation and legislation, was adult themed video games getting into the hands of children.

Her priorities are fucked up.

I will vote for her if she is my only choice, but I will be doing it only to keep another republican away from the office, not because I believe she is in any way better than Obama.
posted by quin at 3:51 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, like the Daily Kos' owner, now those here who disagree with the mass of Obama support are no longer defined as Democrats?

Seriously, a lot of people on this thread need to be taken out to the proverbial "history of political debate" woodshed.
posted by MetaMan at 3:51 PM on April 17, 2008


Hillary is firm and stalwart in dealing with dirt thrown her way. That will play a lot better in what we all know is coming. Her policy positions are basically the same as Obama's; in fact, they're a little more left than Obama, as is her core advisory team.

I want to see Hillary or Obama in office, and not McCain. I do not believe that Obama can win working-class states against McCain, who comes off as a believable person, in spite of the fact that he has reversed himself more times than dice cup.

It's going to be about personal resonance in November. Hillary CAN do that, she's done it before. the ONLY reason we see her negatives so high is because the MSM has been feeding that meme. Note that Obama's negatives are increasing as well.
posted by MetaMan at 3:57 PM on April 17, 2008


On that evidence, there seem not to be many liberals present in this audience.

Au contraire. I was a Hillary supporter, but the evidence switched me to Obama. Especially as Hillary's disaster of a campaign alienated me.

Also, I question this idea of you being a useful contributor to MeFi when well over 90% of your comments have been in Hillary-Obama threads.
posted by dw at 3:58 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or, like the Daily Kos' owner, now those here who disagree with the mass of Obama support are no longer defined as Democrats?

Seriously, a lot of people on this thread need to be taken out to the proverbial "history of political debate" woodshed.


Now he's sounding more like the MarkovFilter than ever.

(I am a very bad person, but running the MarkovFilter for MetaMan never gets old, because he only ever talks about the one subject, so it just works much better on him than on anyone else)
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


That is simply ridiculous. We understand that passion can often trump reason (no easy puns, please). I expect Hillary to collapse. Look at this bit about political belief, based on pure demographics, show me a pattern at all. One year is not perfect. She has also been duplicitous in certain directions, even as we try to refrain from getting uppity, and try to make himself feel better about the MSM (something I've been trying to cut in? --posted by metaman at 4:02 PM on April 17 [+] [!]

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)
posted by aqhong at 4:04 PM on April 17, 2008


Yeah, but MarkovMetaManFilter actually makes sense and doesn't sound like a stuck button.

And it's fun.
posted by dw at 4:05 PM on April 17, 2008


Fish in a barrel.

That thing needs better parenthesis handling though.
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on April 17, 2008


We disagree; we can agree to disagree. Leave it at that.

Would that it were so, pal. That's "passive aggressive" in a nutshell: rip your perceived opponent to shreds with half truths and out-of-context factoids and assertions s/he is either stupid or deluded, then when called on the implications and subjected to the counter-arguments, retreat to "can't we agree to disagree and leave it at that." And "stop being mean to me" sounds funny after wading through a mud puddle of ad hominem attacks on my way to figuring out what you're even trying to say half the time!

You first. I would happily agree to disagree with you if you would stop insisting that everyone who disagrees with *you* is an idiot or a tool in need of a strident talking to by a grownup like you (and your "professional friends," whatever that means).

You cannot accept the facts without rationalizing them out of the way. So you call them opinions and make them all equal.

They're not. Beginning with this fact: Obama is winning the election handily, all your excuses aside. Call it unfair, rigged, biased, delusional, a mistake, a collective liberal act of suicide, whatever, but deal with it. We'll see who's right about electability eventually, so there's no point debating it really. But no matter how hard you spin, your candidate is nearly out of the race with almost no real hope of a rebound that would not doom her in the general election.

We can agree to disagree, of course -- yes we can! But only if "agreeing" does not mean what you seem to think it means: we can all get along if we just agree with you that the good number of people who support Obama (which I remind you is a good number MORE than support your candidate, nationally) have been suffering a terrible collective delusion for the past year or so. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man ain't king; he's crazy.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:20 PM on April 17, 2008


I don't agree with MetaMan's quote above about liberal views only being held tentatively. My liberalism does include respect for opponents in debate, and concern that people should play by open and fair rules - but that's not about believing things tentatively. I hold strong and immovable views, which I would vigorously defend, on the importance of open democracy, internationalism, human rights and political participation. We can disagree about the rate of estate tax duty, but there is a bedrock of belief to this (European) liberal at least.
posted by athenian at 4:21 PM on April 17, 2008


Well said athenian!
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:28 PM on April 17, 2008


He let his handlers turn him into an effete debater

you know, metaMAN, for someone who accuses others, including obama, of sexism, you sure are obsessed with how "effete" certain people are

i was gonna stay out of this, but someone needed to make that observation
posted by pyramid termite at 5:06 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Elite is another word for smart, competent, and trained. And we can't have that. Certainly not in George Bush's America.

What FOX means when it says Elite is not so much semantics as it is a subliminal visual code.

When the FOX News pundits say 'Elitist" they hope to conjure up, in the minds of the mouth-breathers, mental images of thin-nosed men with slick-backed hair, monocles, and silk smoking jackets talking in arcane multisyllabic poetry very with very droll New England accents. These men would be laughing at the meager efforts of Bob-sixpack to put food on the table with out the benefit of an Ivy League education and they would be conniving to snatch up our guns and force us to pay taxes to PBS. Then, of course, they would dis-robe slowly and ass fuck each other in the warm glow of a roaring fireplace right under the leering portraits of FDR and Satan.

My favorite irony is watching former Bushies on FOX talking about the evil out-of-touch Elites. Then after the interview they climb aboard their private jets to fly back to their secluded gated compounds on Martha's Vineyard, while talking to their Skull-and-Bones Alum chums on the secure Sat Phone a buddy at who's on the Board at Raytheon gave them.
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on April 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


When did it all change from when the President was regarded as one of the smartest people in the country to being someone Joe Sixpack just wants to have a beer with? I have a hard time with that focus. I want the leader of my country to be frighteningly intelligent, austere, considered, driven, focused, compassionate and empathic, but mentally very, very tough. I don't want to have a beer with him or her, I want him or her to govern intelligently.

It's funny that all these clowns voted for Bush because he was packaged as the good ole boy you could hang out with (HEY ASSHOLES! HE DOESN'T DRINK, REMEMBER??), while in reality he's been the most cloistered, shut-in, close-lipped, autocratic and out of touch President anyone can remember.
posted by psmealey at 6:51 PM on April 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


metafilter: mental images of thin-nosed men with slick-backed hair, monocles, and silk smoking jackets talking in arcane multisyllabic poetry...with very droll New England accents.
posted by ornate insect at 6:57 PM on April 17, 2008


In between living in various compounds, though, George W. Bush cleared some trees at the ranch where he spends his 9 weeks of vacation a year, which clearly makes him a down-to-earth working man.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:58 PM on April 17, 2008


to call this a "dance around the race issue" totally misses the significance of what's been said here

I'll take your word for it. I didn't pay attention to the hubbub and what commentary I had seen on the subject gave me the impression I indicated.

I do know that there's been some backlash among some gun-lovin', Christian, generally happy, community-loving people who don't particularly appreciate the attack on effectively a stereotype. But if the O-man hit more wheat than chaff in that comment, I'm certainly willing to endorse it as a brave and right thing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:18 PM on April 17, 2008


Oh, and:

When did it all change from when the President was regarded as one of the smartest people in the country to being someone Joe Sixpack just wants to have a beer with?

When the left, stung by defeats in 2000 and especially in 2004, decided that they not only agreed with the realism/cynicism position that appearance matters but wholeheartedly sold itself to that ideal, and now we get what increasingly looks like pop relationship commentary on the subject: "All that really matters is whether he/she makes you feel good."
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:21 PM on April 17, 2008


I agree more often than not with MetaMan here, and this reads like most every political forum I've been following on the net since the start of the primaries.. the lone Clinton supporter being called a troll for disagreeing with the overwhelming majority.

Are there rules I'm unaware of at Metafilter in which it's suspect to hold a contrary point of view, and would everyone prefer the voices of dissent to leave?

Obama's no progressive. His advisers are DLC centrists. Hillary's the most progressive candidate in the race now. So, well, if Obama supporters consider themselves progressive and prefer to have the most progressive candidate as the nominee, yes, I think something's not right here. His beautiful rhetoric, to me, can't hide the fact that he has DLC centrist policy advisers and has been attacking from the right on universal health care and Social Security among other issues. I do think progressives are making a mistake in pushing Obama as the nominee. How do we know what he'll do? We can't look at his record - he has none. We can't get much from his rhetoric - it's too vague. We can look at his policy people (Cutler, Goolsbee) and think about where they'd lead us - but that would tell progressives things they perhaps don't want to know because it might get in the way of idealizing Obama.
posted by citron at 7:39 PM on April 17, 2008


the lone Clinton supporter being called a troll for disagreeing with the overwhelming majority.

There is disagreeing, and there is trolling. If you can't tell the difference, by all means, continue conflating the two and acting persecuted. Just don't expect anyone to take you seriously.
posted by aqhong at 8:13 PM on April 17, 2008


Be nice if there were some non-trollish Clinton supporters here in fact.
posted by Artw at 8:38 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


citron - I think that the issue with MetaMan is not so much that he is a Clinton supporter, if that's what he is in actuality, but that he resorts to ad hominem, is dismissive of others' opinions, comes across as condescending, and argues poorly.

Not to mention that this is a thread about the media manufacturing nontroversies, and MetaMan's comments in here are pure derail and should be flagged as such. Sorry to contribute to the further derailing.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:55 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are there rules I'm unaware of at Metafilter in which it's suspect to hold a contrary point of view, and would everyone prefer the voices of dissent to leave?

metaman's not engaging anyone in real discussion, he's just repeating the same trite talking points, over and over

Obama's no progressive. His advisers are DLC centrists. Hillary's the most progressive candidate in the race now.

it's a question of competency, honesty and willingness to lead by uniting people - metaman and now you have made this "he's not progressive" argument time and time again, forgetting that few of us have claimed he is

it has been proven that obama is more competent, more honest, and is able to lead by uniting people - his campaign is winning and it's not going broke like hers or lost major people like hers - he has not been caught lying about "sniper fire" or anything else - and he could never be as divisive as she and her husband have been

she voted for the war - he seems serious about trying to end it

His beautiful rhetoric, to me, can't hide the fact that he has DLC centrist policy advisers and has been attacking from the right on universal health care and Social Security among other issues.

he's not going to get any health care or social security reform done without congress, which is full of dlc centrists and worse - he seems like he's more willing to give and take than she'll ever be

I do think progressives are making a mistake in pushing Obama as the nominee. How do we know what he'll do? We can't look at his record - he has none.

neither does she as anything else but a senator - and if you're going to count her "experience" as first lady, you'll have to count the debacle of "hillarycare", not to mention her husband's immature and deeply divisive behavior
posted by pyramid termite at 8:57 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to reinforce this point:

metaman and now you have made this "he's not progressive" argument time and time again, forgetting that few of us have claimed he is

I do not believe Hillary's actual political views are significantly more or less "progressive" than Obama's. But more to the point, I don't care. I do not consider myself a progressive, and have never claimed to want the most progressive candidate as nominee. I support Obama because I think he would make the best president (for the reasons pyramid termite outlined above). Obviously I can't speak for all of his supporters, but this reeks of a straw man argument to me.
posted by aqhong at 9:09 PM on April 17, 2008


and if you're going to count her "experience" as first lady, you'll have to count the debacle of "hillarycare", not to mention her husband's immature and deeply divisive behavior

"debacle of hillarycare"??? You forget that she and her husband were the FIRST Democrats to take the health care machine on, and they got crushed by a $300M healthcare industry-sponsored smear campaign.
That's a fact. And you attack her for trying?

And, "aqhong" likes your argument? This is what keeps me coming back. When I see ignorance like yours and his spouted about Hillary, I feel called, like a missionary, to virgin territory.

It appears to me that your support for Obama is fueled by his ideas (not his actions, because there is little record of action), and the MSM's Hillary meme. How is that possible with someone who claims the supreme discriminatory powers that you claim as your own?

The IRONY in all this - in spite of someone else, above, attacking me for "highjacking" this thread - a thread that's ostensibly critical of MSM - is that YOU YOURSELF and OBAMA have been largely fed, and gotten fattened up on - MSM garbage, dostortion, etc.

And, it's only now - now that the MSM can't trash Hillary any more, and in spite of that trashing Hillary is still VERY viable (in spite of those here who don't remember brokered conventions - they DO happen) - - it's only now that the MSM machine is turning its emotional filters to Obama, and dragging him down the same way that they drove Hillary down, that you're getting upset. Why is that?

You're pissed, because I'm pointing out a contradiction in your argument about the MSM. That contradiction has to do with the FACT that you haven't said a PEEP about the negative bias directed at Hillary (which I've shown ample evidence about, earlier).

Instead, you, Obama, and many other Obama supporters have suckled at the tit of the MSM as it mercilessly trashed an essentially good person - someone you happen to disagree with, and don't even know.

I may disagree with Obama, but I will not say that he is a bad person. I haven't seen that kind of restraint here when it comes to Hillary. That's telling. What I see is irrational hatred, with only a few (in fairness) competently challenging her policy positions, on substance.

Look at it this way; it's your irrational hatred of Hillary that fuels my presence here. I'm going to hang out and push the mirror right up into your face, so that you can see your own contradictions, first hand.
posted by MetaMan at 10:13 PM on April 17, 2008


Artw -- there are other Clinton supporters on this thread. Hi. I, for one, am trying my hardest *not* to get sucked into yet another slugfest on the issue, especially for an FPP which was supposed to be about overhyped media "scandals" (remember that, everyone?)
posted by kyrademon at 11:05 PM on April 17, 2008


So much for the end of the hype machine

It's just going to get worse for Obama; he's fresh meat for the media. McCain and Hillary have been beaten up and bruised.

Do MeFi regulars in these political threads think that their (and my( disgust for the MSM is going to change middle America? It won't.

The hype machine is, in fact, going to go into high gear - and Barack Obama is directly in its path, as Hillary and McCain sit by and watch it run treadmarks over "hopes and dreams".

Do I like this? No. Is it a political reality in America? Yes. Is it an important factor in electability? Yes. Should one's susceptibility to these attacks be considered by the Supers? I hope so.
posted by MetaMan at 11:55 PM on April 17, 2008


Who needs the MSM to tell us which issues America is supposed to care about? John Edwards discusses his most important issues on tonight's Colbert Report.

Clinton and Obama also appeared on the same program (an impressive scheduling feat by Colbert's staff), and the entire episode was chock full of WIN. My favorite moment was the devastating clip of a younger, more idealistic George Stephanapoulos talking about how we need to move past pettiness to discuss real issues in politics. Score. It's the exact right rebuttal to the whole ABC debate debacle to remind the MSM that some people still get it.

Even if all that the rest of us are left with is late night basic cable.
posted by DaShiv at 12:38 AM on April 18, 2008


I'm disappointed there was no classic Colbert interrogation of Clinton (which is what I was expecting when I heard she would be making an appearance), but the rest of the show made up for it.

My favorite line, from Colbert's debate review: "I'm sorry, Senator, I can't hear you over the sound of YOU NOT WEARING A FLAG PIN."
posted by aqhong at 1:22 AM on April 18, 2008


He Said, She Said:
Barber reports in his 2001 book that Hillary Clinton said "Screw 'em" about southern working class whites who did not support Bill Clinton. Two other scholar-particiants, Alan Wolfe and Harry Boyte, agree she said this. Reported demurrals (and not a clear denial) come from Clinton staffers Bruce Reed and Ken Baer, not from the independent intellectuals in attendance. But independent witnesses who keep notes trump employees any day.

I have gone back to my 1995 notes to check my recollections of the event. My notes do not have any exact words, so I am not going to try to corroborate a particular phrase from Hillary Clinton or any other speaker.

But what is clear in both in my memory and my notes is that there was extensive, hard-nosed discussion about why masses of voters did not support Clinton or trust government or base their choices on economic as opposed to what people saw as peripheral life-style concerns. Hillary Clinton was among the most cold-blooded analysts in attendance. She spoke of ordinary voters as if they were a species apart, and showed interest only in the political usefulness of their choices -- usefulness to the Clinton administration, that is.

I vividly remember at the time finding it impressive that Bill Clinton (not Hillary Clinton) showed real empathy for the ordinary people whose motives and supposedly misguided choices were under analysis. Ironically, just as Barber reported, Bill Clinton was the one who combined analysis and empathy, much as Obama himself did in his full San Francisco remarks.
posted by aqhong at 1:33 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, "aqhong" likes your argument? This is what keeps me coming back. When I see ignorance like yours and his spouted about Hillary, I feel called, like a missionary, to virgin territory.

Honestly, MetaMan, I don't know where you learned your skills of persuasion, but with arrogance like this, it can't be a mystery to you why people are reacting to you personally.

What I see is irrational hatred, with only a few (in fairness) competently challenging her policy positions, on substance.

What I see is quite rational revulsion against your tactics, your condescension and ad homs. I'm not seeing any spite aimed at Hillary herself, on this thread or any other that you have hijacked for your own mysterious purposes. It's almost as if you scream MISOGYNY or IRRATIONAL HATRED loudly or frequently enough, you'll bait someone into going there and it'll prove your point for you.
posted by psmealey at 1:58 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wall to Wall Ugly
posted by psmealey at 2:37 AM on April 18, 2008


Nobody cares about your personal opinion of whatever candidate you give a crap about.

If you think they do, feel free to spam HuffPo with endless comments. I don't know who these "undecideds" the networks poll are, but I guarantee you they are not found in metafilter comment threads. We were having a nice chat about journalism in here, but I suppose tagging it with Obama and Clinton doomed it from the start.
posted by mek at 4:43 AM on April 18, 2008


You really think it was the tagging that doomed it? I disagree. I think it was actually something else that happened at right about 6:58pm EDT on April 16.
posted by psmealey at 4:45 AM on April 18, 2008


Wherein MetaMan says "Obama is an effete elitist "

And yet more recently he tells us:

I may disagree with Obama, but I will not say that he is a bad person. I haven't seen that kind of restraint here when it comes to Hillary. That's telling. What I see is irrational hatred, with only a few (in fairness) competently challenging her policy positions, on substance.

Sometimes, you gotta say it: MetaMan, you're a liar and a troll; not only have you attacked Obama as a person repeatedly in this and other threads with all manner of name-calling, some of it verging on racist and homophobic discourse; you have similarly and repeatedly personally attacked all Obama supporters as stupid and delusional, as well as specific posters on this site.

In the last two threads you received a big fat pass on the supposed grounds that everyone was getting down and dirty. But this is the third thread you've crapped on, this time really off topic, with your pro-Hillary and definitely anti-Obama arrogant screeds. Just because a few of us stand up to you or call you out on your lies and distortions and tone does not mean we're all acting the same way here.

I admit taking the bait repeatedly, because I strongly support Obama and because I think you are an ignorant fool and a disruptive troll, and that you are spreading lies as if they were facts.

You aren't convincing anyone here of the validity of your positions; you're confirming, for some of us I think, the worst impressions your candidate leaves with many, and so do many of her supporters. You're mad you're losing the election; it must be everyone's fault BUT your candidate's! Blame the media, blame Obama, blame his supporters, blame the world. But it is now time for you to shut the fuck up.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:06 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


And to add, the shouting, hectoring tone of your posts is antithetical to the supposedly reasonable political discourse you call for. You put every 10th word in caps as if you were desperately and urgently trying to convince us that we're about to drive off a cliff.

This is a fucking democracy (the US, I mean, at least nominally). We vote how we choose to vote and it is an insult to the intelligence of your interlocutors for you to keep saying our allegiances are immoral, wrong headed, or stupid.

In your name, I am about to go give Obama another $50, which makes $200 I've given in your name so far this month. You're having the opposite effect from the one you want, just as your candidate does every time she tries to smear Obama with some new racist triviality.

You win my prize for the most asinine MeFite ever.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:11 AM on April 18, 2008


Yeah, Obama got so creamed in that debate that three more superdelegates committed to him yesterday.

Also this:

Obama supporters have suckled at the tit of the MSM as it mercilessly trashed an essentially good person - someone you happen to disagree with, and don't even know

Does the irony -- to say nothing of the misogyny, which you so heartily decry in the name of Senator Clinton -- of this statement not permeate your brain, even a little?
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:14 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think nothing penetrates the brain of a troll; I honestly now think MetaMan is a right wing activist who is here trying to set us against each other and (in fact) to make HRC look bad.

There is a reason the right is so afraid of Obama that it wants the devil it knows (HRC) to run against this year. So they send out minions like MetaMan to stir up the pot, throw a little mud, make us hardened against our fellow progressives, and turn this into a battle of personalities and characters rather than ideas.

HRC, alas, has played into their hands -- again. It's what has soured many of us on her (including me, a former supporter of HRC for senate, and I considered her seriously for the presidency before she took a hard right turn and began campaigning for McCain). But the conduct of her supporters has not been pretty, and for a while I thought MetaMan was one of those bitter types who post at Hillaryis44.com -- where you will see as much overt racism as I have seen in any "liberal" context in my lifetime. Hillary's campaign has become hard and shrill in its death throes, though ultimately it seems to be hurting her rather than Obama.

But MetaMan is another species; he's the classic concern troll. Dollars to donuts he's a republican operative.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:32 AM on April 18, 2008


You forget that she and her husband were the FIRST Democrats to take the health care machine on, and they got crushed by a $300M healthcare industry-sponsored smear campaign.

and the fact that it was a much more complicated system than a single-payer one - which, unfortunately, isn't being pushed in this election

. And you attack her for trying?

for failing - and yes, the failure had much to do with the proposal itself and how it was pushed forward

it's wise for a president not to make specific proposals like that unless she's already got them worked out with congressional leadership before hand - otherwise, it's best to let congress come up with the legislation

she didn't understand that - a lot of americans don't when considering their next president, but she really should

How is that possible with someone who claims the supreme discriminatory powers that you claim as your own?

this is precisely the kind of statement that caused me to say that you're not engaging people in debate - i never made such a claim

s that YOU YOURSELF and OBAMA have been largely fed, and gotten fattened up on - MSM garbage, dostortion, etc.

i can't speak for him, but i don't even HAVE a tv set - i get my news from newspaper websites

You're pissed, because I'm pointing out a contradiction in your argument about the MSM.

my argument about the MSM was how it regarded the issue of "bitter" americans, not how it regarded obama

What I see is irrational hatred, with only a few (in fairness) competently challenging her policy positions, on substance.

and yet, i have done so, and you often ignore that in favor of straw man arguments about how i "suckle at the tit of the MSM" when i don't even have a TV set

I'm going to hang out and push the mirror right up into your face, so that you can see your own contradictions, first hand.

to do that, you would actually have to confront what i actually say instead of arguing with this $generic_obama_supporter you keep addressing
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 AM on April 18, 2008


It's what has soured many of us on her (including me, a former supporter of HRC for senate, and I considered her seriously for the presidency before she took a hard right turn and began campaigning for McCain).

yeah - just what is up with that? - she's done an awful lot of work for him, sorting out the possible lines of attack for the republicans - doesn't she even realize how dumb this is, strategically?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:53 AM on April 18, 2008


Desperation is a funny thing ...

HRC has, as I said above, basically written a scenario where the only way she can win the nomination will entail losing the general election, and even if she does not win the nomination she is seriously harming Obama's chances of a GE win at this point. Shades of Tracy FLick, I'd say.

Because if the superdelegates hand the nomination to Clinton over the expressed will of the voters -- which is definitively Obama unless there is a blowout of totally unforeseen proportions in one of the larger upcoming primaries -- the democratic party will fall apart. African American and young voters (and a few middle aged upper middle class white guys like me) simply won't vote for Clinton after all of this. In fact, I'd advocate Obama running a third party campaign, which would deny a plurality to any of the other two candidates, might well lead to a win for him, and which he could certainly afford financially. (I am not a Democrat; I'm an independent, and I am loyal to NO party). Without black and young voters, there is no way the Democrats can win the GE.

I don't really think it will work the other way; Clinton supporters, many of whom are feminists who can't let go of the abstract (and noble) vision of a woman president in this cycle, will be forced to choose between someone who is stridently anti-choice and someone who is a committed activist for choice, with 2 or 3 supreme court seats in the balance. Besides, Obama is just so much more genuine and likeable than Hillary; he'll win over the crowd in a month or two of being the candidate. I don't worry about it nearly as much as the signal a SD-endorsed Clinton candidacy would send: your votes didn't matter in 2000, or 2004, and they don't matter to the Democratic party in 2008.

Because the bottom line here is that Obama is winning the election by the rules, handily, and will do so definitively unless something completely massive happens to change that dynamic (which won't be people like MetaMan howling about how "effete" he is). Obama has shown he can roll with the hard punches and hit right back with grace, change the frame and re-orient the baseless charges into a platform for dealing with real and substantive issues; and he has shown he can run a disciplined and very successful national campaign, while Team Hillary has run an amateur and sloppy operation, always a step behind Obama at best. Oh, and the ability to outraise either McCain or Clinton by multiples of 3 and 4 times won't hurt either.

No, the amazing thing is that for all MetaMans handwringing OHNOES THE BAD RIGHTWING MACHINE IS GOING TO TEAR OBAMA TO SHREDS! fearfulness, the remarkable thing is that every time HRC tries to hit Obama with one of these Rovian smears, it ends up all over her face.

I can't wait to see Obama do it to McCain. Obama makes Bill Clinton look like an amateur politician in his ability to take and return fire. He makes HRC look like the weak and damaged candidate she always was.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:07 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And Robert Reich endorses Obama today, after declaring himself a Clinton supporter earlier

Great strategy Clinton has there; alienating even her declared supporters who know her well!

I guess Reich (who was one of the few truly impressive members of the Clinton white house crew) has been drinking the MSM koolaid and is among the delusional and irrelevant now.

I predict Gore goes for Obama before the PA primary.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:34 AM on April 18, 2008


Also, I missed this above: MetaMan writes:

Gore LOST.

You're no democrat!
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 AM on April 18, 2008


Reich, from the article linked above:

"I saw the ads" — the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama's bitter/cling comments a week ago — "and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It's the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we've developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn't possibly believe and doesn't possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I've seen growing in Hillary's campaign. And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past 20 years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical."
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:37 AM on April 18, 2008


But MetaMan is another species; he's the classic concern troll. Dollars to donuts he's a republican operative.

My sentiment exactly.
posted by ericb at 7:09 AM on April 18, 2008


Ongoing nomination fight hurting Clinton more than Obama
"In a dramatic reversal, an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll found that a clear majority [56%] of Democratic voters now say Sen. Barack Obama has a better chance of defeating Republican Sen. John McCain in November than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

While Obama and Clinton are both sustaining dents and dings from their lengthy presidential fight, the former first lady is clearly suffering more. Democratic voters no longer see her as the party's strongest contender for the White House.

...The most encouraging sign for Obama is that many Democrats who previously saw Clinton as their party's best hope now give him that role. About one-third of them still prefer Clinton, but they have lost confidence in her electability.

...By tracking the same group throughout the campaign, the AP-Yahoo! News poll can gauge how individual views change. It suggests that Clinton has paid a price for hammering Obama since early February on several issues as she tries to overcome his lead in delegates and the popular vote. Among those Democrats who no longer consider her the more electable of the two, most now see her as less likable, decisive, strong, honest, experienced and ethical than they did in January.

Meanwhile, those same voters are more likely to see Obama as strong, honest and refreshing than before."
posted by ericb at 7:13 AM on April 18, 2008


Two more MetaMan gems that require rebuttal:

"Obama ... doesn't have the right stuff to win an election this November, because (look at his halting Obama NOT resonate with middle America in the same way that McCain does."
and

"Do MeFi regulars in these political threads think that their (and my) disgust for the MSM is going to change middle America? It won't."


So it's us against them, huh? Who's the elitist, really?

You're nudging and winking that those of us who are really politically savvy all know that some mythical "middle America" needs its white bread lapel-pin-wearing bullshit to support a candidate, and urging your fellow coastal cosmopolitan types to recognize that the electorate is too *stupid* to see through the obvious crap fed to us by the media. This whole thread has centered on the unfolding story of a major rupture in the propaganda dike after Wednesday night's awful "debate" shocked the consciences of a dozen or more major media critics and at least the roughly 10,000 people who have left disparaging comments on the ABC News website. As evidence, Obama is apparently enjoying a nice bounce off the correct perception that the whole thing was a hit job, just as Hillary did after SNL's spoof of her (much softer) "rough treatment" in earlier debates. Only this outrage far exceeds the SNL spoof in its force, because it's coming from a substantial number of "middle Americans" you think are too dumb to notice. Hence the spate of superdelegates and endorsements rolling Obama's way today, and the general disinterest in Clinton's post-debate efforts. Even the media knows it's been schooled this week, as it did briefly after HRC's New Hampshire win. I've even heard the mea culpa story on the MSM (MSNBC and CNN both have pieces running on it, and it's been discussed on their commentary shows) that people are getting sick of the triviality and personality politics in their own coverage, remarkably.

If she hadn't already lost me, the sneer with which HRC delights in saying "San Francisco" when trying to tar Obama's "bitter" comments with the brush of un-American sentiment would have poisoned her candidacy for me anew. How many times have we heard that from the right? From Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, from Rove and Cheney? As if San Francisco is not as much "America" as Scranton? As if the people who live there can't be patriots, don't have a say in how we run this country, don't deserve the benefits of citizenship, all because they don't conform to a mythological stereotype of a "real" or "middle" American?

That's old thinking, precisely why HRC's campaign has been behind for so long. This is not 1988, and the country faces real and massive crises. "Small town" America is a decade out from the devastation of deindustrialization -- in places like Western PA more than two decades out. People no longer recognize themselves in the caricatures of Red/Blue dividers like David Brooks or MetaMan, caricatures that were only ever propaganda tools of the far right corporate republican machine.

MetaMan, you're the elitist here. Real Americans live in the middle and on the coasts (literally, in my case, since I divide my life between New York and Indiana). Real Americans are atheists and Latinos and South Asians and Buddhists; some of us are highly educated, and others invested in the global economy.

You represent the politics of division Obama is running to transcend, and has been since he sent up the flare at the 2004 democratic convention. Americans are waking up, it would seem, to the proposition that we stand united or fall divided. They hungered for it when George Bush promised it too, and feel betrayed that he did not even attempt to deliver, which has amplified our crises (and created many of them) a hundred fold in the past 8 years.

Could Obama be as full of shit as Bush was? Maybe so. But by making unity the centerpiece of his campaign, he speaks to a deep yearning in the American electorate for change -- change of our discourse, change of our priorities, change of our hearts -- and both Hillary Clinton and John McCain are trying to scare people into fearing this, retreating one more time into culture war stupidity and gotcha politics and the pitting of Scranton against San Francisco. By making it the central argument for his candidacy, and proving his ability to build a unified coalition for change with his remarkable fundraising effort and victories and successes in areas and with constituencies long thought closed to progressive politics, he has shown leadership and promised accountability. We'll judge him, once he's president, on whether he delivers a new tone and a new seriousness to our politics. It's a tough job.

Senator Clinton has never articulated a vision for the future other than a resurrection of the recent past. Her experience is associated with the beginning of the most recent period of madness, and her husband's presence as a surrogate on the campaign trail reinforces this. Yet she won't speak to the question of how she will build a coalition of support for very important and very difficult new initiatives like universal health care -- failure in her previous effort taught her nothing about how you actually make changes happen by building constituencies.

I'm tired of being told who is a "real" or "middle" American. I'm a citizen, same as any other citizen. My vote doesn't count less than an out of work mechanic's, and nor do I assume s/he needs to be considered incapable of thinking for her/himself about how to vote.

You'll reply that you have to think like a Republican to win an election. To which I say, you can have the office if win that way, as Bush did, but you won't be my president, as he isn't.

Thank you very damn much.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:27 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


IGNORE HIM AND HE'LL GO AWAY
posted by shakespeherian at 7:33 AM on April 18, 2008


Now that this thread has totally disintegrated, just for posterity, I would like to address this canard the Bill Clinton (or moreover The Clintons) "saved" the Democratic Party". This is not widely believed since the only person I have ever heard utter it is our friend upthread. I have also never heard the expression "Camelot Democrats" other than to possibly reference the Kennedy Administration, but I'll perhaps leave that for another time.

In 1992, Clinton ran as a so-called "New Democrat". The concept was somewhat nebulous, but what it implied was: pro-business, not beholden to traditional Democratic special interest groups like organized labor, strong on defense and personal responsibility, and aggressive with respect to trying out smaller new programs to supplant older, failed one (no more welfare, but "workfare"). A lot of these ideas appealed to so-called Reagan Democrats, and Clinton ran a tight campaign, leading George H. W. Bush in the polls by 8% or more all summer and fall of 1992. Some Republicans claim that Perot had stolen votes from Bush, but the polling belies that. Perot had surged into the lead very briefly at one point, but then mostly held steady at 18-20%, and Clinton's lead over Bush was pretty close to double figures. In fact, when Perot briefly dropped out of the race, Clinton's lead went to close to 15%. At any rate, the claim that if Perot hadn't run, Bush would have won is misleading bordering on a falsehood.

At any rate, Clinton took office in January of 1993 riding a wave of youthful optimism and vigor not seen in this country since the heady days of 1961. Though the Dems had lost 9 seats in the House, they still had a 59-41% majority and controlled 57 seats in the Senate. Rush Limbaugh had already started his marathon smear campaign, but this had yet to register on anyone's radar.

Clinton proceeded to squander goodwill and public support with long delays in filling key cabinet positions, the Joycelyn Elders flap, a generally undisciplined management style, policy overreach ("HillaryCare") and tone-deafness on an issue that was perhaps a bit before its time (Gays in the Military that resulted in the now infamous "don't ask don't tell" policy). By the fall, there was the Mogadishu incident, and withdrawal from Somalia, that confirmed what a lot of those on the right had been saying since the year before: Clinton was unfit to be Commander-in-Chief. Now, I'll never understand why the same criticism was not aimed at Reagan when he pulled the Marines out of Beirut in similar fashion almost exactly 10 years earlier, but that's beside the point, I guess.

At any rate, across the Atlantic. Tony Blair basically later took his own coup over John Major and the Conservatives and was able to transform the "New Labour" movement into a semi-permanent majority which remains powerful today. Clinton had two years to play his hand and blew it. Clinton spent the remaining six years of his term being brought to heel by the GOP, never really getting back to what remained of his agenda, while the Democrats were losing election after election, both at the national and state levels. Republicans won majorities in the House, the Senate and in the 50 Governor's mansions throughout the country. Beyond this, that the White House did nothing to support Al Gore in the 2000 election, while putting the its full weight behind Hillary's in support of her mostly non-competitive two-part Senate races against Rudy Giuliani and Rick Lazio.

Clinton left office in political ignominy having never really recovered from Impeachment to do much of anything but act as a figurehead, attack Bosnia about two years after it should have happened, but still remained personally popular, a credit to his personal gifts, but many of us looked at those eight years, and the stunning outcome of the 2000 election and asked each other: what the fuck? Not only did we not accomplish anything of note, we didn't even get a Democrat elected to the Presidency in relatively good economic times.

Clearly, a lot of those events were not his fault, and he was spun non-stop by Newt and the populist right, but the argument that he "saved" the Democratic Party is patently absurd.
posted by psmealey at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Attacks on Obama fail to sway superdelegates.
posted by ericb at 7:39 AM on April 18, 2008


NBC's Chuck Todd:
"Curious of what the bitterness and anger could look like if Obama is somehow denied the Democratic nomination? Check out the reaction from the ObamaNation over Wednesday’s debate. To put it simply, ABC was under siege yesterday. This may only be a taste of how the ObamaNation would react to a Clinton nomination. If MoveOn is motivated to do a petition campaign against the media over a debate, imagine what Clinton delegates and undecided superdelegates would face this summer if there is doubt. And as the Politico’s Ben Smith pointed out yesterday, it’s also what the GOP would face in the general election, especially if Obama is nominee. The level of devotion among Obama's supporters rivals what Bush had with his flock in 2004. The left-wing blogosphere is MUCH more powerful than what you see on the right this cycle and it reminds us of the advantage Bush had in '04. While we all know about that so-called right-wing voice machine, don’t forget that there is now a left-wing noise machine (on the internet) as well. And it has found its voice."
Politico.com's Ben Smith:
"The ABC debate, according to the network, got 10.7 million viewers.

It also triggered the most furious outrage I've seen from the huge, and growing, Obama activist base, which in this case merged with the liberal Netroots -- which aren't always on the same page -- to generate a volume of complaints about the first 45-minutes of questioning that are pretty impossible to miss.

It's just a small glimpse, I think, of the level of heat the media is going to take in the general election, and John McCain doesn't seem to have any equivalent."
posted by ericb at 8:01 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


But MetaMan is another species; he's the classic concern troll. Dollars to donuts he's a republican operative.

If you look at his commenting history he has two kinds of comments: Hillary-Obama speeches and really banal stuff.

That's not a positive contribution. That's trolling. And at this point, I don't really think we're listening to him anymore. If another Hillary supporter were to make the same arguments, we could have a conversation -- so long as the commenters ENGAGE with the discussion and not REPEAT THE SAME DAMN POINTS OVER AND OVER LIKE A STUCK RECORD.
posted by dw at 8:02 AM on April 18, 2008


Oh, and one more thing:

Should one's susceptibility to these attacks be considered by the Supers? I hope so.

I hope they do -- and also take into account the effectiveness of each candidate's campaigns. How much money did they raise? What was their nomination strategy? Did it work? Did they overcome adversity?

Because as I see it, Hillary's campaign has been poorly run and poorly managed. Not as bad as the Giuliani debacle, but remarkably bad considering we're talking about the people who ran Clinton's '92 and '96 election victories. Having a crappy campaign and fundraising machine needs to be weighted the same as "susceptibility to attacks." It's Obama's Toyota vs. Clinton's Chrysler.
posted by dw at 8:10 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, the 15K comments on ABC News' website -- overwhelmingly negative -- also require creating a membership on the site, which makes that number truly impressive!
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:16 AM on April 18, 2008


And I know I'm a lot more conservative than most of MeFi, but Boren and Nunn endorsing Obama just seals it for me.
posted by dw at 12:04 PM on April 18, 2008


Yep, quite the day for Barack! This is how you build a coalition of reasonable people
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2008


Important Questions For George Stephanopoulos To Ask John McCain This Sunday.
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on April 18, 2008


Countdown: Democratic Debate Fulfilling Neo-Con Dreams For Iran
posted by homunculus at 1:59 PM on April 18, 2008


Obama Hamas Ties Pushed In McCain Letter: So Much For "Respectful" Campaign
posted by effwerd at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2008


The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Slight Return)
posted by homunculus at 9:24 AM on April 19, 2008


Clintons Sort Friends: Past and Present [NY Times]
posted by psmealey at 8:34 AM on April 20, 2008


Frank Rich revives his dormant Broadway Reviewer skills to review last week's train wreck of a debate [NY Times]:
In this one-size-fits-all analysis, Mr. Obama must be the new Dukakis, sure to be rejected by white guys easily manipulated by Lee Atwater-style campaigns exploiting race and class. But some voters who lived through 1988 have changed, and quite a few others are dead. In 2008, they are supplanted in part by an energized African-American electorate and the young voters of all economic strata who fueled the Obama movement that many pundits didn’t take seriously before Iowa. And that some still don’t. Cokie Roberts of ABC predicted in February that young voters probably won’t show up in November because “they never have before” and “they’ll be tired.”

However out of touch Mr. Obama is with “ordinary Americans,” many Americans, ordinary and not, have concluded that the talking heads blathering about blue-collar men, religion, guns and those incomprehensible “YouTube young people” are even more condescending and out of touch. When a Washington doyenne like Mary Matalin, freighted with jewelry, starts railing about elitists on “Meet the Press,” as she did last Sunday, it’s pure farce. It’s typical of the syndrome that the man who plays a raging populist on CNN, Lou Dobbs, dismissed Mr. Obama last week by saying “we don’t need another Ivy League-educated knucklehead.” Mr. Dobbs must know whereof he speaks, since he’s Harvard ’67.

...

Next to such knuckleheaded obtuseness, Mr. Obama’s pratfall may strike many voters as a misdemeanor. He was probably rescued as well by the typical Clinton campaign overkill that followed his mistake. Not content merely to piously feign shock about Mr. Obama’s San Francisco soliloquy (and the operative political buzzword here is San Francisco, which stands for you-know-what), Mrs. Clinton couldn’t resist presenting herself as an unambiguously macho, beer-swilling hunting enthusiast. This is as condescending as it gets, topping even Mitt Romney’s last-ditch effort to repackage himself to laid-off union workers as the love child of Joe Hill and Norma Rae.

The video of Mrs. Clinton knocking back drinks in an Indiana bar drowned out the scratchy audio of Mr. Obama’s wispy words in San Francisco. Her campaign didn’t seem to recognize that among the many consequences of the Bush backlash is a revulsion against such play acting. Americans belatedly learned the hard way that the brush-clearing cowboy of the Crawford “ranch” (it’s a country house, not a working ranch) was in reality an entitled Andover-Yale-Harvard oil brat whose arrogance has left us where we are now. Voters don’t want a rerun from a Wellesley-Yale alumna who served on the board of Wal-Mart.

Privileged though they are, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama do want to shape policy to help the less well-heeled. Mr. McCain, who had a far more elite upbringing than either of them and whose wife’s estimated fortune exceeds the Clintons’, is not just condescending to working Americans but trying to hoodwink them. Next week, in a replay of the 2000 Bush campaign’s “compassionate conservative” photo ops among black schoolchildren, he will show he’s a “different kind of Republican” by visiting what he calls the “forgotten” America of Alabama’s “black belt” and the old steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. What he wants voters to forget is the inequity of his new economic plan.

That plan’s incoherent smorgasbord of items includes a cut from 35 percent to 25 percent in the corporate tax rate. For noncorporate taxpayers, Mr. McCain offers such thin gruel as a battle against federal pork (the notorious Alaskan “bridge to nowhere,” earmarked for $223 million in federal highway money, costs less than a day of the war in Iraq) and a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax (a saving of some $2.75 per 15-gallon tank). Now there’s a reason for voters to be bitter — assuming bloviators start publicizing and parsing Mr. McCain’s words as relentlessly as they do the Democrats’.

That may be a big assumption. At an Associated Press luncheon for newspaper editors in Washington last week, Mr. McCain was given a standing ovation. (The other candidate who appeared, Mr. Obama, was not.) Cindy McCain, whose tax returns remain under wraps, has not received remotely the same scrutiny as Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton, except for her plagiarized recipes. The most damning proof of the press’s tilt toward Mr. McCain, though, is the lack of clamor for his complete health records, especially in the wake of his baffling serial factual confusions about Iraq, his No. 1 issue.

But that remains on hold while we resolve whether Mr. Obama lost Wednesday’s debate with his defensive stumbling, or whether Mrs. Clinton lost it with her ceaseless parroting of right-wing attacks. The unequivocally good news is that ABC’s debacle had the largest audience of any debate in this campaign. That’s a lot of viewers who are now mad as hell and won’t take it anymore.

posted by psmealey at 8:43 AM on April 20, 2008


In this one-size-fits-all analysis, Mr. Obama must be the new Dukakis, sure to be rejected by white guys easily manipulated by Lee Atwater-style campaigns exploiting race and class. But some voters who lived through 1988 have changed, and quite a few others are dead.

I lol'd.
posted by aqhong at 8:54 AM on April 20, 2008


Are Clinton and Obama Communists?
posted by homunculus at 5:16 PM on April 20, 2008


Recreate ’68: Democrats to Face Protests in Denver at Democratic National Convention
posted by homunculus at 4:22 PM on April 21, 2008


That... seems somewhat unhelpful.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on April 21, 2008


PA primary will be unauditable; GOP blocks e-voting reform

That... seems extremely unhelpful.
posted by homunculus at 10:24 PM on April 21, 2008


GOP blocks e-voting reform

Boy. Here's the question that answers itself: cui bono?
posted by psmealey at 7:39 AM on April 22, 2008


well, i guess she does

and so, the long and tiresome affair continues to drag on ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:48 PM on April 22, 2008


No matter what, the Dems are leaving Denver with a nominee. So at some point this will end. But probably not well.
posted by dw at 9:08 PM on April 22, 2008


I sat down and did the delegate math about 10 different ways -- assumed 60% wins for Hillary, 60% for Obama, all that. And what I worked out was that Hillary's strategy isn't to win, it's to hang on until the convention.

There are ~310 "uncommitted" superdelegates left. If the most likely scenario breaks (Hillary wins WV by 20 and IN/KY/PR by 10, Obama wins NC/OR/SD/MT by 20), then Hillary would need 60% of the remaining superdelegates to prevent Obama from winning. That she might be able to do. In order to win, though, she'd need 87% of the remaining superdelegates. And outside of Obama completely biffing, that's not going to happen.

So, why is she hanging on? She knows two things. One, that 27% of superdelegates is about 84 people she has to swing. And she still has the political capital to swing 84 delegates. After the first ballot, it's wide open territory.

Two, and this is the thing that dawned on me tonight... she doesn't need Obama voters to win. All she has to do is win a majority of all women voting and she wins the White House. Period. There are more women than men in America, and they are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. They will turn out for her regardless of what happens. McCain will never be able to get enough men to vote for him to offset Hillary's bloc of women. And it doesn't matter if the Obama people stay home, she still wins. She's won more women in most primaries than McCain has won votes. And McCain is not only handicapped by a lack of money, he's also running with Dubya's recession tied to his foot. There's no way he can win.

So, she knows the calculus -- all she has to do is survive, keep Obama from the nomination, and then send out Bill and Chelsea to work over every delegate they can before the second ballot. She'll be the nominee by the third ballot.

But here's the thing. If Hillary wins, she throws the grassroots and netroots of the Democratic Party under the bus. And they won't like that. All of Dean's work over the last four years will be for naught, and all those Obama supporters will turn away from politics. The Democratic Party, on the verge of a rebirth after a generation in the wilderness, will be right back to square one.

And the GOP's been watching. They've seen how incredibly well the Obama campaign machine has worked. They have a stable of solid potential GOP candidates in their late 30s and early 40s who will be ready for a run in 2012. If they can adopt the Obama strategy of netroots + small donations + appealing to youth, the GOP will hook that to their corporate interests and ride it to a 2012 victory -- and another generation of power. In four more years, anyway, another cadre of Boomers will be dead, another cadre of Millenials will be handed their voter registration card. Things are changing. The Boomer domination of politics is at its zenith now. Gen X and Gen Y are setting up their campaign websites.

IOW, if Clinton wins the nomination, she will be president, but the GOP will win the war. If Obama wins, he may have less of a shot, but the Dems win the war. And that's the question for every superdelegate tonight -- do you want the symbolism but a Pyrrhic victory, or take the risk and gamble on a generation of political dominance?
posted by dw at 11:33 PM on April 22, 2008


There are ~310 "uncommitted" superdelegates left. If the most likely scenario breaks (Hillary wins WV by 20 and IN/KY/PR by 10, Obama wins NC/OR/SD/MT by 20), then Hillary would need 60% of the remaining superdelegates to prevent Obama from winning. That she might be able to do. In order to win, though, she'd need 87% of the remaining superdelegates. And outside of Obama completely biffing, that's not going to happen.

Can you explain how you arrived at being able to stop Obama with 60% of the superdelegates but needing 87% to win? I think Edwards has 18 delegates at present (possibly to be diminished via state conventions and such) so there is a certain number Clinton could reach to deny Obama the nomination but be unable to secure it herself. But I don't think those numbers are 27% apart.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:58 PM on April 22, 2008


NY Times: The Low Road to Victory:
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

... By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

...It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.
This pretty much captures it for me: Clinton's scorched earth tactics, Obama's continued taking of the bait, and overall the Democratic Party ending up even more morally and intellectually impoverished than ever.

I think a couple of things can happen here. Either Obama gets back on his "different way" approach, which can give him teflon-like protection from Hillary's negativity and he plays out his hand (big win in NC, likely victory in IN and a narrow loss in WV), and gives her no ammunition to take the super delegates away, or things continue as they are. Obama's negatives increase along with Hillary's and the party melts down in Denver. Hillary may or may not win the nomination in that case, but either way Christmas come early for the GOP.
posted by psmealey at 2:06 AM on April 23, 2008


The one thing that seems incredibly short-sighted about Mrs. Clinton's tactics is that she never seems to take into account the much vaunted swing votes, which have carried the last four or five Presidential elections. She seems reasonably confident that she can capture 60% of female registered Democrats, but Obama consistently outpolls (by 15-20% as recently as March) her in likely unaffiliated voters and Republicans leaning Democrat. Sen. Clinton somewhat wins the nomination, okay, great... then what? It seems incredibly unlikely she can beat McCain, in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, and beyond this, Dems reverse recent gains in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. So, we're basically back to 2002 at that point and the whole blue state/red state nonsense.
posted by psmealey at 2:15 AM on April 23, 2008


Worse and worse: if Clinton gets the nomination, my third party options are shaping up to be Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. Barfaroo.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:22 AM on April 23, 2008


Can you explain how you arrived at being able to stop Obama with 60% of the superdelegates but needing 87% to win? I think Edwards has 18 delegates at present (possibly to be diminished via state conventions and such) so there is a certain number Clinton could reach to deny Obama the nomination but be unable to secure it herself. But I don't think those numbers are 27% apart.

You need 2025 for the nomination, which is more than 50%. And that 27% is the swing in remaining uncommitted superdelegates.

Obama consistently outpolls (by 15-20% as recently as March) her in likely unaffiliated voters and Republicans leaning Democrat.

Actually, he's lost a lot of GOP supporters since the Wright debacle. He still did better with self-identified independents yesterday than Hillary did, though.

Sen. Clinton somewhat wins the nomination, okay, great... then what? It seems incredibly unlikely she can beat McCain, in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, and beyond this, Dems reverse recent gains in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. So, we're basically back to 2002 at that point and the whole blue state/red state nonsense.

I don't think PA really matters -- it's one of those once blue, always blue states. Same with CA and a few other big ones Hillary has won. But that's the thing: Hillary wins this election by taking everything Kerry did + Ohio. It really is the status quo. Obama probably doesn't win Ohio or Florida, but he wins VA, NC, GA, and MO, and has a shot at TX and LA. And that completely changes the map, because it reopens the Solid South back up to the Dems.

The Clinton people are going to keep pounding on the conventional wisdom all the way to Denver. The problem is, this isn't a conventional election.
posted by dw at 7:51 AM on April 23, 2008


"MSNBC's Chuck Todd analyzes the remaining contests and realizes that it is virtually guaranteed that Barack Obama will maintain his lead in pledged delegates." [Video | 2:33]
posted by ericb at 8:02 AM on April 23, 2008


I guess we’ll know what the wrong decision is as soon as the democrats make it.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on April 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


How Hillary Can Still Win.
posted by ericb at 10:46 AM on April 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


On Obliterating Iran
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on April 23, 2008


I don't know about you all, but I'm pretty fucking disgusted right now. I was remembering that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach after the Iowa caucuses in 2004.

I don't know how it is that 55% of Democrats in Pennsylvania can evaluate their own plight, look at the 30 year pileup of scrap and detritus around them, and somehow see Hillary as the answer. Yes, I do think it's "important" that for the first time in this country's history, a woman has a serious shot at a major party presidential nomination. But as a candidate, she's nothing if not entirely conventional.. She's intelligent, well prepared, and shows an impressive command of policy, but all of her ideas are straight out of the playbook. As a candidate, how is she any better than Joe Biden, Chris Dodd or the dozen or so other schmucks that washed out earlier in the season?

I do, however, think Obama should take his lumps for his snarky and wholly underwhelming responses to Hillary's attacks. Given the nature of this campaign, however, I'm not sure he can go on the offensive fully without being branded a hypocrite. It's a quandary. I think his best bet is to reassume the high ground (you dance with the one that brung ya), play out his hand, get a plurality of the delegates as everyone predicts, and hold on for dear life while the Clintons wage open warfare at the convention and obliterate not only their reputation, but likely the longer term prospects for the party.

Short of Hillary having a divine revelation, this thing is gonna go down the bitter end.
posted by psmealey at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2008


Republicans on Obama -- Yesterday A Gang Member, Today A Terrorist
posted by homunculus at 1:31 PM on April 23, 2008


File this one under "W" for What.The.Fuck

[Slate] Drop Out, Obama, by Chris Wilson:
Even as Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates, the popular vote, and number of states won, she has made it clear that she plans to stay in the race for the nomination. All of which brings me to this logical conclusion: It is time for Barack Obama to drop out.

If Clinton had the good of the Democratic Party in mind, she would have given up her bid the day after the Mississippi primary, which Obama won by 25 points. The delegate math was as dismal for her campaign then as it is now, even after Pennsylvania, and she was facing down a six-week gulf before the next election.

But Hillary Clinton isn’t going to drop out. There simply isn’t a function in her assembly code for throwing in the towel.

Obama, on the other hand, is fully capable of it. And if he’s really serious about representing a new kind of politics, now is the time for him to prove it in the only meaningful way left. Moreover, were he to play it right, dropping out now nearly guarantees that he’ll be elected president in 2012. Here’s the roadmap:

Obama drops out next week, stating that although he could almost certainly win the nomination by fighting it out until the convention in August, he is simply not willing to drag the party through a battle that will cripple its chances against John McCain. He then pledges to help support Sen. Clinton in her bid—with full knowledge that she will not take him up on the offer.

In one stroke, Obama will regain his messiah creds by making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the party. His followers will be furious. The mere mention of Clinton’s name will provoke unspeakable acts. They will abandon Clinton in numbers sufficient to hand McCain the election in November.

Losing the presidency again after eight years of Bush will ruin the Democratic Party. It will become obvious that Clinton’s decision to stay in the race was the turning point in the election. The base will turn its wrath on party leaders like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, who failed to push Clinton out. Obama, as the de facto head of the party, will broker negotiations to install new leaders loyal to him.

McCain will be eminently more beatable in 2012. Demographics will continue to shift in Obama’s favor as his 14- to 17-year-old supporters come of voting age. Anyone foolish enough to challenge Obama for the nomination—and don’t rule out Clinton—will go nowhere. Obama’s utopian vision for a Democratic party unified around him will be complete. QED.
We must destroy the village in order to save it? This is the same logic that called the Republican victory in the 2002 midterms a good thing, that it would finally reveal them to be incompetent turd when they were fully in charge. Yeah, they were, but things got worse.

If Hillary's gyrations are to destroy the Democratic Party, then so be it. Let the shattered remains be on her hands. But to remove the most promising candidate in decades from the running? That could be cataclysmic.

We could be facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And we want to risk putting the dottering half-wit McCain in charge of it? Even worse would be putting the Clintons and all of their partisan bullshit in charge of it. In order to get through a pending crisis such as this one, we're going to need someone who has vision beyond party lines, who can work with people without resorting to demonizing the opposition.

At least he has deserves a shot at it.

I was kind of holding my breath waiting for the next salvo from the Hillary and the DLC, and this kind of Orwellian spin is kind of what I was expecting. But you know what? Fuck it. If it works for her, I'm done. I'm done with these asshole Democrats that talk about social and economic inequities but are really in it for their own aggrandisement. It's been fucking 16 years that I have worked for Democratic candidates at all levels, but if it comes to pass this way fuck it. I thought working hard and being committed could make a difference but it can't. The powerful look out for themselves. I might as well vote for the empty suit that will keep my taxes low.
posted by psmealey at 9:36 AM on April 25, 2008


Wow, psmeasley, that article is fucking nuts. There's a kind of insane logic to it, I suppose, but it's beyond ridiculous.
posted by Locative at 4:23 AM on April 26, 2008


Ok, last comment. The following is a pretty good summary of both candidates' highest level talking points and counterarguments as it concerns their views on their own electability. So, next time MetaMan pops us in a political thread to tell you reflexively why Hillary is the better candidate, just refer him to here, and say, "heard it", so we never have to have this fucking conversation again. [From Slate]
Sen. Hillary CLINTON:Sen. Barack OBAMA
Obama talking point No. 1: He can capture independents and younger voters, bringing new people into the Democratic fold and into the voting booth in November. Obama consistently wins voters under the age of 44, who represent the future of the party. In head-to-head matchups with John McCain, Obama regularly does better than Clinton among independents. Clinton's negatives, which reached their highest point in a recent ABC survey, mean that she'll never break through a certain ceiling with independents and moderates.
  • Clinton counterargument: Obama isn't well-known and Clinton is. He's benefiting from that now, but once McCain and the Republicans attack him as a doctrinaire liberal, his negatives will rise and independents will run from him.
  • Obama talking point No. 2:
  • He is the candidate of change. Eighty percent of those polled say that the country is moving in the wrong direction. More than any other candidate, Obama is more associated than any other candidate with the change voters want.Clinton counterargument: The more Obama campaigns, the more he contradicts his promise to practice a new high-minded politics, weakening his appeal as a new kind of politician.
  • Obama talking point No. 3: The party will explode if superdelegates reverse the will of the pledged delegates, among whom Obama leads. Young voters, first time voters, and African-Americans will stay home in November in protest or even vote for John McCain. That could lose Democrats not only the presidency but also other races down the ballot.
  • Clinton counterargument: According to Pennsylvania exit polls, Clinton's coalition would be more dissatisfied with Obama as the nominee than Obama's supporters would be if Clinton won the nomination. Sixteen percent of Obama's voters would stay home or vote for John McCain if Clinton were the nominee, but 24 percent of Clinton's would if Obama gets the nod. In other words, there's more to worry about, in terms of internal party dissent, from an Obama nomination.
  • posted by psmealey at 12:03 PM on April 26, 2008


    Hmm. Looked good on preview. Not sure how I fucked that up.
    posted by psmealey at 12:08 PM on April 26, 2008


    Why is it so quiet after the Moyers-Wright interview?
    posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on April 26, 2008


    party fears racial divide
    posted by pyramid termite at 2:25 PM on April 26, 2008


    That's an interesting piece, homonoculus. Thanks.
    posted by miss tea at 2:39 PM on April 26, 2008


    According to Pennsylvania exit polls, Clinton's coalition would be more dissatisfied with Obama as the nominee than Obama's supporters would be if Clinton won the nomination. Sixteen percent of Obama's voters would stay home or vote for John McCain if Clinton were the nominee, but 24 percent of Clinton's would if Obama gets the nod. In other words, there's more to worry about, in terms of internal party dissent, from an Obama nomination.

    Bullshit. Any polling about how many of one candidate's supporters would vote for the other is utterly meaningless, and it annoys me to no end to see the media constantly regurgitate it as evidence of a split in the party, or proof that one candidate's nomination would cause more "internal party dissent" than the other's. I'm not saying that this isn't the case, just that these polls are an inaccurate metric that can't be used to prove anything.

    It's a heated race. Passions are running high. Of course more Clinton supporters will say they won't vote for Obama; they know they're losing (PA exit polls even show the majority—including almost a quarter of Clinton voters—think Obama will be the nominee), and the only way to win is to scare everyone into thinking that Obama can't win in the fall. It may not necessarily be a conscious decision, but simply the tendency to exaggerate your support for the underdog. And of course more Obama supporters will say they'll vote for Clinton; they know they're winning, and it's easy to be magnanimous when there's almost no chance they'll actually have to follow through. I fully expect the numbers to be reversed if Clinton and Obama swapped positions.

    Bottom line is, if we were to take these numbers at face value, it'd be mathematically impossible for either of them to beat McCain. In reality, though, when this long primary battle is over and everyone has a couple months to calm down and take a good, hard look at the two remaining candidates, very few of those who claimed they'd defect or sit it out actually will.

    (All that said, I personally will stay home if Clinton is the nominee, and I don't believe anyone else here who has said the same is bluffing. But this is Metafilter, and we are in the minority. I also imagine I'd reconsider if I lived in a state that wasn't safely Democratic.)
    posted by aqhong at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2008


    when this long primary battle is over and everyone has a couple months to calm down and take a good, hard look at the two remaining candidates, very few of those who claimed they'd defect or sit it out actually will.

    I couldn't agree more. The interesting part is that the segment that is most loyal to Hillary (in this way) is white, female baby-boomers . They are currently polling at 80%+ in terms of staying home on election day if Barack gets the nomination. I understand that passions are running high now, but with Roe v. Wade on the line (which, no exaggeration, it will be if McCain is elected) among scores of other cases that will be overturned if McCain gets to select Stevens's and Ginsberg's successors, do you really think they'd take the chance?

    Beyond that, I'm really totally at a loss to explain where the over-the-top animosity aimed at Obama comes from. I understand that "that's politics", but come on. I cannot imagine a more humble and talented person to subject himself to such slings and arrows. He does have "what it takes", but he has uncommon features for someone with such lofty ambition. He's a straightforward, thoughtful, bookish, but approachable guy, who rarely has a bad word for anyone. From the vitriol that's coming from the HRC camp, one would think that he's somewhere between OJ Simpson and Luther Campbell.

    i have never seen a more effective, but civilized campaigner than Obama. Yes, he does strike back as anyone would when he feels he's been wronged, but he never dives for the sewer at the first hint of trouble (like everyone else). I think this is admirable. And for all the talk that "he can't take a punch". Fuck that. He definitely can take a punch. He's taken several. What he doesn't do is strike back reflexively, when he's been wounded... Strangely enough, I think this quality is exactly what we need. Think about if, in the aftermath of 9/11, we had a President who told us that we'd been grievously wronged, and that we would bring the perpetrators to justice, but people would have to be patient until we determined who they were and the best way to bring them to justice?

    I mean, as opposed to bloodlust and instant revenge... plus 6 years of over-extended military and 4 TRILLION DOLLARS.

    Now, that's that kind of President iI think we nee.
    posted by psmealey at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2008


    When you think about it I'm really winning!
    posted by shakespeherian at 9:34 PM on April 26, 2008


    The nit-picking idiocy of 24-hour news TV
    posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on April 27, 2008


    Joe Andrew: On My Switch From Clinton to Obama
    posted by aqhong at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2008


    Hillary's Bitter Victory: How the Democratic campaign turned into an absurd and acrimonious culture war that threatens to split the party in two
    posted by homunculus at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


    I return on Wednesday May 7th to say:

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Clintonian cynicism has been eradicated. Racism did *not* win the democratic primary, the voters were too smart to be fooled, pandered to, and whipped into a frenzy of faux-patriotic white pride.

    Fuck. Yeah.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 5:42 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Tim Russert: "We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be and nobody is going to dispute it."

    Senior Clinton official tells Washington Post: "We lost this thing in February."
    posted by ericb at 7:33 AM on May 7, 2008


    George Stephanopoulos: "This nomination fight is over."
    posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on May 7, 2008


    The current Clinton narrative is just depressing as hell. Basically, she's arguing that the superdelegates should short-circuit the democratic process based on their gut instinct about who is more likely to beat McCain-- with the not-so-subtle explanation that because Obama is black he's not that person. So, basically, "there are lots of racists in this country. Let's pander to them."

    If the situation were reversed, can you imagine what the Clinton campaign would say to the same argument about a woman candidate?

    And don't even get me started on the Mich/Florida BS. I am still committed to voting for whichever Dem wins the nomination, but if Clinton did somehow pull it out (which obviously is increasingly unlikely) I'd feel really terrible about it.
    posted by miss tea at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2008


    ericb: "Senior Clinton official tells Washington Post: "We lost this thing in February.""

    Then why in God's name did they waste everyone's time, money and energy for the last three months fighting a lost cause? Baffling to me.
    posted by octothorpe at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2008


    Baffling to me.

    Exactly. And, as revealed today, she lent her campaign $6.4 million last month, more than doubling her personal investment in her bid for the Democratic nomination.
    posted by ericb at 8:49 AM on May 7, 2008


    And don't even get me started on the Mich/Florida BS.

    Clinton Camp To Step Up Efforts To Count Michigan, Florida.

    NBC's Chuck Todd: Even if you give Hillary Florida and Michigan she loses.
    "If you threw in both Florida and Michigan, you will still look at a popular vote lead of some 150 to 200,000. If you throw in those delegates in her math you will have almost 100 delegate lead there for Obama. This was a big night because it really almost erases the doubt as far as Florida and Michigan is concerned too. You can throw those numbers in there and they really don't change the math that much for Obama."
    posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on May 7, 2008


    Wolfson: There Have Been "No Discussions" Of Ending The Race

    Sigh. The Clinton headquarters needs someone to flashing the office lights and start yelling, "Closing time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here."
    posted by octothorpe at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2008


    I'm trying very hard not to say anything about bunkers.
    posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on May 7, 2008


    I don't know if Archie will ever come around, but the rest of the family's all about Obama.
    posted by ~ at 10:59 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Then why in God's name did they waste everyone's time, money and energy for the last three months fighting a lost cause? Baffling to me.

    My guess: she won't drop out until she gets a rock solid promise that she'll be the veep, and it hasn't been forthcoming. Remember a few months ago when she said Obama would be a great veep, and he didn't explicitly return the compliment?

    Either that or she's got some serious shenanigans planned involving Michigan and Florida.
    posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:13 AM on May 7, 2008


    She'd be a horrible, undermining, loose cannon veep and everybody knows it.
    posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on May 7, 2008


    Mmm, I'm hoping for Edwards myself.
    posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:29 AM on May 7, 2008


    Sebelius or Richardson, plz.
    posted by aqhong at 12:14 PM on May 7, 2008


    Where's MetaMan? I want to see a good flame war.
    posted by WalterMitty at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2008


    Report: Hoax Anti-Obama E-Mails Still Fool Dumb White Guys
    posted by homunculus at 4:50 PM on May 7, 2008


    Where's MetaMan? I want to see a good flame war.

    I'm convinced he was a participant in Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos and nothing more than a shameless troll and Republican operative here on MeFi.
    posted by ericb at 6:32 PM on May 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


    The Five Mistakes Clinton Made:
    Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game. That became abundantly clear in a strategy session last year, according to two people who were there. As aides looked over the campaign calendar, chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all.
    Y'know, I always knew Mark Penn was incompetent, but wow.
    posted by aqhong at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2008


    Zawahiri endorses McCain Plan to Bomb Iran
    posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on May 8, 2008


    Right on ericb; I concur.

    No way Clinton is VP; impossible to imagine after all of this, and especially after:

    "... Sen. Obama's support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

    George Wallace redux. This is the end of Clinton.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 4:31 AM on May 9, 2008


    Sad thing about the country when "Hey, I'm more popular with the less educated than the other guy" isn't laughed out of the discourse.
    posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:44 AM on May 9, 2008


    If you say his name any more times theres a danger you might summon him. Please stop.
    posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on May 9, 2008


    Where did the Web rumors about Obama come from?
    posted by homunculus at 2:31 PM on May 9, 2008


    Why Did Clinton Lose? In a Word, Iraq
    posted by aqhong at 4:58 PM on May 9, 2008


    "He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!"
    posted by homunculus at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2008


    I mean, as opposed to bloodlust and instant revenge... plus 6 years of over-extended military and 4 TRILLION DOLLARS.

    Please. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was coldly planned for at least a decade. The only thing sudden was the chance to successfully sell the idea.
    posted by rokusan at 6:24 PM on May 11, 2008


    Obama over the top
    posted by shakespeherian at 12:48 PM on May 12, 2008


    Edwards endorses Obama

    Clinton: "I'm going to work my heart out for whoever our nominee is. Obviously, I'm still hoping to be that nominee, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that anyone who supported me ... understands what a grave error it would be not to vote for Sen. Obama."

    All we're missing is the Gatorade.
    posted by dw at 3:07 PM on May 14, 2008


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