Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

ON THE COUCH....Speaking of how the Democratic primary has become a Rorschach test, here's an example. Both of these posts come via Ezra Klein, but the example of the Rorschach-ee is me, not him.

First, Ezra points to a Steve Clemons post praising Hillary Clinton:

I've met her a number of times, usually at receptions....The last time...we had a really interesting discussion about what should be on a roster of 21st century threats and how our national security and foreign policy resources should be reorganized to deal with future challenges rather than keeping vested interests tied to old threats well funded. Her quick grasp of what I was trying to get at — and a detailed response that was serious and level-headed — really surprised me as I'm used to politicians who typically have to fake their way through detail.

....I am convinced of something about Hillary Clinton's commitment to use every lever and every aspect of government machinery to push her legislative and policy work that I'm disappointed to say that I can't find as strongly in Barack Obama's profile. My concern has to do with the fact that as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' Subcommittee on Europe, Obama has held zero hearings — at least that is how the record appears to me. [Steve then goes on to argue that this is an unusually sluggish performance.]

....I'm not trying to find a minor, nuanced difference between Obama and Clinton and inflate that to inappropriate levels. I am a fan of some of Obama's foreign policy positions — though I think that I tend to appreciate his speeches influenced by Zbigniew Brzezinski that reflect tough-minded thinking and hard choices rather than those influenced by former Clinton National Security Adviser Anthony Lake that seem to want America to rush into every global cause without clear delineation of priorities and an accounting of potential costs and consequences to our national interest.

But the question of how a Chief Executive would utilize the machinery of government towards the public good has always been of interest to me.

I've truncated Steve's argument considerably, and you should read the whole thing to get a better flavor of what he's saying. But I think you can get the gist from that excerpt. Ezra follows this with a post in which he reprints an email from an Obama supporter who likes Obama's approach to reducing the influence of big corporations:

Now, you could try to overcome that influence by, as you noted, running on a platform, winning a large majority of the popular vote, and then using the bully pulpit to try to drive that agenda through Congress. That seems to be Edwards preferred method.

Obama's is more sneaky and backdoor. He'd rather quietly go about removing those interests' access, their ability to throw their money at Congressman and officers in the executive, and only then sit down at the table and say, "lets talk." It's why someone who has been running on "taking on special interests" for 11 years now (and he has, go check out his speeches in 2004 and in his runs for state office) has always made campaign finance reform, ethics reform, etc central to his legislative agenda.

Neither of these posts comes directly from the candidates themselves, or even from anyone close to the candidates, and I could take any number of lessons from them. But one of the big reasons I find myself leaning toward Hillary is that Steve's argument strikes me as both plausible and important while the anonymous emailer's strikes me as naive. Hillary is smart and well-briefed, she is level-headed, and the evidence suggests that over the past seven years she's gotten pretty good at working with Republicans to get things done in the Senate. I like those qualities and would like to see them in a Democratic president, so I'm happy to project them onto her.

Conversely, anybody who thinks that Obama or anyone else is going to overcome the influence of big corporations via sneakiness and stealth is living in a dreamworld. It may be possible to do a deal with conservatives and their lobbyists on various issues, but they aren't going to be conned and they aren't going to be fooled. Unfortunately, I have a deep fear that maybe Obama really does believe he can do that, and so I project that onto him despite the fact that this argument is coming from some anonymous guy writing on a blog, not anyone who really knows Obama's mind.

Obviously I'm not trying to persuade anyone here. You may read these posts and come to the exact opposite conclusion. Maybe, contra me, Hillary is just another Jimmy Carter, good on details but not so good on a vision of governance. Likewise, maybe Obama really is stealthy and slick enough to get things done that a more confrontational politician couldn't. As always, your mileage may vary.

But for what it's worth, that's where I am right now. Still leaning modestly toward Hillary, still unsure that Obama really knows how to get things done in modern-day Washington. But still watching and waiting.

Kevin Drum 7:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (112)

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Comments

OK just to be clear, you're taking Huck and Rudy out of consideration?

Posted by: wren on December 18, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

How is it possible that the race between republicans and democrats is so close? Isn't it clear by now that the GOP has declared war on America? Are democrats too afraid to say it? I think liberals need to turn the rhetoric up a notch and start talking about the GOP's war on democracy, war on America, war on liberty, war on the middle class, war on economic justice, etc. Every sentence should begin with, "This is just another casualty in the GOP's war on . . . ."

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 18, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

If you truly believe that HRC is better at working the levers of power in Congress, why hasn't she produced any landmark legislation or otherwise been a leader in Congress? Anyone can LOOK busy and active, but if the end result is nothing to show for that activity, what have you in fact gained (other than getting credit for looking busy)?

Posted by: Keith on December 18, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone justify for me Obama's campaigning with a homophobe? Parroting the GOP on Social Security? Non-universality on health care? Attacking the Krug-man, the only consistently rational voice the past 8 years? Etc.?

Does Oprah trump all?

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 18, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is smart and well-briefed, she is level-headed, and the evidence suggests that over the past seven years she's gotten pretty good at working with Republicans to get things done in the Senate.

Such as... ?

Posted by: DaveWoo on December 18, 2007 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

No, and nobody can justify Hilary's Iraq vote or more recent Iran vote, or her flag burning amendments.

And nobody can justify a lot of this stuff that Edwards did, including his Iraq War vote, or his bending over in the debate against Cheney.

The truth is that none of our candidates is pure or without mistakes, all of them are a lot better than the Republicans in the race, and each of us is trying to make the best choice we can among them. It's ridiculous to list one's flaws without noting that they exist in all of them. Instead, we weigh what we find most important. Personally I worry most about foreign policy, and so I lean towards Obama. That doesn't mean I have to like the rest of it.

Posted by: Joel W on December 18, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

You mean transference, not projection. Projection would mean that you have unconsciously repressed *your own* qualities, and then attributed them to someone else.

Posted by: mike-2 on December 18, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Has Hillary been a leader on torture? Has she been a leader on telecom immunity? Has she been a leader on global warming? Darfur? Reducing our oil dependency? Harsh bankruptcy laws? The Walter Reed scandal? Iraq? Standing courageously -- alone if necessary -- for Democratic principles?

I guess I must have missed all that backroom lever-pushing.

Posted by: Rachel on December 18, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

How can you doubt that all problems will melt away before Obama and Oprah's O-someness???

Posted by: Al on December 18, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, these are things that Obama is doing right now -- the campaign he is choosing the run, the policy proposals he's putting forth now. These are not things he did when representing a conservative state, or running as someone else's VP candidate. On every issue, Obama's proposals are the weakest. In every poll, Edwards goes head-to-head best.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 18, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Look, if people want to change the tone in Washington, then by all means, vote for Obama. But if you actually want to implement liberal policies, then obviously you vote for HRC. Edwards is a close second to her, in my opinion. Why? Because of both of them have been through tough fights -- personal ones (such as a husband being both a president and an adulterer, a son dead and a wife dying) -- and they lived to tell the tale and fight some more. Those are people you can count on. When Obama has had some similar test of his body, mind and soul, then I'll give him a serious look, but until then, he's just a pretty face spouting pretty words -- superficial qualities that do not a president make.

Posted by: Mina on December 18, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain we have the same impression of what Hillary has been doing. Has she been getting things accomplished by working with Republicans in real cooperation by both sides - or just going along with them while avoiding confrontation? Can you point to anything she accomplished with the help of Republicans that didn't advance a Republican agenda?

I can't for the life of me see President Hillary Clinton being able to get Republican cooperation on anything. Those people have spent years demonizing her, and they're not going to give that up when they've gotten their base conditioned to expect it.

I think it far more likely they'll cripple everything she attempts that doesn't serve their interests - and she'll cave to them to get something - anything accomplished. Any attempts by her and a Democratic Congress to reverse the Bush presidential legacy will be fought tooth and nail.

IF Hillary Clinton does make it into the White House, I think we can expect a deliberate Republican campaign to bring all the problems stemming from the Bush years to the forefront - and blame them all on her and the Democrats. The press will obediently fall in line and repeat all the GOP talking points. Both of them will be doing everything possible to deprive Hillary of all the power Bush grabbed for the presidency.

Four years later, the Republicans will be expecting to take back the White House - and they'll have tainted the Democrats even further.

As for Obama and his quiet maneuvering out of the spotlight - I don't think he appreciates how closely the President is scrutinized. (Well, Democratic presidents anyway.) It's just not going to work.

I think Edwards is the only one really positioning himself to be prepared to fight - and that's going to be necessary for whomever gets the Democratic nomination because the Republicans are not going to concede anything.

Why should they when most Democrats have it down to a reflex?

Posted by: xaxnar on December 18, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not aware of him campaigning with a homophobe (you must mean Donnie McClurkin, but last I recalled he had a gospel concert where McClurkin performed). He's not used any terminology that Bill Clinton hasn't used (look it up) and isn't arguing for anything radical (the distinction with Edwards is that Edwards has a donut hole, Obama hasn't flushed out any details). His plan provides coverage for everyone; it doesn't require that they obtain it. I'm not sure what the point of the Krugman comment has to do with anything, but whatever.

None of the candidates are perfect. I like Edwards a lot, and I would vote for him at the end of the day, but I'm not going to pretend that he's got a strong track record for getting sh*t done. He talks a good game, but his time in office didn't produce a whole, helluva lot (except things he's later had to apologize about).

Posted by: Keith on December 18, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

> and the evidence suggests that over the past
> seven years she's gotten pretty good at working
> with Republicans to get things done in the Senate.

And this is a good thing why? Over the last 10 years the Radical Right has perfected its tactic of "51-49 I win; 59-41 you lose" and has developed an appetite for getting everything it wants and more every time. Feeding this appetite helps the average Joe American (not to mention the average Democrat) how exactly?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on December 18, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

...the evidence suggests that over the past seven years she's gotten pretty good at working with Republicans to get things done in the Senate.

I guess that's true for Lieberman and Reid too, but I don't support them. Clinton and Obama would earn more respect if they actually took a leadership role--like what Dodd did yesterday, for example.

Posted by: AJ on December 18, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not too worried about Obama. That awesome article in TNR (it happens!) about his activist days in Chicago proves he gets political power. I think he understands it better than me or Hillary or even Bill.

I'll be interested to see exactly how he makes power (you got to make it before you use it), but there's no way he's' going to show all his cards at this point.

Posted by: chris m on December 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

"the evidence suggests that over the past seven years she's gotten pretty good at working with Republicans to get things done in the Senate. I like those qualities"

Hasn't it been a consistent sub-theme of Kevin's posts, and reader replies, that this empahsis on bi-partisanship (read fudging) has been one of the major problems? Isn't it time the dems stopped making co-operation their main policy platform and instead rested on some, well, policies?

Posted by: billy on December 18, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed with chris m. As I have been saying for more than a year, Obama's days as a grassroots civil rights lawyer on Chicago's Southside trumps anything the other two have done in terms of shoulder-to-the-wheel progressive activism. The question is why do so many whitebread latte pseudo-libs dismiss this?

Posted by: Disputo on December 18, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Chris M: My guess is that, yes, Obama understands "power." So does Hillary. My concern is whether Obama also understands and can make use of all the real-life levers of power available to a president. That was Steve Clemons' point, and I think it's something to think about.

Billy: Actually, it's Obama who usually gets credited for being able to work across the aisle. But from what I've read, Hillary has been pretty good at it too, though it doesn't get talked about as much.

And while I'm no fan of the Kumbaya brand of "bipartisanship," the fact remains that we're going to need some Republican votes to get things done. Who's best able to get them is a legitimate campaign issue.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on December 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Now their vote is a meaningless joke ...
~Steppenwolf: Monster

Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed
By Bob Driehaus [New York Times]

All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state's top elections official has found.

"It was worse than I anticipated," the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. "I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others."

At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 18, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

> the fact remains that we're going to
> need some Republican votes to get things done.

Any Democratic President or Senator who goes into office with that attitude will lose, big time, and will be lucky not to find themselves in prison. That is loser thinking and the Radical Right is poised to crush any Democrat they see with even the slightest waver of "compromise" in their voice (cf Digby).

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on December 18, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think Steve's criticism of Obama not holding hearings as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' Subcommittee on Europe is fair.

But to then take this one aspect of Obama's Senate career and conclude that Obama will not use "every lever and every aspect of government machinery to push her legislative and policy work" is, I think, a bit of a stretch.

Obama has been a U.S. Senator for about two years, and despite what some believe, he has carved out an admirable, yet low-profile, policy record during that time. (See this old Hilzoy post at Obsidian Wings from November of last year: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2006/10/barack_obama.html )

I guess I'd also like to see more evidence that Sen. Clinton is more skilled or committed to pulling the levers of government. Kevin, in your above post you seem to take this claim of Steve's as fact, or as a generally established contrast between the two candidates. However, I don't think this case has been made (despite it being a common and persistent perception within the conventional wisdom).

Yes, Sen. Clinton is remarkably bright. Yes, she understands how the Senate works and can get things done.

However, simply stating that Sen. Clinton is more skilled or experienced or committed than Obama to getting a legislative agenda pushed through, doesn't really mean anything. It's just a statement. And it is a statement that needs to be backed up with examples of what she has actually accomplished over the past six years.

And if you are going to try and determine who, between Sens. Clinton and Obama would better "utilize the machinery of government towards the public good" is it not important to first consider their actual records, and weigh the importance (and/or relevance) of both their accomplishments and their mistakes?

For me, one aspect Sen. Clinton's record speaks poorly of her experience or her commitment to the public good was her 2002 vote to give the President the authority to go to war in Iraq. I understand that this was not an easy decision and that there was great pressure for Democrats to not be seen as opposing the President; but it is the difficult decisions that best reveal the true political instincts and character of our elected officials. And in this case, Sen. Clinton made the wrong decision, and at great costs.

She then voted again for the Kyle-Lieberman resolution earlier this year, which while not the declaration of war on Iran that some claim it to be, certainly was not necessary, particularly considering the history of this Administration to use all and any excuse they can find to use uniltaral military force.

One last example is her recent decision to oppose making retroactive shorter sentences for those caught with crack cocaine. (Both Obama and Edwards support making these shorter sentences retroactive.) Regarding Sen. Clinton's position, which would leave approximately 20,000 people to serve out the remainder of their unjustly long prison sentences, her pollster Mark Penn "pointed out that the Republican front-runner has already signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes." http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7127.html

Again, not an easy decision; however, her two main rivals had the courage to support (what I see as) the more fair and just position, despite the apparent threat of Republican attacks in the future.

I don't raise these examples to mindlessly bash Sen. Clinton, because while she is not my first choice for President, I find a great deal to admire about her.

However I don't believe (or I have not seen any actual evidence) that she is more skilled or more committed than Obama in utilizing the "machinery of government towards the public good." And in fact, I believe her political instinct to shift to the Right in order to demonstrate that she is not weak on national security or soft on crime are more worrisome (and have led to more dire consequences) than any legislative action taken or not taken by Sen. Obama over the last two years. (Note also that Obama has a seven year history of using the machinery of government to further the public good while in the Illinois State Senate that also deserves consideration.)


Posted by: Aaron M on December 18, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's not the people who cast the votes that matter ...
~Josef Stalin

Colorado Voting Machines Tossed Out
By George Merritt [Associated Press]

Colorado's secretary of state has declared many of the state's electronic voting machines to be unreliable ...

Coffman met with a task force of state lawmakers to discuss what Colorado should do the day after he decertified three of the four voting equipment manufacturers allowed in the state, affecting six of Colorado's 10 most populous counties. ...

In his announcement Monday, Coffman said Colorado's actions would have national repercussions. "What we have found is that the federal certification process is inadequate," he said.

The decertification decision, which cited problems with accuracy and security, affects electronic voting machines in Denver and five other counties. A number of electronic scanners used to count ballots were also decertified. ...
__________

Imagine that! The FEDERAL certification process is utterly inadequate. What could our NeoCoNazi "leadership" have been thinking??

Oh ... Never mind ... "Re-[s]election!"

(HAVA - Heave America's Votes Away.)
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 18, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

I don't really care about policy minutia after 8 years with that idiot monkey we've had as president.

Hillary is a Yale Law graduate and Obama a Harvard Law graduate; both are head and shoulders intellectually about Bush.

I favor Obama because I think having a black person as president is an important signal to our children and the world that an open society address its most glaring defects and provide opportunity for everyone.

And to be honest I love the idea of a certain segment of wingnuttia going batshit crazy about a black man being president. If only he were gay.

Posted by: Nick on December 18, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

HRC and DNC, FUBAR Liberalism beyond...

I have got to get out of this country.

Posted by: anon on December 18, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Why do you believe that HC would be more likely to work across the aisle than Obama?

There are so many arguments against her achieving any kind of meaningful cooperation with the Republicans. The first, of course, is that the Republican base has a visceral loathing of her. What republican wants to have a picture with her floating around his home state during the 2010 primaries? Think Lieberman and the "kiss".

I hate to say it, but I think you have already made up your mind.

- You attacked Edwards for being too wonky and detailed on healthcare (bizzare from you!).

- You attacked Obama for not being detailed enough on healthcare.

- You denied that Obama would have significantly higher positives. He would be attacked by the the Republican smear machine, you said.

- And now you claim that Hillary will be able to work with Republicans. What happened to that smear machine?

Posted by: Adam on December 18, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.inkblottestwallpaper.com/

I'd vote for number eight, because she is strong on border security and the environment, and yet compassionate and caring. Clearly wants to make a difference and will bring us together and fight the special interests. We need someone who will fight for us in Washington.

Posted by: Luther on December 18, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

I do wish Democrats would get over the love affair with [political] management skills and try to foster a bit of leadership. Not grandstanding (or tilting at windmills), not symbolic victories, not merely enduring the GOP noise machine without crumbling, but actual, principled, at least semi-meaningful leadership. We're like the Franklin-Covey party these days, a sort of operational entity without any particular stake in this country, which is why being a Democrat is still a pretty vague, stands-for-whatever affiliation and being a Clinton Democrat is merely being Not Republican. HRC's not a leader, and the truth is that Bill wasn't much of one either-- he was good at catching & riding waves, and even better at channeling his outsized personality to give the impression of leadership, but he left pretty much zero impression on the country regarding our core ideals or what kind of path the much-vaunted 'bridge to the 21st century' would actually link.

Truthfully, what I fear most from Obama is that he's basically running Bill's 1992 campaign; back then I did have some hope that personality, life story, and native intelligence would be enough to link a president from my party to some broader national ideals, but it didn't. Can't say that I still have the endurance for that kind of disappointment, but I'm also not cynical or desperate enough to settle for a political marriage of convenience with Hillary.

Posted by: latts on December 18, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

This isn't specifically Rorschach-related (except maybe subconsciously), and maybe you've addressed it when I wasn't looking, but my biggest reason to favor Obama over Clinton is that it's really bad for our polity to have a series of presidents named Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Does that give you pause? If not, why not?

Posted by: Shelby on December 18, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Pursuant to Aaron M.'s noteworthy commentary above:

Hillary Clinton on International Law
Stephen Zunes [Foreign Policy In Focus]

Perhaps the most terrible legacy of the administration of President George W. Bush has been its utter disregard for such basic international legal norms as the ban against aggressive war, respect for the UN Charter, and acceptance of international judicial review. Furthermore, under Bush's leadership, the United States has cultivated a disrespect for basic human rights, a disdain for reputable international human rights monitoring groups, and a lack of concern for international humanitarian law.

Ironically, the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president shares much of President Bush's dangerous attitudes toward international law and human rights. ...
__________

A detailed review of Clinton's record follows. In my mind, it's not at all pretty. (And Zunes is a decidedly knowledgeable, eminently credible source.)

Better to place the "levers of power" in the hands of someone less inclined to "skillfully" employ them for strictly political reasons.
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 18, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Still leaning modestly toward Hillary, still unsure that Obama really knows how to get things done in modern-day Washington."

OK, I've got a question that's serious, not snarky. One thing that we've really not heard much of in the media is Barack Obama's service in the Illinois legislature. As someone who served as senior staff for House leadership in the Hawaii legislature, I'm rather intrigued why the media would ignore an 8-year-period in Obama's professional life, and therefore I would like to know more about Obama's time in Springfield before I make any definitive judgment and cast my vote at out party's February 5 caucuses.

My question: Does anyone from Illinois know if Obama knew how to get things done as an Illinois state senator in Springfield during the period 1996-2004? I'm not interested in or looking for partisan spin from Obama supporters. I'm looking for the actual nuts and bolts -- things like bills authored, introduced and passed; committees chaired and served upon, attendance record, significant votes cast, etc. The Illinois legislature's online archives only go back so far.

I'm fully aware that the Democrats did not take control of the State Senate until 2002, so those documented accomplishments will probably be somewhat limited for the period prior to the changeover in Senate leadership.

Would Illinois residents care to weigh in, please? shortstop? Constituents of the IL 13th Senate District, which Obama represented?

Thanks, all. I'll look forward to your feedback.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 18, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Al (my suicide over this fact is pending) - it is impossible to stop Obama once he has Oprah on his side. Millions of ignored housewives who think that "Eat, Pray, Love" is the height of literature will flock to Obama for no other reason than [i]they were told to[/i]. Now the cult of personality favors our side after 8 years of the towering pillar of faux-machismo that is GWB - and, though working for our side, it is still disgusting.

Posted by: An Anonymous American Patriot on December 18, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Harh! Hilary can work, work, and work, but as long as she is tinkering at the edges and not tackling problems head on, then what does it matter! Obama -- and Edwards -- recognize that the only way to curb corporate power is to change the way we finance campaigns. We need to break the link between candidates and donors.

I like Hilary, I think she is smart, works hard, and is an endless target of sexist, misogynistic attacks (e.g., Matthews denouncing the Des Moines Register endorsement of Clinton because the editor is a woman.....). But I prefer Obama and Edwards as prez candidates.

Posted by: BEmama on December 18, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Kevin are you really this stupid?

Posted by: jay boilswater on December 18, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Poilu, for that info re Ohio computer voting. It's even worse than I imagined.

On topic, I'm beginning to be more and more attracted to Edwards. I sense a different Edwards this time around, much more progressive, much more idealistic. It's possible that his time after the last election radicalized him. Working at a hedge fund could certainly do that. He was on Hardball tonight and his answer concerning religion was right on target. Chris asked why he didn't talk about his religion much and he answered that his religion was extremely important to him but he didn't feel that as a candidate or as a president he had the right to shove his religion down people's throats. I respect that attitude very much, being an atheist myself.

As for Hillary, oh please. Yeah, she can work with Repubs well, just like she prays with them well in the Senate prayer group. She'll be the ultimate compromiser, not that she seems to have a very long distance to go to reach the right side of the body politic. If she's elected, then I hope I'm very, very wrong.

Posted by: nepeta on December 18, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the Democratic candidate has enough appeal to persuade voters in every single part of the country he/she will not be able to get anything accomplished; the country will remain divided, deadlocked and unable to reverse the disastrous course of the Republicans.

Obviously the only candidate who can reach enough red and purple voters and sway the vote Democratic significantly enough to achieve change is Edwards.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 18, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, Hillary (anymore) reminds me FAR too much of the domineering, politically cutthroat mother in the re-make of "The Manchurian Candidate".

"A stronger, safer America!" Sound a bit too familiar?
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 18, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Damn there is a lot of buyers remorse in this thread.

Democrats have a bunch of candidates who stand heads and shoulders above anyone the Republicans are fielding this year. None of them have been President so we really don't know how they will respond to the job's demands, but I am willing to bet they would all do better than anybody on the Republican side. Romney--what a mealy mouthed wimp. It is painful just to listen to him talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. Rudy--he is liable to be indicted before he is sworn in. Talk about a bimbo eruption in the making. The guy has never been able to keep his pants zipped. Both McCain and Thompson might die before 2008 and neither would be said to have died young. Huckabee, the more you read about him the less you like him. He is just another fast talker from Hope, AR. Ron Paul, despite raising 18 million this quarter his poll ratings have dropped from 5% to 3% as people have gotten to know him.

Our job is to pick the person we think can best lead the nation during the coming years. Although I like Edwards a little better than the others, I am prepared to gladly get behind anybody in the Democratic field who is nominated.

What we need to be worried about is our utter lack of congressional leadership. Pelosi and Reid have emerged as timid corporate losers. I am hoping some real leadership will emerge. Maybe Howard Dean will help us rebuild the party and build our farm teams.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 18, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

PS: I like Steve Clemons but his whole 'gig' is to moderate differing views at The New America Foundation. It's not surprising that he favors Clinton. Even though he supports most liberal foreign policy arguments, he's one of those people who can actually be polite and attentive to a whole spectrum of conservative thinkers and actors. The Dems haven't been offered any compromises in the last seven years. I don't view compromise with the current crew of empty heads in DC as a positive thing.

Posted by: nepeta on December 18, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats have a bunch of candidates who stand heads and shoulders above anyone the Republicans are fielding this year." - corpus juris

But of course! I can't think of an election year in which your statement isn't true. But that doesn't mean there isn't a range of choice, and as liberals we don't have favorites within that range.

Posted by: nepeta on December 18, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, why isn't the economy and the jeopardy facing the financial system being discussed much in the campaign and on the blogs? I know you have talked about it from time to time. By the election, we could be in a recession with several failures in the financial system. Fear is going to change this electorates' thinking drastically; how remains the question.

Posted by: LyleW on December 18, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Seems the only people actually assured the integrity of their vote are these political hack appointees bent on satisfying the whims of the corporate media.

Of course, you can hardly expect to implement a fully functional Fascist state without compliant media! Right?:

[Translation: "FCC you, America!" And it's certainly not the first time!]:

FCC Votes to Ease Media Ownership Restrictions
By Peter Kaplan [Reuters]

The Federal Communications Commission narrowly approved on Tuesday a loosening of media ownership restrictions in the 20 biggest U.S. cities, despite objections from consumer groups and a threat by some U.S. senators to revoke the action. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 18, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you got Obama backwards. Obama is proposing to take on corporations and lobbyists via transparency and television, the opposite of sneakiness and stealth. I think he wants to defeat them by exposing them. I don't know if it will work, but it's a pretty clever proposal. I definitely believe that the system we have is broken, and no other candidate has any suggestion at all for how to fix it. They don't even talk about it. Obama is addressing the issue, and he's backed up his talk by passing legislation at both federal and state levels. This issue is a major reason I'm supporting him.

Posted by: Rebecca on December 18, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: Still leaning modestly toward Hillary...But still watching and waiting.

Meh. Edwards has the right vision, Obama has character, Dodd has the guts, Richardson has the well-rounded resume, Kucinich has persistence.

I'm wondering what Clinton brings to the table...I used to think that Clinton had the superior political organization, but now? Not so much, Kev.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 18, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Poilu - Bad news day all around. We can't win from losin'...

"By a vote of 70-25, the Senate attached a Republican amendment adding $40 billion for the war in Iraq to the fiscal 2008 spending bill. The money would not be saddled with any of the conditions Democrats have sought for ending combat, now nearing five years." - Reuters

Posted by: nepeta on December 18, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Note that 70-25 vote. We have twenty-five liberal Dems in the Senate.

Posted by: nepeta on December 18, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

If the contest is about who has done her homework, and how good a job at it, then due to her intelligence, hard work and ambition, HRC wins by a landslide. But is this what we want in a president (or a candidate who might still lose the general election)? As long as the president has a good attitude about relying on experts, and is a good judge in hiring them, there is no need for a detail-oriented president. The qualities that are needed most, are leadership, and especially the ability to inspire the country to do better, and overcome its baser instincts. The country has some very difficult times going up, to name just a few serious problems:
probable unravelling of Iraq and/or Afghanistan,
peak-oil (or at least the turn of tide of supply/demand).
unravelling of the economic paradigm of the US getting by consuming more than it produces, and borrowing the difference overseas,
the need to begin dealing with global warming,
the loss of the dollar as defacto world currency,
the effects of the international discord that has been sowed the past seven years,
the continuing threat from the right against our liberties, and the constitution,
our bloated keptocratic military industrial complex, which is consuming vast resources.

Most of these problems will not attract majority coalitions towards the needed policies. The correct courses of action will be painful, and the losers are going the squawk loudly. It will take real leadership, and inspirational skills to bring the country along. I don't think a normal politician who might be great in normal times would be up to the task.

Posted by: bigTom on December 18, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm for Edwards, for many of the same reasons others have cited.

But folks, please stop confusing the right-wing anti-Clinton jihad with actual working GOP politicians. Teddy Kennedy has been for decades the great bete noir used by the GOP for direct mail fund-raising and scaring the bejeebus out of their base. NO ONE would accuse the man of being a big compromiser. He has remained true to his principles. Yet he has the longest, deepest record of bipartisan sponsorship of significant legislation in the history of the Senate.

The fact that Sean Hannity and his ilk rail against Hillary does not mean she'd be unable as president to get some cooperation from Republicans, especially in the Senate. Her Republican colleagues, by all accounts, like and respect her both. She knows where their leverage points are because she's worked with them and studied them carefully.

She wouldn't have an easy time of it, by any means, but at least some things would get done. I'm honestly not sure that's the case with Obama's kumbaya naivete or Edwards's confrontational determination.

Also, we ought to know after the last two presidents that Obama's effectiveness in the state senate in Illinois is absolutely meaningless in predicting how he'd do as president. Both Bill Clinton and George Bush had first-rate records of dealing with their state legislatures, and particularly members from the other party. And look what happened with both of them.

State legislatures are a whole different animal, with their own unique dynamics that simply don't translate in any meaningful way to the U.S. Congress.

My biggest concern about Hillary is what several others have mentioned, the record of lack of public leadership on any significant national issue. Edwards, I think, has undergone some sort of very powerful experience of enlightenment or detachment or something. Whatever you call it, he's not afraid of anybody or anything in the political world anymore. That's what I'm longing for in a president, and that's why I expect to vote for Edwards in the primary (even though part of me continues to root for Hillary, as well).

If it's Obama, though, all I can say is I hope he's more up to it than I think he is.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on December 18, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I can't read before I post...Chris Dodd blinded me with ballzyness...

Posted by: elmo on December 18, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

gyrfalcon: Obama's kumbaya naivete

I've seen that phrase other places, and it always bothers me. It's a sign of the way the Clintons' media effort is coloring discussion even by people who aren't necessarily Clinton supporters.

Look, Obama has a proposal for how to deal with lobbyists and corporations. He knows how corrupt Washington is, and he knows better than any other candidate how government failures play out in the lives of poor people on the street. He's not naive. He's proposed public, civilized negotiations with corporations that need to be negotiated with. I prefer that proposal to Edwards' crowd-pleasing promise to fight those corporations without giving any details how. And Hillary doesn't seem to want to fight them at all.

I'm happy to debate this on the merits, but I think all the candidates know what they're up against to get an agenda enacted. They just have different ideas how to go about it.

Posted by: Rebecca on December 18, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yet another unconvincing but *apparently* objective post that ends up coming out for Hillary. What a surprise. Why not just come out for Clinton and be done with it instead of holding up the facade of someone not fully decided.

Posted by: Huh on December 18, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing how out of touch the larger-liberal bloggers are with their readers. Most of the bloggers seem to support Hillary, while very few of their readers do. It's sort of amazing the difference.

Posted by: Jpr on December 18, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

So what if Hillary can work with Republicans? The only things she's EVER worked with them on in the Senate are things that have been BAD FOR THE DAMN COUNTRY.

And don't you think Republicans would unite to make sure a Hilary presidency was an abject failure?

Are you sure OBAMA is the naive one here Mr. Drum?

Posted by: MNPundit on December 18, 2007 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

There's only one lever of power a president must have: majority public opinion. Which Dem can best gain it for her/his good causes?

Posted by: Fel on December 18, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

To all those posters slamming HRC for her ability to work across the aisle with Republicans (as if that indicates Repub leanings on her part): keep in mind that for the past however many years the machinery of government has been controlled by the Republicans, more precisely by the Right Wing of the Republican Party. Can you really criticize her for not having rammed through liberal policies? Like that could have happened?

This state of affairs is changing, and with the (please god please) election of a Democratic President it will have changed. Of course, depending on the balance of power in the Senate, a Democratic president may still need the ability to work with Republicans, or at least a few of them. That will involve compromise. For many of you, compromise is a dirty word, but from my perspective it's the American way of politics. That doesn't mean one abandons one's principles, but on a whole variety of issues diverse and sometimes unsavory views will influence policy making.

I don't want a candidate who pretends to be pure, or above it all, I want a candidate with a proven track record of being able to navigate and negotiate with members of Congress to get stuff done. The last thing I want is a stubborn, principled and ultimately ineffectual (yet admirable) Jimmy Carter redux, which is what I fear regarding Obama. Oddly, he also sometimes reminds me of Reagan - charismatic empty suit enveloped by a cult of personality.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be very happy with an Obama presidency. There are other Dems in the field I prefer, and (obviously) HRC is one of them. Still, I'd be quite happy were Obama elected. But not thrilled. His tendency to mouth right-wing talking points scares me, and he seems less than committed to liberal/progressive goals - "old" ideas that I think are great but have yet to be implemented. It would be absolutely TRAGIC if Dems controlled both houses of Congress AND the Presidency, but a President Obama turned his back on goals like universal healthcare, etc., out of a desire to "move beyond" partisan politics. What a waste of a great opportunity that would be.

Then there is this crazy idea:
If the contest is about who has done her homework, and how good a job at it, then due to her intelligence, hard work and ambition, HRC wins by a landslide. But is this what we want in a president (or a candidate who might still lose the general election)? As long as the president has a good attitude about relying on experts, and is a good judge in hiring them, there is no need for a detail-oriented president. The qualities that are needed most, are leadership, and especially the ability to inspire the country to do better, and overcome its baser instincts.

Wow - is this parody? Coz it sounds just like the arguments in favor of George W. Bush.

Posted by: Imelda Blahnik on December 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I am convinced of something about Hillary Clinton's commitment to use every lever and every aspect of government machinery to push her legislative and policy work that I'm disappointed to say that I can't find as strongly in Barack Obama's profile.

Am I the only person here who read this sentence and thought that this is a point in Obama's favor? Granted, my political views tend towards a center-libertarian-left disposition anyway, but I'd like to point out that the Bush administration was very energetic about using every aspect of government machinery to push their absolutely godawful legislative and policy work.

I don't take offense at the thought of Clinton promoting her policy initiatives as president - even though I probably won't agree with her very often - but I'd like to see some restraint exercised for a change. The Democrats will almost certainly keep Congress, which will of course grease the rails even without a filibuster-proof majority.

I prefer that proposal to Edwards' crowd-pleasing promise to fight those corporations without giving any details how.

Amen, and I'd like to add that his voting for the Iraq war authorization because Bob Shrum told him to already tells me everything I need to know about his character, and how seriously to take his current shtick. What a poser.

Posted by: Nat on December 18, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry but I cannot agree with anything the author stated. HRC is purely DLC representing the agenda of Big Business. Look at all the corporate money she is accepting. There must be strings to that money and those strings are in opposition to the needs of the people She is GOP in too many ways to count. I voted for Bill twice, but his trade deals, media consolidation allowances, and telecom legislation have hurt this country deeply. It is past time for a new and fresh approach. I like both Obama and Edwards, but do not see Edwards as electable. His decision to accept government matching funds will keep him from competing in the general election. Also, the media is very anti-Edwards and will color their coverage to his disadvantage.

Posted by: xargaw on December 19, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

what gets me about BO isn't that he wasn't just a grassroots lawyer, but a street-level grassroots ORGANIZER. working in a community such as chicago's south side where passions run hot and injustice is palpable requires both grit and a demeanor that motivates and sustains. even more so, fighting at the grassroots level you really have little POWER besides that which you build yourself. that's the key and that's why i support obama

Posted by: aml on December 19, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Not sure where the expectation that Obama would move "stealthily" to get things done is coming from. Everything I've seen tells me that transparency would be his M.O., at least on health care. Whether it will succeed depends, I think, on the degree of public engagement and the scope of his mandate. If he wins comfortably in November (as I think he can, more than any of the Democrats) do you really think he's going to have pull every obscure lever in Congress to get his health care plan passed, for instance? I don't. Congress will pass it if they know it's a voting issue. And the way they'll know that is if Obama continues to communicate well with the American people, and to reach Republicans, as he has done impressively in Iowa and New Hampshire (see the new poll in Iowa showing Obama ahead of every Republican by at least 10 points).

Let's not make things trickier than they really are. Do you think Ronald Reagan understood every "lever" of government at his disposal? Probably not. Did he get a lot of crap done anyway? I'd say so. In any event, isn't this a staff function anyway? And if we're going to evaulate the candidates based on the quality and performance of their staffs, then Obama seems to be well ahead judging from the quality and consistency of his campaign. Which also says a lot about his leadership.

Posted by: mayah on December 19, 2007 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

"It's amazing how out of touch the larger-liberal bloggers are with their readers. Most of the bloggers seem to support Hillary, while very few of their readers do. It's sort of amazing the difference." -Jpr

There is an easy explanation. In the last month, there has been a sudden FLOOD of new people to many liberal boards with postings extremely hostile to Hillary Clinton. If they are Obama supporters, they are not making him look good.

I have to wonder if they are really Karl Rove wannabes trying to disrupt the outcome of the Democratic primary.

Posted by: emmarose on December 19, 2007 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

emmarose: That would be believable except its also true on social bookmarking sites like reddit. So I don't think that explains it all or most of it. Hillary is not really a liberal candidate, and if you look at the content of these blogs over the past 7 years, Hillary has been on the wrong side many, many times.

Posted by: Jor on December 19, 2007 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Actually -- Let me even make that more concrete. If you review 2000-2006, and review the politicians decisions and/or opinions on the major issues that dominated these blogs -- you'll easily find that Obama is in agreement at least twice as often as Hillary. Maybe if I'm not that lazy this break, I'll try to put together some crude analysis to put the #'s out there and make the transparent hypocracy of the liberal blogger establishment more obvious and emabarrasing.

Posted by: Jor on December 19, 2007 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary designed and started SCHIP.

Just weeks ago, many people here who have nothing but hatred for HRC were just slamming bush for veto'ing the expansion of this program that Hillary created.

There have been so many programs; from breast cancer, to diabetes, to stem cell research, that Hillary has created and pushed forward, but so few on what seem to be progressive blogs, will ever give her credit for. It's a shame too.

Posted by: Volum on December 19, 2007 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: "Does anyone from Illinois know if Obama knew how to get things done as an Illinois state senator in Springfield during the period 1996-2004?"

Judging by the lack of response to my question, are we then to assume that Barack Obama was the Illinois legislature's equivalent of a potted ficus?

I know from his campaign website that he sponsored a measure that increased Illinois residents' access to affordable health care coverage, but in legislative terms sponsoring a bill simply means that he signed onto the measure, but wasn't the author.

I think it would be worthwhile for Democratic voters to know the legislation Obama introduced as a state senator, and the bills he actually authored (as opposed to merely sponsored) that were approved and signed into law by the governor. This would give us a good indication of his general domestic policy priorities.

Despite my growing reservations about Sen. Obama, I'm really trying to keep an open mind about the guy. Just show me what he's accomplished as an Illinois state senator. Obama's talking a good game, but does his state legislative record actually show that he's also got game?

Or are we merely having -- as I'm starting to seriously suspect -- a lot of smoke blown up our asses?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 19, 2007 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

"I am convinced of something about Hillary Clinton's commitment to use every lever and every aspect of government machinery to push her legislative and policy work that I'm disappointed to say that I can't find as strongly in Barack Obama's profile."

And that convinces me that Obama is the better person for the job. It is also why he is pulling ahead.

This idea that we can get a "progressive" because Bush is such a dumbshit is plain wrong. The voters sensibly understand the limits of government. They know how to vote for a better Republican even though Bush is a disaster for the party.

Think, do we want a shopaholic for president?


Posted by: Matt on December 19, 2007 at 5:17 AM | PERMALINK

The thing about all three main Dem candidates is that their past won't extrapolate well to the future.

Hillary has shown an ability to work with Republicans and get things done - on some secondary issues where the big industries aren't bitterly opposed.

But that won't extrapolate to universal health care or global warming, where they will be unyieldingly against us, and so will their bought-and-paid-for GOP.

Obama's bring-everybody-together approach, ditto. Plus the whole cut-off-the-money approach is a great idea (and Edwards is just as big on changing the game as Obama is), but as Kevin says, you're living in a dream world if the lobbies aren't going to notice while you're passing bills to cut off their oxygen - you're just picking a different entrenched position to assault.

And besides, starting with goo-goo reforms (a) takes time to change the game, and (b) burns up political capital on stuff that people don't understand so well and aren't going to rally behind you so much on. If you start with goo-goo, it may be up to the next President to deal with global warming and universal health care.

Edwards' approach doesn't extrapolate well because there's going to be no judge keeping the game within the rules, and no sequestered jury, immune to outside influences, to ratify his win over the corporate interests. No judge is going to rule the next Harry and Louise out of bounds, and make sure the voters don't hear the full virtuosic range of corporate propaganda as it twists the issues in the public mind.

This is going to be a LOT harder than Edwards imagines, and I'm sure he imagines it will be extremely hard.

The question with Edwards is: after they fight back like maniacs, and he takes a couple of painful early losses, will he regroup and fight back, or will he do the sort of strategic retreat that Clinton did in 1995-2000, saving his Presidency but playing a major role in turning the Democratic Party into an outfit that ducks the fight?

Another question is: can any of these guys/gals turn the Dem Congress into an outfit that's willing to go the extra mile, to force the GOP to filibuster, to stand up to those 41 Senators who will block anything and everything, and make them at least do their blocking in the full, protracted glare of daylight so that the nation and their constituents can't miss seeing who's blocking what?

If the next President can get the Senate to do that, then we've got a chance of getting 60+ Dem Senators in 2010, and rolling right over them in 2011. If not, then forget it: if 41 Senators can block everything and pay no price, then they'll block everything forever.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 19, 2007 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously I'm not trying to persuade anyone here.

Obviously.

Posted by: Chino Blanco on December 19, 2007 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

Steve vs anonymous emailer

I gotta get me one of these blogging gigs, looks to be getting easier all the time.

Posted by: Chino Blanco on December 19, 2007 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

Many mistake Obama's methods for nice or naive. No. It's an iron fist in a velvet glove. It's checkmate in several moves while controlling the board. It's prosecuting a case where he knows the outcome and just needs to walk the jury there.

Voters seem to get that. It's amazing pundits haven't.

For example, take Obama's HC reform plan. Obama does not plan to sit the insurance corporations down at a table and sweet talk them as Drum mistakenly assumes; and seems to be a popular pundit meme, probably put out by the Clinton machine.

What he'll do is incrementally squeeze them through a series of politically popular legislative steps, while maintaining public support, and avoiding public backlash. It's not a love-in, it's a headlock.

A critcal issue to Health Care reform is mandates. Mandates. Mandates.

Mandates are currently the problem in Massachusetts, and the big problem with Hillary's plan. Mass is a budding disaster on the level of "Leave No Child Behind." Dems don't want to discuss the problems becasue it's a Dem program. But, it's a prime example of how mandating before people are ready, and without sufficient political clout to weather the backlash, is a foolish over reach, and jeopardizes the long term viability of the program. Hillary doesn't do enough to popularize the Gov Program, or fix the private sector, before mandating. She'll mandate before establishing a popular option. That's foolish and naive.

That plays right to all the Republican memes which get a lot of traction with moderates, and can be used to form a majority to roll back her plan, if she ever passes it to begin with. Her mandates will play to "free market, big government, choice, and personal responsibility" memes. Basically all the high caliber Republican ammo, and Hillary is going to hand it to them, again.

Obama's HC plan doesn't mandate. It subsidizes the poor and children from the start. That's a political winner with a Dem Congress, and will score popular support for the program. He's also offering voluntary buy-in to a Gov program, for those early adopters who are going to be the best sales people to the general public. Again, politically viable, and scoring points for the service to build momentum. Importantly, he's avoiding political backlash, by avoiding mandates, which are politically radioactive.

How will the Insurers respond? Their stock prices and profit margins will drop which will continually weaken them. They'll be forced simply by economic pressure to create new markets: i.e. supplemental insurance. Which is the ultimate destination for them, they just have to be pushed, hard. They'll lose customers to the HCI service Obama creates. They'll continually be forced to discuss issues of cost efficiency, bonuses, marketing, lobbying, profits, etc. which is a political loser for them. And when a GM, Google, or such buys into the Gov plan, it's be a nail in their coffin.

Will they fight? Sure, they'll fight any plan, Obama's or Hillary's. But they'll have far more ammo against Hillary and mandates.

Obama's plan isn't naive or sweet. It's the surest way to win by controlling the political support and momentum. Eventually, when the program is more popular and established, then and only then, mandate the remaining holdouts who can afford it to do thier responsibility and buy HCI. Then, and only then, do you have a good parallel to mandating auto insurance.

It's Hillary's plan that's naive by thinking she can just mandate it now. Mandates only passed in Mass, and they're already in trouble there. She wants to attempt that on a national scale? Mandates are hugely unpopular. That's naive and a nice way to botch it, again.

Posted by: kozmik on December 19, 2007 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

Given where Bush and his thugs have taken this country in the past 7 years; given where the Democrats have supported and cooperated or at the very least acquiesced and complied in most of these transformational destructive acts; given the level that large corporations and the ultra-wealthy are financing the worst elements of the American political spectrum; and given the level of support for these destructive policies by the regulators of thought and discourse within the society, it is very hard to see how any of these candidates can meaningfully change the direction this country is headed. Clinton worries me the most. I understand she is not George Bush. But her view of foreign policy seems to be cut from the same basic cloth that Bush and his advisers use (wear?). She seems to me to be the most likely of the three major Democratic candidates to embroil us in further military actions furthering neo-imperialist and hegemonist goals. Her advisers have in fact touted this aspect, her vote on Kyl-Lieberman certainly reinforces this. And more fundamentally she has never really ikndicated that Iraq was a FUNDAMENTAL failure of a certain foreign policy vision.
Unfortunately with all this said, I am loathe to join the Obama camp. I do prefer him over Clinton but that is a function of the high negatives on the Clinton side, not so much the Obama positives. He is weak on substance. The campaign of hope seems to have been designed to be so short of substance that I have little idea where Obama is going or even where he wants to go. The idea that we can change the direction this country has been going without confronting and defeating some of the powerful forces arrayed against change seems ludicrous to me. Yet that seems to me to be the essence of the Obama campaign. It seems to me that this means Obama and his campaign is not serious about change...just another Democrat placekeeper until the Republicans take back power and move inexorably toward their vision of America.
That leaves Edwards. He is more attractive but also carrying (for me) a lot of baggage. If he is around I will support him as the best of these three choices. I would hope for a little more fire in the belly here as well.

Posted by: della Rovere on December 19, 2007 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

I couldn't agree more, Kevin. Hillary has worked with a number of Republicans, and I like the fact that she is willing to reach across the aisle. She is smart, well-versed in policy, and world affairs. She is a serious, hard-working person. She has made mistakes. Who doesn't? But I believe that she has what it takes to be president.

Obama is interesting, but he is too unknown. Maybe in a few years, but he is just too green at this point in time. Change for the sake of change is not enough. Hope is good, but results are better.

Posted by: mollycoddle on December 19, 2007 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary 08! Because we all make mistakes.

Posted by: Chino Blanco on December 19, 2007 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

I love the idea of a certain segment of wingnuttia going batshit crazy about a black man being president. If only he were gay.

Posted by: Nick

And an atheist.

Posted by: Econobuzz on December 19, 2007 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

And while I'm no fan of the Kumbaya brand of "bipartisanship," the fact remains that we're going to need some Republican votes to get things done. Who's best able to get them is a legitimate campaign issue.

Huh. Mr. Drum, I've always assumed you were my elder, but I must have been mistaken. Were you alive during Bill Clinton's presidency? Do you remember Ken Star?

Posted by: slouch on December 19, 2007 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary works with republicans on issues by agreeing with them. What issue of importance to democrats has she brought republicans to the table and gotten them to compromise? Tax increases on the wealthy? Abortion rights? Gay rights?

Posted by: Moog on December 19, 2007 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

There was one other President whose main political experience was in the Illinois House of Representatives, with a brief time in Washington (as a House rep rather than in the Senate).......................

Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by: JH on December 19, 2007 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Speculation and hoping your candidate will magically change the system through stealth or transparency is fine. It is just not smart or practical.

If you want to evaluate who will be effective you better take a look at how the three have been effective in the past.

In regards Obama, check this from a 4/06 article by Lynn Sweet on Obama and ethics reform:

"The problem is this: At present, members of the House and Senate are allowed to ride on private jets owned or leased by corporations. They have to pay only the price of a first-class ticket, which hardly covers the costs of operating the aircraft. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) takes corporate subsidized jet rides. Last year, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepted this corporate discount 23 times before ending the practice in January, after he was named the Democratic lead on ethics. Most of this travel is fund-raising related.

There are a few problems with allowing lawmakers this perk of power"

Additionally Obama's being married to corporate counsel and having no record of authoring effective change against corporate control of government indicates he is rather thin stuff to attach your hopes to. Crossing your fingers and believing campaign rhetoric is nice but not smart.

Only Edwards has fought corporate power and done it impressively and effectively.

The Republicans and their corporate friends are not interested in compromise. They are interested in control. Check the record for the past 7 years and see which method they engage.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. Obama's is apparently railing against lobbyists, PACs and corporate power across the state of Iowa. Yet his own record dealing with lobbyists, PACs and corporate interests in Illinois has magically disappeared. How convenient.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Hello??? Could we please include Edwards in the discussion?

He beats ALL the Republicans -- even John McCain -- more handily in national polling than either Hillary or Obama.

And he has the strongest appeal in the South.

Be responsible: quit ignoring him.

Posted by: Mauimom on December 19, 2007 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

TheClintons might know how ot get things done. My problem with them is that half of what they've done already should have been left undone: NAFTA, Don't Ask/Don't Tell, Welfare Reform, DMCA, Desert Fox, the pardons.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on December 19, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

The Hillary Experience line is something I've never really understood. Just what, exactly, has she accomplished in the last seven years aside from a disastrous Iraq vote and a follow up Iran vote?

I would say it is her VERY experience of crossing the isle when she SHOULD NOT HAVE that has turned me off to her candidacy. There is something to be said about working with the other team. But a real leader would know when to compromise and when to stick by her ideals. And Hillary hasn't shown that.

Not only that, I'm sure a lot of the Wash Note/Wash Monthly anti-Obama spin could have equally been applied to a relatively unknown in 1991 who went on to be a 2 term president and oversaw the greatest economic expansion of the post-WW2 era. Perhaps "experience" is overrated?

Posted by: SJH on December 19, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Perception is everything, and Hilary Clinton as President would not build a foundation for bipartisanship. Even if she were attempting to reach across the aisle, it's too easy for the GOP to cast her as a divider. I think with Clinton in the White House, we can be guaranteed at least four years of the bitter stalemates in Congress.

Posted by: Quinn on December 19, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Great analysis Kozmik.
ITA
Mandates are a political death knell for universal health care. Even Americans who think universal health care is a good idea oppose mandates. Mandates are simply unAmerican. Hillary's plan continues with her same errors in judgment. Thinking that power can take the place of leadership. Hillary has learned nothing from her previous colossal mistake. She does not know what she needs to compromise on politically while still standing on the principles that count to assure political progress on this issue. She simply does not know how to take a stance and make it politically viable. Because the latter requires leadership and convictions not equivocating. Obama is consistent on issues, folks know where he stands and most importantly they know he will negotiate and reach common ground that creates a winning situation for all.

When folks talk about Hillary and how bright she is and how hard working she is, I always agree but then I asked and what are her accomplishments? Obviously the lady is intellectually capable but when it comes to outcomes their simply is not a track record of success. Even when she touts her Yale Law degree you have to wonder how someone gets all the details and the high grades, yet when it came time to pass the DC bar, Hillary flunked. This is a consistent pattern in her career path. She talks the talks but simply can not deliver when it comes to walking the walk.

Obama has both the intellect and the political brillance with leadership to achieve outcomes and that is the major difference between the candidates. It does not matter what arena Obama is placed in he is going to succeed simply because he has that rare skill combination, brains and politics combo. It is a winner even if he chose to be an entrepreneur he would succeed. Obama simply chose to committ himself and his talents to public service.

America will be extremely fortunate if we elect this man as President. He will restore America to all the greatness she has been recognized for.

Obama/08

Posted by: elrapierwit on December 19, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

HRC knows the "levers of govt"? She knows how to "get things done."? You mean by working with Republicans to help them advance their agenda? Like supporting Iraq? I honestly don't know where this perception comes from. So she worked with the GOP. Big deal. Name me one piece of progressive legislation that was passed where HRC played an instrumental role? Anyone? Bueller? If you tell me that she helped making GOP legislation "less bad" then that's pretty thin gruel to me.

To me, even if elected president, HRC will never have the magnetic personal appeal of Obama (or even Dubbya pre-9/11) to lead the country by example. She is a consummate insider/dealmaker and better served in the Senate.

Posted by: David68 on December 19, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

David68, Leading by example is a good idea but not if that example is the destruction of your state records dealing with lobbyists and special interests and special deals. We've had 7 long years with disappearing records. Enough.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy,

You make it sound like he destroyed public records which is beyond silly. His public records are all out there.

Posted by: Quinn on December 19, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

No, his records are not all available. None of the schedules, meetings, etc that are demanded from Sen Clinton are available. First Obama's campaign said they hadn't released information because there had been no detailed requests. Then the Chicago Tribune disputed that and the campaign said the records couldn't be found. Maybe they had been discarded. So much for the records are all out there. :-)

Posted by: RalphB on December 19, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Quinn you are wrong. The documents maintained by Obama's office disappeared. Only the documents maintained by the state remained.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry to get into the discussion so late, but I wanted to respond to Donald from Hawaii. I am a resident of the 13th Legislative District of Illinois, and I worked in Obama's first campaign (1996) and all subsequent ones.

In his freshman year, Barack won an award from the Illinois Environmental Council for his record on the environment.

He crafted, and passed, legislation to reduce police profiling of African-American motorists, a practice that was responsible for the deaths of Robert Ross and LaTanya Haggerty on one tragic weekend in Chicago.

Obama was also responsible for the passage of an ethics reform package (Lord knows we need that here). Granted, this took place after Democrats won back the state Senate in 2002.

Obama was elected overwhelmingly each time. I can say that it got easier and easier to carry his petitions as time went on--our district can be very hard on our legislators, but people were pleased with the job he had done. Obviously, this is not a point that trumps anything about Clinton--the voters of NYS are very happy with her, and she seems to have done a great job there. But you asked about Obama, and I hope I've addressed some of your questions.

Posted by: RayL on December 19, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,

I was living in Chicago in 2000 when Obama ran against Bobby Rush for US house seat.

Obama's problem, which Rush exploited, was that he came across to Southside blacks as every rich white Lakefront liberal's favorite black guy. Yes, Obama may have possessed a solid gold resume and impressive clips from the ChiTrib regarding his activism but it felt too airy-fairy to resonate with voters more concerned with social services and government benefits. I don't recall it being articulated as such, but there was clearly a "Obama's not black enough" vibe going around.

Perhaps because he was inexperienced, Obama seemed v-e-r-y uncomfortable with the rites and rituals of campaigning in a black majority district. As if he really did prefer chatting up fat cat donors at fancy Lake Shore Drive fundraising events. (Which is where I met him. Not that I'm a fat cat donor.)

One of Rush's advisers once told me that when Obama spoke to an audience of poor folks, he looked as though he was suppressing that he was smelling someone's really really stinky fart. (I'm citing a Rush adviser so take that with a grain of salt.)

Rush managed to turn Obama's obvious ambition against him -- I'm here for the long-haul while Obama regards the House seat as just a first step on the ladder to bigger and better things.

Obama got trounced. So when he later ran for the Illinois senate, it seemed as though he was scaling back his ambitions in order to pay his dues and learn retail politics.

I also recall people lamenting that had Obama lived in districts with lots of rich white voters, he would have been unbeatable.

We'll see. He's certainly a lot smoother and polished than 7-10 years ago.

Posted by: Auto on December 19, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I will vote for Hillary if she is the candidate because the other side is so devoid of options. But, I can't bring myself to support her at this stage.

My problem is Bill. His presidency was at best a mix of successes (the economy) and at worst an embarrassment. His personal behavior and obfuscation speak for themselves. He also missed the significance of Rwanda and avoided doing anything major with HIV (AIDS). Lastly he and Hillary in part because of their arrogance torpedoed the best chance for health care reform in 1994. I am distressed at his high profile in Hillary's campaign and do not want a shared job presidency with him doing the sharing.

Posted by: Cycledoc on December 19, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I think Hillary will be crippled by her and Bill's baggage from the 90s. There is no one the Machine loves to battle than the Clintons and Hillary is nowhere near as deft as Bill.
Obama engenders far less antipathy from the GOP and will be more likely to get things done because of it.
While I like Edwards' fighting 'tude, I think it's unlikely to accomplish anything. I see his first year as being a painful learning experience similar to Hillarycare.

Posted by: John on December 19, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Hillary is smart and well-briefed, she is level-headed, and the evidence suggests that over the past seven years she's gotten pretty good at working with Republicans to get things done in the Senate."

Yes, Hillary Clinton has consistently enabled the Bush administration and the Congressional Republicans to "get things done" -- the things that the Republicans want done, that is; for example Bush's war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq based on lies.

And this is good, why?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 19, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to echo the question raised repeatedly and ignored in Kevin's original post.

When has Hillary "reached across the aisle" and "got things done" to accomplish anything that the Republicans didn't want to do?

It feels like I'm listening to someone touting how they're a great negotiator because they only got somewhat ripped off while buying a series of used cars.

Posted by: uri on December 19, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Steve Clemons and Kevin. The more Obama/Edwards supporters attack her, the more I support her.

Posted by: MonaL on December 19, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama is more like Carter then HRC could ever be but not because of an understanding of the details of government but because of his incrediable lack of experience. I think that the Republicans and various insiders will clean his clocks. He will not even no ehat hit him.

Bob O'Reilly

Posted by: Bob O'Reilly on December 19, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

As they did with Clinton, the sore loser Republicans will come out of the gate aiming to destroy the new Democratic President with scorched-earth tactics. There will be no honeymoon, all Senate bills will be filibustered if they have the numbers, holds will be abused, etc. Hillary has been here before, knows how to deal with it, and that is why I lean to her.

Posted by: bob h on December 19, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary is so experienced - why is she running such a bad campaign?

If she is so tough - why is she craking in the primaries?

If she is so discplined - why are she and her campaign managers so badly off message?

How are they (hillary and her campaign) supposed to do better in the general election?

The republicans are weak and will attack - yes - but can Hillary set the tone of the debate or will the debate be about her?


Hillary has....experience....such as....hmmm - not a particularly brilliant Senate record. But Steve Clemons thinks she is great because she is informed in an conversation.

How has Hillary led - on AUMF (Iraq vote), Iran vote, telecom immunity, on the Justice dept. scandal?

I'll answer that - she hasn't.

As for John
Edwards - I like the guy - but he is my second choice. I am not voting for him because he was incredibly weak in the VP debate less than 4 years ago with Dick Cheney - allowing Cheney to link 9/11 to Sadaam without saying anything about it. He had his chance on the national stage - and he performed poorly.

Sorry Edwards supporters - go back and look at his pathetically weak performance in that debate and see how he is not our strongest candidate - despite what a few polls may say.

Posted by: correctnotright on December 19, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Quinn you are wrong. The documents maintained by Obama's office disappeared. Only the documents maintained by the state remained."

Those are the public records. Why would a state Senator be expected to keep every single schedule and personal letter he's ever written? Sad as it may be, the correspondence of the First Lady, and particularly Clinton, does have more importance than a state senator nowadays.

Posted by: Quinn on December 19, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Quinn: "Why would a state Senator be expected to keep every single schedule and personal letter he's ever written?"

Having worked in the Hawaii legislature, perhaps I can shed some light on the obligations of former state legislators with regards to their office records.

Now, I can't speak for the Illinois legislature, but office records and files of Hawaii legislators are not considered public records, and as such legislators are not required to archive them for official purposes. Only standing and select committee records are required to be archived. Most legislators dispose of such personal records and files upon leaving public office.

Because state legislatures, with a handful of exceptions, are in session on average only four months out of the year, I find it entirely plasible that Barack Obama had only one full-time staff person (probably an office manager) allotted to him in the state senate. His office undoubtedly had session staff, but those positions usually terminate with the end of the regular session.

Therefore, because it was Obama's personal responsibility to clean out his State Capitol office upon his exit from the state senate, and because as far as I can determine Illinois does not require that such office records be archived, it's also highly likely that he disposed of most of those records while vacating his Springfield office.

To be frank, I find the media tizzy over Obama's personal state legislative office records to be rather overblown. But I'd still like to know more about Obama's public record as a state senator.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 19, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin --

I hope you're reading all of this...or as much as you can stand. Many good points, along with some not so good, but still.

For my part, I'm kind of surprised that someone as smart as you and as unimpressed with the beltway insiders would even be leaning towards Hillary with an interest in Obama, rather than leaning Obama with an interest in Edwards...you know, like me. :)

Here's why -- for all her undoubted skills and experience, Hillary has shown very little evidence of being much more than weather vane. She is the epitome of inside the beltway thinking on the Dem side of the aisle. If you want a change, I can't see how you would want her. Granted, she might surprise us -- but "surprise" is the operative world. I'd rather go with someone who comes in with an expectation of change. Real change.

These are not ordinary times and they call for someone who is ready to make serious, even radical, changes. Why? Because by the time the new President arrives, he or she will be arriving in the wake of a solid 21 years of increasingly radical misgovernance, with an eight year resbit of mild relaxation -- and even that hampered by a ridiculous non-scandal impeachment.

I can certainly imagine Hillary being tough enough to make these changes; what I can't imagine is her wanting to do something so politically risky. Her habit of triangulation runs too deep. And, even when she's trying to please everyone, she's nowhere near as good at concealing her nasty side as her husband Bill...who these days is starting to seem like, oddly enough, a loose cannon.

And, yes, Hillary mobilizes the vast army of utterly irrational Hillary haters. Of course, a lot of them will morph into Michelle/Ophrah or Elizabeth bashers if another candidate is elected, but there a lot of sort of Reagan Democratish-like people out there (I know some) who contemplate voting for Obama or Edwards, but never, never, never for Hillary.

If we're going to risk losing with a candidate, I'd like to go out fighting. The last thing we is need is to go down compromising. If Huckabee somehow gets nominated, I'm convicted Hillary is toast. He'll actually be perfectly positioned to play the populist card against her. Not so much Obama or Edwards.

And one last argument, this one specifically for Obama and a big reason I'm leaning his way: On the day a man named "Barack Obama" is inaugurated, the world breathes a giant sign of relief. That middle name the rightwingers love so might actually be a good thing for him all over the world. Imagine what they might thing: "America has gone sane."

Then, by the way, if BHO actually needs to get tough in some part of the world, people may just cut him a break. He'll have carte blanche to do what needs to be done, or not done as the case may be. I can't be sure he'll have the wisdom to do that, but then there's not a sole running that I can say does.

Posted by: Bob on December 19, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Quinn you are still wrong. Any person in a position of responsibility, especially a public official, should know their records of dealings with lobbyists and special interests and constituents should not be destroyed. Never ever.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

A fact that all posters should remember: unless legislation is seen (at least in some measure) as "bipartisan", it quickly becomes a major target as soon as the opposition party regains power.
In any future, Democratic-conrolled Congresses, the ability to get Republicans to sign onto(hopefully progressive) Democratic legislation will be an asset. I really don't think any of the present top three Democratic candidates would be unable to work with Republicans or get Republicans to work with them.
The present Republican Party is an aberration; radical, plutocratic, corrupt, and anti-constitutional. Barring major corruption at the polls, they will lose big nationally in 2008. And, since money follows power, the state and local Republicans will either start adapting in order to keep what power remains to them or follow the national party down.
Right now the campaigns we are watching are by Democratic candidates trying to get Democratic votes. None of the candidates have come out, in speech after speech, and pointed out what a mess the Republicans have led this country into because, right now, this is an intramural struggle.
In a campaign that will have to be not only against Republicans, but also the MSM and all the Very Serious People, I really can't see Sen. Obama making much headway. I don't see Edwards or Sen. Clinton having that problem.
At this time I can't decide whether I prefer Clinton or Edwards; Obama is definitely number three. The nicest thing, though, is that a President Obama certainly wouldn't upset me in the least.
Well, until he makes a mistake...

Posted by: Doug on December 19, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm kind of leaning towards Edwards. I'm vaguely tired of the Clintons and Obama sounds a lot like the 1992 Clintons. They didn't care who got the credit, or if it was a Republican idea or a Democratic idea, so long as it was a good idea that worked.

That sounded real good at the time. Inspiring, even. And how long did it last, a week? It's impossible for good people to have an honest difference of opinion when the Republicans are neither. Republicans didn't appreciate Clinton's reaching out in moderationl they regarded him as the draft dodging, dope smoking, floosie shagging Communist, who was stealing all their Conservative good ideas. Obama should expect the same treatment.

Posted by: Jalmari on December 19, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Crissy: "Any person in a position of responsibility, especially a public official, should know their records of dealings with lobbyists and special interests and constituents should not be destroyed. Never ever."

I will agree with you only in part, because when one considers that Obama was obviously planning a run for higher office, he probably should have kept at least his day planners or calendars.

But other than that, since you've probably never worked for a state legislator, I don't think you have any idea of the voluminous amount of documents that are accrued just over the course of one year.

To give you some perspective, the average Hawaii state legislator fills up at least six large filing cabinets (5' x 2' x 7') per legislative session -- and that's only 18 weeks long! And I'm not counting what comes into the office if you're a member of leadership or the chair of a committee.

Also keep in mind that you're talking about public officials, who are not archivists. Maintaining and cataloguing prodigious numbers of public documents and records is without a doubt an art form that most of the general public doesn't truly appreciate.

My former boss is a pack rat, and has kept about half of everything from the time he first was elected to the House twelve years ago. His entire garage is currently full of nothing but boxes of papers, with nary a place for either he or his wife to park their cars. Not surprisingly, she wants him to get rid of it.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 19, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy,

I think if we were talking about an official at the federal level, I'd agree, but at the state and local levels that may be unrealistic. I would go so far as to say the number of state officials who keep that detail of records are practically nil.

Posted by: Quinn on December 19, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Donald, your information is always interesting and valuable. Thanks. I was referring to documents from special interests and major legislation that should be kept. Not every little scrap. Oviously no office can survive saving every Post-it and trivial message.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 19, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary has recently worked with Lindsay Graham in crafting and passing Veterans family leave legislation.

If you want to ask why Obama has done nothing at all as Chairman of Senate Comm. of Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe, please ask. He's been lackluster and accomplished zero.

What has he accomplished legislatively?

He's going to have to be specific at some point. Sound bites are not enough.

Posted by: norris morris on December 19, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

"By a vote of 70-25, the Senate attached a Republican amendment adding $40 billion for the war in Iraq to the fiscal 2008 spending bill. The money would not be saddled with any of the conditions Democrats have sought for ending combat, now nearing five years."

Nepeta: I saw. Yet another subservient "blank check" issued to our "Fuehrer", courtesy of the would-be "will of the people" represented by the Senate (as Kevin Drum would have it, anyway). Funny how that supposedly "representative" vote ratio is virtually identical to the longstanding polling results indicating American opposition to continuing these senseless wars!

Some "representation", huh? :-(

Just point me to the Revolutionary Recruiting Center -- the populist uprising is LONG overdue.

P.S. Nice to see Lieberman finally earnestly described -- if only implicitly in the above -- as a Republican. (The "no strings" Iraq funding addition, of course, resulted from the "McConnell-Lieberman Amendment".)
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 19, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

I like Obama, but not for 2008.

I think Hillary or Edwards have the best chance of actually winning (hopefully with coattails) and then successfully governing over GOP/media opposition.

It's hard. I don't envy Iowa and New Hampshire this year.

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