Black And White … And Lavender And Yellow

Update: Protests against Obama being planned:

And now we hear, via MSNBC, that Obama’s staff think they’ve weathered the storm, that the crisis has now passed, and it won’t damage them much at all. Funny, but I’ve got enough additional info to write about for the next week at least. There’s much more on this McClurkin homophobe, and I plan to talk about it at length.

Hey, so I’m wondering what kind of protests we can plan at Obama campaign stops? They need to be whimsical, bitchy, and embarrassing as hell. All suggestions are welcome. Maybe carry signs saying “I am a man.”

Update: The National Black Justice Coalition has written to Obama:

While we appreciate your recent statement reassuring the public that “…Gays and lesbians are our brothers
and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity, and rights of all other citizens,” we must also remind you that actions speak much louder than words.

Your willingness to share a stage with Rev Donnie McClurkin is alarming and frankly deeply disappointing.

Rev McClurkin has consistently disparaged gay men and lesbians, spread half truths and unproven theories about our lives and has shown a willingness to work with those who would use the rights of gay Americans as a wedge issue to divide black families for their own cynical political objectives. The fact that Rev. McClurkin uses his religious beliefs to justify bigotry and discrimination is so damaging that it cannot be addressed with a simple media statement no matter how heartfelt or sincere.


The fatal mistakes and ugly calculations made by Barack Obama on race, gender and sex are now tearing full force at his campaign. Obama wants to blame the staff, again. A conference call for tonight has been scheduled. David Geffen and Oprah as well as certain Big Blogs are silent, waiting. The crisis in Obamaland is growing.

The Obama campaign has scheduled a conference call with campaign manager David Plouffe and other top aides to re-assure gay donors and other backers who are angry at the inclusion of a gospel singer hostile to homosexuality, Donnie McClurken, in Obama’s South Carolina gospel tour, one supporter advised of the call said.

“They’re trying to put out the fire,” said the gay Obama supporter of the call planned for this evening. He said he hoped heads would roll. “Somebody made the decision [to include McClurken] and somebody approved the decision,” the supporter said. “The question is, Will he hold someone accountable?”

The story’s the talk of gay blogs like Towleroad today, with Obama taking a beating.

One sort-of-defender is Chris Crain, who says this speaks to Obama’s ability to build a big tent, but also points out that others on the gospel tour also have “anti-gay histories.”

The full purpose of the Obama evangelical tour this coming weekend is being exposed. It is not only McClurkin who is a homophobe on this Obama gay-bashing tour:

Well, it’s no secret among Black same-gender loving people that Donnie McClurkin went from being a gay man, to being a heterosexual gay bashing gospel singer and preacher. And sister’s Mary Mary made it crystal clear earlier this yeat [sic] in an interview with Vibe Magazine how they felt about gays. When asked how they felt about homosexuality and having a gay following they likened gays to prostitutes and murderers.

“I feel how God feels about it, um… but I still love them. You know what I mean? I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I love them. They can come to the concert; I’m going to hug them just like I hug everybody else. They have issues and need somebody to encourage them like everybody else – just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute, everybody needs God. What your struggle is may not be what my struggle is, but we all need Him. So, that’s what our music is about: giving and God. Not to condone the lifestyle or to say, Oh it’s okay, but not to bash – but just to give them God. I mean, I’m appreciative of all of our supporters and fans. Hopefully what their hearing and saying in our music is my love for God.”—Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell, VIBE Magazine, March 2007.

Hezekiah Walker has problems too:

This has already been nicknamed the “gay-bash” tour because three of the acts are on the record for rebuking the “gay lifestyle.” Mary Mary, the enormously popular duo, has a large gay following but has compared gays to murderers and prostitutes. Hezekiah Walker is a minister of the Pentecostal faith, traditionally inhospitable to gays, and, heads a Brooklyn mega-church well-known for its anti-gay views. Walker was also the subject of an unfounded gay rumor that has become urban legend.

Let’s analyze what this all means.

In a little noted October 18, 2007 Obama appearance on the Tavis Smiley Show , discussed on Politico, Obama unwittingly stated that he took the African-American vote for granted.

On “The Tavis Smiley Show” last night, he went into some detail on his thinking on African-American voters, arguing that they’ll ultimately wind up with him, once he’s able to address them directly on television.

He said he wasn’t winning among black voters in Illinois polling in 2004.

“We went up on TV, and by the end of it, we got 85 percent,” he said. “[It’s] the same thing you’re starting to see in this race.”

Obama took the African-American vote for granted. That was a big mistake. As November approaches Hillary is at least competitive with Obama for the African-American vote if not outright leading Obama with African-American support.

As we noted yesterday, quoting Earl Hutchinson:

This lesson isn’t lost on Obama. Desperate to snatch back some of the political ground with black voters that are slipping away from him and to Hillary; Bush’s black evangelical card seems like the perfect play. Obama wouldn’t dare go down the knock gay path, and risk drawing the inevitable heat for it, if he didn’t think as Bush that anti-gay sentiment is still wide and deep among many blacks.

Obama took African-American votes for granted and now he is sending a coded message with his tour to try and gain some support. Hillary is a strong supporter of the African-American and Gay communities. Obama is sending a not very subtle message that Gays are second class citizens to him. Obama of course issued a statement on paper discussing his pro-Gay views. But Obama will remain Quiet in public. This is the candidate who is running ads which state: We can’t just tell people what they want to hear, we have to tell them what they need to hear.”

Why is this such a crisis for Obama?

While Gays constitute part of the Democratic base, Gays are still a minority in that base. Estimates vary widely as to how many Gays vote even as Gay financial contributions are substantial. The Obama calculation is that courting the African-American vote in South Carolina is much more important than whatever Gay support is at risk. Only now is Obama awakening to the real threat posed by his tour.

As George Bush calculated in 2000, courting the gay vote is also a way of courting the liberal and youth votes. Bush received 25% of the gay vote in 2000 but most importantly by courting Gay voters Bush was able to portray himself as a “compassionate conservative”.

Obama has based his entire campaign on the youth vote. Obama presumed he would get the African-American vote in places such as South Carolina. In Iowa and New Hampshire, which have few African-Americans, Obama counted on the most progressive and energetic demographic – young people.

But Obama is only now beginning to realize how pro Gay rights young people are. Obama’s gay bashing tour threatens the very foundations of his election strategy. Without young people Obama has no organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Without enthusiastic young people Obama will have no campaign workers on the cold election days in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As Obama’s gay bashing tour gets closer more news outlets are covering the story. USA Today. New York Times. Many other news outlets are covering the story. The story is not going away and Blame the Staff will not work again.

Obama is not the only candidate caught on the riptides of race. John Edwards has been complaining about Hillary’s Chinese donors recently. John Edwards is also making an ugly pitch which African-Americans see as coded language. Most Americans see the coded language too:

“If you’re running in a tough congressional district…you gotta ask yourself would you rather have Senator Obama at the top of the ticket to help, Senator Clinton at the top of the ticket to help, or John Edwards at the top of the ticket to help,” Edwards asks.

Edwards goes on to say, “your instincts will tell you the right answer.”

Obama and Edwards are playing to our worse instincts. They are about to find out that appeals to our baser instincts work only for a very short time. They work only until they are exposed.

Time has run out on those playing the Black, White, Lavender and Yellow division cards.


67 thoughts on “Black And White … And Lavender And Yellow

  1. Edwards is GENTLY giving the following vibes:

    – I am a white, handsome, southern poor boy!
    – I am going to need LOTS of other candidates money to help me promote my liberal, extreme left wing agenda.


    – my agenda is not what republicans/moderates in those districts will go for (Extreme left wing, poor record on defense issues)
    – my agenda does not appeal to the minority groups
    – I have questionable electibility since I was too timid to fight for senate seat i 2004
    – I did not help bring in a single red state in 2004….

    in 2006, a lot of people, including bill clinton, hillary, obama and others besides Eddy helped dems win tight elections….

  2. I’m personally appalled that both Obama and Edwards have been on the wrong side of the gay issue. That’s unacceptable from any Democratic candidate. Personally, I think DOMA should be repealed and ENDA passed. Unfortunately the transgender part is/was holding it up (the recent bill omits that language). I wonder what these candidates would say on passing it with or without the transgender language.

  3. Hey guys! I just did a diary on the McClurkin fiasco on Daily Nuts… i took the liberty of borrowing a few pieces here I hope that’s ok, ( I don’t want to reference Hillaryis44) or I will be toastier than I will be already. Also i referenced Earl Hutchinson. Please rec ok? Thanks.

  4. Breaking:

    The Los Angeles Times has a poll coming out later this afternoon, and while specific numbers aren’t available, the paper’s political blog has this teaser:

    …in line with other national surveys of Democratic-leaning voters, our poll not only finds Hillary Clinton close to lapping the field but Obama being challenged by John Edwards for second place.

  5. If LA Times poll is correct, this will be fantastic news for Hillary. Edwards is going to be creamed by Hillary. He has no money, no support from minority group.

    Obama, tank, tank and tank!

  6. new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll will not calm what a recent story referred to as “jitters” among some supporters of Barack Obama.

    The exact numbers are not quite ready for release; for that, you can check The Times’ website later today and Wednesday’s print edition. But in line with other national surveys of Democratic-leaning voters, our poll not only finds Hillary Clinton close to lapping the field but Obama being challenged by John Edwards for second place.

    Obama’s advisors continue to scoff at the importance of national polls, stressing that the face-off in Iowa — which starts the nominating process — remains much more competitive, and that the results there could instantly remake the contest. Still, a close look at the demographic breakdown in the new poll contains only bad news for Obama. In categories in which our survey in June found Obama holding his own — younger voters, better-educated ones, those with higher incomes — Clinton has pulled significantly ahead.

  7. You can sense the intense infight between Obama & Edwards supporters for the 2nd place on blogsphere.


  8. kostner: You can sense the intense infight between Obama & Edwards supporters for the 2nd place on blogsphere.

    With Chris Dodd hot on their heels …

  9. Admin,

    Politico continues to hammer Obama’s gay problem…

    Blacks and gays in South Carolina

    Barack Obama’s South Carolina gospel tour has opened a window on the uncomfortable co-habitation in the Democratic Party of some religiously conservative African-Americans and a majority of gays.

    But while Donnie McClurken, the “ex-gay” gospel star performing for Obama is particularly outspoken in his view that homosexuality is a “curse,” he’s hardly alone in viewing gay sex as a sin.

    Last month’s Winthrop/ETV poll of African Americans in South Carolina found that 74% view “sex between two adults of the same sex” as “unacceptable,” with 62% calling it “strongly unacceptable.”


  10. Colbert beats Obama in a couple of days!

    Back on the Colbert-Obama front, sort of, remember all the buzz about Obama’s stats on the social-networking site Facebook, home of the group One Million Strong for Barack?

    Well, One Million strong for Barack now has 382,792 members.

    But in just six days 1,000,000 Strong For Stephen T Colbert already has 528,797.

  11. after months of kissing obama’s fanny the MSM are finnally calling him out on his bs. IT IS ABOUT TIME!!! kostner, im looking forward to those new polling numbers u just mentioned.

  12. Obama is ready to burn $10 million in Iowa…

    As evidence that conventional political tactics have little effect on Iowa voters, Mr. Rasky, of the Biden campaign, noted that Mr. Obama’s $3 million television buy did little to boost his poll numbers. In a state where $200,000 buys ads for the entire state, Mr. Rasky says Mr. Obama, who several operatives said has booked $10 million more in ads through the New Year, risks overkill. A spokesman for Mr. Obama declined to confirm the $10 million figure or provide another.

  13. Matt Stoller is preparing preemptive strike against Clinton. Can anybody flip him an email to see what their game plan is…

    If any of you out there want to fund something against Hillary Clinton’s campaign from the progressive side, I know of a good opportunity. Email me for details if you’re interested.

  14. mj , mp etc….

    Can any one of you write some positive diaries on myDD. I’ve used up my slots for today.

    There are lots of positive news coming out of Hillaryhub. I find her Seattle appearance was exciting. The interview with ‘Essence’ on her marriage etc is quite genuene, touching and personal…

  15. The big good news for next week will be the endorsement by AFSCME of Hillary. AFSCME is THE big player among unions in Iowa.

    On the L.A. Times poll, it will be interesting to see if Edwards is catching up with Obama or whether Obama is sinking down to Edwards’ level. Our bet is Obama is sinking.

    Obama will sink further after this coming weekend’s tour. We updated the article with the latest group upset with Obama.

  16. Another interesting twist in the Dodd-FISA story.

    In a move that will up the pressure on Hillary and Barack Obama to stand firm against the Senate telecom immunity FISA bill, MoveOn and a dozen top progressive blogs will launch an all-out campaign tomorrow to pressure the two Senators into publicly declaring their support for Chris Dodd’s threat to place a hold on and filibuster the bill, I’ve just learned.

    MoveOn spokesman Adam Green tells me that the group will send out an email to “thousands” of its members tomorrow morning, and thousands more throughout the day, asking them to call the offices of Hillary and Obama and demand that they publicly affirm their support for Dodd.

    “We’ll be asking to publicly get Chris Dodd’s back and say in a statement that they will explicitly support his hold and filibuster,” Green tells me. “Pretty much this exact same ask was made to Joe Biden in a Washington Post chat. The question was, Will you join Chris Dodd? He said Yes.”

    If Hillary and Obama don’t comply, Green added, “it would send an unfortunate signal to Democratic voters about whether they’re willing to stand up to George Bush. The idea is to get Democrats to stand on principle and exercise the powers of their office to stop Bush from covering up how far he went in illegally spying on the private emails and phone calls of innocent Americans.”

    In another move that points to the significant degree of coordination among the top liberal blogs on the FISA issue, Green says that the following bloggers will also be directing their readers to call Hillary and Obama’s offices and press them on this:

    DailyKos, Atrios, OpenLeft, Firedoglake, MyDD, Glenn Greenwald, Crooksandliars, AmericaBlog, Digby, Taylor Marsh
    I’ve checked in with these folks, and virtually all have gotten back to me confirming their involvement.

    In the long run it’s unclear whether Dodd’s hold and filibuster threat, whatever backing it gets from Hillary and Obama, if any, can really hold up the FISA legislation. Advisers to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have said that while they’re willing to work with Dodd to assuage his concerns, they expect that the bill will go to the floor despite his objections. It’s also unclear what the final bill will look like; the bill has only just emerged from markup in the Senate intel committee, and there’s some opposition to telecom immunity among members of the Judiciary Committee.

    Either way, opposition from Hillary or Obama, or both, could throw some significant obstacles in the way of the bill. And even putting aside whatever long term impact this has on the legislation itself, such a campaign by MoveOn could at the least make telecom immunity an issue in the Dem Primary.

    We’ve checked in with the Hillary and Obama campaigns for comment and we’ll bring you their responses when we get them.

  17. On FISA, it is doubtful the Hillary campaign will have a statement until there is actual legislation. Expect nothing until after the Judiciary Committee gets its say. MoveOn et al will get nowhere with this. Hillary will work the legislation in the Senate not by threatening Reid. All these Big Blogs like to do is threaten. A few months ago Reid was their hero, now he is their enemy.

    Whatever one thinks of FISA and telecom immunity Americans don’t like these Big Bloggers forcing candidates to bend to their will. Instead of threatening Hillary and weak Obama the Big Blogs should be contacting Judiciary Committee members.

  18. More on the pending AFSCME endorsement:

    A.F.S.C.M.E. cannot confirm that the endorsement is going to Clinton.

    But the powerful public employees union, which has 1.4 million members, says that it will either go to her — or to no one.

    Its search committee is meeting Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Washington, D.C., to determine if they will make a recommendation for a presidential endorsement, and if so, for whom.

    The search committee’s report will then go to A.F.S.C.M.E.’s international executive board which will make a final determination on Wednesday, Oct. 31, in Washington, D.C.

    A.F.S.C.M.E. says that if Clinton is picked on Wednesday, the union will announce the endorsement on Wednesday — they will not wait until Thursday as suggested by Fineman’s story.

    An endorsement of Clinton would be no surprise to anyone who has spoken with AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.

    In addition to having been an early supporter of Bill Clinton’s first presidential bid, McEntee has been laudatory about Sen. Clinton’s 2008 White House run.

    In a June 14 interview with ABC News, McEntee praised Clinton’s June 3 debate performance in New Hampshire and encouraged her to keep doing what she was doing.

    “She looked so presidential up there,” said McEntee, “with all these guys in blue suits, and she’s right in the middle and kind of chastising them for knocking one another and not going after Bush.”

  19. Matt Stoller is an idiot. Some “progressives” would prefer to cut off their nose to smite their face. Geez!

  20. I think Obama is going to play the numbers because that is all he has left. If he backs down and ask Rev. Donnie McClurken to leave it will been seen as a slap in the face to those African Americans he is trying to reach, if he don’t then LGBT and their supporters will be upset. But more importantly he will be looked on as being weak against Hillary strength by all the rest.

    What I love is that Obama placed himself under a “rock and a hard place.” Why would he have a rally with Rev McCluken if he knew about his gay bashing and personal issues. Why is there this disconnect with people? I think it’s because Obama hasn’t shown his true face and he is like in this “Ivory tower” where every few days he comes to the window and gives a decree.

  21. Obama released a statement saying he will filibuster if the telecom immunity isn’t stripped out.

    He clearly doesn’t want to get caught getting pressured by MoveOn/blogs.

  22. As members of the gay community, both me and my partner have made it our business to tell EVERYONE we KNOW about this OUTRAGEOUS SLAP in the face by OBAMA.

    We all know I am biased towards HILLARY. That doesnt mean I wouldnt have voted for OBAMA in the GENERAL ELECTION, if by some miracle, he managed to win the Primary. NO MORE. NO WAY!! OBAMA can KMA.

    May he rot in hell with Jerry Falwell. AMEN

  23. Sandy1938, we updated the article with news of potential protests against Obama. Let us know if any develop in your area.

  24. Sandy,

    I think the most cynical and ‘audacious’ thinking of Obama campaign is this:

    And now we hear, via MSNBC, that Obama’s staff think they’ve weathered the storm, that the crisis has now passed, and it won’t damage them much at all.

    Yeah, he believes he has weathered the ‘storm’. I am waiting for him on stage with McClurkin, it’s going to be a rude waking…

  25. “Obama released a statement saying he will filibuster if the telecom immunity isn’t stripped out.”

    Can a Senator filibuster a bill without actually showing up on the floor of the Senate?

    Or, is this one of these, “I would have been strong opposed if I had been there” deals?

  26. That’s not exactly what he said…

    “He is hopeful that this bill can be improved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it.”

    This is not the strongest statement I’ve heard. He does not directly back Dodd. And he says IF it comes to the floor in it’s CURRENT FORM, he would SUPPORT a filibuster. There’s alot of wiggle room there, but I do think it best to get out ahead of this thing.

  27. admin,

    Here’s the latest # from LA times.

    A new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows that Senator Clinton has opened up a 31-point gap over her chief Democratic rival, Barack Obama, leading 48 percent to 17 percent. She also runs ahead of all Republicans in general-election matchups, with only Giuliani coming close, trailing by 6 percentage points.

  28. Hey y’all, It’s been one a those days. Can somebody please give me the reader’s digest condensed version of FISA? I am delighted at the Bloomberg poll and most importantly our girl’s coming endorsement in Iowa. I can’t even begin to comment on the subject of today’s excellent essay by admin. Thanks to everybody, mollyj

  29. kostner, Thanks for posting that! I’ve been waiting with bated breath for those poll results.

    BTW, my earlier post should say “spite their face,” not smite their face, lol.

  30. It’s actually

    Clinton 48
    Obama 17
    Edwards 13

    The June #s were

    (without Al Gore)
    Clinton 42
    Obama 32
    Edwards 20

    (with Al Gore)
    Clinton 33
    Obama 22
    Edwards 8

    We’ll see whether the latest headline #s included Al Gore or not. If no Al gore, it’s the biggest tumble for Obama. Can you imagine from 32% to 17%?

  31. LA Times poll PDF file is out. Here’s my take:

    This poll did not push the leaners, still 15% undecideds in democratic primary. If they push the leaners, Clinton is sure to crack 50%, and close to 55% on a pro rata basis.

    Hillary Clinton also streamrolled all GOP contenders, the margin is an astonishing turnaround considering she’s 10% behind in the June poll.

    Clinton 48
    McCain 38

    Clinton 49
    Romney 34

    Clinton 47
    Giuliani 41

    Clinton 49
    Thompson 38

    Another poll to debunk the ‘unelectable’ argument.

  32. Can somebody please give me the reader’s digest condensed version of FISA?

    No. There is no such thing as the Readers Digest version! It is hideously complex and virtually all of the information is classified. But, here’s the basic deal:

    The day after 9/11 the credit card transaction processing companies approached the FBI about helping with the investigation by tracing all financial transactions of the hijackers, and later, all known Al Qaeda operatives. This quickly expanded to include banks. In parallel, the phone and internet companies provided access to main truck lines and switches (here and in Europe), so that the FBI could see who each suspect was e-mailing and calling. Think of a big map of the world with lines of communication radiating out from one known terrorist and a different set of lines from another terrorist. Sometimes both of those would be communicating to the same place somewhere else and — voilia! — another terror cell is identified. It was like one huge spider web.

    Here’s the problem Much of the access these telcom and financial companies provided to the FBI was quite likely to have been unconsistutional. The companies were assured that they would be covered by the proper warrants, but it appears that the Bush administration played fast and loose. Nobody really knows the extent.

    The telcom companies have a legitimate beef. They are about to get sued right and left…all because they helped the FBI after a massive terror attack and after they were falsely given assurances that they would be protected. The immunity being sought is to keep the executives of the telcom companies from being sent to jail for helping their country.

    Beyond that, the FISA law deals with how much review and who reviews wiretaps to grant authority. It is impossible to really discuss this because nobody really knows what has been happening.

    Here’s the crux of the problem. Nobody (at least in Congress) disagrees with granting broad powers to spy on Al Qaeda. Alas, the Bush Administration has been so secretive, so frightening, and so inept, that NOBODY trusts them to provide real oversight.

    The whole matter is such a gray area and so hidden behind a veil of secrecy that I’ve personally decided I don’t have the information to even form an opinion. I am very, very concerned about violations of constitutional protection (because I’m not sure Bush wasn’t doing Nixon-like dirty tricks). On the other hand, this whole area of communications and financial spying has been the only real success story in the war on terror. It has been VERY successful…leading to almost all of the captures. By late 2005, so many terrorists had been nabbed that they figured out they could no longer use communications or financial institutions, period. Al Qaeda is pretty much limited to human courier now…which puts a major crimp in their style. In addition, the damning information learned from the wiretaps was used to finally force countries like Saudi Arabia to help.

    It’s basically a big cluster—-, and a perfect example of why you want a competent administration that respects the Constitution in the White House.

  33. I find it’s extremely bizarre that Obama’s campaign is following Clinton’s every step.

    Clinton released a new ad last Friday in IA and NH, Obama is releasing a bland new ad in NH…
    Clinton mailed out some stuff to Iowa voters to explain her Iran votes, Obama immediately followed suit to mail out some postcards in order to score some cheap points.

    Can this guy get a little bit pro-active and original? Geez.

  34. hwc,

    You need to debate Taylor Marsh on this FISA fight. I think Dodd’s hold is just grandstanding.. Taylor can be persuaded but I don’t have any energy and interest into this stupid FISA thing. Maybe you should write more on her blog.

  35. Hillary’s statement (to press): I am troubled by the concerns that have been raised by the recent legislation reported out of the Intelligence Committee. I haven’t seen it so I can’t express an opinion about it. But I don’t trust the Bush Administration with our civil rights and liberties. So I’m going to study it very hard. As matters stand now, I could not support it and I would support a filibuster absent additional information coming forward that would convince me differently.

  36. FT has an article analyzing why Iran is suddenly becoming Clinton opponents’ new favorite to attack her. I think the analysis is right on. Basically, the Iraq debate is losing steam so her opponents are shifting attacking line. It’s worth reading.

    A well-placed bomb in Baghdad’s Green Zone could change everything but, for the time being, the war in Iraq has ceased to be the US’s hot political issue.

    The sharp fall in the number of US troops killed over the past three months has brought about a corresponding reduction in the political temperature back home. Rising concerns about Iran’s apparently hardening stance over its uranium enrichment programme have supplanted Iraq as the US’s chief foreign policy question.

    The principal beneficiaries are John McCain, the erstwhile Republican frontrunner, who has loudly supported George W. Bush’s Iraq troop surge, and Hillary Clinton, whose vote in favour of the 2002 Senate resolution authorising war had been a bitter point of contention among grassroots liberals on the campaign trail.

    “Until recently the conventional wisdom was that the 2008 election would be dominated by the Iraq war,” says Philip Gordon, fellow at the Brookings Institution, a research and policy organisation, who is advising Barack Obama’s 2008 bid. “But the situation in Iran is moving much more quickly and that is where President Bush’s decisions could have consequences for whoever takes over in January 2009.”

    The fading of Iraq as a lightning rod is most evident on Capitol Hill, where Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, has all but abandoned Democratic attempts to force Mr Bush’s hand by attaching conditions to White House war-funding requests.

    Mr Bush on Monday asked Congress for another $54bn (€38bn, £26bn) in supplemental war funding – bringing the total for this financial year to $194bn, or roughly $400m a day. Instead of promising new conditions, the Democrats announced they would merely delay Mr Bush’s request to authorise the money in coming weeks.

    “Because casualties have fallen so far, it is futile to try to persuade moderate Republicans to vote with us to compel a withdrawal of US troops,” said a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill.

    The reduction in casualties has also helped bring about a change in the debate among Democratic 2008 candidates who are no longer competing with each other to promise the quickest withdrawal of US troops.

    With the exception of Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, who has pledged to withdraw US troops within six months of taking office, the candidates are increasingly hedging their Iraq troop-level ­commitments – a position that most suits Mrs Clinton’s penchant for centrist ­ambiguity.

    In a recent Democratic debate, Mrs Clinton refused to say that all US forces would be gone from Iraq by 2013 – the end of her first term. Her formula was broadly repeated by both Mr Obama and John Edwards. This would have been inconceivable six months ago.

    “There has been an effort to change the subject,” says Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. “It is not so much that Iraq has been replaced by Iran as that the Bush administration has successfully broadened the Iraq debate to include Iran.”

    Mr Bush last week sharpened what could be Mrs Clinton’s new policy dilemma when he predicted that Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions could lead to “world war three”.

    Mr Obama on Tuesday stepped up his attacks on Mrs Clinton’s recent vote for a Senate amendment calling for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be designated as a terrorist organisation – a vote, he said, that implicitly authorises Mr Bush to use force.

    So far Mr Obama’s attacks have been blunted by the fact that he did not show up for the vote, which was co-sponsored by Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat, who says the US is involved in a “fourth world war” with Islamic radicalism. Mrs Clinton has pointed out that it contained no language that would permit Mr Bush to use force against Iran.

    “Why is this amendment so dangerous?” Mr Obama asked in a postcard sent yesterday to voters in Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus on January 3. “Because George Bush and Dick Cheney could use this language . . . to justify an attack on Iran as a part of the ongoing war in Iraq.”

    Mr Obama’s attacks have so far gained him little traction in the national polls, where he trails Mrs Clinton by up to 30 percentage points. And both candidates are much closer to each other than their constant feuding might imply: they both support stepping up aggressive diplomacy with Iran but insist that “all options” remain onthe table.

    Many argue that the real difference is between Republican and Democraticcandidates.

    “We are having the same debate over Iran as John Bolton [the former pro-war administration official] and Colin Powell [the former pro-diplomacy secretary of state] had about Iraq in 2002 – with the Democrats as Powell and Republicans as Bolton,” says Kurt Campbell, head of the Centre for a New American Security. “That’s the dividing line that matters.”

  37. The Financial Times is full of haggis. There has been no softening of Iraq positions by any of the Democratic candidates. They are all as steadfastly committed to an expedited redeployment of troops as ever.

    The whole premise is that they somehow changed course in response to Timmy Russert’s stupid question: will you stand here and swear on the Bible that you will have the very last US troop out of Iraq at the end of your first term. Because none of the three front-runners are brain-dead morons, none of them were willing to make that kind of empty promise.

    I’ve never seen so much ado about nothing in my life.

    BTW, if you are playing along at home, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen all but said we would have to attack Iran over his dead body yesterday. It was actually quite a stunning statement of opposition. As long as Gates and Mullen are running the Pentagon, Cheney and Lieberman aren’t going to get there wish.

  38. The debate next week will be a “must watch”. A swarm of moskitos trying to bring down a lioness.

    BTW, Gravel won’t be there.

  39. ADMIN,

    I wouldn’t mind STARTING a protest myself!! Unfortunately, right now it wouldnt make it to the local news, because the FIRES are being covered 24/7, pre-empting any other news coverage (probably justified).

    But if you get any word of any info of OBAMA coming to Los Angeles, after the smoke clears, I will get the word out!!

  40. The thing is, I don’t have any problem with Dodd’s hold. It’s just a mess because the administration won’t tell Congress what potential legal liabilities they are granting immunity for.

    If, it is as I outlined above, then the Senate would almost certainly vote for immunity. When executives act in good faith, after being assured that the cooperation would be legal, in a time of national emergency, the country has an ethnical obligation to those companies, IMO.

    Dodd’s concern…and I can’t say I disagree with him…is that there might be something more that Bush is hiding…like wiretapping the DNC or something.

    That’s why I say that the Bush administration’s secrecy, arrogance, and incompetence is so frickin’ corrosive. Bush just begs for conspiracy theories to come out of the woodwork. Normally, an Attorney General could meet behind closed doors with Congressional leaders and have a good-faith dialog. But, that’s kind of hard with the likes of Abu Gonzales.

  41. From a political standpoint, I wish the Democratic Party and the lefty blogs would stop holding our Presidential candidates hostage on these national security issues. They serve only to paint the candidates into corners and make a general election campaign more difficult.

    For example, we know from his foreign policy advisors that Rudy is going to run as being just slightly more of a war mongerer than Dick Cheney. If you think of the general election as a continuum and your opponent has staked out a far right wing whackjob position, your want to lay your markers down somewhere in the center. Then, you get 75% of the voters on that issue. You don’t want to be at the far opposite extreme and force voters in the middle to choose between two positions they don’t support.

    The more the candidates with flagging campaigns and the moveons and DKos keep hammering our candidates with soundbyte versions of Iraq, Iran, and FISA policy, the worse it hurts us in trying to be well positioned to beat the Republicans in November 2008. It’s very frustrating to watch.

  42. Kostner, Hillary’s appearance in Seattle was exciting just as you say. It was also inspiring.

    The local newspapers had previously tilted more to Obama, but this morning’s headlines read: “Clinton Brings A Message with Passion To Seattle”, and “I Am Ready To Lead”.

    I attended the dinner where she delivered a Periclian speech, which captured the mood of the county brilliantly, and provided an honest assessment of the challenges we face and a roadmap to deal with them. The crowd rose to its feet a dozen times, and it was obvious to one and that Hillary is head and shoulders above all the other candidates, or in our parleyance Hillary is 44.

    You will be glad to know that the admiration society is beginning to include some Republicans. A friend of mine who was the former Mayor of Juneau, and a lifelong Republican cornered me in the parking lot yesterday and told me he will be voting for Hillary, because he realizes the country is in serious trouble and needs a strong leader who can chart a new course beneficial to the country. Amen.

    There was a local newspapers which had leaned previously to Obama gave g I saw her at the follow-up dinner which was a well attended affair. Her 45 minute speech without notes was Periclian.

  43. Hey yall, It’s late and most of you are probably asleep but thanks for your discussion on this FISA issue. HWC you did a terrific job of sketchin’ this out … great explanation. Thanks for these points of view. When I began readin’ I thought, my god, this sounds like watergate. Then I got to the part about the dirty tricks. Well, Hillary makes the point time and again that we aren’t gonna know the mess that we are in until after the election. I know that is true. Dems need to be together and strong on this one and it is right to follow committee channels and appropriate protocol. Our girl’s doin’ everything right.

    And you know you’re good when everbody else copies you…as in hillary and then what obama does after he sees what she does. mollyj

  44. i just came home from work to check out the site on the la times poll and kostner did not fail me. ANOTHER 30+POINT LEAD!!!! YAY!!!!

  45. i just checked daily kooks and like clockwork a kook complained the polls are not accurate. it so funny but sad the haters can’t get a grip on reality that hillary is going to win the nomination and the white house next year. they are going to kick and scream all the way to the end. don’t be surprized when hillary is taking the oath of office in 2009 they will still say she is not going to be president. these guys need professional help. SERIOUSLY!!!

  46. Obama’s Bring the Young (Really Young) into the Political Process.

    From the WaPo:

    Elrick Williams’s toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year’s presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

    So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

  47. hwc: good point on fisa;
    I agree that telecom execs/legal may have forced to help with “national security” emergencies….

    while not giving them full amnesty, they should be reprimanded, annd fired from those companies but not let the whole companny and employees get folded over…this is not like enron where.

    The justics dept and who requested these emergencies overtap should be held accountable…

    Holding the bill will not address what needs to be done; debating and making a better bill is the answer! Otherwise repugs will be play the “dems are weak” issue again and again..

    Good answer by Hillary….

  48. Clinton is in Iowa today, where she delivers a lecture at Iowa State University.

    Gosh, Obama’s diaper donor…

  49. Good showing by hillary in LA times poll. However, she should take nothing for granted, stay focussed, and campaign like she is trailing by 20 points.

    terrondt, kostner, hwc, others:

    You all are doing a wonderful job on behalf of hillary spreading the word on the blogs (never mind taking the hits for it).

  50. terrondt: The article says there aren’t any laws against underage donors, but I think there are laws against funneling funds through other donors. Who knows what’s going on there, but as the New Kind of Politics thing goes down the drain, Obama’s numbers are plunging.

  51. OBAMA: Obama is airing a radio ad in Iowa featuring Duffy Lyon, the sculptor of that butter cow. “You know, you see a lot of manure in our line of work,” Lyon says. “It’s a lot like politics. You got to know what’s bull and what’s for real.” More: “Barack Obama’s got a real plan for rural America. And it’s gutsy because it looks out for us, not lobbyists.”

    Gospel music superstar Donnie McClurkin “says he was surprised to wake up Tuesday morning to a media firestorm,” the Chicago Trib reports. McClurkin “is scheduled to perform this weekend at Senator Barack Obama’s three-day concert series in South Carolina. Bloggers, for the most part, are calling for the senator to cancel the singer’s Sunday night appearance, saying that his views are anti-gay and incite hate. His ideals and most importantly his ministry, he says, were severely misconstrued.”

    “‘Most of the things that were said were totally out of context and then other things weren’t true,’ says McClurkin in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Tribune. ‘My only concern is to be in place with Senator Obama in unity and bring all the factors together for the sake of change. That’s my only thing. Of course some agents have twisted it as though he [Obama] were embracing a racist or a Nazi, and that is anything but true.’”

    “He now says that he is straight and that his ministry is open to those who say they no longer want to live life as a gay person. What he doesn’t do, he says, is crusade against homosexuality. ‘I don’t believe that even from a religious point of view that Jesus ever discriminated toward anyone nor do I,’ he says. ‘There’s never been a statement made by me about curing homosexuality. People are using that in order to incite anger and to twist my whole platform on it. There’s no crusade for curing it or to convert everyone. This is just for those who come to me and ask for change.’”

    Will McClurkin’s interview stop this? The Hill reports, “The nation’s biggest gay rights group is trying to force Sen. Barrack Obama (D-Ill.) to cancel presidential campaign event with a controversial preacher who claims he was homosexual but has been cured… The influential [Human Rights Campaign] representing a powerful Democratic constituency, let Obama’s campaign know that it would issue a public demand if Obama did not immediately cancel the event, said a person who had been briefed on the exchange.”

    NBC/NJ’s Aswini Anburajan notes: The issue of McClurkin raises a more interesting point with Obama, however. When a candidate wants to have a big enough tent to embrace voters from across the red-blue spectrum, there’s going to be controversy. Is this only the beginning of the red-blue culture clashes that we’ll see as Obama attempts to win over more conservative voters?

  52. It is one thing to go nuclear against republicans. It is another to go on a fellow democrat like Edwards and Obama seem to be doing. I am not sure how much the primary audience will appreciate this harsh rhetoric especially considering Hillary is not the one in power right now making all the decisions that the audience seem to disagree.

  53. sweet numbers by rass kostner. now let’s make it 30 points for that poll next. gallup had a article on the history of candidates with several 20+point leads and almost every time that candidate has won the nomination, i get a big kick on the haters hanging onto the howard dean lead of 2003. dean had no where near the support and caimpaign team hillary has. and remember who ran his run. the same loser who now runs edwards run, joe “i spend your money without results”trippi. edwards is running 11% nationally.

  54. HILLARY should put out a TV AD BLITZ, to get to the VOTERS before they see these ads saying something like “In the weeks and months to come, you will see a lot of negative campaigning from my oponents. ” and take it from there.

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