Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CHANGE....How do you create change? By proposing a compelling policy agenda, as John Edwards is doing? By using stirring rhetoric to move public opinion, as Barack Obama is trying to do? Or do you bring home the bacon the old fashioned way, as Ezra Klein suggests that Hillary Clinton would do:

The most compelling explanation of how to create change came from Hillary Clinton in the last debate, who said, "What's important, and what I learned in the previous effort, is you've got to have the political will, a broad coalition of business and labor and doctors and hospitals standing firm when the inevitable attacks come from the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies who don't want to change the system because they're making so much money from it."

That's actually a vision of how to achieve health reform. The problem with Hillary is, in fact, the opposite of that with Edwards, which is that I believe she's got a coherent vision of how to use the office of the executive, but I'm deeply unconvinced she's willing to deploy that savvy in service of serious change.

I have a pretty old school view of politics as a contest of raw power between competing interest groups: if you have the power, you get what you want. If you don't, you don't, regardless of how righteous your cause is. This is something that I suspect Obama understands pretty well in theory, but that Hillary Clinton understands — really understands — in actual practice. If the country is primed for change, I'm pretty sure that Hillary is the candidate who could most successfully convert popular opinion into actual legislation.

Unfortunately, she's not the candidate most likely to prime the country for change in the first place. Obama is. If we could somehow create one of those freak transporter accidents from Star Trek and meld the two of them into a single person, we'd probably have the perfect candidate. Lacking that, I'll just continue to watch and wait and see how they do.

Kevin Drum 6:58 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Torches and pitchforks.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 20, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary merged with Obama....I think that's a mental image I really didn't want to have.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 20, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

> standing firm when the inevitable attacks
> come from the insurance companies and
> pharmaceutical companies

I have a very hard time seeing Ms. Clinton standing up to those two entities - particularly when their representatives are accompanied to the Oval Office by Joe Lieberman. (HR) Clinton's career since moving to Arkansas has been all about working with large corporate entities and not obstructing their desire for more power and a bigger slice of the pie.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 20, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Although all of the three are definitely better than the Republican candidates including the fake Law and Order Guy, none of these are exciting prospects.

Obama lost me when he started talking so passionately about religion and faith and all that mumbo jumbo. Edwards should have known better than to be on board a hedge fund, an off shore one at that. And Hillary? She lives up to her stereotype of being too well packaged and rehearsed.

Posted by: gregor on June 20, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but if you merged the two together, would the result wear a pantsuit? That's the only thing Americans want to know.

Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: Spirit on June 20, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

or have, like, a VP who is very powerful and undesrstands how to get things done.

Ya know

Posted by: mickslam on June 20, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Another Clinton-Gore. She wants power, he wants change, both get what they want. Mark my words it'll be Clinton-Obama.

Posted by: orion on June 20, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

a broad coalition of business and labor and doctors and hospitals

Just as long as by "business" she means employers, and not just insurance companies, again.

Posted by: Avedon on June 20, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

That brought the image of the failed transporter experiment from "The Fly", with the tiny human head on the fly whining, "Help Me."

Unfortunately it was Obama's head on a tiny Hillary.

Posted by: Aeolus on June 20, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimately, I think that we're going to find that on one of the most important (power-wise) issues, (ie. Israel) - Hillary and Obama are diametrically opposed.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 20, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is now the 'number-one Congressional recipient of donations from the healthcare industry' ("Hillary Inc"., The Nation 6/4/07). She has spent the past 6 years trying to appease the right. Why would anyone believe she would suddenly stop appeasing the right and stand up for what's right if she were President? (which by the way she has about a snowball's chance in hell of winning) She would be even more craven and dishonest thinking about her re-election.

And Obama for change? What change?

Edwards is the only candidate who can deliver change.

Posted by: Chrissy on June 20, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Obama seems like he wants to distance himself from Hillary, but it seems to me that she will very likely win the nomination, fences will be mended and, as the younger, less experienced person, he will agree to run as vice president, ensuring a winnable ticket for the Democrats.
Am I delusional?

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 20, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Obama stands a far better chance of uniting the country when compared to Hillary (or any GOP nominee). And of course Edwards is the only one of the top 3 with a shot at a landslide (if Obama or Hillary even have a chance of winning, which is highly debatable). Maybe Bloomberg has guaranteed a President Romney. (If he runs, all he will do is throw it to the Republicans.)

The Elizabeth Kolbert review of the two new Hillary Books (in the New Yorker) gave about as concise an overview as to Hillary's problem (and ours) (please pardon the length, it's worth reading):

"In the fifteen years since Hillary became First Lady, she has made news for almost everything she’s done. (Her hair styles alone have probably generate more headlines than most congressmen.) Two episodes, however, stand out because they were so consequential and, in different ways, so disastrous. “
Woman in Charge” is especially good on what’s generally referred to as the health-care debacle; “Her Way” offers genuinely new insights into Clinton’s vote  on Iraq

"Bernstein makes several things clear about the health-care debacle, one of which is that it didn’t have to happen. As he reports the story, the first critical misstep was Bill’s. Many of the new President’s advisers, including Lloyd Bentsen, the Treasury Secretary, and Donna Shalala, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, opposed the choice of Hillary to lead what was formally known as the President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform. They doubted her qualifications and advised the President to keep his distance. Shalala tells Bernstein that she warned the President, “You can’t run a major policy like this out of the White House. You’ve got to have some insulation from it, in case it falls on its face.” But he wouldn’t—or couldn’t—listen. As an anonymous deputy explains to Bernstein, it was a matter of politics in the most domestic sense. Hillary had “stood by him in the Gennifer Flowers mess. And he had to pay her back. This is what she wanted.”

"The next mistakes were Hillary’s, and Bernstein documents them in rich detail. Clinton and the task force’s staff coördinator, Ira Magaziner, assembled five hundred members for the group, then decided to organize them—if that’s the right word—into thirty-four committees. Not surprisingly, work quickly fell behind schedule. The committees were required to meet under near-military conditions of secrecy: members were forbidden to photocopy documents under discussion or even bring pens and pencils to some sessions. Their meetings were closed to the press and, indeed, to all outsiders, an arrangement that was soon challenged—successfully—in court. Clinton’s biggest blunder, as Bernstein tells it, was to offend the very
legislators whose support she needed most. At a retreat for Democratic senators in the spring of 1993, Clinton was asked whether it was realistic to pursue such an ambitious health-care program, given her husband’s many other legislative initiatives. She responded that the Administration was prepared to “demonize” those who opposed the task force’s recommendations. “That was it for me in terms of Hillary Clinton,” Senator Bill Bradley, of New Jersey, told Bernstein. “You don’t tell members of the Senate you are going to demonize them. It was obviously so basic to who she is. The arrogance. The assumption that people with questions are enemies. The
disdain. The hypocrisy.”

"When the task force finally finished its proposal, months after it had promised to do so, the bill was one thousand three hundred and twenty-four pages long and so complex that, Bernstein writes, “even Hillary’s closest allies on the Hill could not fathom its contents.” In the meantime, Clinton all but assured a poor reception for the bill by allowing it to be leaked to the Washington Post before formally briefing lawmakers. Still, there was hope for some kind of health-care reform. As the task force’s plan was dying, key senators and congressmen of both parties proposed simpler alternatives. Had Clinton thrown her support behind any one of these, millions of Americans who lack health insurance might now be covered. But she refused.

“I find her to be among the most self-righteous people I’ve ever known in my life,” Bob Boorstin, the task force’s deputy for media relations, told Bernstein. “And it’s her great flaw, it’s what killed health care.”

And there you have it, how Hillary (and Bill) killed off for at least a generation, any chance of meaningful health care reform. (Incidentally, that was one of two main reasons Bill was elected in the first place.) The important thing about this passage is how it defines her character and her judgment - the two things, unlike intellect, that are not really changeable, especially in a then-47 year-old adult.  This is merely Exhibit ZZ in the list of why not to look forward to another four or eight years of the Clinton marital psychodrama.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 20, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Michael Moore was very unkind to Hillary in SiCKO.

But what does he know. He's fat.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 20, 2007 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have to ask, other than the Clintons, who offered to work on health care in America in the past 15 years?

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 20, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...If we could somehow create one of those freak transporter accidents from Star Trek and meld the two of them into a single person..."

But what would you do about their spouses, meld them also ?

Surely something other than that manimal creature Bush once babbled about

There is something missing in Hillary`s character/personality but I can`t quite figure out what it is

"...you cannot save your face and your ass at the same time..." - vachon@shadrach.net

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary is the nominee then the party is over.

Half of the country would vote for Moqtada Al Sadr right now if he ran against her for President. Seriously.

She is a dead candidate walking. It's sad, but true.


Posted by: Condor on June 20, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Conan can show what their baby would look like.

Posted by: none on June 20, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

If half the party would vote for Sadr over Clinton, than the party is over even if Clinton doesn't win the nomination. In fact, it's already dead. Of course I think that's just hyperbole.

Clinton and Obama on the same ticket is pretty dangerous. A woman and a minority on the ticket? Frankly, I'm not convinced a minority on the ticket can win much less two non-white males.

Maybe it's because there are large parts of the country that I don't feel comfortable visiting as a person of color and that I have experienced the ugly face of racism several times. That. Or I'm just cynical.

Posted by: gq on June 20, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

"By proposing a compelling policy agenda, as John Edwards is doing?"

After writing that, you only analyze the Clinton and Obama approaches. Where is the flaw in proposing a compelling policy agenda? I'm a little tired of people mentioning how great Edwards's ideas are and then ignoring what they just mentioned when they pick a candidate. Health care, the war, poverty, rural development...for crying out loud, he even has a policy related to FCC bandwidth auctions that should make the net neutrality people shout with joy.

Edwards has shown more creativity, more thought, more depth and more compassion than any of the other candidates, despite the fact that they have pretty good policies, too.

Stop navel gazing, stop insta-poll watching. Go with the progressive who actually has the progressive policies.

How do you create change? By proposing and then fighting for change.

Posted by: tfisher on June 20, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm personally not convinced that Obama is the best person to institute massive change. Sure that's what his overhyped rhetoric says, but does he say anything that Democratic dog-catchers don't say? Or extremely divisive Republican presidents from Texas?

Clinton is by far the toughest of the crowd--Dem or Republican. I'd also venture to say that she'd be more liberal than Bill Clinton and have a stronger Democratic caucus than he did. While I see Obama fiddling around trying to "build broad support" that already exists for health care, I see Clinton ramming decent legislation (probably better than Obama's) through.

I don't see Edwards being as effective as Clinton either. Neither he nor Obama has been involved in real political battles. I know people here will say I drink the Kool-Aid so I have add the unfortunate identifier that I prefer Wes Clark and Bill Richardson over the top three.

Posted by: gq on June 20, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think my problem with both Obama and HRC is that both of them are establishmentarian at heart. They see problems with the way things are at present, but neither of them is convinced there is anything fundamentally wrong that can't be fixed by competent governance.

To make an analogy, the Bushies are like someone steering a ship oblivious to the rocks and reefs around them; they literally think all they have to do is stay the course - as though the ship of state were like the Titanic and 'unsinkable.' Plus, we have the biggest cannons of any ship out there, so everyone has to get out of our way. Oh, and they'll scuttle the ship before they let anyone else at the helm. They'll always have a lifeboat waiting for them. That, and nobody better dare look too closely at the cargo manifest, who gets to sit at the Captain's table, or the contents of the Purser's safe.

In contrast, I think both Obama and HRC are aware of the dangers out there and are willing to make course corrections as necessary - but overall they too figure there's nothing the ship can't handle, the overall course is okay, and all that's needed is a steady hand on the tiller. And, they're not going to risk creating a panic or starting a mutiny by seriously raising any questions about all that - or even think about convening a court martial to address the conduct of the present captain. (Where did all those missing log pages go, and just what kind of cargo is that down in the holds?) Nope, all the ship needs is a fresh coat of paint and a few crew changes.

In contrast, I think John Edwards is the only one who is aware that it's not just the rocks and reefs out there we have to worry about, but the ship's course is headed to a place we don't want to go, the ship's provisions are in bad shape, the fuel bunkers are getting low, the Black Gang is getting restless, and the passengers in steerage may be getting close to panic. That, and the ship urgently needs refitting, some time in drydock to have her bottom scraped, and a whole new set of charts. Plus, it's getting to be hurricane season off a lee shore.

I think both HRC, Obama, and the Bushies would be happy to see Edwards walk the plank - the MSM is certainly acting that way - before they'll even consider paying attention to him or the issues he's addressing.

Posted by: xaxnar on June 20, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with tfisher and xaxnar. The power structure, for whatever reason, is afraid of John Edwards -- and Kevin, it's worrisome to see you acting that way, too.

Posted by: Vincent on June 20, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Both Hillary and Obama have been cowed by the conservative media into offering up a Republican Lite menu. We will increase military spending. We will fight those evil terrorists We are pro-business. We are for free trade. And on and on and on.....

No, what we need is a New New Deal. A more progressive income tax. A much smaller military (say, 50-75% smaller). A public works program for young people and the unemployed and underemployed. A crash program to become energy-independent. Some serious public policy people are advocating it! Click here for details. The only candidate who comes close is Dennis Kucinich.

I don't want no stinkin' Democrat In Name Only!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 20, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Right now, Edwards has the most exciting ideas and vision. But, I don't think he's compelling at presenting them. There is something I like about the way Hillary presents herself -- but I haven't heard her say anything that was specifically exciting (in fact weirdly, her ideas upset me as often as not.)

It's been sort of frustrating.

I think it's possible that as Democrats we could make the Bloomberg thing work for us rather than against us.

Third-Party campaigns get there energy from voter's dissatisfaction with main-stream candidates. But if our candidates start standing up to the MSM and take control of the dialog, then Bloomberg's threat is diminished.

The only reason to fear him is if we let him control the dialog.

I haven't heard an "What I want to know" moment yet this time around. Maybe the threat of his campaign will shake them (all) out of their vocal lethargy.

Posted by: katiebird on June 20, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

There are three major Democratic candidates right now and any discussion that leaves out Edwards is laughably incomplete.

There is good reason to suspect that Clinton and Obama may not get the nomination. And there is good reason to wonder whether either as president would be able to withstand the inevitable conservative holy war based on irrelevant issues (gender, race/ethnic background, etc.) and more relevant ones. John Edwards does not have the same liabilities. And John Edwards may well prove better suited temperamentally to fending off the attacks.

Edwards knows how to talk to us Southerners (and former Southerners) so that we don't even realize that he is more liberal than the competition.

Could a third-place candidate be better positioned?

And then there is this simple power-based fact: Edwards is every bit as good as the other two and
better suited to take on whoever the Republicans ooze in our direction.

Like any candidate, Edwards may self-destruct at any moment. But if he doesn't and if he doesn't win but another Democrat does there is a good chance that that other Democrat will self-destruct AS PRESIDENT and we will have reason to yearn for an Edwards presidency.

Edwards has the right kind of ambition: to be the best president we have had in decades or ever. And he has the best understanding of what that will take.

Posted by: Ross Best on June 20, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Putting Hillary and Obama in the same category is nuts. The one thing they each have, however, is balls - something sorely lacking in, say, Kerry. Or Gore. Or Mondale. Or Dukakis. Or Carter, for that matter. America is such a conservative country (and let's not kid ourselves about "not needing the South"), it's hard to imagine a Black liberal Democrat win. Colin Powell, yes. But it's not exactly like America has been in love with white liberals.

And we can thoroughly reject any nonsense about "a woman can't get elected." Maybe not a polarizing, unlikable former first lady from New Yawk. But a Margaret Thatcher-type? In a nano second.

I've been a Democrat my whole middle age life and always will be. But what is it about this party of ours that so unrelentingly wishes what should be at the expense of realizing and acting to what is? We cannot deny this death-wish.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 20, 2007 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is going to get hammered on gun control, if he wins the nomination. The Dems will lose the (racist) south, and the gun-nut west. However, they'll probably get a lot of black votes they haven't seen since the 1970's.

Edwards has a lot of good ideas - but he made one mistake: he failed to ridicule the press for wasting time talking about his alleged $400 haircut.

Hillary, of course, roughly the same math as Obama, only we're talking women instead of blacks. And blacks in the south won't be going home to redneck husbands who beat their political views into them - I doubt Hillary will get as many women votes as people thing she will.

Richardson, Clarke? I have no problem with them. Other than they have zero chance against the big-money-big-three. It's sad. Really, really sad.

About the only conclusion I can come to, about the future of American politics: Best get drunk now, before the RepubliChurch brings back prohibition.

Posted by: bungholio on June 20, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Is this going to turn into a Hillary Clinton all the TIME blog?

Cause it certain is moving that way.

Posted by: Again_it's_me on June 20, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you, bunghilio! Absolutely the best comment. Sorry, Again_it's_me, not this blog, just this thread. We can't help it. And she does represent my state.

I'm depressed because I fear it really will come down to Clinton and Romney. Ugh. And who's to say she won't win, the country is yearning so badly for a Democrat. But then where are we.

You're right, start drinking heavily.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 20, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Katiebird wrote:

"Right now, Edwards has the most exciting ideas and vision. But, I don't think he's compelling at presenting them."

Take a look at Edwards at take back America:

http://blog.johnedwards.com/story/2007/6/20/171957/038

This is compelling--both substantively and in presentation. This is the message Edwards is delivering across the country.

Returning to the original question asked by Kevin, "How do you create change?" Senator John Edwards has it right: you demand change and you work for it. The other excellent Democrats (and we have a great line-up this round) are asking and hinting and hoping for change, but within the presently acceptable limits of D.C. dialog.

Let's ignore the D.C. dialog--let's demand and work for change. Real change. Today.

Posted by: tfisher on June 20, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
no need for a freak transporter accident. They never turn out well anyway- Scotty always has to get the mop and clean up afterwards. My take is that Obama is running for the V.P. slot. I think that explains why he has been so timid and frankly, disappointing, so far in this campaign. He probably doesn't want to tick off anyone who might offer him the VP slot. If Hillary does get the nomination, I can't think of anyone who would better round out the ticket than the junior Senator from Illinois. Of course, if no one gets enough delegates to get the nomination on the first ballot, It probably becomes "Lets make a deal time" to get the 1-2 slots filled.

Posted by: spiny on June 20, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary will create some large, sudden change in the Washington Beauacracy. This change will land on the rest of the economy with a thud and cause endless economic turbulence.

Posted by: Matt on June 20, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

I may be pessimistic, but I think the U.S. is through as we know it. The unstoppable flood of turd world immigrants, the debt, unfunded liabilities, peak oil, resource depletion, global warming, the democratic bond between the people and the government broken, non-functional checks and balances on fundamental Bill of Rights issues--you name it.

It's every man for himself and devil take the hindmost. I'm opting for exended family and the Aryan Brotherhood as the best hope for the future as America declines and disintegrates.

Posted by: Luther on June 20, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe spiny is right. Maybe Hillary and Obama - each with their; hate to say it: "secondary appeal", will make excellent VP selections to complement a less savory (to Women/Blacks) character.

Posted by: bungholio on June 20, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody else getting the feeling that there's some Edwards astroturfing going on around here?

Posted by: martie on June 21, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'll admit to being an Edwards supporter (in case no one could tell), but there is nothing fake about me. I'm a regular reader (dating back to Calpundit days) and a very occasional commenter (except today). No one called me over here from anywhere else and I think if someone were trying to put down fake grass, you would see more than thirty some-odd comments. The chain at Ezra Klein that Kevin linked looks like it has more comments (though I didn't count).

Anyway, I would hope I could call on more bloggers over at http://johnedwards.com (shameless plug) if I wanted help with quantity.

So this turf is real, whatever you think of the content.

Posted by: tfisher on June 21, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Gore offers the best of both worlds: He understands the need for change even more than Edwards; he's been rhetorically bolder than Obama (who Gore recently schooled on the liquid coal bill); and he has the experience in politics to know how to get there far more than Hillary has.

Let's not forget that when given a chance to make sweeping change, Hillary did NOT build consensus. Her health care task force rivaled Cheney's Energy Policy group for secrecy and came up with a Rube-Goldberg design that everyone could hate.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on June 21, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has oratory skills not seen since FDR and political skills not seen since Bill Clinton. Might even exceed both of them in the long run. Besides that he has Durbin on his side to help him get bills passed in the Senate.

Posted by: markg8 on June 21, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Am I delusional?
Posted by: consider wisely always

If you think Hillary Clinton will be elected president of the United States, yes, you are.

I have a chilling feeling that 2008 will be the ugliest election year since 1968. I can easily see the antiwar left disrupting the convention, and a right-wing nutjob going postal on the nominee.

If Al Gore won't run, I might as well move to New Zealand.

Posted by: Warren Terraplane on June 21, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

The problem many of you folks have is that you impulsively boarded the Obama train before it left the station. Then when it failed to pick up steam, in fact stalled out, you were stuck with finding a graceful way out -- one that didn't make you look and feel so foolish. You have yet to figure a way out -- but you're getting close. "Just wait and see" is a start and might, just might give you the cover your precious self-esteem so badly requires when finally you must go with the obvious and clamber aboard the train that right now is rocketing along the rails, picking up a bevy of passengers all along the way and that won't slow until it reaches the White House way ahead of any other and with the Congress in tow. Wooh, Wooh, Wooh . . .

Posted by: stationmaster on June 21, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

If Al Gore won't run, I might as well move to New Zealand.

My late father, whose first chance to vote found him voting against FDR the first time he ran, lamented that he had to go to war and come back before he could vote for a Republican who won. He just about had us moved to Australia several times.

Following in his footsteps, I've been voting for the losing party more often than not myself. Even had I remained a Republican -- whatever they are these days -- I still wouldn't have a candidate.

While all the Democrats look better to me than any of the Republicans, none of them make me happy. HRC makes me less happy than most. I like Obama for a VP. I wish Edwards had more foreign policy experience. I wish Richardson didn't appear to have so many character flaws that can be blown up in a campaign.

I wish the Easter bunny were real too.

Posted by: Lucy Beloungy on June 21, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, don't let Edwards' good looks and Southern accent throw you off. He might not fit your mold of what a president should look/sound like, but his policy proposals do offer a compelling vision of where this country should be heading. Follow your own logic. We are electing a leader. Let's get distracted again by trying to imagine who best fits our image of a leader.

Posted by: MaryLou on June 21, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Anybody else getting the feeling that there's some Edwards astroturfing going on around here?"

Anybody else getting the feeling that there's some shotgun-in-the-dark character assassinnuendo going on around here?

Sincere support for a sincere candidate deserves better.

Posted by: Ross Best on June 21, 2007 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Well one way you create change is by breaking with the pattern of having only Bush-Clintons in the White House through the 80's, 90's and on into 2016?!? There's something here that is profoundly

Posted by: undemocratic. on June 21, 2007 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

..."when the inevitable attacks come from the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies who don't want to change the system because they're making so much money from it."

The problem isn't HRC or the candidates. It's the media. How much money have the drug cos. and the for-profit medical system spent on TV ads? Billions? Think anyone at all can fight against the media bias?

The right-wing idea that government can't do anything continues unabashed. Republicans still love to criticize the very government they've been running for 12 years.

Posted by: underseige on June 21, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Jim in Chicago: "Let's not forget that when given a chance to make sweeping change, Hillary did NOT build consensus. Her health care task force rivaled Cheney's Energy Policy group for secrecy and came up with a Rube-Goldberg design that everyone could hate."

100% correct. Hillary should not be running for president for the following reasons: 1) the failure of her health care reform proposal, and 2) her vote to authorize funding for the Iraq war, which are both big, big cues that she is not going to govern wisely or effectively . The third reason stands by itself--because a record of Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton is a travesty in a republic with 300 million people.

I like Edwards, I like Obama. I'd love Gore. If Hillary gets the nomination, I will consider my life-long affiliation with the Democratic party at an end. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, and Bloomberg ran, I'd vote for Bloomberg even if that ended up tossed the WH to Romney. I'm not kidding. I am fed up with the way the country has been going, and I am ready for change. And four more years of a Clinton is not change.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 21, 2007 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

"I like Edwards, I like Obama. I'd love Gore. If Hillary gets the nomination, I will consider my life-long affiliation with the Democratic party at an end. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, and Bloomberg ran, I'd vote for Bloomberg even if that ended up tossed the WH to Romney."

And this is why the Democratic candidates MUST take control of the dialog with votos away from the Press-Moderators and speak directly to voters.

(and am I the only person who's not that impressed with Obama? I think he sounds like a radio announcer. I haven't heard him say anything that's made me sit up. Are my expectations too high?)

Posted by: katiebird on June 21, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary doesn't want change. Hillary won't more power for the powerful. Hillary wants more war. I don't really give a fuck who would have the best understanding of how to use power, whoever wins is likely to have 8 years in office (sorry, but it's extremely rare when a president doesn't get a second term). I'd rather have 3 years of Obama or Edwards flailing madly and 5 years of action than 8 years of Hillary not trying.

Posted by: soullite on June 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, throwing the election to Romney would be a wonderful move. Just like Nader giving the election to Bush. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 21, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with you Ptate. They nominate Hillary, I'd rather not vote and throw it to the Republicans. At least I put up with this "lesser evilism" for a decade now. I'm done. These two parties, while growing further apart on issues I don't care about, have only grown closer on the foreign policy and class issues that I do care about. I could give damn about abortion, and gay rights are going to come eventually no matter what. On the issues I'm voting on, I can't vote for either of these parties. I can only hope that repeated Democratic losses convinces one of their back-benchers to make some noise and grab for power. Hopefully, that person will actually do something.

Posted by: soullite on June 21, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I have a pretty old school view of politics as a contest of raw power between competing interest groups: if you have the power, you get what you want. If you don't, you don't, regardless of how righteous your cause is.

I disagree. Chew on him all you want but Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't play your "old" politics game and he tends to win more often than he loses: by going to the people and getting them to force the change he seeks from the bottom up (through their employee - their REPRESENTATIVE). The Reps don't get to play the game THEIR way for THEIR ends, that is old politics. They get to do what their bosses tell them: the actual voter. Corporations don't vote. People do. You get the people behind you and get them to chew holy hell out of their employees in government.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 21, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well soullite, I'd hope you'd care about issues such as torture, suspension of habeus corpus, spying on American citizens, disenfranchisement of voters as policy... But that said, I agree with the underlying premise. Votes are there to be won. Dems do not own anyone's vote. If a candidate doesn't pay enough attention to certain voters to win their vote, that's a shortcoming of the candidate, noone else. Progressives are constantly being admonished by DLC types to shut up and be good soldiers. They're the Christian right of the Democratic party.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 21, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if time would not be better spent using the months until we're actually NEARING the nomination in formulating/asking/documenting questions to those candidates interested in the position and then actually doing some analysis of their behaviors in the past (accurate provable behaviors)and their suggestions for the future. I'm already sick and tired of EVERYBODY'S opinions and predictions about what will happen over a year down the road...are we shooting for turning off everyone?

Posted by: Dancer on June 21, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

It seems like Hillary as POTUS and Obama as VP would be the best combination for Healthcare reform. But the inverse would probably also be ok too. However, if Obama won the nomination, does anyone believe that Hillary would accept the VP slot?

Posted by: TW Andrews on June 21, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK
I have a pretty old school view of politics as a contest of raw power between competing interest groups: if you have the power, you get what you want.

That's a tautology, since political power is generally defined as the capacity to get what you want in the political arena. That's vacuous, not "old school".

If you don't, you don't, regardless of how righteous your cause is. This is something that I suspect Obama understands pretty well in theory, but that Hillary Clinton understands — really understands — in actual practice.

I certainly think Hillary Clinton understands the value of conforming your positions to those of powerful lobbies and avoiding challenging them, if that's what you mean. The problem is that Hillary Clinton does not seem to have any clue when it comes to actually moving opinion on issues or anything else related to leadership, and indeed she downright determined, as a consequence of the scars she bears (and won't stop talking about) from her previous failed efforts to lead, to do nothing but conform her views to those of existing powerful lobbies.

Which is fine for her, if her only motivation is personal ambition for status and titles. Not so much if she wants to get anything positive done.

If the country is primed for change, I'm pretty sure that Hillary is the candidate who could most successfully convert popular opinion into actual legislation.

Where is the evidence of that? Sure, if that popular opinion translates into the positions of powerful, well-heeled lobbies seeking new legislation, Hillary Clinton will go along with it, but any officeholder can do that, its the easiest thing in the world. But where is there even the tiniest shred of evidence that Clinton is better than the other candidates at doing anything more than that to turn popular opinion into successful legislation.

Unfortunately, she's not the candidate most likely to prime the country for change in the first place. Obama is.

And the evidence or argument supporting this is...where? Sure, Obama has run a campaign centered around an image of differentness, but where is the evidence at all that he can motivate specific change, rather than being an empty slate of "new and different" onto which different viewers can each project their own hopes of how that difference will manifest?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 21, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

"[G]oing to the people and getting them to force the change he seeks from the bottom up" IS a version of old fashioned power politics. It's been practiced by such diverse folks as Julius Caesar and Huey Long, Newt Gingrich and President Clinton.

The version of power policits we should all want to avoid is that in which the backroom deal is used to feather the nests of the elite at the expense of the people.

Posted by: Trashhauler on June 21, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Neither Hillary nor Obama offer change. They offer more of the same we have seen over the past six years: Big Government at home, cowardice on the borders, and unnecessary entanglement abroad, just like George W. Bush.

Posted by: brian on June 21, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, she's not the candidate most likely to prime the country for change in the first place. Obama is.

Ugh, me thinks not.

I am from Chicago and I've watched Obama for some time. He voted "present" far too many times in his term as a IL Senator to be considered anything other than a leader on issues. He cake-walked to his current Senate position as his opponents Ryan and Keyes imploded with no help from Obama himself.

With his lack of resume and leadership, Obama resembles the current President more than I'd care to think. The difference being that W. actually won two tough elections.

Posted by: JoeCHI on June 21, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has oratory skills not seen since FDR and political skills not seen since Bill Clinton. Might even exceed both of them in the long run.

Obama is not even close to FDR or more importantly Bill Clinton. You might like his message better than Bill's but on Bill's worse day and Obama's best day Bill is still better.

I once went to a political conference in high school and we had a republican consultant speaking to us about the general "inside look of politics" speech. And his exact words were " You know I'm a Republican but I have to admit. I'm glad Bill Clinton can only meet so many people. Because I've met him and I know that if everyone in the country met him we would make him king."

Posted by: Phil on June 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Right now, the candidate that sounds most reasonable to me is Hillary Clinton. And if that doesn't say something about the sad state of Republican politics, I don't know what does.

Posted by: Trashhauler on June 21, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton is probably the most liked man in the world. Too bad being liked has nothing to do with policy or outcomes. Too many Dems want to rationalize the fact that in 1993, we had a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, but that by 2001 we had a Republican President, a Republican Congress, a Democratic party infrastructure in shambles - oh but that wasn't in any way Bill's (or Hillary "two for the price of one") fault. Right.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 21, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If you want the corporate power structure to continue running America, only with a more benign countenance than Bush's, then by all means back Obama or Hillary. If you are out of the loop where power is concerned and want real change on the issues that count -- the economy, health care -- the only sensible candidate is Edwards.

Posted by: Vincent on June 21, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

How did the Progressive Movement of a hundred years ago create change? If the netroots is going to drive change, it will have to do so by mobilizing a large mass of people to become invloved in the political process. The internet could be a tool for such change, since it provides the ability to disseminate information in real time and encourages feedback just as quickly. However, if the internet is going to be used by politicians to condescend to the electorate, sorry Ms. Clinton, then top down change, instead of bottom up change, will continue, and I have my doubts whether that will serve the best interests of the commonwealth.

Posted by: Brojo on June 21, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack: "Progressives are constantly being admonished by DLC types to shut up and be good soldiers. They're the Christian right of the Democratic party."

What you say is true, but I have no confidence that Hillary Clinton would in fact change any of the things you warn about: torture, suspension of habeus corpus, spying on American citizens, disenfranchisement of voters as policy. As a US Senator--and this goes for Obama, too--she has been in a position to be a leader on all of these issues. And has she? No. Everything she does appears to be cautious, conservative, political expedient, the appearance of leadership, but not the substance....

I am so angry that Hillary Clinton is running for President. Big, big negatives, and it is a travesty that a country as big as America would be governed for 25 years by Bushes or Clintons. No, no, no. It is time to move on. Time for change. She is not uniquely qualified. We are being asked to take on faith--because she is a woman & a Democrat--that she will address the issues we care about. But I don't think the Democratic party has been doing that for some time now, and the Clintons are deeply implicated in that failure of the Democratic party.

For decades now, the Democratic party has been fielding mediocre candidates with a lousy, unimaginative selection process, not addressing the issues I care about, and then they assume that we will fall in line because the conservatives are worse. I have had it. I like Edwards, I like Obama. But the Dems nominate Clinton, and they lose me.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 21, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

DLC hooligans will hound you back into concurrence with whomever they choose to represent you.

Posted by: Brojo on June 21, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"She is not uniquely qualified."

But she has learned lessons from her own mistakes that other mortals can only dream of.

Posted by: Ross Best on June 21, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Unfortunately, [Hillary]'s not the candidate most likely to prime the country for change in the first place."

For the record, very few people in 1932 saw seeds of greatness in New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt, who looked every inch the well-heeled dilletante when he first announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. All the voters knew when they went to the polls later that year was that they were underemployed, they were hungry, and they sure as Hell didn't like President Herbert Hoover.

Our true heroes are often the most unlikely people.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 21, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

PTate in FR: "But the Dems nominate Clinton, and they lose me."

Now, that's the mature approach -- take your ball and go home. Good for you!

Just don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 21, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

I am not thrilled at the prospect of Hillary being the nominee, and have thrown my primary support behind another candidate. But whoever the Democrats nominate I will support for the White House, and find attitudes like "if it's Hillary I'm out" most troubling. Who would you support? The Republican nominee? Some third-party spoiler? No thanks. It is imperative that the Democrats take the White House in 2008. Such childish "take my ball and go home" rhetoric now is frankly counter productive.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 21, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

It is interesting that some are speculating on a three way presidential race of New Yorkers. When the country is in real trouble, does the nation turn to the Empire State for a competent leader?

Posted by: Brojo on June 21, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is superior to any Republican candidate, as I said in the Bloomberg thread. I did appreciate the Take Back America crowd booing her yesterday for her Iraqi position, though.

I have many complaints about Democrats, but it is imperative that a Republican not win the presidency in 2008, even if it means having to vote for a Kerry. My only worry is will this be the case in 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028. I am not going to tolerate being put in this type of double bind for the rest of my voting career, and I suspect others feel this way.

Posted by: Brojo on June 21, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and you Donald and B.G.R.S. continue to play the battered wife to the Democratic Party.

Sorry, but the Democratic Party won't change until they pay at the polls. And a third party won't win unless people stop believing the myth that a vote for a third party guarantees a Republican win.

Frankly I'm sick and tired of being held hostage by that lie. Donald and the other apologists for the Republican lite party can kiss my ass.

My votes for Democratic candidates in the past have resulted in Republicans in office, so fuck off. I'm voting my conscience from now on.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 21, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is.

Pardon me, but Obama is not. If the question is health care, the answer is Edwards.

Posted by: JJF on June 22, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hi guys. A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done. Help me! Could you help me find sites on the: cars. I found only this - credit card purchase checks. Credit checks, personal connection repairs create to further loan job or disturbed important lobby on a standard payday. Credit checks, directly, when prepaid loans and user boss loan are employed, the pet uses also more. Thank :-( Vance from Guinea-Bissau.

Posted by: Vance on March 4, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly