Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HILLARY'S JOKE....Hillary Clinton's attack on Barack Obama for wanting to be president ever since kindergarten was nothing but a little joke? Who knew the Clinton press shop had such a dry sense of humor?

But the really remarkable thing is that after Mark Penn told Joe Scarborough the whole thing was just a gag, he went on to complain that it had been blown all out of proportion. "The spin machines are so hyped up," he said.

Mark Penn is complaining about overactive spin machines?

Kevin Drum 11:36 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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Comments

Hillary's going down!! Obama-Webb 08!!!

Posted by: Jason Scorse on December 4, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Pathetic.

Posted by: Keith on December 4, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary Inc. is sure ham-handed for a group of seasoned veterans pushing an "inevitability" meme.

And actually none of the big three: Hil, Oba, or Ed seem to be able to think or plan their way out of a wet paper bag.

How discouraging.

Posted by: Keith G on December 4, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know how anyone could read the original press release without surmising that the portion dealing with Obama in grade school was meant in jest.

Really, the very absurdity of its mention -- which is what people are reacting to -- should be a pretty clear sign that it was intended as a joke, and a kind of ridicule of Obama.

My suggestion is that Hillary's campaign should start to utilize smiley faces in their press releases so that the pompous ass, literal minded bores who seem to be reading them might be forewarned that a passage is not to be taken as serious criticism.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama-Webb '08"?

I live in Virginia, supported Webb wholeheartedly in the primary and the general election, and am glad he is my Senator.

But if Obama does win the nomination, there are going to be a lot of women out there who will be disappointed and angry that the first woman to seriously contend for the nomination was blocked. It would compound the problem immensely to put on the ticket with Obama a man who wrote a couple of decades ago that women did not belong in most of the military in general and in the service academies in particular (not that I think he believes those things any longer).

Would it be feasible to put a woman on the ticket with Obama? Maybe not. But it would cause fewer problems than Webb would.

Posted by: Steven J. Berke on December 4, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Steven Berke:
It didn't cause Webb to lose the election, did it? Do you really think any woman that cares about women's issues is going to vote Republican just because Hillary lost the nomination?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on December 4, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how anyone could read the original press release without surmising that the portion dealing with Obama in grade school was meant in jest.

Look back at the original press release, and go through point-by-point explaining how you'd separate the claims that are meant to be taken at face value and the ones that are meant in jest:

Immediately after joining the Senate, Senator Obama started planning run for President. ... His law school classmates say that Senator Obama has been planning Presidential run for 'more than a decade.' ... 15 years ago, Senator Obama told his brother-in-law he was planning to run for President. ... In third grade, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want To Be a President.' ... In kindergarten, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want to Become President.'

Where did they switch modes from making a serious point about Obama's ambitions, to a comment that was merely "in jest" and not intended (by some Hillary staffer who apparently has a wooden sense of humor) to be taken seriously?

That's without even taking into account that people think a cheap attack like this might be intentional because it's from Hillary's campaign, known for cheap shots and hardball and not heretofore known for having a sense of humor.

Posted by: asdf on December 4, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

To the 'conscience':

Maybe having Webb on the ticket with Obama after Hillary loses might not lead women to vote Republican. But it might lead them to stay home.

I know this was a serious worry in the Senate race after George Allen's campaign fully aired Webb's earlier writings (they had only been briefly alluded to by his primary opponent). I know from personal contacts that even some women who had signed up for Webb's campaign had to swallow hard to continue after that, and did so only because the alternative was George Allen, who was much more distasteful than say, Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee or John McCain might be. Webb did win, but only in a squeaker--we can't know how much his early writings and their impact on women reduced his ultimate margin.

Posted by: Steven J. Berke on December 4, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Obama-Webb strikes me as pretty clever actually. But one of the nice things about Obama is that one can imagine a number of interesting tickets with him:

Obama-Bloomberg
Obama-Edwards
Obama-Waits (Tom that is {hey, he could make it cool to have the vice in vice-president])
Obama-Colbert
Obama-Paglia (if yer after the "feminist bisexual egomaniac" set)
Obama-Jones (Grace that is. I think she'd be fab on the stump)

with Obama in the mix the options are great.

Clinton-Waits?-- he'd never put up with her. it would really bring out the surly drunk in him.

Clinton-Jones?-- she'd crack her like a nut in her thighs just for fun.

Clinton-Paglia?-- Camille would pin her down and shave her head for fun.

Clinton-Lewis (Jerry) I could see, as his over the top antics might softern her up a bit, but talk about being a straight man.

I'm putting a smiley on this just so Hill's people don't have me wacked...

luv ya Hill. Don't shoot.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Where did they switch modes from making a serious point about Obama's ambitions, to a comment that was merely "in jest" and not intended (by some Hillary staffer who apparently has a wooden sense of humor) to be taken seriously?

I see you need the smiley faces. I always find it depressing to have to explain a joke, but you've reduced me to it.

Where did they make the switch? When it became absurd, i.e., when they started to talk about his grade school experiences.

Of course, the entire press release should be understood as ridiculing Obama, and should be interpreted in that context.

Just as an analogy, suppose, say, Bush were to assert that he never used drugs. Suppose Jon Stewart, say, then composed a video sequence in which a number of people Bush knew as adults came forward and said they saw him snorting lines of coke and smoking marijuana. Then suppose at the end of the sequence his grade school teachers reported that he seemed to enjoy eating paste. Wouldn't that be considered a form of humorous ridicule on top of all the more serious (but also ridiculing) refutation?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0, do you have a life or do you just go around posting on different sites when the discussion is about Obama? I'm beginning to sense a stalker's syndrome here or something far worse!!!

Posted by: GOD on December 4, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Just to expand on my analogy: no one would take the anecdote by Bush's grade school teachers that he ate paste as a serious refutation of his claim that he never used drugs. Likewise, no one would take seriously that Obama's writing of an essay as kindergarten student that he was "planning" to become President.

Both would be considered humorous amplifications of the underlying theme. For those capable of humor.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

GOD,

Yeah, I guess you're right. I never comment on anything else but Obama.

(SMILEY FACE)

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever anything backfires, call it a joke. Nice to see Hillary emulating the GOP yet again. Next she'll call Edwards a faggot and then claim it was all just a joke ("Can't you people take a joke??!?")

Hillary is a stupid bitch. Oh, "just joking," so relax.

Posted by: Orson on December 4, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, IF the Hillary camp was interviewing figures from Obama's distant childhood, I find that creepy. That would hold for any camp doing that against any other camp.

Once my daughter reported Hill peed in the sand box, while yelling "look Ma! Top of the World!". Clearly, as president, she will be a profligate spender. Just kidding?

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I gotta agree re: this being incredibly unprofessional and childish.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 4, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Christ in heaven, is that what we have to look forward to if Obama wins? Four or eight long years of having to explain jokes to his missionary supporters?

Just fucking shoot me.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

The "did it for the lulz" excuse

These are the same people accusing Obama of being not ready prime time?

Posted by: uri on December 4, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK


frankly0, only someone as biased as you would imagine that complaining about an idiotic move by Hillary's team indicate a support for Obama. Only in your closed mind.

Posted by: GOD on December 4, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Christ in heaven, is that what we have to look forward to if Obama wins? Four or eight long years of having to explain jokes to his missionary supporters?

Just fucking shoot me.

Me too, frankly0. I cannot *believe* anyone thought this was intended to be taken seriously (except maybe Andrew Sullivan).

Posted by: Swift Loris on December 4, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I don't see anyone assuming a missionary position with Obama, a passing endorsement or two, some funnin, but nothing like the scissoring going o with Hill.

the

IF "Hill"
Then "It's a joke people!"
GOTO IF

seems a bit humorless and fixated. plenty of things to defend Hill on, but going to the mat on this is a bit strange.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the entire press release should be understood as ridiculing Obama, and should be interpreted in that context.

Posted by: frankly0

Exactly. And who do you think looks bad because of it?

Posted by: Econobuzz on December 4, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK
Where did they make the switch? When it became absurd

You mean when they made the comment about his ambitions coming to the Senate that were clearly at least as true of Hillary as they were of Obama?

The whole attack was absurd.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 4, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The number of people who use the word bitch in their posts about Hillary all over the blogosphere tells me everything I need to know about them, and about why she is in trouble. Now I am sympathetic to Hillary, and impressed with Obama. But the rank vitriolic hatred against Clinton, by lots of Dems not just Repubs, sickens me and makes me want to stand with her. I suppose people are right. She shouldnt study her opponents, she shouldnt try to attack them, she shouldnt even be campaigning. She should just shut up and go away. Oh, did I forget the bitch part?

Posted by: Jammer on December 4, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Big Bill's gaining momentum in both Iowa and NH.

He'll finish ahead of Dodd as the credible clear anti-war candidate and will move upward from there while the "Big Three" continue to rip at each other.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 4, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clinton press releases should come with a laugh track. Also, when she make a serious point, we should hear background voices go, "Ooooooh!"

Posted by: mrsaturdaypants on December 4, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

The whole attack was absurd.

The juvenile attacks won't stick. And the miniscule policy differences won't stick either.

If HRC's campaign stays on its current mindless course, it will crash and burn in Iowa and not recover in New Hampshire.

She is in BIG trouble and no one in the campaign seems to have an answer.


Posted by: Econobuzz on December 4, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Hill is a bitch, and I agree the ease with which people tilt towards that raises the question of how she may elicit misogynistic rumblings. But she is certainly reported to be bitchy at least some of the time on a human level I know females in DC her heard in without at first seeing her around DC, interacting with staff and others, and thinking to themselves, "who is that bitch?" Literally.

She's obviously quite smart and capable. I think what pisses people off is that she seems unprincipled-- willing to compromise her beliefs and integrity into oblivion. She really lost me on the Iraq war and has never gotten me back. If she's the nominee I'll hold my nose and vote for her, but I'd prefer not to vote for someone I know lacks integrity. The other candidates surely do too, but I'm just not as painfully aware of it, so I can sorta maintain the illusion of idealism in supporting non-Hill.

I'm sure Hill would make a fine prez in some respects. I fear she would be a total status quo president in other ways. After the Bush coup and pillaging of the nation, I think we seriously need someone who is going to be more aggressive on social and economic justice, packing the courts with liberals, pushing Republicans out of government as much as possible, instituting constructive foreign policies, and a whole not more that I think Hill will be infuriatingly weak on. I fear Obama will be pretty tepid too, not a boat rocker, but for me he doesn't have the Iraq war blood on his hands in the big way Hillary does. She was a reliable apologist most of the way along, and I still don't trust her to manage an aggressive exit there. I think Edwards would be tougher than both of them, more committed to bolder action.

I don't think Hill's campaign is tanking. I think even when she looses Iowa, and if she looses NH and SC, it's still hers to loose. She's got the money, the organization, the experience, and the big states completely in the bag.

I'm a sucker for the Obama projective test, that everyone can hope for the best in him. I think Edwards is more substantive. And as much as I'd like to see either of those guys over Hill, I'm expecting to have to hold my nose for her in 11 months. And then worried that she will be an appeaser and meister of the half-measure, and presiding over a decline in America sowed by Bush and paving the way for ever greater fascism in our future.

This little Obama-childhood analysis joke distraction doesn't instill confidence.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jammer,

I agree with everything you said. There was an article in our local newspaper about the free use of the word bitch in the blogosphere when talking about Hillary. The article went on to say that no one uses the word nigger about Obama.

I might disagree about one thing you say, however. You see Democrats using that word. I, however, see people who have not posted on Democratic sites in the past using that word. (Note the new user names never seen here before who are attacking Hillary.) It makes me wonder if there is an organized campaign by some "swift boat" group to flood Democratic web sites with vitriolic attacks against Hillary to make it appear that Democrats hate her.

Finally, as a woman, it makes me sick to see this onslaught of garbage against a liberal woman running for president. Every attack against her brings up memories of every attack against all women.

Remember, there is a group of right-wing people in this country who do not want programs like health-care, education, etc., to succeed. If they can knock off a strong candidate like Hillary, so that they can run against a weaker candidate like Obama, they will.

In normal times, I would have no problem with a candidate like Obama. But, these are not normal times. The country needs a STRONG president to undo the damage done for the last seven years.

Posted by: emmarose on December 4, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hear, hear emmarose! Thank you for your comment. Especially this: Finally, as a woman, it makes me sick to see this onslaught of garbage against a liberal woman running for president. Every attack against her brings up memories of every attack against all women.

Obama's no saint.

Posted by: Mina on December 4, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I guess what we have to look forward to if Hillary wins is four or eight years of condescension from her supporters "explaining" to us every time they make an unfunny joke.

Just shoot me too, FranklyO.


Posted by: KathyF on December 4, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

KathyF,

Contemplate the meaning of "tongue in cheek". Apply to the Hillary press release.

See teacher after class if you need further assistance.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 on December 4, 2007 at 12:08 PM:

I don't know how anyone could read the original press release without surmising that the portion dealing with Obama in grade school was meant in jest.

Given the reason why Clinton's campaign released it:

..because his old political action committee spread around money in early presidential nominating states.

Which apparently is a FEC no-no of some sorts if you are running for President. It's an attack on Obama's character...and, if Phil Singer would have limited his comment to Obama's time in the Senate instead of including what he wrote or said decades ago, Singer might have made a legitimate point...Instead, the Clinton campaign 'borrowed a page from the Republican playbook' and chose to include nonsense in order to support the narrative they wanted to establish.

What the Clinton campaign got for its (Clinton definition of) mudslinging was the change of topic from Obama's PAC distributions and character to Clinton's juvenile, Rove-esque attack on her primary opponent...and the attack has backfired, and now is a 'joke'..

..Just like when Ann Coulter calls something she said a 'joke' on the rare occasion that she realizes that she's gone too far...'Borrowing a page', indeedy...

Full text of the release here.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 4, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I get it frankly0! You had your tongue in your cheek when you were being condescending! How funny!

Posted by: KathyF on December 4, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

She's obviously quite smart and capable. I think what pisses people off is that she seems unprincipled-- willing to compromise her beliefs and integrity into oblivion.

Yep.

She really lost me on the Iraq war and has never gotten me back.

Yep. Not just the vote, and not just the prolonged insistence that the war was justified. She won't even admit to this day that it was a mistake.

If she's the nominee I'll hold my nose and vote for her

I'd not only vote for Obama or Edwards, I'd support them enthusiastically. WIth Hillary, I'd probably vote for her if it's a close race in my state, and hope that her inclination to support any war or any prospect of war that Bush happens to float is just posturing to avoid seeming weak, and not really how she thinks about it. But I'd fear that this might be the one area where she's really telling the truth and/or she might feel the need to be trigger-happy so that nobody could accuse her of being soft.


Posted by: bob on December 4, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess what we have to look forward to if Hillary wins is four or eight years of condescension from her supporters "explaining" to us every time they make an unfunny joke.

Yeah... well, they're very smart and understand how politics *really* work much more than pathetic lefties, or so I've been told repeatedly for nearly the past year. And there are a lot more of them than there are of us, although any failures of a Clinton II administration will be blamed on the left not backing her up adequately... apparently they have enough people in their cohort to win the primaries easily, but everything after that requires a compliant, even an energetic, left. It's the Dem version of the stabbed-in-the-back narrative, I guess.

Also, what bob said.


Posted by: latts on December 4, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

from emmarose:

.... If they can knock off a strong candidate like Hillary, so that they can run against a weaker candidate like Obama, they will.
In normal times, I would have no problem with a candidate like Obama. But, these are not normal times. The country needs a STRONG president to undo the damage done for the last seven years.

All I can say is wow.


Posted by: GOD on December 4, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Every attack against her brings up memories of attacks against all women."

Wow, that is quite a connection! Attacking Hillary = Attacking All Women. You are to be lauded for your adventures in logic. This is along the lines of Attacking a Jewish Person = Wishing for the Destruction of Israel; and Defending Muslim People = Terrorist Lover.

I'll be the first to admit that Hillary gets treated unfairly from time to time, but if Hillary wins we have to put up with four years of this idiotic back and forth. What a waste of time.

Posted by: Nathan on December 4, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I garbled a sentence in an earlier post. Should have read:

"But she [Hill] is certainly reported to be bitchy at least some of the time on a human level. I know females in DC who have heard without at first seeing her around DC, interacting with staff and others, and thinking to themselves, "who is that bitch?" Literally.

On Hill, I'd also like to say I actually used to be a big fan. She was so loved and recognized by women's rights activists around the world. Her appearance at that UN women's rights conference in China was amazing, by all accounts. I thought she was a superb, dignified, strong, effective, and competent first lady.

She started to loose me when she ran as a carpetbagger in the Senate in NY instead of going to the UN to work for women's rights around the world. I thought, there's a person who's putting personal ambition above her ability to do the greatest good in the world. She would have been amazing at the UN, and had real legitmacy.

I'm glad the senate seat went to a dem, and she's been a good dem on a lot of issues. But as Bob echoed, my respect for her shifted through skepticism and into mild loathing over the years. Frankly, I think she supported the Iraq war from the get go to shore up what she perceived to be the preferred position of Jewish interest groups and donors in NY and nationally, and to pre-position herself as not soft on national security. Oy.

Lost me, hasn't won me back, still don't trust her, hope I don't have to vote for her, probably will.

Sad state of affairs.

She should have had a distinguished career working for women's rights internationally.

Now I just try not to feel a bit sick when I see her.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Trypticon, it's hard to take you seriously when you mistake lose with loose.

Posted by: Mina on December 4, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a shitty speller. What can I say. You don't have to take me seriously. Suit yourself. I probably took this thread too seriously in providing real opinions about the candidates rather than sticking to the "absurd" theme struck further upstream.

Seems like you could keep yourself real busy cruising blogs for the purposes of editing. Do you have any thoughts on the range of subjects implicit in the thread? Or should I say, "Congratulations, your work here is done." ?

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a joke:

What is the difference between Hillary making jokes about Obama or Limbaugh making jokes about (Osama) Obama?

Punch line: Conservativism.

[no smiley face]

Just another example out of thousands of "Two Sets of Rules".

Posted by: Zit on December 4, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a shitty speller." Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 3:25 PM

A REAL shitty speller would have said spitty sheller! Geez....

Posted by: Mina's Evil(er) Twin on December 4, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Mina on December 4, 2007 at 3:14 PM:

..it's hard to take you seriously when you mistake lose with loose.

Mina, no one really cares about typos unless the person in question is running around calling everyone else 'stupid' and generally being an ass...at that point, his/her writing better be perfect...

Posted by: grape_crush on December 4, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Douche, Eviler Twin.

[smiley face]

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Orson: Nice to see Hillary emulating the GOP yet again.

Hillarious.

No pun intended.

Obama emulates Bush far more than Hillary does.

Social Security scare, anyone?

Posted by: anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

What's not a joke is that Hillary's campaign captains, who until recently, avoided differentiating her from her Democrat opponents, have shifted course. And the new tact illustrates desperation. Now she's attacking Obama's character - something she claimed in the recent debate was a tactic "out of the Republican playbook."

How quickly circumstances have changed. But, sad to say, she hasn't changed. Check out: http://internationalnews.over-blog.com/article-13832621.html for further clarification.

It's amazing she's kept the boat afloat this long when you actually consider all the facts, including her less than stellar record in the Senate and her nonexistent record before then.

Hillary's previous success is a sad testament to the superficial nature of American culture. Sure, there are countless examples, but she's one of the prime examples. Was there ever a there there? The pundits, assured of her success, would acclaim, after each debate except for the one where she had a meltdown and her true character was revealed, "She looked Presidential tonight."

Yeah, if glossing over subtsnace, neglecting to mention specifics, faling to show how her insubstantial record translate into true leadership is Presidential, then they were right.
Appearance has trumped Reality.

I know, it's not new, what with P.T. Barnum and H.L Mencken making hay out of that phenomenon. It's quite frustrating, and downright mystifying, to see the same pattern repeated ad nauseum. How could so much be made of so little?

Guess Hegel was right: People really don't learn from history.

Posted by: arty kraft on December 4, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

OMG, Tryp. I have chuckled for a half an hour over you...Thanks for making my day. Touche.

:) (authenticly happy smiley face)

Posted by: Mina's Entire Closet of Feminine Hygene Products on December 4, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0

If you're going to repeat posts from other sites, I might as well repeat my response. Please, give it a rest. Not seeing that release as a joke is in no way a sign of humorlessness. As others have stated, when no one gets a joke, it's a bad joke. Issuing a press release with serious charges in them, then allegedly switching to humor mode part way through is just stupid. If you want people to get a joke, you first have to signal to them that it's a joke. And no, Jon Stewart would not do something this lame. The fact that you think this "joke" rises to that level is an indication of how bad your sense of humor is. So lay off the lectures, OK?

I'm not a supporter of Clinton or Obama, and I've posted more than one comment defending Hillary against over the top criticisms. But this was just stupid, and the follow-up smacks of mendacity.

And BTW, I've been a stand-up comic for 17 years, so I have some idea of how jokes are structured and presented. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: ChrisO on December 4, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Woohoo! Thanks Hygiene Products! I feel cleansed too!

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, arty kraft, you wrote "subtsnace." According to Mina's rules, you just negated your entire post. Don'y you know that lack of typos is much more imprtant than actual ideas?

Posted by: ChrisO on December 4, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK


Like I said several times at Kevin's original post. It was a joke. Man up, people.

ps- The real story is Obama pushing Gerth's wingnut fantasy trash.
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2007/11/obama_on_the_clinton_secret_pa.html

You think we won't hear about "Obama even said it..." in the general?


Posted by: david on December 4, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Mina, no one really cares about typos unless the person in question is running around calling everyone else 'stupid' and generally being an ass...at that point, his/her writing better be perfect...

Well, as much as I appreciate Trypticon's honesty, that certainly qualifies. I find the word "bitch" offensive and unfit for political discourse.

...Mina's Eviler Twin is funny!

Seriously though, this whole "controversy" is overblown and hardly qualifies as revealing anything more than the ability of the media to distort our images of the candidates. Recently Obama seems to be manipulating them better than Clinton...

Posted by: Mina on December 4, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

And the new tact illustrates desperation.

Hardee har har!

Yet another connection between Hillary Haters and the Bush administration: emulating Cheney.

Wonder if they'll break Cheney's record for number of times insisting that the "enemy" is desperate and on their last legs.

More desperate are the Obama supporters who continue to swift-boat Clinton, just like Nader supporters dissed Gore, hurting not only their own candidate, but if Clinton wins the Democratic nominee.

Obama, like Nader, is quite willing to destroy Democratic chances in the 2008 election just to capture a few extra points in Iowa.

Pathetic.

Posted by: anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Mina. The words you write above are spelled right, but they do need to be edited for clarity. What is meant by "that" in the following sentence?

"Well, as much as I appreciate Trypticon's honesty, that certainly qualifies."

In context this appears to be a fragment with no clear referent. "That" is sandwiched between your quotation of grape_crush, and your next sentence, which is a non-sequitor:

"I find the word "bitch" offensive and unfit for political discourse."

Not only is this last sentence not related to the topic of spelling, no one in this thread seriously used the term to describe Hillary. I used it, and spelled it correctly, when saying that I thought Hillary is not a bitch, and suggesting that ready use of the term in relation to her candidacy might betray misogynistic tendencies (I spelled that right, bitch!-- sorry, just kidding, truly.) Seriously though, from what I can tell, you spelled each of your unrelated thoughts quite well. Congrats!

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'll just assume you're having a bad day, Tryp...

Posted by: Mina on December 4, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Mina on December 4, 2007 at 4:23 PM:

I find the word "bitch" offensive and unfit for political discourse.

Ditto...'cept Trypt didn't call Clinton one. I don't think Trypt passes the 'calling everyone stupid' or 'generally being an ass' test in this case, Mina.

Really, that word should be buried next to that hateful adjective used to describe Americans of African descent...

Recently Obama seems to be manipulating them better than Clinton.

Or Clinton's showing her true colors now that she's not the 'inevitable' candidate and people are noticing. Or both.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 4, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a little suspicious of the type of comment left by anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 4:31 PM.

It strikes me as way over the top. I don't think average Democratic voters, or even supporters of various Democratic candidates can really be so shrill. It seems like a post intended to promote infighting among Democrats. I just think it's too shrill to compare anything any Dem has done to any other Dem to Swift Boating.

What Hillary did in this case is petty and should stop. I'm sure Obama's people have had similar transgressions. I just think it's a bit hysterical to group the world into Hillary-haters and Obama-haters. I think that kind of trend is a turn off to actual Dem voters, and is either stoked by Republicans or needs to be reigned in by the various campaigns.

I'd say it's fair to call me a Hillary hater, and yet I wouldn't call her a bitch, I don't think she's totally worthless, and I think she's done good things for New Yorkers and America. I've already listed reasons why I don't like her. But I'd vote for her over any Republican candidate, with the kind of conviction used by priests casting out demons.

I think we have to qualify "hate" here. Better yet, focus on reasoned critiques that aren't completely dismissive of fellow Democrats and incendiary to required Democratic unity.

As the pressure mounts in the Dem primary I hope Dems can maintain civility with fellow Dems, even if the campaigns and candidates begin to lose their grasp. We should demand this of all involved as much as possible. It pains me to think the Dems can go the way of internalization of the oppressed, so used to being crushed by the Republican bullshit tsunami as to adopt the tactics against their own.

Hillary's Obama "joke" is a step in the wrong direction, but it is not equivalent to swift boating. Obama's folks should be careful not to overreact on this either. AS hard as it is under extreme pressure, the candidates and the campaigns should try not to tear each other to pieces over stupid shit. For better of for worse they have more in common than they do with the Republican mess one of them will hopefully have the responsibility to clean up.

I wish we had better candidates, but I'll take someone who believes in evolution, opposes torture and permanent bases in Iraq, believes in cutting back tax subsidization of rich individuals and corporations and class warfare against the middle class and poor, etc.

My ideal candidate would detain and prosecute most of the Bush administration for corruption and war crimes, establish single payer health care, disengage militarily from Iraq, re-engage the world with enlightened diplomacy, dramatically reduce and restructure the military, improve port and other real national security vulnerabilities, increase investment in real alternative energies, increase funding for education while perusing better education policy, cease government contracting with corporations that shift wealth and jobs overseas to avoid taxes and providing decent pay and benefits for workers, mandatory re-education camps for wingnut trolls, etc. etc.

Compared to who I'd like to vote for, it's like I'm stuck in the South Park episode where the choice is between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. But I'll take either one over evil Republican clepto-fascist fanatics.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Trypticon: "I'd say it's fair to call me a Hillary hater . . ."

But not fair to call you a "Hillary Hater."

Talk about parsing . . .

Looks like the shoe fit after all.

Posted by: anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Anon,

You captured my point and missed it perfectly.

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Trypticon: You captured my point and missed it perfectly.

The always-ready defense of the incompetent: try to turn it back on the critic by accusing them of "not getting it."

Didn't I hear that from Bush about the dangers of Iraq?

"Liberals just don't get it. Iraq is a dangerous. It is evil doer and we must stop them."

It strikes me as way over the top.

No, what's way over the top is claiming that Clinton is "GOP-lite" and no better than Bush and the neocons and that Obama is the righteous hand of a liberal God.

When I see the alleged "objective" commenters giving it to the Obama acoloytes to the same degree they are giving it to anyone who even peeps a defense of Clinton, without necessarily supporting her, then I'll be a believer.

Until then, your anti-Clinton slimery isn't well-hidden.

Posted by: anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Did Hillary fire the jokester? Hmmmm....I wonder if it was the same campaign clown who whispered rumors she had scandalous information on Obama or dreamed up the the "Gender Card Victim Strategy" or wrote her immigration policy? What will be the next bright idea - a circular firing squad?


Posted by: JerseyMissouri on December 4, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I am not a Hillary hater. I am, however, an America lover. I want a president who has good judgment and surrounds herself with people who are equally sound. I am not so sure I find that in Hillary.

In this case I am willing to give Penn the benefit of the doubt and accept that the press release was a joke. If so it was poorly written and the Clinton campaign wasted 24 hours before they told anybody. It should never have been told.

Poor judgment. Bad delivery. Slow damage control. A real failure to listen carefully to how the "joke" was being received. All in all a self inflicted wound at a time when she is dropping in the polls. Twenty four hours lopped off the clock just when she needs every day to recover.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 4, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

anonymous on December 4, 2007 at 5:52 PM:

No, what's way over the top is claiming...that Obama is the righteous hand of a liberal God.

And who, exactly, is doing all that? The 'Hillary is GOP-lite', okay, you got me on that one. I said the same thing about Kerry as well, if it makes any difference.

When I see the alleged "objective" commenters giving it to the Obama acoloytes to the same degree they are giving it to anyone who even peeps a defense of Clinton..

When I see Obama's campaign mudslinging (again, using Clinton's definition) in the same manner as Clinton's campaign, then yes, I'll be happy to point it out. I'm not emotionally invested in any of the candidates, Dem or Repub.

Until then, your anti-Clinton slimery isn't well-hidden.

Yeah, Clinton did it to herself this time, and apparently I'm a bad person for pointing it out. Good to know.

What I can't figure out is the motive for your increasingly screechy posts. The 'over-the-top Clinton supporter' isn't playing, so that prolly means that you are a partisan for some other campaign donning a sockpuppet or just generally psycho. Which one is it, anon?

Posted by: grape_crush on December 4, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

I pay as much attention to this bullshit as I do to my own two teenaged daughters whenever they bait and goad each other, and it will have no bearing on my vote. However, I do wish that Hillary Clinton would send Mark Penn to his room and revoke his TV privileges.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, & currently in Chicago on December 4, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Stung by Obama's suggestion that Clinton has been planning a run for the White House for a decade, while he has not (not in the same organizational sense), Mark Penn overreacted. The press release is evidence of this.

As for Penn's belated claim that the press release was "a joke," my most charitable take is that someone may have thought a recitation of Obama's elementary school presidential ambitions would sound droll.

It didn't sound the least bit droll. It sounded like the Clinton staff needs more sleep and better judgment and a funny bone transplant--oh, and, fewer outrageous campaign mistakes per week. What of the vaunted flawless campaign organization, the vaunted discipline? I don't see it.

Posted by: paxr55 on December 4, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

considering that anon, responding directly to me, said:

"No, what's way over the top is claiming that Clinton is "GOP-lite" and no better than Bush and the neocons and that Obama is the righteous hand of a liberal God."

i'd say we have a cock puppet [that was a genuine typo, but I leave it uncorrected for my amusement]. There's no way even a stupid person could willfully misread what I wrote that completely. I said a number of things in the following vein, though this is among the more pointed verses:

"Compared to who I'd like to vote for, it's like I'm stuck in the South Park episode where the choice is between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. But I'll take either one over evil Republican clepto-fascist fanatics."

Hardly a deification of Obama or making Clinton equivalent to a Republican.

I said I thought that post was suspicious. Ayep. Sock puppet...

Posted by: Trypticon on December 4, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe it was a joke. This came a day after Hillary said that she would start attacking Obama's character, and she did. She did it so incompetently that her campaign had to backpedal into this "joke" defense.

Clinton is getting desperate & this is an obvious gaff.

Posted by: Andrew on December 4, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama will beat her handily in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, but that Hillary will not give up and make one last push. If she has anything on Obama, she will bring him down. Otherwise, I think the fact that not that many people actually like her (along with her other baggage) will bring her down.

I saw that Bill was out complaining about her press treatment (a mistake) and claiming she had great experience (which somehow was working until recently).

While we don't hear it so much anymore, I was constantly amazed at people used to say the democrats had this "strong field" while the republicans had a weak field. The top tier of the democrats actually have very little relevant experience while the top tier of the republicans have some significant executive or political experience. That is not to say the more experienced candidate is likely to win or even would necessarily be the best president - but it is an issue that the media simply got wrong in describing the two fields.

ps It did seem like a lame joke by someone tone deaf.

Posted by: brian on December 4, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

If you all would unwad your panties for a minute, you would see this for what it is and applaud it. I think we can all agree the focus on trivia and character is crap and does nothing but allow GOP candidates to avoid the issues. Clinton's move was 1. defense and 2. pointing out the absurdity of the personal BS that we're going to spend the next year hitting the ceiling over when it is coming from Timmeh and Anne Kornblut, always directed at Clinton. Think ahead, people.

And, Kevin, this "Who knew the Clinton press shop had such a dry sense of humor?" pissy crap does not help.

Posted by: david on December 4, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

More desperate are the Obama supporters who continue to swift-boat Clinton, just like Nader supporters dissed Gore, hurting not only their own candidate, but if Clinton wins the Democratic nominee. - Anon claims.

Please step away from the Kool Aid before it's too late. Criticizing Hillary is now tantamount to swift-boating? That sounds similar to "right wing conspiracy," only more, what's the word, contemporary.

Funny how the Clintons, who envied Reagan's Teflonistic personality, felt entitled to the same phenomenon, but never came close. Nevertheless they have both acted as if they're above common inquiry and reasonably drawn critical thinking. It seems the operative logic here is rather simple minded: Hillary's ahead, and until recently could beat, at least on paper, all her Republican rivals so therefore, let's leave her alone so she'll be strong next November. Right. And don't forget those cookies and milk for Santa this year too while you're so heavily invested in myths.

From my vantage point Obama's a bit slick, but far more qualified politically and unquestionably superior to Hillary on the basis of character, as are all the other Democrats running. If that hasn't become apparent by now, then it would become all too obvious if she were to win the nomination, at this point virtually impossible.

The great thing about Hillary as a nominee - from the right wing's point of view - is that swift-boating won't be necessary. No one's going to have to tell lies or resort to devious 527 ads. The facts are clear. Her record of incompetence and irrelevance is indisputable. And, worse, her insubstantial character will turn off everyone except for the few true believers who remain, translating into no more than 5 states.

If she's the candidate she'll get a drubbing reminiscent of Mondale's 1 state victory. And that's the great liberal hope? For America's sake, as well as the left's viability, let's hope it doesn't happen.

Posted by: arty kraft on December 5, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

brian: "I think Obama will beat her handily in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina ..."

Blow it out your ass, concern troll.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, & currently in Chicago on December 5, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

I would imagine Obama's best riposte could have been- Wasn't that when you were a young Republican at Wellesley?

Posted by: Doom on December 5, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK
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