The Great Awakening

Sean Wilentz continues to survey the river of delusion running across certain segments of the American population.

Forget experience: Opinion-slingers are mooning over Barack Obama’s instincts. Don’t they remember how badly that worked out last time?

Every now and then in American politics, normally balanced people get swept up by delusions of greatness about a presidential candidate, based on an emotional attachment to the candidate’s oratory or image. The youthful William Jennings Bryan brought down the house and swept up the nomination with his famous “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1896–only to be crushed by the dreary William McKinley in November.

Political journalists have never been immune to the delusional style. But editorialists and pundits are supposed to be skeptical experts, who at least try to appear as if they base their perceptions in facts and reality. Enthusiasm for a candidate because of his or her “intuitive sense of the world,” “intuitive understanding,” and discovery of “identity”–the favored terms in some recent press endorsements of Barack Obama–is presented as the product of such discerning, well-considered thinking. But it is in fact nothing more than enthusiasm, based on feelings and projections that are unattached to verifiable rational explanation or the public record.

In recent years, pundits from across the political spectrum–and not just in politics–have denigrated informed and reasoned decision-making in favor of hunches, snap judgments, instincts, and what the upscale middlebrow’s favorite trendspotter, Malcolm Gladwell, defends as “instant intuition.” The political pundits have praised candidates based on their projections about the candidates’ characters, personalities, and inner lives–and what they imagine about the candidates’ instincts. Possessed by a will to believe in somebody, the pundits intuit intuition. It is the delusional style in American punditry.

The style was particularly prominent during George W. Bush’s rise to the presidency. Although Bush had a thin record on domestic matters as governor of Texas, no record whatsoever on foreign policy, and things to hide about his past, none of it mattered. As president, he has asked the American people to trust him because of his faith in himself and his God-given instincts–what he calls his “gut.” For years, the Washington press corps was bowled over by such self-assurance. Having decided that the wonkish, reasonable Al Gore was boring and inauthentic, reporters covered Bush as a centered man with superb intuition.

Wilentz cites the Boston Globe endorsement of Obama as “an ideal specimen of the delusional style…” Wilentz harpoons the bloated fish that pretends to be a whale by additionally noting that Dreams From My Father, the first, or is it the second, Obama autobiography is crafted from “composite characters and other fictionalized elements…”

Fareed Zakaria, David Brooks, Karl Rove and former Rove deputy Peter Wehner are likewise dumped by Wilentz into the “deluded” bin.

Joining the fight for rationality is Joe Conason.

In the weeks since Karl Rove offered his unsolicited advice on how to defeat Hillary Clinton in the pages of the Financial Times, right-wing expressions of support for Barack Obama have become increasingly conspicuous and voluble. Although often couched in high-flown moral terms that accept the Illinois senator’s definition of himself as a fresh and unsullied figure, his Republican endorsers cannot quite conceal their underlying animus.

They hate Hillary Clinton and they think he just might be able to beat her.

Exactly why the American right hates the Clintons so fervidly remains a subject of debate among both political scientists and psychiatrists, but the persistence of those emotions is beyond dispute, especially among commentators and activists with little actual exposure to Hillary Clinton herself. (Evidently her conservative colleagues in the Senate have developed warmer feelings for the first lady they once demonized, but that’s another topic.) So powerful is their fury that they will not hesitate to promote the career of a liberal black politician whose background and religious affiliation they regard with suspicion. Of course, they’re also quite confident that they can bring him down later, too.

For the moment, at least, he is their shining hero. That is why the Weekly Standard ran a cover story in early December that provided a swooning rehash of Obama’s life story and a series of masterful scenes from the campaign trail. (“He sounds like a man who knows what he’s talking about and knows what he wants to do. There are no questions that catch him off guard, no issues he hasn’t considered.”) Written by Stephen Hayes, the admiring biographer of Dick Cheney and perhaps the last journalist on earth who still believes that Saddam Hussein was allied with al-Qaida, the flattering Obama profile raises none of the expected concerns over his eagerness to negotiate with the Iranians and other enemies of democracy. Why spoil the moment?

The wind behind that Hayes puff blew up into a bilious gust last week when William Kristol endorsed Obama in an editorial titled “Time to Move On … From Hillary,” urging Democrats to prevent the return of the Clintons to the center stage of American politics. He worked himself up into a lather of fake indignation over the clumsy attacks on Obama in recent days by Bill Shaheen, Bob Kerrey and Mark Penn. So did George Will, whose column excoriating Hillary Clinton invoked a very tired comparison with Nixon.

Conosen understands Obama is “merely another weapon to be deployed” in the right wing attempts to defeat the only Democrats that have defeated them – Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But nobody should imagine that the right-wing media whose voices now praise Obama will continue to do so if he wins the Democratic nomination, or that the mainstream media, which still takes so many cues from the right, will do likewise. The conservative movement’s affection for any Democrat is always fickle and flimsy. Its assessment of any black Democrat, let alone a presidential nominee, is more likely to reflect the bigoted crudeness of Limbaugh than the manufactured erudition of Will. (And we can expect to see many more cartoons like this one.)

Should Obama hope to continue to enjoy his free ride, he should consult his old mentor Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut who used to be a Democrat. Conservative commentators and right-wing media outlets always loved Lieberman for his willingness to echo their talking points on subjects such as school vouchers and Social Security privatization. When he agreed to join the Democratic ticket as Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, the Weekly Standard and the National Review, among others, suddenly discovered how despicable Lieberman actually was. Having abandoned the Democrats altogether, he is now fully rehabilitated.

But Obama and his supporters must cherish no illusions about what will happen to him if he vanquishes Clinton. He will need the same kind of armor that she has worn proudly for years. What the right likes best about him is that he doesn’t seem to own any.

Paul Krugman again and again sounds the “wake up” alarums:

First, does it make sense, in the current political and economic environment, for Democrats to lump unions in with corporate groups as examples of the special interests we need to stand up to?

Second, is Mr. Obama saying that if nominated, he’d be willing to run without support from labor 527s, which might be crucial to the Democrats? If not, how does he avoid having his own current words used against him by the Republican nominee?

Part of what happened here, I think, is that Mr. Obama, looking for a stick with which to beat an opponent who has lately acquired some momentum, either carelessly or cynically failed to think about how his rhetoric would affect the eventual ability of the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is, to campaign effectively. In this sense, his latest gambit resembles his previous echoing of G.O.P. talking points on Social Security.

In yet another article these past few days, Krugman places Obama’s ugly campaign in historical context:

Have you seen or heard about the radio ad that Obama is running in Iowa about health care?

It has a man and a woman talking, with the man leading off saying that health care mandates “force those who cannot afford health care insurance to buy it, punishing those who don’t fall in line.”

This is what I’ve been complaining about. I was willing to cut Obama slack on the lack of mandates in his plan, even though the economics says they’re necessary; I figured that in practice, if elected, he’d end up doing the right thing.*

I started ramping up the criticism when he started attacking his opponents from the right, making the lack of mandates a principle rather than a compromise — because that was poisoning the well, making it much harder for any future Democratic president to implement a plan that will work.

And whaddya know, now he’s running an ad that bears a striking resemblance to the infamous “Harry and Louise” ads, run by the insurance industry, that helped block health care reform in 1993.

Call it the audacity of cynicism.

Slowly but surely the forces of rationality are growing more numerous and getting louder. They are sounding the alarm. We are sounding the alarm.

In eight days, in the cornfields and the cities and the towns of Iowa, rationality will confront idolatry and Big Media power.

After 7 Bush years, it’s long past time for a great awakening of rationality and a return to sanity.


238 thoughts on “The Great Awakening

  1. Via Taylor Marsh.

    The London Times:

    “Fresh doubts over Barack Obama’s foreign policy credentials were expressed on both sides of the Atlantic last night, after it emerged that he had made only one brief official visit to London – and none elsewhere in Western Europe or Latin America.”
    —Denis MacShane, a Minister for Europe in Mr Blair’s Government, said he had been troubled by comments Mr Obama had made on the Middle East peace process and the prospect of military action in Pakistan. He added: “A lot of people are concerned that international policy is not his strongest suit, just as it was not with George Bush in 2000.

    Mr Obama also met Mr Blair twice in Washington, and Nicolas Sarkozy, then the French Interior Minister. But anecdotes are circulating in Washington about how he has turned down requests from other visiting foreign dignitaries, such as an Italian opposition leader who was told that the senator was in “presidential mode” and only seeing leaders of countries.

    And these fine nuggets from Joe Wilson:

    “Barack Obama attended elementary school in Indonesia before the age of 10, his chief period of time abroad. I, too, spent years overseas in my formative school years. While the experience certainly whetted my appetite for international relations, it did not provide me either with “intuition” or expertise in the conduct of my nation’s foreign policy. My understanding of international affairs came from twenty-three years of professional diplomacy, much of it spent overseas dealing at senior levels on crises such as serving as the acting U.S. ambassador to Iraq stationed in Baghdad during the first Gulf War.”

    Now, Senator Obama echoes and reflects the same attitude of contempt for “on the ground experience.” Acting on his superior “intuition” he has proposed unilateral bombing of Pakistan and unstructured summits without preconditions with adversaries such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il. As we have learned, the march of folly is paved with good but naïve intentions.

    A number of us, like then Illinois state senator Obama, opposed the second Gulf War. My own opposition from the beginning has been well documented. I fought the fight in the arena itself, Washington DC, against a ruthless administration and its supporters while the senator’s opposition came from a far distance and carried no risk, given that he represented in Springfield, Illinois the district encompassing the University of Chicago. As an obscure but safe provincial political figure, he never was granted access to the distorted intelligence that was used to drive the Congress and the media. When I looked to the left or to the right for support, I never saw the state senator. In fact, I never heard of Barack Obama until he announced his intention to run for the Senate

  2. I think the Wilson piece is brilliant. Let’s beat Bwak over the head with his failure to convene meetings and his international travel being during childhood only.

    8 days folks….then the “fun” begins.

  3. Hey, admin: Thanks for your great well wishes yesterday. I went to get a CAT scan today, and it appears that my insides have healed. There is a second surgery, and since my report was good today, I now qualify to have it. Once I am done with that surgery, I will be healed entirely.

  4. damn admin,

    i love those quotes from joe wilson, i’ve read several posts in foreign papers, and they are expressing the same concern. although i must say, its crazy that ob’s bloggers, are filling those papers comments with trash as well.

    anyway admin, in the interest of full disclosure, i am really united 12, but my son scrubbed my computer for me, and hell if i could remember my password… 🙂

  5. Sherm, the Village knows that the Obama surge is done, and our gal is gaining. They are livid and frothing and desperate, and flogging their dead horse with everything they have in a vain effort to overtake her again.

    Good. Americans are not stupid, especially not Democratic primary voters. Let them see and smell the fear of the pundits. Let the women of America see how WaPo is pushing that nasty photo. WaPo seems to be under the delusion that the supermodels of the world are a big voting block or something.
    The biggest voting block IN THE COUNTRY are women over 35.

    All WaPo is doing with that photo is pissing off a hell of a lot of women, and once again underestimating us. They live in a world where young white males sit around having circle-jerks of ego and ink, sniffing appreciatively at each others power, and pissing up and down the Op Ed columns and blogs. Not in the REAL world. And that will be their downfall.

  6. Wish Hillary would come up with some photos of that day and contrast this. However, women will IMO see this as a “below the belt” tactic and it may backfire. All women have these days and I think it may help her more than hurt her, shows how hard she is really working and that she doesn’t care to roll up her sleeves and get dirty. Women will identify and not feel sorry but accept her more as simply hardworking.

  7. I was just sitting around here this afternoon thinking about the primaries. I have a question. Just for arguments sake, suppose that Obama becomes the Democratic nominee (god forbid). In reading around the internet, which is no means scientific, there are indeed many people who have major concerns such as Joe Wilson. We are not alone. I’m sure that many everyday Democrats have the same concerns, not just political junkies or pundits. If Obama becomes the nominee would all of the Democratic party support him and rally around him? I can’t see people with serious doubts suddenly switching to his camp. I know that I cannot…there is just too much about him that is troubling. If Democrats can’t completely unit behind him won’t he become a McGovernlike candidate?

    I know Obama people will try to say the same thing about Hillary. But, a key difference is that her poll numbers show that she is respected among Democrats for her experience (and by a wide margin over Obama). I think that even people who really don’t like her might still vote for her, although it might be reluctantly. Also, as she has shown in the past, opinions of her change as people get to know more about her and not the stereotype. . Obama, no matter how much time he would have in a general election campaign, cannot change his past behavior, past votes or statements. His negative perceptions are not build on stereotypes but on facts. I can’t see traditional Democrats, especially older voters, suddenly putting aside their doubts and becoming supporters. Same for gay voters and those who are strong progressives. Doesn’t the “experience vs hope” theme ( and divide) for this primary forshadow that we are risking a less than unified base if Obama becomes the nominee?

    Just sitting here trying to make sense of things…..

  8. mj, I wouldn’t mind that either but I’m not sure that would ever happen. He would have to go against the choice of the Democratic party.

  9. “Democratic party” The only way for Obama to win is through indies. Look at pretty much any poll internal and you will see Hillary is the choice of registered Dem’s by wide margins. But, you know what, let’s not dweel too much on this. Knock on wood, Hillary will win.

  10. Mj, I agree that Hillary will win. In fact I think she will gain support from people the pundits never thought would support her. My intent wasn’t to start something with my posting. It’s just that I was reading about earlier primaries today on the internet and it struck me that Obama had similarities to McGovern.

    On to other topics…

  11. Glad to see Greg Sargent at TPM taking WaPo to task for running that photo. I find him to be quite fair to Hillary, on a site that’s not exactly overflowing with people like that.

  12. ADMIN.,

    i read the whole article by Joe Wilson, and i cant believe how powerful it is, it leaves you feeling AFRAID of obama in the white house…

    so i will ask you what the first commenter on the article asked Taylor,

    its powerful stuff admin!

  13. I bet Katharine Graham is spinning in her grave, with Carl Bernstein’s growing nastiness and poorly written anti-Hillary book aout to go on remainder status, Newsweek pactically a tabloid once a month or so, and her beloved Post a home for hacks and wannabes.

    I”m surprised Bradlee hasn’t really spoken out.

  14. United- Hillary can’t publish on the front page. She’s not a publisher and doesn’t own the papers. The papers can, however, republish the text of those articles/op eds in a larger article on page 1. Hopefully they will.

    Unfortunately, it’s the holidays and most folks are busy doing things other than watching the news or picking up the paper.

  15. Emjay- I know what you mean about Newsweek. Anyone see that “bedroom” shot of JE on the cover a couple of weeks ago? My M-i-L even thought it had a “sexual overtone.” Funny it should come out right before the story on his lovechild. Even Huck’s had a religious overtone to it.

  16. Okie..Are you really serious about JE’s lovechild? I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Mirror himself had an affair, but is this really true? I guess I missed this..

  17. JE looked like he was about to strip and get it on in that photo (cue the Marvin Gaye music.) Honestly, anyone who can’t see that is blind.

  18. Admin is spot on. Rationality must prevail. If it does then there is no way Obama, or any other Republican can prevail over our girl.

    Where Obama is concerned, the question is this: why would a rational voter mindful of the catastrophic problems we are facing ever select a narcisstic, untested, media driven candidate over a candidate with real world experience, policy solutions and crisis management skills?

    That is precisely what Big Media bids us to do in a thousand subtle ways. But rational voters will not trust them, because they realize three essential things: i) first, Big Media has a systemic bias in this election, ii) that bias causes them to constantly distort the truth, and iii) their political judgement is fatally flawed. Rational voter know that if they succumb to the propaganda of Big Media then they will fall into the same trap as last time when they elected George W. Bush.

  19. The JE affair has been thoroughly dismissed by real investigative reporters, and Matt Drudge taken to the woodshed by a few real news outlets…there’s nothing to be done for the National Inquirer, they just are what they are.

    And we are what we are…I don’t think we should’ve then or should now be even mentioning it. We are better than that.

  20. Talk of the Nation on NPR discussing w/ campaigners, volunteers and otherwise, what it’s like on the trail, now and back when.

  21. The JE story was crap. Even if it were true, it’s no one’s business but his and Elizabeth’s. American media needs to stop being obsessed with politicians sex lives. It’s got nothing to do with anything.

  22. Weighing in on the project strength vs. humanize Clinton, I think the campaign is doing the right thing. First, the campaign isn’t fully committed to selling HRC to the non-Iowans at this point. What happens at the retail level is most important to winning Iowa. Second, they need to keep reinforcing strength as it is her greatest selling point. Can’t start losing that and have a 2nd tier take some of her market share away.

    Now, the other school of thought is to project both. I think this is what they are doing actually, but they cannot let the media in on this. So, they are selling this at the retail, personal-selling level. If Hillary had signs above her head saying strength, experience, and compassion then who is she channeling? I’m not going to spell it out here, but I think you can read between the lines. We don’t need the media making that comparison over and over.

    Their approach seems to have been to prime the voters to see her compassionate side (likeability tour) and then hit them right back with the message (new tour) so that they will evaluate that message in the way that the campaign wants them too. Now proposals for universal pre-K isn’t just a policy; it is seen as compassion injected with experience. I think it’s great!

  23. wbboei,

    Certain people are drawn to narcissistic personality types. Appealing narcissism has been the driving factor of GOP campaigns since 1980. It’s always there are the root of conservatism – it is the essential element of conservatism. But the GOP has gotten more overt about it and wields its charms with far more cleverness than they were ever able to in the past.

    What the GOP does is tell people that they are just as smart, and just as insightful as the academics or scientists or social scientist that study whatever issue is being discussed – that their anecdotal experiences (whether real or imagined) are sufficient to illuminate whatever problems our culture face. I thought the clearest example of that was during the impeachment. Some constitutional scholar from Princeton was testifying to congress about the standards for impeachment proposed by the founding fathers. Some yahoo GOP congressman from the south intervened with his opinion on impeachment, and said something to the effect of, “well, that’s the thing. everyone’s got an opinion.” The scholar objected, “i hope you’re saying that the opinion of someone who has never read what the founding fathers had to say about impeachment is equal to mine when I have spent my adult lifetime reading what they had to say.” And of course, that’s exactly what the congressman was saying. Constitutional expertise created an opinion exactly as significant as some guy who just heard about impeachment for the first time from Jerry Falwell.

    We see it again in the discussion on civil liberties. Almost as incantation, they point out to people that without the expanded liberties provided to the government in the PATRIOT ACT, we and our children are not safe. And then go on to slyly convince people that their physical well-being is more important than the principles our nation was founded on. It’s better for us, the GOP says, to give up our constitutional rights rather than risk one hair on our chinny-chin-chin to the terrorists. That is a narcissistic appeal as well.

    Heck, the entire anti-choice movement is based on narcissism. We have no right to life in this country. If some terrorist takes a kindergarten hostage and demands that we release all Muslim prisoners that we hold, we aren’t going to release the prisoners because the kids have a right to life.

    Narcissism has been a rightwing tool for a long time. Obama is trying to introduce it into the Democratic party. People who are vulnerable to that – and a lot of people are – will find him arousing.

    I linked one of Obama’s campaign ads one night that dingbat Viral Voice posted on Daily Kos proposing it as the ad which would change the race. Heh. It’s a bunch of people talking about how Obama made them feel. WTF? Write a diary over at Daily Kos about how you nearly swooned when you met Obama and you’ll be on the rec list so fast your head will spin. Vera something-or-the-other posted a diary about how Obama’s campaign called her back and it made her feel so important she was voting for him – that made the rec list.

    Obama is a guy who was a part time state senator and a part time attorney up until two years ago, who was reduced to asking mob affiliates for help to buy his family a home. I don’t even know if the guy has ever held a full time job. But certain lefties think he’s the Mighty Quinn and he when he gets here, everybody’s gonna jump for joy.

    In truth, he’s a lot more like Godot. He doesn’t show up all that often,.

  24. The following essay by Hillary was published online by Glamour magazine.

    Like so many women I know, it took me a while to find my voice—and I was thinking recently about how I found it. As a young woman at Wellesley in the late 1960s, we were passionate and fighting for what we believed in. I found a way to harness that passion into energy and activism and I found a way to use my voice to make change happen.

    Back then, I realized that it would never be easy to make the hard decisions—it would be an uphill battle to fight for the rights of children and families and work for those who were too often marginalized or denied their most basic rights. I have been an advocate for women and children for the last 35 years—and I’ve worked to make the seemingly impossible possible because that is what politics is all about.

    The young women I met on the campaign trail are also learning this important lesson. They are working tirelessly to help make history with my campaign and it takes my breath away when I think about the change we’ve seen in this country. As a young woman, I was reminded daily of what I couldn’t do—the schools I couldn’t attend, the sports I couldn’t play, the jobs I could never have. Young women today have a much different fortune and it is their plight, their determination, their resolve that guide me.

    I watched my daughter and her friends grow into capable young women, watched them compete with men in every field—politics, finance, medicine, law. I watched them get involved in my campaign because they’ve grown up being told by their parents and teachers that anything is possible and they want to see me prove it. What I’ve learned most of all is how deeply they believe change is possible and what they are willing to do to make it happen.

    Young women today aren’t bound by questions of what they can or cannot do as women; they want to know how they can do it better. We’ve shattered so many barriers, but we’re not stopping here. Not when women still earn 77 cents to every dollar that men earn, not when all of the progress we’ve made on reproductive health stands to be threatened by the current administration. Come Inauguration Day, we’re going to shatter one more, but these young women are interested in pushing beyond the barriers. They’re looking at women’s “firsts” and aiming for “bests.”

    At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, a little girl gave me a sign she had made that said “Hillary for President—Olivia for President in the future.” This campaign is about making history. But I am not running for president because I am a woman, I am running because I want to be the president who will prioritize the policies that matter most to women, who will stand up and fight, who knows the power of a woman’s voice. Change is just a word if you don’t have the strength and experience to make it happen. I believe I do and I believe together we can make it.

  25. Emjay at 1:41–

    You were wondering why Ben Bradlee at Washington Post remains silent amid the Hillary bashing…

    I believe it is because his wife is Sally Quinn, she of the Washington fingerbowl set who lamented that, as Broder said, the Clintons “came to Washington and trashed the place and it wasn’t theirs to trash.”

    I believe Bradlee is a good fellow but he is married to Quinn.

    And in fairness to Quinn, she did write a very fine column several days ago about the dreadful act of congress in stating America must be Christian and exclusive, not for other religions too. I thought her piece quite good, although I resent her attitude to the Clintons.

  26. Please, I beg of you, go read Wonkette. I’ll save the surprise and wait for the reactions.

  27. I couldn’t believe that the big media still not admit that Hillary has the momentum in Iowa.

    I for one sincerely hope that they continue with the meme that BO is going to win Iowa. I hope no one says a word about Hillary and momentum in Iowa. I will cross my fingers and hope for the best on the caucus day.

  28. I believe this is a memo from Hillary. I haven’t see it any other place except at this link:

    Big Challenges, Real Solutions: Time To Pick A President
    As Iowans prepare to gather to pick a President on January 3rd, one central question should be on their minds:

    “Who would be the best president?”

    America faces a war abroad and a troubled economy at home — critical moments that demand a President who is tested, ready to lead on Day 1 and offers real solutions to the big challenges we face. And that person is Hillary Clinton.

    That’s the message Hillary will be carrying throughout Iowa as she embarks today on a nine day swing in the lead up to the caucuses. She begins the tour in Mt. Pleasant with President Bill Clinton, Governor Tom Vilsack, and Christie Vilsack. She will also make stops in Pella, IA and Cumming, IA.

    Throughout the trip, Hillary is going to talk about her 35 years of making change happen – from protecting kids from abuse, to reforming education in Arkansas, to helping get health care for six million children and for our nation’s reservists and guardsmen.

    Change isn’t something you just demand or hope for, it is something you work for and Hillary has been working for it all her life.

    In the White House, she will rebuild the middle class, curb the influence of the special interests and restore this country to greatness. She will end the war, get healthcare for every American and renew our energy future.

    It will be a new beginning for all of us.

    She has the track record of strength, experience and change that the times demand which is why the Des Moines Register and Quad-City Times have joined the growing number of Iowans supporting her.

    They believe she will make the best President and because they believe she will win. She has stood up to the Republicans and beaten them twice in landslides and next November she will inspire millions to come out and participate in the process to make history November 2008.

    There are eight days to go until the Iowa Caucuses:

    It’s time to pick a president.

  29. Just read Wonkette…Matthews is seriously off his rocker. Used to watch him .. I thought he was really fair to Harold Ford from here in Tennessee. Now being Ford has gone to Fox News it does make me wonder though.

    I would rather caucusers think Hillary needs EVERY one to get out…too much lead and it will make people think it is okay to sit home on a cold night. She needs everybody out there standing and shouting for her.

    I so hope the media is not allowed to choose the next president. Hopefully everyone will decide to think for themselves and if so Hillary will win.

    MSNBC kept repeating the mantra that the Iowa needed to be a horserace and I think they spinned and calculated this for ratings.

  30. RE: JE’s lovechild story: Thing is I’m a lawyer. I think like a lawyer and all lawyers I know (including my hubby) think like lawyers. If I’m Jamie Lynn Spear’s mom- my first thought isn’t my 16yo daughter is knocked up or I’m going to be a grandma- it’s what is the business fallout and how do I minimize it. My second is whose fault is it and what do I do to make them make it right.—It’s just a natural way of thinking now to me.

    JE is a lawyer. The way he handled the first leaks about just an affair seemed okay, but it was off. Just something about how he spoke about it was too low-key. Think about it this way- he is a public figure who tauts his family man image and love affair with his wife as a big part of his populist charm and he has just been libeled by a large, rich corporation while he’s in the midst of a high profile election in which he himself has lots of cash invested. Threaten a lawsuit. Shut them down. Get the retraction. At least look like you have some fight in you and that you’re not Kerry.

    JE did the opposite. One brief statement. One brief statement from her. Carefully chosen words. Now, she’s preggers and has been for some time. Now she says several days after the newest story its another married man’s kid. A man who is good pals with JE. Smells, but passable.

    Until the whole dinner with married man and his wife and kids thing. Then as a woman and a lawyer I call bullshit. No wife would go to dinner with the pregnant mistress and TAKE THE KIDS ALONG. Maybe alone, but not the kids. This smells like a cover up. A badly done cover up.

    And if I am the Enquirer- I know my only way out of a lawsuit is truth as a defense. JE is a public figure and fairgame, but if I say something false, my ass is on the hook for big time bucks. Do I publish? Only if I am 1000% certain. And obviously they do feel comfortable with the story because they ran it twice.

    And not a morsel of a reply from JE. Not a threat. Not a whimper. Nothing.

    I’m telling you between the prior stories about the shadiness of the whole missing videos thing on HuffPo I think (the alleged mistress is/was with that media company that did that) and then several months later the 1st story and then months later 2nd story— something is simmering there.

    I smell blood for the GOP.

  31. B. Merryfield, I’m laughing my butt off at the Wonkette piece! Two best comments:

    Chris and Tucker need to start a show where they give their refreshing insights while riding unicycles, wearing clown costumes and juggling chainsaws. and

    I’m loving watching Andrew Sullivan and Chris Matthews try to out-do each other in the Fuckover Hillary Derby.

  32. Pilgrim

    Yes, yes.

    I have ragged about Sally and her hostess cohort here before. She wanted to become a doyen and 9/11 ended that campaign. She now has the nerve to USE religion to restart her fire?

    I know Karma will get her in the end, but I wish it would hurry up a bit.

  33. admin,

    i just seen the young americans political action group, or something like that, on fox news, and they said they are giving out free hotel rooms and gas cards to college kids to encourage them to come home to iowa, for caucauses.

    and now they are talking about a case going before the supreme court where they are considering weather to mandate to have voters show identification to vote…
    the repug says yes, because everyone in america has at least a state issued id card. especially if you are one welfare and need to get your benefits, ect ect ect.

    then the dem is saying no because that would disinfranchise the poor and minorities. ect ect ect…
    but in our case with the iowa caucuses, it would have been nice to have a law saying they need to show their identification.

    IMO people are being disinfranchised by possibly having out of staters, be able to vote without identification…

  34. We should not be surprised, but we are.

    Obama supporters are touting Obama’s basketball history as a way to view his presidential abilities. (we’re not kidding. currently the #2 recommended diary on Daily Kooks). They are basing Obama’s presidential skills on a Sports Illustrated story. Typical for Obama he tells a story which Sports Illustrated buys into but does not stand up to the truth.

    Politico goes a long way to debunking Obama’s story:

    Sports Illustrated — in a fun, adulatory, illustrated profile — reports that Obama could once dunk:

    “That was big. Sixteen [years old]: I still remember the day that it first happened, one of those magical days when you’re just in a zone… I was on the single-A team, and at the end of practice I was just raining down threes; I went and took a half-court shot and it went in. This friend of mine, Larry Tavares — I still remember, but of course he wouldn’t — he was shagging balls for me and I said, ‘You know what? I bet I can dunk today; I’m feeling good.’ and I took it and went…. (he mimics throwing a ball down). I did it about two more times, and that was about it.'”

    UPDATE: High school basketball veterans for truth! A reader points out that Obama’s basketball days seem to predate the three-point line, which was introduced in the NBA in 1979 and college ball in 1980, thought it had been floating around some marginal leagues before that. Obama was 16 in 1977. And no three-point line in this excellent video, which I hadn’t seen before, of him (#23) playing high school ball. Pending a contemporary picture of his Hawaii court, though, the jury is going to remain out on this particular item of trivia. As long as his claim to have thrown away his trophies in an anti-war protest proves out…

  35. I am glad to see that the voters of Iowa are waking up to Obama’s campaign of hypocrisy, sorry I meant campaign of hope. The voters of Iowa are not stupid and know that if he is the eventual nominee and has to face a real campaign against the Republican War Machine (RNC), his campaign will go under faster than the Titanic. In his Senate race back in 2004 his opponent had to drop out and was replaced by Alan Keyes who did very little campaigning, handing the election to Obama. The latest American Research Group poll in Iowa released on the 24th has Hillary back up to a 14 point lead not over Obama, but Edwards in second place.

  36. Another fun article to read though completely unscientific. A political memorabilia seller at a shpping mall in Iowa is reporting statistics on who is ahead for the Republicans and Democrats. Results for 9 day period ending Christmas Eve: Hillary selling 37% Obama 30% Edwards 15%.. The company, Political Americana, has run the button poll for 20 years. They have only been wrong once.

  37. okay dude, i mean sherm,

    thanks for that wonkette page, those comments were the funniest i’ve heard in a long time… very cool……

  38. Despite a smattering of bad press over their last mail attack on Barack Obama’s health care plan, Hillary-backers AFSCME aren’t backing down. They’re out with a new negative mailer slamming Obama’s “Band-Aid solution” and griping that “15 million Americans can’t afford to wait for Obama’s actions to catch up to his promises.”

    Like the previous mailer, this one cites a quote from John Edwards (whose team has disavowed the attack.). The eye-catching new addition? A take-a-number machine spitting out a card printed with the number 15,000,000.

    “There are 15 million reasons why Barack Obama’s health care plan is not up to the job,” reads the text.

  39. MJ- I said the last story was trash. This one has a different tone and the response is different. I’m saying something is off.

    That means either the story is true or that JE can’t control a story or a crisis. Any of those is a wrong answer in this election.

    Again, why no threat of suit? The story will just keep coming back true or not unless he gets in fight mode.

  40. I get the strategy in that video and I like it alot. But, there is something off with it. Maybe the music, I don’t know. The message is supposed to be two-part: 1.) stimulate anxiety, and 2.) anxiety reduction. Maybe it plays well to women in Iowa or maybe over repeated exposure it gets you anxious enough about the state of America, which favors the experience candidate.

    Maybe, it is just me. How does that ad make y’all feel?

  41. OkieAtty

    I think you are smart, so will take what you said re JE affair under advisement, seriously.

    Even if true, I don’t think we should deal w/ it here. We can always recommend a post elsewhere if we are interested. Let’s let others roll around in that pig pen.

    I always answer critics of Hillary’s choice by pointing out the strength it took to stand up for her marriage, instead of mouthing platitudes about marriage. Once again, she put her family values to work, and has gained the loyalty of thousands of men and women by walking the walk during that painful time.

    Last item: do you have a license to practice in Iowa? Not that I need you now, but ya never know. 😀 (maybe I did it again, last time was an accident and I don’t know how I got the yellow smiley thingy. This is a test.)

  42. The ad didn’t make me anxious, but I’m already anxious. I just felt like these are tough times and this confident women is saying she can guide us through.

  43. Basement Angel: excellent analysis.

    When I say rationality must prevail, I am not claiming that it always does. In fact, irrational appeals often work. The primitive part of the human brain is uniquely susceptible to them. We also know that in a community of like minded people the center falls and the consensus moves to the extreme. Trial lawyers will tell you that.

    Somebody once said that a democracy gets the
    kind of government it deserves. In other words, if enough people succumb to the irrational impulse, then you get things like The Alien and Sedition Acts, the interment of Japanese Americans, The Patriot Act, etc. (How’s that for three of a kind?).

    On the other hand, if you have ever sat on a jury, and had the experience that I did, you begin to realize that ordinary people can suppress the lizard brain, deliberate on the facts and reach a rational decisions. Often, they do a better job in the jury room than the judge or the attorneys did in the courtroom.

    But in order for the people on a jury or an election to reach a rational decision they must have the empirical facts before them. That is the indispensible role of the media. Their job is to present those facts in a fair and accurate manner. If they fail to do that then they are just one more big business pursuing a bottom line for its shareholders.

    The record of Big Media in this election has been deplorable. Hillary has been vetted by them far more than any candidate, sixty percent of the stories have been negative, sixty percent of the stories on Obama have been positive, they have failed for months to vet Obamas qualifications for the most important job in the world.

    If someone asked me who does more harm to our democracy–political operatives like Karl Rove or a heavily biased media cartel I would not scuple to say the latter. One flies under a pirate flag known to all nations, whereas the latter disguises its partisan motives and purposes under the Union Jack.

  44. That’s interesting MJ. It is a complex, multi-layered ad. If that is how you felt, maybe that is the intent. Its purpose could simply be to portray Clinton as presidential.

  45. I liked that ad. very much. The intended message is to let people know that we need a steady hand in these troubled times and it conveys that message very well. This is her best ad. so far.

  46. Wow, Matthews and his buddies are ripping into Hillary’s ad saying that she is not talking during it because people don’t like her voice and the campaign is trying to not to turn off voters. Incredible..just incredible…

    He repeated his views of Obama…basically he thinks Obama winning Iowa is going to be like the moon landing..

  47. It’s funny, I always think Hil’s theme song should be “I’ll stand by you” because she really does convey a sense that she’ll protect us(not just the obvious security ways, but our health, our air, our pocketbooks, etc.). This ad conveys that sense.

  48. O my god..they are describing Obama as a “gift to the world”

    Is anyone else watching this? It’s breathtaking in it’s spin…

  49. AmericanGal, I don’t get it. Do they just completely dismiss what it will be like to elect the first Democratic woman president? For me, that’s a bigger event than electing any of the others would be.

  50. I love the video! I think it’s a smart move to alternate the “tough experience” thought with the warmer fuzzy ads. The use of the line “will weather the storms” is a brilliant nod to the fact that this woman has weathered so many, and the American people are very aware of that. It completely undercuts any thinking that her past struggles are “baggage”, and plants the thought that she is stronger for having survived all that.

    That is a very effective subtle undercurrent of message in this ad, in my opinion, in addition to the obvious one.

  51. mj, they are not talking anything related to Hillary winning. Not a word. All the times I have watched the Matthews show (and that’s only occasionally) they always focus on Obama and if he can beat her. I have never heard a discussion there (or on any other news shows) about her potential impact as the first woman president. It just perplexes me….

  52. Well for one, Mandy Gruenwald is no fool and seldom missteps, though she was badgered a couple of times to change her stance and go along with a boo-boo in the 1992 campaign.

    However, now she is not part of a two-person-headed team, she is “the decider” re media. I’ll trust her judgement. And remember, there will probably be two more in the next 7 days.

  53. “I have never heard a discussion there (or on any other news shows) about her potential impact as the first woman president. It just perplexes me….”

    It’s depressing. To me, the worst is that few female bloggers or media personalities have talked about this at all.

  54. American gal

    Can pastie-face be streamed audio or video from the net?

    Don’t like him but want to see his last rant. Saw the one from this morning. Thought he was drooling a bit.

  55. okay i promised to stop watching msnbc after that horrible debate, and i dont watch it…

    but i can just see the desperation in caspers face, oh and the red veins running thru his bloated nose…
    the think i noticed last time i saw him on something, he was spitting more than usual, and really slurring his words…

    IMHO he’s taking this whole ‘A WOMAN COULD BE PRESIDENT’ way to hard…
    CASPER needs AA, and i”m not talking about african americans for drinking problems…

  56. That is one tremendous ad. It is powerful and subliminal. It reminds voters of what this election is about: problem-solving, and she is the one to do it. No chatter, no clutter, no moon landings, no gift to the world–just a better tomorrow for all Americans.

  57. Charlie Cook, in a discussion of current standings in Iowa, is saying that Edwards could still come in first. Matthews says no one cares if Hillary comes in second to Edwards, only Obama is the big headline if he wins. They did not mention any recent polls–most of the discussion was about the Republican nominees. My take is that Matthews doesn’t like to talk about scenarios where his choosen one might not win so they don’t discuss the Democratic race in depth.

    I don’t know if the Matthews show is streamed online. There will be clips at various places I would think.

    Next segment they are going after Hillary’s experience….It’s incredible that any news commentary program on television is allowed to be so blatently and obviously biased towards one candidate.

  58. Skmf12 said okay dude, i mean sherm,

    thanks for that wonkette page

    That’s good, Skmf. I need all the help I can get. Anytime anyone wants to give me credit for the great stuff B Merryfield does, I will take it.

    Thanks anyway, Skmf12. Actually I’ve also been too busy applying credit where it doesn’t belong. If I had not been in a hurry to go pick up my wife, I could have looked a little closer at the post I made above, and maybe I would have gotten it right.

  59. Matthews compared Huckabee hunting in Iowa to Dukakis in a tank and Kerry looking like Elmer Fudd when he went hunting.

    Making fun of Edwards for being late to campaign events…

  60. From the Edwards camp-

    “We also expect Senator Obama to continue his attacks on Senator Edwards. As NBC News, ABC News, CNN, the New York Times, and the Des Moines Register have noted, Obama’s recent attacks on Edwards coincide with Edwards’ gaining steam on the trial. It’s no accident that Obama’s criticisms of Edwards coincide with Edwards’ uptick in recent polls. Paul Krugman observed Obama’s attack on outside labor-funded groups could actually hurt the Democratic Party.”

    He’s also touting that he’s out drawing both Hil and OB in Iowa crowds.
    That must really burn mr. “look at the crowds I draw”, OB. It looks like
    the two gentlemen have removed the proverbial gloves and are going to “duke it out”, until caucus day, while our GIRL is free to take the high road, if she so chooses. It had to happen, and it couldn’t have happened at a more opportune moment in the campaign.

  61. Good title to your story…The Great Awakening.

    I think it’s time for most of us to grow up and take serious the task of choosing our presidents with care. WAKE UP people!

    But what happens, happens. I’m a pretty serious patriot. And my screenname proves that I’m just as patriotic about my party. But, we have to nominate Hillary. No doubt. It’s really the only way democrats can win.

    Go Hillary! Go American People! Go USA!

  62. I just had to take a look today mj due to the report this morning of what Mattews said on MSNBC. I’m not going to watch the rest of the show or the segment on Hillary’s experience. We all know how that is going to be spun…

    I posted the other comments because it just cements the type of individual Matthews really is….

  63. “I posted the other comments because it just cements the type of individual Matthews really is….” That it does indeed.

  64. sherm, you are alright by me… you love hillary, and you are solid as a rock, and i thank you…

    thanks byway the Merry for the wonkette page k?

  65. I like the ad a lot more now knowing what it evokes in you all. Just for fun, notice the last picture that they show of Hill in that ad. Her engagement ring or anniversary ring or whatever it is is on prominent display. Message to the subconcious?!

  66. I have been feeling for a while that Matthews has become unhinged. Surely someone at MSNBC should see this. Also, how does one find ratings for his show?

  67. Joe Sestak just did an AMAZING job of selling Hillary on Hardball. His soft spoken manner was very disarming of Stewie’s open rhetoric.

  68. Chris Mathews literally just made a shit joke about the Clinton’s. He said after “dumping” on Obama they feel better.

  69. Admin:

    Please incorporate the beachwoodreporter piece into tomorrow’s post. It is fantastic and very much sums up the thinking of the pink world.

  70. Greg Sargent on Talkingpoints posted in a tiny note that Media Matters did a study and YES – the MEDIA HAS BEEN TOUGHEST ON HILLARY…duh. Also, the link to the actual study is in this article.

    “The Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., took a look at 481 news stories on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX from October 1 through December 15, 2007. It concluded that the media hits Hillary the hardest:”

    Interesting to see Drudgereport has a screaming headliner that Hillary’s is double digits above Obama in Iowa.

  71. WBB

    Just heard about the murderous tragedy in that neck of the woods on NPR, of all places. It’s happened here a couple of times in the last three years, and even if the family or group seems “different” from the rest of us in any way, it can lay down a subtle layer of fear in the larger community like a ground fog, taking a while to dissipate I’m sorry.

  72. I find it interesting that the reporter on the Beachwood Reporter article picked Huckabee for the Republicans way back in January. I’m sure no one was expecting him to become a front runner. That reporter has some good instincts for sure.

    Article came from the comments section on Taylor Marsh. They always have good information there.

  73. Oh brother.

    Now Obama is claiming that only HE could carry more states than any of the other Democrats.

    He must have slipped on an icy sidewalk and fell down and hit his head on Christmas day.

    Hillary is the one that could potentially carry Ohio, and Florida, and Virginia, and New Mexico, and possibly more states. Obama would be LUCKY to carry the states that Gore and Kerry did, and would likely come up short. He must have forgotten what happened with Governor Wilder in Virginia, who polled way ahead but barely won.

  74. BHO talks about secrecy if Hillary Clinton but how about his own secrecy:

    Veil of secrecy at Obama’s London fundraiser
    By Tom Hundley

    LONDON — An unusual veil of secrecy shrouded Michelle Obama’s fundraising trip here Monday evening.

    The $2,300-a-head event at the Landmark Hotel was “closed to the press.” But the hotel lobby 45 minutes before the event started?

    When a young campaign aide spotted a Tribune reporter chatting with a couple of enthusiastic Obama supporters, he interrupted the conversation and scolded the reporter.

    “This is a private event. We have to ask you to exit the hotel,” the aide said.

    The taken-aback reporter declined, pointing out that a hotel lobby is a public gathering place and that he had no intention of crashing the event. Asked why the hotel lobby had to be declared a press-free zone, the aide said something about “protecting the privacy” of the people who paid to be here.

    Campaign officials were equally close-mouthed about the number of attendees, the amount of money raised, the substance of Ms. Obama’s remarks and what kind of food was served to donors.

  75. I think Chris Matthews has a man crush on Obama! When that ambassador was talking so eloquently about how Hillary had immeasurable experience in the White House and gave examples of how she affected people globally, Matthews just cut him off and actually looked annoyed that he was giving kudos to Hillary!! Amazing!!!

  76. Do y’all think that the now very obvious Matthews hatred/obsession with Hillary actually hurts her or helps her?

    Please show all work.

  77. tweety has been pissin’ and spittin’ since january 20, 2007 when HRC announced her intent to run and spoiled BO’s debutant-ball-debut on lincoln’s birthday. tweety has never forgiven HRC for stealing his boyfriends thunder and never will.

    does it hurt her? yes, if only for cumulative effect and promoting the “hillary-hate-syndrome”.

  78. I sensis one from what I’m reading and hearing that the Clinton campaign is on the uptick. The tide is turning and I think she is going to do just fine in Iowa. I feel a confidence about her and she just looks more presidential each time I see her. The face time with the voters has made a difference and I think she has her most valuable asset, her life and her struggles.

  79. i think russert and mathews, did a lot of damage, they stole the dialogue, they set the tone, and i think they bullied the media to follow them down the bellow belt path they were leading…

    fortunately, i believe the sites like 44, and howler, and marsh and others, have fought a hard and fight to expose the press, and i believe they’ve found a crack in the armor.

    but more importantly, i think hillary’s team, had to switch gears, and realize that the republican attack was here, and being thrown at her by the dems in her party.
    she just had to redo her strategy, and ofcourse, the clintons, are not about to let them win this fight, cause they are the ‘FEARLESS DUO’…

  80. Thanks for posting the link to the Beachwood reporter article. Echoing another person’s comment, I think it should get more visibility.

  81. As for why more women aren’t talking about Hillary “as a woman president”…. Maybe because she has so many OTHER accomplishments and issues to talk about.

    Maybe being a symbol is a symptom of being ONLY a symbol?

    Someone did an article that started something like:
    “A half-breed of brown skin, childhood outside the US, father a citizen of a country very important to us…. Bill Richardson, half-Mexican Governer of New Mexico.” I suspect that by the time someone has actually done very much (good or bad), the symbolic race or gender factor has dropped out of people’s minds. I think it’s a COMPLIMENT to Hillary that she isn’t expected to behave in a particular way just because she’s a woman. (Also we already KNOW how she will behave, we’ve seen her in action for decades.)

    There are plenty of stories out about old women bringing their grandchildren to see the first woman who may win the presidency. But I think there’s a difference between “Look, she’s going to crash the glass ceiling” and “She’ll do something womanly when she’s in there.”

  82. I hope that people in Iowa is smart enough to realize that they are electing the next president of United States of America not just to make huge news that a black can defeat Clintons.

  83. Politico is saying that Obama will start giving new speeches on Thursday attacking the alleged “secrecy” of the Clintons. I think there should be an immediate response on the “secrecy” of Obama which, as we all know, covers aspects of his life, political history and books.

    If he is feeling the need to try to go after Hillaryrather than focus on the positive I wonder exactly what his internal polls are telling him…

  84. Is it possible to kick this guy out of the democratic party after these primaries. I am sick and tired of him parroting right wing talking points against the Clintons.

  85. BHO looks deperate. He attacked Edwards before Christmas and then is going to attack Hillary after Christmas.

  86. AmericanGal

    ClintonDem99 copied a very on-point article from London about BO’s secrecy, about 7: 15 or so.

    It’s an eye-opener.

  87. ra1029

    CM said this aft that “there will be hell to pay” if BO is not sucessful.

    Anyone want to speculate what the heqq THAT means

  88. Thanks Emjay…and that’s only one example. The odd thing is that I’ve been reading that Obama is “trying out” his new theme in different places such as supermarket stops. Odd isn’t it? Why the sudden searching for a message?

  89. Emjay, I think Matthews is just threatening that if Obama doesn’t win he will go rabidly after whoever he feels prevented his “magical one” from getting the nomination. Its just one more of numerous examples that Matthews is either mentally ill, a biased zealot who doesn’t care about journalism, or most likely both.

  90. meiyingsu, I agree with your observation. I don’t think all Democrats would suddenly become disciples of St. Obama if he becomes the nominee. There will be questions galore….

  91. I really liked the new ad. It is powerful. I like the music and the choice of images.

    I am sorry that Obama decided to run such a negative and damaging campaign. There is no way that it could be good for the party. He obviously got in the race because a group of self interested, self serving individuals, most likely repugs, or might as well be repugs, talked him into it.

    The media bias is wild and multifaceted. I believe that some of it is due to the fact that they are intimidated by race and by being called racist. Sexism seems like a joke to them–that’s what they did with the subject. But racism is something else entirely to them and nobody wants to be called a racist. The race card has been played throughout the campaign of course, because Obama and his wife have both mentioned what a difference it will make to the world when they are all on the lawn of the white house.

    I do believe that Hillary and company are fighting very very hard. I believe they are very well organized and that we will prevail.

    But I agree with wbb and others who have talked about the dangers of the media bias. It is extremely dangerous and insidious force in our society and it is a violation of the free press–when a group of “reporters” are telling one warped side of the story and allow for no dissent! This is one of the biggest challenges I believe that we have ever faced as a country. I feel that it is part of an ideological movement. It smacks of the anti-science movement in this country because the tactics are the same as is the hate speech and belittling of women. Specifically, it reminds me of the kind of things creationists do when they are harrassing scientists and trying to get their religion into schools. They take lots of quotes out of context, for one thing, to paint either the worst or the best possible face on the person in question. I think that we need to stay very vigilant about this no matter what.

  92. I just saw David Gergen on CNN — he is one voice I still kind of listen to. But he did not like Hillary’s new theme — big challenges, real solutions… — he was saying “what in the world is that?” as compared to Obama’s simple message change. He said he was surprised that she did not have security clearance (it was I think mentioned in the Times article) — I am kind of surprised too and worried that it would undercut her experience argument. He was like hoping she could still get it all together. I don’t know what it all means but I am worried.
    Also did anybody see David Broder gushing over Obama’s stump speech? Speak of today’s delusional journalistic minds.

  93. Hillary’s fabulous and clear answers on the president and the Constitution, from the Boston Globe questionaire:

    1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

    No. The President is not above the law.

    2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

    The President has the solemn duty to defend our Nation. If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action – including any kind of strategic bombing – against Iran without congressional authorization. That is why I have supported legislation to bar President Bush from doing so and that is also why I think it is irresponsible to suggest, as some have recently, that anything Congress already has enacted provides that authority.

    3. Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops — either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?

    No. Although Congress cannot change the President’s role as the Nation’s Commander in Chief, the Constitution expressly gives Congress war powers, including the power to raise and support armies and to establish rules and regulations to govern them. These powers, among others, give Congress the authority to cap the number of troops deployed as well as set minimum home-stays. Similar limitations have been passed throughout our country’s history and Presidents have adhered to them.

    4. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

    I have opposed the Bush Administration’s abuse of signing statements, and as President, I would not use signing statements to disagree on policy grounds with legislation passed by Congress or as an end run around the veto. I would only use signing statements in very rare instances to note and clarify confusing or contradictory provisions, including provisions that contradict the Constitution. My approach would be to work with Congress to eliminate or correct unconstitutional provisions before legislation is sent to my desk.

    5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?


    6. Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

    I fundamentally believe that our constitutional system depends upon each branch striving to accommodate the interests of the other, and the President should seek to accommodate legitimate congressional requests for information. I also believe in an open transparent government that fulfills its obligation to share as much information as possible with the public. But it is settled law that certain limited “communications made by presidential advisors in the course of preparing advice for the President, come under the presidential communications privilege, even when these communications are not made directly to the President.”

    7. If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president’s authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?


    8. Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?

    The international human rights treaties that the U.S. has joined represent an historic advance for the cause of human freedom. Under our Constitution, they also are the law of the land, and the President has the same duty to comply with them as with any other valid law.

    9. Do you agree or disagree with the statement made by former Attorney General Gonzales in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away?

    I disagree with Attorney General Gonzales. I have long believed that the right to habeas corpus offers fundamental protection against unchecked government power. It is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The Supreme Court should reaffirm this principle in the Boumediene case now pending and correct the mistake Congress made when it attempted to rescind habeas corpus through the Military Commissions Act.

    10. Is there any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that you think is unconstitutional? Anything you think is simply a bad idea?

    The Bush Administration has acted unconstitutionally in failing to comply with FISA, failing to adhere to Congress’s prohibitions on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and attempting to hold enemy combatants indefinitely at Guantanamo without review, to name a few examples. More fundamentally, I reject the basic premise of the Bush Administration’s view that Executive Power is not subject to the rule of law or to constitutional checks and balances.

    11. Who are your campaign’s advisers for legal issues?

    I have a large and diverse group of advisers.

    12. Do you think it is important for all would-be presidents to answer questions like these before voters decide which one to entrust with the powers of the presidency? What would you say about any rival candidate who refuses to answer such questions?

    I am happy to tell voters when I stand on the issues. I have a long record in public life, and I leave it to the voters to judge.

  94. I have no idea what Gergen is talking about. But, then, that’s why I don’t watch cable news. I think I have to take a break from hear. I understand your angst but I don’t think it helps to watch ll this cable news.

  95. I’m not worried. Hillary never claimed she had security clearance. Her claim of experience stretching 35 years in no way hinges on that. And I don’t think the big challenges, big solutions theme is hardly different from anything she’s done before.

    Besides, if Obama’s going to start attacking her for being “secretive,” he must be in some trouble. Smells a little panicky to me.

    Oh, and ignore David Broder. So now we’re picking a president based on his stump speech?

  96. PM, For the most part I’ve always thought Gergen to be a voice of reason. I have disagreed with him before, though, and the last couple of times that I’ve heard him I’ve been somewhat disappointed. I think Hillary’s message: time to pick a President: big challenges, real solutions is quite clear. We have to wake to what’s happening, get a sense of our challenges and then work to find solutions. The President, under Hillary’s leadership, will once again lead the way. Maybe it’s been so long since that’s happened in this country that Gergen didn’t get it.

  97. Gergen has a little trouble with 4 words instead of one. And one of those words even has 3 syllables! However will the pundits cope! Morons.

  98. obama si hitting on the clinton presidency stupidly calling hillary secretive. this is insane. obama isnt a dem. he is not. anyone would know that gingrich forced showdown after showdown investigating crap. and bill did release documents-many. obama is almost inviting bill now into the fight. he better be careful-dont mess with big dogs.

  99. Here is something from today’s Iowa Independent. Sen. Chris Dodd on Obama’s experience

    When asked specifically about Obama’s foreign policy experience — and the Times report on European travel that Obama disputes — on Christmas Eve, presidential candidate and veteran U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said he had some thoughts on it because “problems are mounting up by the hour.”

    “This is not a time for on-the-job training and I say this with all due respect for people who have just sort of arrived on the scene without any proven ability to bring people together to make a difference,” Dodd said.

    Added Dodd, “This is not a time for celebrity here. Iowans know that. They’ve managed to cut through that fraud in the past of celebrity and choose candidates who can go on and win a general election.”

    Dodd said he was not making the comments on a personal level but rather as fact.

    “If anyone thinks that you’re not going to hear that being wrapped around the neck of a candidate come next fall here, about the lack of experience, they’re deluding themselves here,” Dodd said. “Be prepared as we look at these issues here of having people who have experience, the ability to produce results.”

  100. well, it does not matter much if Gergen gets it or not. Let us see how she develops this in the next couple of days — she has always come through.
    They will interpret not having security clearance to mean not any meaningful participation in national security or even foreign policy.

  101. David Broder has been on my shun list since he became such a toad during the impeachment proceedings, along w/ Andrea Mitchell, Gloria Borger and several others.

    Someday I’ll find that piece of paper. One lady who used to stand in front of the white house is not on the air anymore. Don’t remember her name but what went around came around for her I think.

    And Gergen was a turncoat too. He smelled the coffee though, when the Clintons’ popularity did not diminish and he hopped back over the fence. It’s like they are afraid members of their own pack will turn and devour the hold outs.

  102. I noticed that HillaryHub is not touting the ARG Iowa poll. Perhaps they’re lowering the expectation or maybe their internals are showing something less meteoric.

    In any event, I think at this point most Iowans have made up their minds. I also think they’re just tired of the candidates and politicians swarming their little towns.

    God! I can’t wait until this is all over. I’ve come to hate my fellow Democrats for their mean-spirited comments and attitude towards Hillary. Obama/Edwards supporters on the blogs are just about the most hateful people. I thought only the GOP were capable of such hatefulness.

  103. pm, She’s been endorsed by 32 ambassadors who served during her husband’s administration, and she was her husband’s most important adviser. Even without a security clearance she knows tons more than Obama.

  104. “I noticed that HillaryHub is not touting the ARG Iowa poll. Perhaps they’re lowering the expectation or maybe their internals are showing something less meteoric.”

    I noticed that, too. Also, if her supporters think she’s ahead by 14 in Iowa, maybe some won’t bother to caucus. Don’t want anyone to get complacent.

  105. “Also, if her supporters think she’s ahead by 14 in Iowa, maybe some won’t bother to caucus. Don’t want anyone to get complacent.”

    I agree with that. I think there won’t be any more polls posted. Things are just so fluid.

  106. I just listened to CNN and the pudits, Grogan and the other one. I have to say it is just so disappointing. I probably won’t be able to watch CM for a while. But that is okay. I’ll just spend more time writing emails and calling people about our girl.

  107. also-the gergen comment -oh my i cant believe she didnt have security clearance-oh please. if hillary sought and got clearance the emdia of course would have erupted in firestorm saying she is co-president -who is bill tking ordrs from and im sure newt would have held hearings to remove funds for the first lady. shame on gegren.and i usually like the guy.

  108. good reason why obama has gone negative on clinton-he is losing-Iowa update: All evidence points to there being no favorite

    Lots of controversy over Monday’s ARG poll that showed Clinton way up. There is no doubt that, since the poll was taken the week-end before Christmas, it should be taken with more caution than usual and it cannot be taken at all to mean that Hillary is now way ahead in Iowa. And I was the first one to say so on Monday. The point still remains that the trend-line is moving towards Clinton. I do not buy that Clinton has a 15% lead in Iowa naturally, but there are other polls (like Strategic Vision) that show that Clinton has halted her free fall and that the race is back to a toss-up.

    Polls are likely on the field now and will start being reported over the week-end, so we will know much more about the post-Christmas Iowa situation (and whether Christmas dinner conversations changed any minds) in the coming days.

    8 days from Iowa, most Democratic candidates were in Iowa this week-end. Now that we are in the home-stretch, there will be less and less visible stories to report, as the campaigns focus on ground work rather than overarching strategies. But we can still learn a lot about where numbers are heading from the way in which candidates are campaigning.

    Today, Obama is going after Hillary Clinton with some added intensity with comments like this: “If they’ve been secretive in the past, they’ll be secretive as president.” Clearly a shot at Clinton’s 1993 health care leadership and her refusal to open up the presidential archives.

    For Obama to go on the offensive a week from the caucuses does betray, however, that his momentum of early December has deserted him. Going negative in Iowa carries huge risks, and no candidate does it unless they feel like they have to. Remember that the first two weeks of December it was Clinton going all out against Obama and the Illinois Senator was barely responding to her! Clinton’s slide has since stopped and the candidates are locked in a toss-up.

    The Obama-Clinton back-and-forth could benefit to John Edwards, which has always been part of John Edwards’s strategy. And another huge factor in Edwards’s favor are 527s. “Alliance for a New America” ‘s involvement in Iowa was documented throughout the week-end because of Obama’s criticism of the 527s and Krugman’s jumping in the fight, but the group now has started airing a new ad in favor of John Edwards (view the ad here), and there are also sending plenty of pre-Edwards mailers being sent out to Iowa households independently of the Edwards campaign.

    Despite Edwards’s financial hole, he has been able to be as present in Iowa than his two rivals — and he pretty much remains on par with them going into the final week. And when looking at Iowa polls, remember that Edwards’s support is likely understated given the (1) committed nature of his support, and (2) the second-choice preference the candidate benefits from.

    Meanwhile, via the Politico,’s forecast now extends all the way to January 3rd. Their forecast for now: It will not be snowing or raining, nor will it be particularly freezing (a low of 22 degree in Des Moines). So it looks as of now that weather will not get in the way of voting. (To the commenters who are claiming that “nobody can predict the weather this far out,” maybe you should e-mail and complain about the way they conduct their weather reports).
    Labels: IA-Dem

  109. Emjay, no. I live in California. However, I do plan to help with the Nevada caucus if I’m needed. I’ve already contacted the Nevada people.

    meiyingsu, here, here. Obama, more so than Edwards, annoy me endlessly.

  110. all i know right now is this nyt on edwards cant be good. no candidate wants possible breaking of the law to be the issue going into caucus night. obama and he have really been at it over this issue-i wonderif this will push obama back to going after edwards. its too irresistable. i hope edwards and hillary supporters can make a pact caucus night to keep obama from getting first or second place together tey can pull down obama. just an idea

  111. From that NYT article on Edwards…

    “An Oct. 8 e-mail message circulated among the union leaders who created the group suggests that they were talking with Edwards campaign officials about “what specific kinds of support they would like to see from us” just as they were planning to create an outside group to advertise in early primary states with “a serious 527 legal structure.”

    The message, sent by the president of one of the locals involved, was obtained by a rival campaign.

    Looks like the Obama camp got a hold of the message and forwarded it to the NYT… one week before the Caucus. Dirty bastards!

  112. Texan, I am thinking that the email came from the Obama camp. Someone from the union must have forwarded it to the campaign. Obviously Obama wants to hurt Edwards so they gave it to the press. It’s an escalation of the dispute they had over the past few days.

    It all would need to be sorted out if the union did indeed meet with Edwards staff or if it was just out of line talk by some union official. Just because there is a memo doesn’t mean that anything actually happened. I think this could actually backfire on Obama. If Edwards supporters think that he is trying to be destroyed by Obama with this issue they may be willing to make a deal with Hillary on caucus night. Some Edwards supporters, if the situation looks serious and his campaign is in legal trouble, might even leave Edwards to vote for Hillary.

  113. So this is why the Obama camp suddenly jumped on Edwards about the 527. He had the damaging message, raised the issue about 527 and knew the NYT would be publishing the piece the following week after.

  114. Hilllary has a new “give them hell” speech that is getting standing ovations…

  115. thanks for the article from Salon and Joe Conason – I always wondered why Karl Rove suddenly became a journalist and it’s to pal around with Bill Krystol and Stephen Hayes and to stir the loins of Mainstream Media for Obama and to target Hillary.

  116. If John Edwards advisors are worth a damn then they are telling him that to be competitive outside Iowa, he must do more than distinguish himself from the frontrunner. He must explain why he is superior to the number 2 candidate as well. To date he has failed to do so effectively and remains a distant third in the national race.

    Hindsight being 20-20 the best time to have done that was during the Las Vegas debate. Instead, he refocused on the frontrunner as he did in Philadelphia, but this time she put him in short pants. Had he shifted his attention to the number 2 candidate at that time then it is quite possible that he would be a more viable candidate in the national race today.

    He can still do this if he acts quickly, in the closing days of the Iowa campaign. By now he must realize that Obama has played him like a harp with the $400 haircut story, the 527 controversy and in other ways. He must also know that Obama is not committed to the concept of economic equality the way he is. And he must know that even if he wins in Iowa, Obama remains an obstacle to his ambition.

    As a trial lawyer he knows that you cannot ask your target audience to say something through their vote if you are unwilling to say it yourself clearly and forcefully. Thus, if he wants people to vote rather than Obama then it is imperative for him to tell them why they should do so and why Obama is not the man who can deliver.

  117. this 527 will grow i think for sure. the media will never question how this nyt story got out and never point at obama as leaker. but those involved in this race day to day will know-and thus deals will be made caucus night. i can see this more and more-or at least hope. in the end it is to the advantage of our party to defeat obama handily in iowa so yeah cut deals with edards folks to drown obama jan3rd

  118. maybe joe trippi gave this story to obama, and maybe he gave the story to the national inquirer, i mean doesnt he really wish he had been ob’s manager, rather than edwards…
    and if we want to talk about conspiracy theories, maybe edwards didnt fight obama all this time, because obamas camp had these things on edwards, maybe they told him the most he could wish for if he was a good boy is vp…

    oh well it would make a good book…

  119. It’s unbelievable what the Obama camp did. Mr. Hope and Change uses the old political dirty campaigning.

    Didn’t Obama force a rival off the ballot when he ran for Senate?

  120. Hill4Tex

    Thank you for that great Boston Globe post at 11pm.

    Bet one of her campaign aides didn’t fill that one out for her, a la Obama’s Illinois questionaire claim.

    What an articulate set of responses. Question is, since they went ahead and endorsed BO, I wonder if he could be challanged to put his responses out on the net so we can see how he answered the questions?

  121. Former Navy Admiral Joseph Sestak (D-Penn) is someone I hold in the highest esteem although I have never met him. He was on Hardball tonight and as someone above noted did a first class job explaining the significance of Hillary’s experience as First Lady, 2 term Senator and Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to the job of President. As he laid those arguments out to Matthews, they were rejected and I thought of the old expression casting pearls before swine.

  122. Didn’t Obama force a rival off the ballot when he ran for Senate?

    In his state senate race, he made himself the ONLY one on the ballot by getting several opponents taken off — including an ‘elder stateswoman’ activist who had given him help, Alice Palmer.

    In his US senate race, both his primary opponent and his November opponent “imploded” because their divorce files were unsealed (one by a lawsuit from a newspaper during the campaign).

    I’m not sure he’s ever won against a viable candidate. Hillary is being easy on him so as not to offend his supporters.

  123. Obama forced everyone off the ballot in Illinois.

    The answer to the Matthews hurt-or-help Hillary question is (think of me as McLaughlin who asks his panel a question and then gives them the correct answer) in the beginning it was harmful and it became cool to never say a positive word about her but he and Russert overdid it.

    Many people who went for the hate would never have voted for her anyway. Women have heard this garbage before and many men listened in disbelief. They seem to have reconsidered and started to rally around her. They are strting to wonder who else could have survive such an attack. I think she will come out stronger. Gone is the ‘coronation’ stuff. Here comes the comeback kid.

  124. Does a president get security clearance?? From whom? Who denies it? And his wife — who would have to clear her?

    I saw 2 min of Matthews to see him go too far about Hillary for Nora O’Donnell. Nora O’Donnell, if you please, stopped laughing long enough to demur politely. Matthews gave her the usual STFU treatment. If his bought-and-paid-for panel are rebelling, maybe they can no longer stomach the misogyny, or maybe theyre a trifle worried about their careers when Matthews is a laughing stock and they are linked to him.

    If Hill wins, they will be covering the Chicago stockyards,

  125. good morning hillfans, i have been without high speed internet and cable for 24 hours due to a problem with my service so the blackout was killing me. im back and ready for the homestreach. love ya hillfans!!!

  126. Until Vice President Dick Cheney’s famous accident last year when he mistakenly shot his partner during a quail hunt, it was Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States (1889-1893), who provided the previously most amusing presidential hunting-related incident. While in Maine, he aimed at what he believed to be a raccoon, only later to discover that he had shot dead a pig belonging to a local farmer.

    The anecdote was brought up by an analyst scrutinizing with amazement the numbers coming out of Iowa voter surveys one week before the primary for their party’s presidential candidate. The three-way Democratic race is very close. Hillary Clinton has managed to garner between 24 to 30 percent of the vote, John Edwards, 18 percent to 26 percent, and Barack Obama – 25 to 33 percent of the vote according to the opinion polls.

    Some will say the numbers show Obama is in the lead; others will assume that such a split can only show one thing: any raccoon can turn out to be a pig.

  127. good morning, all

    having a great time with msnbc this AM watching huckabee shooting ducks in his elmer fudd hat.

    it’s such a relief to be aligned with a candidate who you’ll never have to worry about being seen wearing camo-duck-hunting garb, dressing up in a flight suit prancing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, wind-surfing or shooting someone in the face.

    waiting for madeline albright later on morning joe. she kicks ass for hillary.

  128. Where is the indignation in the news media for political attacks in this campaign? They jumped all over Hillary for defending herself against attacks by showing differences with other candidates on the issues. I thought that was just standard practice in political campaigns. I thought I was learning something new in politics.

    BHO, in his desperation, is going strongly negative against Hillary and JE, and he is getting a pass by the MSM. His latest hit word of choice about Hillary seems to be “secretive”. He’s the one who has been secretive with his records in Illinois.

    So far, his attacks are simply reported without commentary. It’s as if the MSM is simply helping him to spread the message. I should have known better, but I expected them to get on his case about it.

    Oh! I just remembered the real reason for the double standard. BHO is not a woman.

  129. sherm-k

    if you think the secretive thing is bad, BO is now insinuating a vote for our girl is “madness”. i think the stress and strain is really showing with MSM’s chosen-one. desperation, for sure.

  130. That’s OK, Alcina. It must be OK! Otherwise the all-wise MSM would tell him it was mean spirited or something. He will get a free pass again.

    I think there may be some “madness” involved, but not on our side.

    On another note, I find it interesting that CM can viciously attack the most admired woman in the world with impunity. I wonder how many people admire that pipsqueak.

  131. All news channels are now reporting that Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a terror attack today with gunshot wounds to the neck. What an unexpected turn on events?

  132. ra1029, the events should remind voters of that there is unpreditable in the real world. we can’t afford to gamble to an unexperience.

  133. My wife and I watched that terrible story unfold on CNN. We had previously discussed the danger for her of going to those rallies in Pakistan. I’m so very sorry that happened. I had high hopes for what she might be able to do for that country.

  134. Such sad news from Pakistan. Still no statement from Bush yet either. Shows we need an experienced person like Hillary Clinton in the White House.

  135. Earlier on CNN, FWIW, John King offered the following: He said Hillary’s new campaign is to encourage people to vote for what they like. He said if people vote for WHAT they like they will vote for Hillary, but if they vote for WHO they like they will vote for Obama. Maybe, but I’m not entirely sure of that because many people also like Hillary in spite of 16 years of neocon propaganda against her. Many more are coming around.

    Case in point: A small NH paper, the Cabinet Press, is endorsing Hillary today. Their statement indicated a change of mind by at least some there. In a story about the questioning, they said the following:

    “She was also asked about people’s perceptions of her and the visceral reaction some have about her, evidenced by her almost identical “positives” and “negatives” in polls.

    “I have been involved in active change-making efforts for a really long time,” she said. “If you’re in politics and you’re really trying to make change, you’re going to create reaction. Some of them are understandable — people don’t agree with you. Some of it is for commercial reasons, you know: The talk show media people have made a lot of money off of me, going after me.”

    She said she takes criticism seriously, but not personally.

    “I am squarely in the centrist-progressive tradition of our country,” Clinton said. “I think America is at its best when we are constantly trying to solve problems, when we are moving forward together, and you always run into opposition when you do that.”

    I like this because it agrees with something I’ve posted in another place. Of course, some people don’t like her. When you stand for something, and when you try to do something, you are going to run into opposition. A large number of people will make it very personal. If you don’t do anything, or promise to do anything specific, you can always find nice things to say that will give people a reason to like you. That’s why there are campaigns filled with empty promises by people who think they merely need to be liked in order to win. We know one of those.

    I defy anyone to name for me just one real “doer” in the whole of history that was universally liked.

  136. B. Merryfield, thank you for posting all of those links. I read every one of them, and so far I haven’t been disappointed.

  137. in this moment of tragedy and turmoil, i keep thinking how much more secure i would feel if HRC were president today.

  138. Heads up: Fox News is about to talk about the impact of this event on the Presidential race which they describe as “huge”.

  139. Terrible news about Bhutto. She could have very well sat in the comfort of her Dubai home but showed enormous courage and dedication (all politics aside) in getting back and this is what happens. It is really horrible.

  140. This is an absolute tragedy….horrible for India and the world. Sad but true that this may have an impact on our own politics.

    Carl Cameron on Fox News just said that this event may make people take a closer look at Hillary, McCain and Guiliani as this kind of world turmoil will make experience, resumes, steadiness under pressure and foreign policy experience more important in the minds of voters.

  141. Some candidates have issued statements on this event–Romney, Guliani, Obama. Nothing from Hillary yet (or Edwards).

  142. “Some candidates have issued statements on this event–Romney, Guliani, Obama. Nothing from Hillary yet (or Edwards).” They will.

  143. Did Obama re-affirm his earlier statement to get out of Iraq and bomb Pakistan? He is naive and irresponsible on foreign policy.

  144. Obama’s statement from Politico:

    “I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world.”

  145. americangal, im sure hilary will put out a statement soon. good for obama for his gracious statement. one of the very few things said right all year long.

  146. Hillary just gave some comments at a rally. FoxNews carried it live–I didn’t get all of it but she talked about the tragedy of it all and that she hoped the government over there would continue to work towards democracy. I don’t know if it was an official statement. I’m surprised she isn’t doing a news conference or something like the others but perhaps that will happen later. She may have been on route to an event when she found out about the incident.

  147. One thing about obama and his secrecy:

    While I know that candiadtes raise money abroad (london, ireland, etc); apparently BO’s half -sister – Auma Obama –
    from his father’s side was raising money in a “private funndraiser” in Kenya.

    It is one thing if Bill Clinton, michelle, guilaini etc go and attend a fundraiser but having a half-sister (who may not be a US citizen nor a permanent residence of US) raising money is different.

    does not sound very open!

    who knows who the REAL= donors are!

  148. Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Death of Benazir Bhutto
    “I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. Mrs. Bhutto’s concern for her country, and her family, propelled her to risk her life on behalf of the Pakistani people. She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence.

    “Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan.”

  149. Good article in Boston Globe:

    A tough juggling act for Clinton
    By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist | December 27, 2007

    WITH HER mother and daughter at her side, Hillary Clinton told an audience of mostly female voters at the local YWCA that she understood their needs and, as president, would make family-friendly policies her priority.

    She was articulate, personable, and substantive. But, of course, she referred frequently to programs linked to her husband’s White House years, reinforcing a theme in that day’s Washington Post – that Hillary Clinton is running for president “in a tight embrace of Bill Clinton’s record.” The Post article on Saturday also suggested that both Clintons “are making the case that theirs was a co-presidency.”

    Asked in an interview afterward if she viewed herself as co-president, Hillary Clinton replied, “No . . . I was a member of the team. I was a member of the White House team that was involved with trying to make a lot of changes . . . I think that people who are running for president should lay out for Americans their record, their experiences, their qualifications, their vision, their plan, and their understanding of how to make it all happen, and that’s what I’m doing.”

    She’s also doing what a lot of women do – juggling identities. In Clinton’s case, she’s a mother, daughter, US senator, and wife of a former president. But, the last role overshadows everything else, forcing Clinton, the presidential candidate, to define “experience” mostly from the vantage point of former first lady. There’s some irony in that for a Wellesley College and Yale Law School graduate like Hillary Clinton. But she disputes the notion that Bill Clinton’s large presence sends the message that a woman needs a powerful husband in order to run for president herself.

    “Everybody’s spouse is out there campaigning,” said Clinton. “Some of the wives of some of my opponents are very active campaigners. They obviously support their husbands. And I supported my husband for years as he was in the political arena . . . I think it is absolutely appropriate that he would not only be supporting me privately, but doing so publicly.”

    Pundits may view Bill Clinton’s help as a mixed blessing, but not Hillary Clinton: “It’s been fascinating to see how Bill has understood the challenges of being someone who is trying to make the case for someone else,” she said. “That’s exactly what he’s trying to do for me and that’s what I have done for him for so many years.”

    Clinton is trying to connect what she views as the accomplishments of the Clinton administration to her agenda for the future. Part of that, she said, is weighing her record for change “long before my husband ever became president.” That includes expanding health insurance coverage for children; improving the foster care and adoption system; advocating for education reform as first lady of Arkansas and as a senator from New York; and helping to pass legislation to assist family caregivers.

    “We’ve been inflicted by a sense of fatalism under this (Bush) administration,” said Clinton. “. . . There’s this sense that we’re not up to the challenge, that we can’t fix problems and give people better opportunities. You don’t have to go back very far in history to see that’s just not true, to rebut this sense of built-in resignation that the Bush administration has basically promoted when it comes to our government.”

    The message should be a powerful one. But it’s often lost in the overall rush to deconstruct the Clinton marriage, rather than the Clinton administration. Meanwhile, Clinton’s rivals are challenging how much credit she should get for the positives of the Clinton years, while happily burdening her with the negatives.

    The candidate who last month told Katie Couric that the Democratic nominee “will be me” now says: “You have to make your best case . . . but if you can’t seal the deal with the voters that you would be the best president and they can trust you, your experience, your understanding of the world to do what they believe should be done in the country, you can run a great campaign but you can’t overcome that.”

    She sees herself as a “hardworking candidate who gets up every day and tries to persuade voters to support me.”

    After a year of campaigning, she’s still trying to connect her experience as daughter, mother, US senator, and wife of a former president to a commitment to change. It’s a tough juggling act, but Hillary Clinton may be just tough enough to pull it off.

  150. Guys, please go read joan vennochi’s piece on, or if you already read it here, just go over so she gets the web hit. She is the only editorialist who is fair to Hillary there.

    AG, Hill is trying not to turn these events into political fodder. That’s why she hasn’t had a press conference, IMO.

  151. mj, I think you are right but everyone else is running to give a press conference now so she may have no choice.

    I thought the statement put out on her website was excellent and moving. It must be a hard day for her as she knew Bhutto personally.

  152. Re: Benazir Bhutto’s murder

    Can’t and shouldn’t be used as fodder, IMO. This is not to be used as a political tool in our (U.S.) presidential campaign, and I hope others in the world don’t assume that. But, I think it speaks volumes about how Obama thinks. He said that it “shocked” him. I seriously doubt anyone who has been following this whole Pakistan thing was shocked. Hell, I doubt anyone in Pakistan was truly shocked. On the other hand, what Hillary said was “outraged”…..exactly! outraged, we should all be! Obama’s web site doesn’t even have a news press release on it….the last release was 12/25. He emailed his official reaction I guess. But, again, I don’t think any should use this as fodder. Hillary’s connection to Benezir’s family is enough. Others will, I bet, use it for fodder (e.g. Obama). That’s my opinion.

  153. Dodd spoke via phone (not sure whether I had MSNBC, CNN or Fox) and went at great length to say what Bush/US should do. John McCain was live at an event and made a brief-but-not-memorable statement.

  154. True@party, you make a very good point. I don’t think Obama really knows how to react effectively. Since others have given strong statements or press conferences he probably feels he has to do the same. I agree that Hillary’s statement was much more powerful. She doesn’t need to do anymore–it speaks for itself.

  155. Press conference probably is too strong–actually the candidates are just making a statement before a camera. Although Biden’s is listed as a “press conference”

  156. This is called politicisation of someone’s death. Obama due to his complete lack of foreign policy experience is forced to do all these things to show his lack of bonafides. He better “hope” that Osama won’t turn up with a taped video soon.

  157. She doesn’t need to do anymore–it speaks for itself.

    Exactly. If you confident of your own experience, you don’t need to do all these Obama stunts.

  158. I think Hillary’s statement was weighty and strong. Obama should be careful not to give the impression he is being opportunistic about this.

  159. so sad. she knew the risks to her life but she did what she felt was right for her people. tragic. godbless her and her family.

  160. pm, i think she should leave the statment as is. just doing a press conference just becuase the others are doing it is silly.

  161. this tragic event is going to dominate the news cycle thru the weekend(as it should) becuase it will illuminate the ongoing struggle, terrorism, and fighting that has been raging for decades in the middleast. that region is such a mess.

  162. If Obama gives a press conference it will only highlight his inexperience and lack of understanding of world events. He was “shocked”? I agree that is a strange choice of words.

    On the other hand, a tragic event like this underscores the instability and unpredictability in the world. Many regions of the world are so volatile and we need a leader who can truly be a seasoned and wise player in the world. Again, Senator Clinton’s standing in the world is such that she takes the time to think before issuing a statement or say that she will have a press conference.

    That was a good piece in the Boston Globe and I will go over to the Boston Globe site and read it there.

  163. YAY!! Kos decided to take a hard line approach with the troll ratings abuse and the mob behavior. I love it! Maybe now I can start to read Dkos more often. I was thinking it was turning into an extreme fighting interactive online game or something. I mean, when you start counting ratings and particularly troll ratings, it leads to gaming behavior, I think. I’d rather not have my violent online gaming with my political information surfing…it’s already way too violent. Yay Kos!

    Now we can start to weed out the GOP thugs who were taking advantage of it.

  164. molly, NOBODY with half a brain would be shocked by this coming from the middleast. this goes on all the time. anybody remember anwar sadat? former president of egypt killed in 1981 by terrorists who hated his peace agreement with begin of isreal. outraged is what it is by hillary.

  165. All others’ statement has the overtone of campaign rehtoric, Huckabee is rubbing it in — look at our democracy!, he says; Guiliani thinks he will become relevant again; Macain’s is probably the worst. Hillary’s shows compassion for the person/woman in this tragedy.

  166. technically may not be in the middleast but close enough to have a BIG impact in the region. no question about that.

  167. terrondt, oh, don’t get me wrong….it’s violent over there….. Personally, any country that doesn’t allow women the same rights as men (not just on paper but in real life) is trouble for democracy.

  168. You’re right, Terrondt. The world is flat for all intents and purposes. If an ill-advised remark in a presidential debate can cause rioting in the streets in Pakistan. An assassination in that country can certainly create a ripple effect elsewhere in the world including the middle east.

  169. there is also sense of protocol to be followed. Usually the president should be the first one to give an official press conf. – whether we like him or not. We have to be careful about words etc. Hillary did the right thing! Bidenn is fine – since he is chairmentn of the sen. foreign rel. cmtt.

    It should be portrayed as a national outrage with compassion for the bhutto people in pakistan!

    The last thing we need is Sully telling us to elect obama because of his face as hope for a child in lahore!

  170. I heard about what Bush did at the official press conference (not really a conference but something like it) about Bhutto’s death. He got flustered and stormed off the set? Is that true?

  171. True2: I only saw part of Bush’s statement. It was the usual rhetoric. I didn’t see the flustered, storming part.

  172. MJR, well if it’s true, then Bush needs a nap, a long nap. The co-worker who told me he stormed off is also the same co-worker who keeps telling me that the CIA did EVERYTHING.

  173. Off Topic, but has anyone thought of the effects of the BCS Bowl games which now come into play for Iowa Caucus. On Jan 3 (8) Kansas plays (3) Virginia Tech. The Orange Bowl starts at 7 P.M. Iowa Time which I believe is right around Caucus Time. The game is nationally televised on Fox. I really do not know how big of an effect this will have on the Caucus, but I do not think anyone really does because this is the first time the two intersect.

    My only thought is that if voter turnout is the key anything working against that will harm a candidate. The Orange Bowl taking place during the Caucus could potentially lower the voter turnout of college students and younger males.

  174. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bush did though. He’s such a puppet and gets lost when he loses ground. He’s worse than Obama on stumbling on concepts and words.

    I don’t know about you guys, but when I hear Obama speak, I hate it. I cannot understand where his sentences go….like I know he has to use a subject, verb and predicate, but it’s really hard to understand where he’s going with his predicates or something. Also, his robotic cadence really gets on my nerves.

  175. According to Tweet’s logic, Bhutto’s assassination pales in comparison to an Obama Iowa win. The world will forget all of its troubles and everyone will hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

  176. He has a genius for turning a world tragedy into a personal photo op for his presidential campaign. But it is hardly surprising give what he is all about, namely him.

    Before him the law of astophysics was well settled that the earth revolves around the sun. But now there is an emerging school that claims the sun revolves around the earth, and the earth revolves around him.

    Here’s my prediction: before he steps in the spotlight, warns us about the perils of Pakistan, tells us our current approach is all wrong and promises a new heaven and a new earth if we merely elect him, he will ask ZB, neocon AL, and Axelgrease what he should say. Without them
    Mr. Audacity of Inexperience would be lost in space.

  177. OandrewD, that conflict with the Orange Bowl could have a major effect upon the turnout. I could be wrong, but I suspect it will have more of an impact upon the younger voters than the senior citizens. Considering that BHO has been targeting the younger voters, and Hillary has been going after the more mature voters, I wonder which campaign will suffer the most.

  178. Yeah I wish I could find demographical ratings of past Orange Bowl’s but I can’t. I would think though it would have the biggest impact of college aged to 35 years old males. Just my feeling coming from a big football family.

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