Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 30, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PROJECTION FROM THE FEVER SWAMP....Andrew Sullivan posted this email from a Republican reader today:

A party that is as motivated by revanchist impulse as today's Democratic Party cannot bring itself to transcend its anger. That is why Hillary will survive the Obama insurgency.

Yes, Obama would beat us, bad. We would hemorrhage Republican women and a significant number of conservatives would vote Obama to teach the Republicans in Washington not to deviate from Reagan and Goldwater. We would be forced to return to first principles, and we would.

But that is not what Democrats want....Hillary knows that her base voters are more filled with anger at Bush than they are with hope for the future and change for all the American people.

Whatever else you think about the Clinton vs. Obama question, this is almost certainly wrong. Among the activist liberal base — the people who are the loudest and angriest about what George Bush has done over the past seven years — support is way stronger for both Obama and John Edwards than for Hillary Clinton. Hell, in the dKos straw poll, Chris Dodd outdraws her too. Conversely, Hillary is the choice of much of the party leadership as well as much of the rank and file, including women, blue collar workers, and moderates who believe (fairly or not) that Obama simply isn't experienced enough.

Conservatives tend to be so blinded by their hatred for Hillary that they're convinced that her liberal supporters are also motivated by hatred. But they aren't. Among activist liberals, Hillary is mostly viewed as as smart and hardworking, but also triangulating and mainstream. She's the candidate of caution and moderation, not the candidate of the haters. The anti-Clinton fever swamp protests too much.

Kevin Drum 12:21 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (93)

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Posted by: basilbeast on December 30, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

How can I ever be angry now!

Whoo Hoo, first first evah!

DK put up Steve Gilliard's "Fighting Liberal", it's in my url link.

It's the right kind of anger to have, IMO.


Posted by: basilbeast on December 30, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe one reason GOPers think Obama would "beat us bad" is that he's been adopting RNC talking points.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on December 30, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

It's one of Hillary's weaknessses: She's DLC moderate and hawkish, yet she is often viewed (especially by Republicans) as the most liberal Dem in the top tier of candidates.

For me, the worst of both worlds.

Posted by: riffle on December 30, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum -- establishment democrat for Hillary Clinton. I like that tag-line.

Posted by: Jor on December 30, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary comes off a bit like Dean in the last election - actually quite conservative by disposition and moderate in policies, yet perceived in the 'hot' media of DC as radical, shrill, and divisive.

Kerry was the opposite - a rather dogmatic and stereotypical Mass. liberal who won the primaries by appearing 'safe' and moderate.

These mismatches are interesting, but they drive one crazy.

Obama, btw, is trying to combine the best of the Dean strategy with the best of the Kerry strategy; we'll see if it works.

Posted by: lampwick on December 30, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see, according to a wingnut, Hillary is going to win the Democratic nomination because she embodies hate.

Have these people ever in their lives heard of the psychological phenomenon of projection? You know, the "defense mechanism in which one attributes to others one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions"? So that, just as an example, you might project, oh, feelings of hatred onto someone else precisely because you hate them?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 30, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

More change = better

Hillary = Change
Edwards = More Change
Obama = More Change

Hence why the battle is between Obama and Edwards for the netroots types.

Posted by: MNPundit on December 30, 2007 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Just as a totally irrelevant aside, my fear of Obama is not that he wouldn't win in the general -- though I do have some anxiety that there might be something in his background that's going to represent a real problem (cocaine use, maybe?). I think, though, that any Democrat is going to find it's going to be their game to lose, and most likely he won't botch it.

My fear is that he's going to win and wind up being another Jimmy Carter type. Ineffectual, basically clueless about how to exercise power, and a classic, annoying scold. I think he'd win a first term, but I have grave doubts he'd win a second one.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 30, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK


I've got a new post on Ken's Guide To The Bible for all who are interested.

Posted by: Swan on December 30, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

"[A] significant number of conservatives would vote Obama to teach the Republicans in Washington not to deviate from Reagan and Goldwater."

Yeah, right. *sarcasm*

Andrew Sullivan is surprising me. This has to be a ploy to try to turn people against Hillary-- it is that incorrect.

Posted by: Swan on December 30, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, moderate, moderate, moderate, if by "moderate" you mean "not enough." Yes, I would like her to win more than the others, because: (1) I like Bill Clinton, (2) I see a Clinton win as doable, (3) while I dislike her middling beliefs, attitudes, and realpolitik, if it means she will win the election, great.

I'm just mystified by these dailkos polls with people just rabid, rabid, rabid for John Edwards. No matter how great your basic principles might be, Washington is going to chew them up and spit them out and then paint you as a do-nothing.

That said, her pandering is so obnoxious. I don't want to marry a man (I'm a man), but she's not willing to say gays have the right to marry. At base, at bedrock, she's not willing to say that gays should have equal rights. Does she really believe this? Does she really believe that gays are inferior beings with warped, disgusting relationships that God reviles and who should therefore not enjoy the protection of the state because marriage is "sacred," i.e., "magic"???? The only way I can respect Hillary in this matter is if her statements and attitudes are not a result of her true beliefs (God is magic? Magic trumps all?), but simple pandering to the masses.

Anyway, it's interesting to hear about the haters decrying their opponents as haters. God, I hate Bush, I hate the Republicans, but I only hate them because they HATE us, they're at war against every American who belongs to the middle class or the poor, they're at war against every American not suffused with crackpot religiosity.

It's so sad that working class Americans, rural Americans are so manipulated by "values" talk that they throw away their own jobs and economic security, helping a Republican Party that is really their enemy.

Posted by: Anon on December 30, 2007 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be honest, the out gays like little Andy and the NYT velvet mafia (Patrick Healy and Adam Nagourney) and the closet case gays like Chris Matthews HATE Hillary, as they hate all women. As Sullivan once memorably said on Matthews' syndicated weekend show as they sat around giggling and ewwing over Hillary and her vagina, Sen. Clinton has - and I quote Sullivan directly - "cooties." This is the state of our political discourse. What a fucking freak show.

Posted by: jbk on December 30, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

jbk: "Let's be honest, the out gays like little Andy and the NYT velvet mafia (Patrick Healy and Adam Nagourney) and the closet case gays like Chris Matthews HATE Hillary, as they hate all women."

Not all gay men hate women -- just the ones who possess the emotional maturity of nine-year-old boys.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, in New Orleans with the Warriors on December 30, 2007 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that Kucinich and Edwards are the most competent and progressive and clear on issues. Hillary is the most conservative and corporatist of the group. Obama is a puzzle to me. He says nice things but I don't have any idea where he really stands. I'm not criticizing him. I suspect he'd do OK. I wish he'd been governor for a term or two so we could see his track record.

I don't understand who likes Hillary. When you listen to callers on progressive radio stations it seems that most of the callers are for Edwards or Kucinich. Maybe they attract people who are interested in issues. Perhaps Obama and Clinton attract people based more on feeling?

Posted by: JohnK on December 30, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ran across this interesting comment about Jimmy Carter:

What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months.
Hmm. Kinda reminds me of some candidate in this campaign.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 30, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, yeah. We're all a buncha moonbats suffering from BDS.

These are the same people who say liberals vote emotion instead of reason while they have a frontrunning candidate who can say with a straight face that we need a fence on our border with Mexico to keep out Pakistani terrorists.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 30, 2007 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary comes off a bit like Dean in the last election - actually quite conservative by disposition and moderate in policies, yet perceived in the 'hot' media of DC as radical, shrill, and divisive.

All this means is that Hillary has already been processed once through the right wing smear machine. Anyone with a D after their name will be seen as a wild-eyed hippie radical once the Wurlitzer has had at them for a bit.

Posted by: jimBOB on December 30, 2007 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK


Thank you so much for posting this. I must apologize in advance for the rant. I read this statement from an Andrew Sullivan "reader" this morning and it so disgusted me that I have been in a bad mood all day (which is not how I wanted to send my last Saturday of the new year). I mean, the statement is so idiotic, so ignorant, and there are so many things wrong with it, that I don't know where to begin. So, I will just highlight a few things that really bothered me about this post (I know that we have beaten this to death in a few previous posts, but I was busy and I want to add my two cents). I will also apologize because I would like to write a more appropriate and well written response, but I am just too angry and it is after midnight on a Saturday night.

1. I am an Obama supporter, but I am on the fence between Hillary and Obama. I wish that Mr. Sullivan would realize that every time he writes some screed about Hillary (which is often), I feel less likely to vote for Obama, and more likely to Hillary in the primary. It was not until someone else mentioned this in a previous post that really articulated how I feel.

2. Andrew Sullivan writes these anti-Hillary posts several times a day. I have to say that I have read several of them, and his entire argument can be summed up as: "vote for Obama because Hillary is a bitch, and Republicans hate her." Yes, I have some disagreements with Hillary, but Sullivan's entire argument is basically "who do you want to have a beer with," which is the worst reason to vote for a candidate (exhibit A - the past eight years). He never (or rarely) criticizes any of Hillary Clinton's views on various issues (which he would probably agree with more than Obama), her competence, etc., only that "she is a politician who will do whatever it takes to win." Andrew Sullivan has become essentially a political version of Perez Hilton, except that Perez Hilton is actually smart enough to realize that his blog is worthless and doesn't take himself seriously.

3. What really pissed me off about this post by Sullivan (and pisses me off about Andrew Sullivan's weblog in general) is that there is no forum for readers to leave comments to show how we disagree with the post. Actually, this kind of pisses me off about his blog in general. Sometimes he is just 100% wrong on an issue, and there is no way to correct him. We just have to wait until he writes a "dissent of the day" - if he ever does. I mean, the other bloggers for the Atlantic have comments sections, what makes Sullivan so special? Especially since he likes to portray himself as some sort of champion of free speech, especially on the internet.

4. This "reader" and Sullivan seem to imply that there is some sort of unity among all Democrats, and "the left." This is just utter rubbish. Just go to any liberal website: this one, TPMCafe, Kos, any other, and people will disagree about anything. Sure, there might be a few people who vote for a candidate to piss of the other side (I am sure there are a few Republicans who do the same thing), but a vast majority of Democrats just want someone who is competent, can lead this country in the right direction, and who generally agrees with us on certain key issues.

5. The sheer naivetee (however you spell it) of Sullivan and his reader is just astounding. Do they really think that if Obama is nominated, that the GOP is just going to use kid gloves on him during the election? Hasn't the last 8 years taught them anything? One of the main reservations that many Democrats have about Obama is that they do not know how he is going to react to the character assaults that the Republicans will inevitably throw at him during the election. With Hillary, people at least know that she can fight back.

6. And what pissed me off the most is that here is some Republican telling us to vote in our primary. This guy is never going to vote for either Hillary or Obama, so who cares what he thinks? Do these people realize that in 2004, the Democrats elected the most moderate, the most experienced, the most agreeable candidate. And what happened? The Republicans made him out to be some ultra liberal brie eating socialist war criminal. Like a lot of "libertarians," Andrew Sullivan wants to talk about how "free thinking" his readers are, but then he just wants to tell everyone how to think and vote.

Kevin, thank you for the post and giving us the opportunity to respond. I apologize about the rant, but that letter on Andrew Sullivan's website really pissed me off.

Posted by: adlsad on December 30, 2007 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

well said, adlsad.

Posted by: cjhpdx on December 30, 2007 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

You're completely right that this is totally off base.

I'm no fan of Clinton. But while I haven't followed the polls closely, I'm extremely skeptical of the idea that Obama will peel off Republican women voters and Clinton won't. I'd think she'd have a pretty fair shot at the soccer mom demo.

Posted by: Royko on December 30, 2007 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I remember how cocaine use sunk the Presidentail candidate in 2000.

Posted by: merlallen on December 30, 2007 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Among activist liberals, Hillary is mostly viewed as as smart and hardworking, but also triangulating and mainstream."

That's why I don't like her. The mainstream Dems are almost as corrupt as the mainstream GOP--there's not a lot to choose between them.

Our Democracy, as Pat Buchanan said (and I can't tell you how much I hate to agree with him) is a joke. Congress is for sale to the highest bidder and has been for a long, long time.

I don't like Obama, either, though. He strikes me as being a charming lightweight, striking only for his ungenuineness.

Posted by: Helena Montana on December 30, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, Helena Montana, but which candidate do you like and support?

No offense intended, but it's become rather commonplace to see such generic posts as yours, complaining about how the candidates don't measure up to your standards because in the end they're all corrupt and / or weak anyway.

Look, as most regular readers here have probably surmised, I'm no big fan of Barack Obama, due in large part to his current lack of applicable experience to seek the presidency. That being said, I'm perplexed as to why you just blithely dismiss as "ungenuine" a man who is arguably the most gifted orator in American politics today -- especially since he's attracted a substantial following primarily through his judicious use of that innate ability to inspire.

Certainly you must recognize that no single candidate is ever going to be perfect. You just sound like you're halfheartedly excusing your own current lack of political initiative -- perfectly understandable, given that the perpetual shenanigans of the current administration has pretty much exhausted the capacity of many people to get excited about politics, save perhaps for impeachment.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, in New Orleans with the Warriors on December 30, 2007 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

I like the part about the white/republican women. I'll bet if he was an insecure asian computer nerd he'd be worried about Edwards stealing all the cute asian girls.

Posted by: B on December 30, 2007 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'd vote for almost any of the Dem candidates, though I'd prefer Edwards somewhat more. But...I see Hillary as, first and last, a power operative.
Sure, nothing gets done without power, and true, she has has to scramble with a narrow focus to build her own power base and yes, she has been an excellent senator to my state of NY........but I see no bone-deep connection to liberal idealism. Considerable use of power is always necessary to get to the top, but, at least on the left, you have to keep aside some part of your soul for spirit and vision.
First and last, a President leads and infuses the country with vision and ideals. In Bush's case, it's fear and greed, and they're certainly genuine enough.
I get a bone deep sense of idealism from both Obama and Edwards, plus a sense of a fire in the belly that would compel them to achieve them and bring the country along.
I don't get either from Hillary. What I get is a sense of a nominal titular head of the tired old Democratic machine, of a sort of Hillary-Reid-Pelosi axis wherein dealing deals, achieving a gutless, safe consensus, build power bases are the "heart". Surely there is something more. And there is: Edwards and Obama. Of the two, I think Edwards would achieve more.
Finally, consider this: If there were one strong single candidate opposing Hillary, a John Obama, Hillary would be nowhere but second place.

Posted by: Stewart Dean on December 30, 2007 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to wait for Bill Kristol's opinion on this in the NYT before I make up my mind.

Posted by: bob h on December 30, 2007 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

Neither Sullivan nor his 'reader' have a single clue about what motivates voters, Democratic or Republican or Independent. Obama and his half-baked pablum about hope and change may make little Andrew swoon but he's mistaken if he thinks his own naive emotions are universal.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 30, 2007 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

To the extent that that writer is representative of other conservatives' thinking, they have truly lost their moorings to reality.

As frankly0 said upthread, this is a case of projection. Not that I'm sure it matters how they're unhinged; the essential fact is that they're unhinged.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 30, 2007 at 7:26 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's rhetoric, for me, is just empty. The entire premise of the man's candidacy was supposed to be his different way of politics, his audacity of hope, bla bla bla. The only audacity I see here is the audacity of his claiming to be different. Donnie McClurkin, anyone?

Interesting too, that a few months back when Peter Pace made his disgusting remarks about gays, both Obama AND Hillary waited a couple of days before issuing tepid statements disagreeing with him. They were, as usual, waiting to see how the wind was blowing first. The only candidate to immediately release a ringing denunciation of that pig was John Edwards.

Is Edwards perfect? Nope. Is he authentic and a genuine liberal? I think so.

Posted by: jprichva on December 30, 2007 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Projection aside, do any of Sully's moonbat readers ever stop to wonder where this alleged visceral hatred, if it exists in the quantity they fear (and should), might have, ya know, come from? Do they think that 70% of the Amerocan public, at this point, is just hincty at their president for no damn reason? And is being mad at a guy then an excellent reason for keeping him and his enablers in charge? Just askin'– not mad or anything.

Posted by: Kenji on December 30, 2007 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

kenji: Do they think that 70% of the Amerocan public, at this point, is just hincty at their president for no damn reason? And is being mad at a guy then an excellent reason for keeping him and his enablers in charge? Just askin'– not mad or anything.

they dont think they are wrong...

the good news is...this kind of wrong-headed anti-american thinking is what kept the crazy gop fringe under the rock for decades...

it popped out beginning with reagan...

hopefully,..its full exposure to sunlight during the gwb years will put it back under that rock...

in the meantime...

enjoy the comedy...

because they truly....have...NO IDEA...

Posted by: mr.irony on December 30, 2007 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

As usual, Kevin, you are the voice of reason. Reza Aslan has a very good piece in the Post today about Obama, discussing all of the glowing pieces that have been written about him by the chattering classes. The hatred of Hillary by people like Andrew Sullivan is mind-boggling, and well, sad. She has been skewered by the press-and Obama has been praised. The coverage has been wildly uneven, and as a result, we just don't know enough about the man. Oh, we do know that he has a fresh face, that he is very smart, good looking, diplomatic. But c'mon-he's running for president. Let's see some serious examination of him and his record, so that we can really decide if he is the best candidate.

Posted by: mollycoddle on December 30, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Why would the 70% of the Amerocan public who disapprove Bush be conceited or snobbish? {definition of hincty from Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) }

Posted by: capitalistpig on December 30, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is such an oinker. As one of my gay pals says, "He's a professional Queen."

I agree that whatever Democrat is elected -- IF a Democrat is elected....will face the Repub machine that would rather destroy the country than allow a Democratic presidency to succeed in anything. They can and will chew some folks up and spit them out.

I am supporting Hillary, but would happily vote for any of the Democrats. Obama made two big mistakes as far as I'm concerned....first, he basically dissed the baby boomers (of which I am one) and he referred to Hillary's experience as having "Tea parties" -- kiss my butt on that bit of sexist snark.

Posted by: Pat on December 30, 2007 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

It's important that a party centered on hatred project hatred on their opponents. It is also a very old and tired trick. If you are going to push excessive surveillance of the American people, rig their elections and conspire with major corporations to subvert them...you scream freedom and use that word in naming every attempt at quashing it. If your real motives are maintaining a "tit for tat' between corporate donations and corporate welfare you call it being pro business and label those that want the focus shifted back on the voters as "socialists".
We can go on and on with this "Clean skys", "healthy forests" " personal retirement accounts" and I hope that Sullivan was pointing out the folly in the letter and not putting it out there for serious consideration. He should be able to spot winger noise from shinola.

Posted by: Richard on December 30, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

what pissed me off the most is that here is some Republican telling us to vote in our primary. This guy is never going to vote for either Hillary or Obama, so who cares what he thinks? adlsad on December 30, 2007 at 3:31 AM

You do! Otherwise you wouldn't have been moved to write such an excellent rebuttal.

I have always liked the Clintons. Bill is a charming rogue. Hillary is the smartest girl in the class. Let's face it, while Bill's administration stands heads and shoulders above that of GWB, he largely squandered his presidency. I am not talking about the scandals, I am talking about actually getting a handle on the future. Bill had an opportunity to be a transitional figure leading America to an even brighter future, but sadly he squandered eight years achieving nothing of lasting importance.

Even the solid financial footing he left the country was reversed in short order by his successor.

In fact it might be argued that the only thing of importance to come out of the Clinton administration was the current crop of rape and pillage Republicans lead by Newt Gingrich and his intellectual heirs Tom Delay and Karl Rove.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 30, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is blinded by Clinton hatred. Like many of his ilk, he keeps mentioning the "Clinton scandals". Which scandals?

Many Dems remain outraged by the GOP two-fer of the stolen 2000 Florida election and the attempt to impeach Bill Clinton. What has the GOP got: a vague feeling that Nixon was a good man and innocent of all charges?

Posted by: Rula Lenska on December 30, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

If I want to read a witty gay democratic socialist Brit then I go to Johann Hari's. He wrote an excellent piece on all these Andrew Sullivan ( and Kevin Drum?) types in lunar rightwing politics today.


The strange, unexplored overlap between homosexuality and fascism

Posted by: professor rat on December 30, 2007 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Many of us moderate independents support Obama because he is smart, has good judgment, and IS NOT A CLINTON.

Enough of the fucking restoration of the CORRUPT, ARROGANT and DECEITFUL Clintons.

We DO want change and to move on from the Bush/Clinton era.

If Hillary does get the nomination, many of us will strongly support BLOOMBERG— a smart, competent, ethical, moderate libertarian.

Posted by: larry on December 30, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

c'mon it's a typical twister, they want you to think that they think Obama will win and are scared of him so you will go with Obama even though they really think Hillary will win and are scared of her.

If you still go with Hillary they've established that she has less chance of winning and that the choice of her is predicated on hatred and furthermore that is the far-left, thus unhinged.

Posted by: bryan on December 30, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK


I do not think you have ever written a post I've disagreed with more strongly. Do you read the comments on your own blog? Haven't you noticed the uniform response of Hillary supporters is that she is not a Kumbaya singer, and will dish out as good as she's gotten? Hillary may pull off a 36% "victory" with the ego-tripper Edwards spoiling Obama's chances, but she's definitely not the first or the second choice of the majority of your own party -- the only thing she has going for her is Slick Willie and her appeal to the basest instincts of revenge and "effective" payback. You point to her establishment support, how many of those ward-heeler types will still be on her bandwagon if Obama kicks her ass in Iowa and NH? They're there because the Rove's of your party annointed her as inevitable a few month's back.

America can do better than this, and I say this as a Republican who will regret it when Obama reverses a lot of policies I believe in [i.e. the Court, etc.]

Off Topic:

Please, please read this piece in Vanity Fair about our forgotten war and rethink how important this election is going to be:


Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin emerges from the shadows to broadside the repulsive barebacker, Andrew Sullivan - and rightly so. As Kevin duly notes, Sullivan and the Mellon-Scaife rabid right-wing school of he-man Clinton haters ascribe their own blind fury and hatred to those on the other side of the aisle, when it really isn't there.

By way of example, I can detest George W. Bush as a president, yet view him as a pathetic, immature perpetual failure at a personal level and not succumb to hating him as a person. George Bush probably would be an O.K. guy to watch a Texas Rangers game with and throw down a few brewskis with. He just is such a catastrophic disaster as the leader of the United States, that I hate what he has done to my beloved country.

Sullivan and his ilk could never say the same thing about Hillary or Bill Clinton. They hate every molecule in their bodies at a very personal level.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 30, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Sigh. "Fever swamps," "Bush derangement syndrome," "wingnuts," "moonbats"....

Sorry to go all philosophical on you, but...Nobody really ever wins in politics. It's just an endless game of "Us and Them." Both sides think they're justified in their righteous anger and hate, that the other side is really inhuman and evil. But in the end there are no final victories and there will always be people who think differently than you do.

And in the US, we only get to choose between Corporate Candidate A or Corporate Candidate B. Any chance of real change from within is just an illusion. Real change will only be forced on us by outside events (peak oil, climate change, governmental collapse or whatever).

Posted by: Speed on December 30, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

well put Kevin and adlsad. The day Bill was elected Rush was whining like a little school girlafter he whined about Bush 1 leading up to that day.I couldn,t take him anymore but he continued to make a bit of coin off of his Bill rants I hear. I don't want to hear the echos reverberating off the walls if Sen. Clinton was to win, she might not be bad but I think Dems can do a little better with either Sens. Edwards or Obama

Posted by: michmac on December 30, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Kevin emerges from the shadows to broadside the repulsive barebacker, Andrew Sullivan - and rightly so"

do you have even a shred of human dignity?

Posted by: larry on December 30, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Way to go, Larry. As a woman and a Clinton supporter, I get angry with Sullivan every day. That's no reason to bring his sex life into the argument. He hates the Clintons for reasons I can't fathom, something about "cooties," but it's neither here nor there that he's gay. Now he's at least published a dissent from a Democrat for the nonsense posted by his Republican reader. It doesn't excuse his ranting, but it helps a bit. By the way, I'll vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who that person is. I get tired of reading the fighting at liberal blogs about Obama vs Clinton vs Edwards.

JohnK asked who likes Hillary. I think a lot of us are women and blogs and talk radio appeal mainly to men. I don't find us women well represented in political discussions and I wish it weren't so. That said, we do vote in large numbers even if we're not there arguing every day.

Posted by: Peek on December 30, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Sullivan hates the religious right but is otherwise hard right. His enthusiasm for Ron Paul brutally reveals his political thinking. So, why do Republicans love Obama? Maybe they see his emphasis on atmospheric rapprochement as a buffer against actual social democracy.

Transcending political disagreement makes sense when your own agenda lies in tatters and disrepute. But does it make sense for Democrats to neuter themselves in order to placate rightists like Sullivan?

Posted by: walt on December 30, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Mr.Irony 8:39 AM,

I mostly agree with you, but this group did not just "pop out" with Reagan. They appeared immediately after WW II, hating FDR and running as anti-Communists, and they were derailed in 1952 by moderate Republicans who drafted Ike to substitute for the trogolyte these people wanted as President. These are Bill Buckley, the McCarthyites and the John Birchers, and the Goldwaterites, and the Nixon crew, as the extremists were removing the moderates who had slipped Ike in on them in 1952.

With Reagan they were already losing anti-Communism as a viable platform of fear, but they still had racism and they acquired the religious fundamentalists as political actors and abortion as a major issue to mobilize them.

But it didn't start with Reagan, Reagan merely slept over the changes his people created. This is an old, old battle in American politics. Ordinarily the right-wing extremists don't get the ascendency in the Republican Party, but eliminating teh moderate Republicans and adopting the evangelicals haddriven the Republican party to the right, even before 9/11 occurred.

But don't forget, Bush 43 ran as a "moderate" Republican in 2000. He appointed his Veep, who took administrative control of the Executive Department through his control of the political appointments - he had no political need to share with moderate Republicans. Then with the extremist NeoCons leading the way, 9/11 gave them permission to go radical authoritarian right-wing.

Cheney and Rumsfeld are symptoms of the long term problem. Both came out of both the Nixon disaster and the Reagan disasters, but the failure to publicly investigate Nixon's behavior in the Watergate coverup and the Iran-Contra scandal. It is the refusal to investigate the earlier disasters that has allowed Bush/Cheney to go off the rails.

America desperately needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that covers all the extremism of the Bush administration, including Iraq, torture, tax cuts, everything. Criminals should be offered immunity, but only after they publicly testify to their crimes and name those who they acted criminally with.

If the 2008 general election is sufficiently bad for the Republicans, and if the progressives can force the DLC Democrats to agree (here I don't think either Hillary (DLC) or Obama (Kumbaya politics) would accept this), a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is possible.

Without a full, public investigation with recognition of the criminality of this administration to clean house and clarify how totally Unconstitutionally the Bush administration has acted, we will be fighting this same battle for the rest of our lives.

Posted by: Rick B on December 30, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK


Let me try to answer your question: Why do some conservatives [Republican women in Andrew's lexicon] want to transcend ideology and vote for Obama? I had insomnia a few nights ago and saw Frank Luntz on C-Span discussing the election with some moonbats. [Lakoff the framing guy and someone else, taped in early November.] This is the Frank Luntz, the smartest Repub operative I know, and he said he was officially sitting out this election, he thought Hillary would win, and he finished by reading Bobby Kennedy's speech the night Martin Luther King died, saying he wanted to vote for someone like that. Duh, who do you think he wants to vote for? If you don't like Sullivan or Luntz, take me: I'm 50 years old, more of my life is behind me than in front, and I have never had the opportunity to vote in favor of someone more than I was voting against his opponent. I'd like to [queue sappy music] vote our hopes more than our fears, so why can't your team take yes for an answer? No, you'd rather run someone who starts out with a 47% headwind against her. I think you guys, starting with Kevin Drum, must have taught the Palestinians how to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

mr insensitive,

I'd ask you why you need to vote for someone since there are apparently no real issues that concern you. For some people, voting is like taking a consumer preference survey. For others, it's therapy. And still for some, it's all a shot in the dark.

I'm a liberal and I want to see this country get out of the right-wing ditch it's been stuck in for seemingly decades. I see no point in making you "feel" better. I do see a point in cosntructing a workable middle-left coalition that advances universal health care, a functional safety net, foreign policy realism, a sane energy policy, and an adequate response to global warming.

This country is deeply hypnotized by its TV sets. We want someone to entertain us, and at this late moment, more inspiration is not going to do a damn bit of good without the bare-knuckle resolve to talk straight to the American people about what's really happening. Please, no more atmospherics. I've sick of all that.

Posted by: walt on December 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how it never occurs to some people that the reason so many Republicans are touting a giant zero like Obama is that they know he is weak and unelectable.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

the repulsive barebacker

WTF was that?

Posted by: shortstop on December 30, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Great post - It's so absurd to see HC as the angry, far-left candidate. At the same time, she's definitely a progressive choice, smart and experienced. She has also demonstrated coalition building abilities in the Senate.

One odd thing in observing this election and all the commentary is how the male-heavy punditocracy wonders who could support HC. Well, we know who supports her the most -- women.

The other day on Hardball an advertising guy said that HC had a terrible ad because it, gasp, said that government could help people and who believed that about govt? Well, if you read some polls, you see that women believe that. Women have needed help more and they also more focused on health care and education, areas in which govt has and can help people a lot.

Posted by: pinetreestater on December 30, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I like Professor Sullivan. I think he's nice, and smart.

And in a bunch of ways he has his finger on the pulse of things.

But in certain respects visiting his blog is like visiting a parallel universe. There you learn that liberal centrists are actually conservatives and conservatives are actually - deep down - quite rational.

I think this Obama fellow may one day be president.

But the idea that he is going to be president while millions of habitually voting white old people would help to put a blackish man in the White House next fall is kind of absurd.

And the idea that these people who write Sullivan professing to be Republicans but secretly fearing Obama are actually Republicans doesn't entirely pass the whiff test.

Posted by: Linus on December 30, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see a President that would not be afraid to have a press conference every other week and tell the American people what's happening with their government. I'd like to see someone actually listen to the merits of the other side's argument before dismissing it with a bunch of ad hominum rants or by pandering to the paranoia and basest fears of their supporters, i.e. vast right wing conspiracy, etc. I'd like to see a President whose modus operandi did not consist of 1) stonewall, 2) stonewall some more. If the Repubs give me a chance to settle for John McCain I'll take it, his vision of what government can accomplish is much closer to mine than Obama's, but I will regret that this country was refused the oportunity to take a chance on exploring the better angels of our nature, and that people like the readers of this comments section wimped out and settled for the less than we deserve.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. The last comment was meant to be a response to walt, who accused me of not believing in anything. I hope you are a newcomer to this blog and are unaware of my posts over the last few years, my most rabid opponents would not accuse me of not having positions on real issues.


Last time your party nominated a guy none of you really believed in or had any enthusiasm for, but you were sure he could bambozzle the boobs out in the red states. Today you want to go with "safe" Hillary with 47% negatives because you're convinced the boobs will never accept a blackish man the way you groovy guys would. Hell, Lee Atwater had more respect for the American people than you do, you guys really deserve to lose.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

shillary is a whore and her nomination will split the dem vote and put another rethug in the w.h.

Kucinich is the only one running of all the parties who DESERVES to be President

Edwrds is scaring all the right people and makes a decent second tier substitute for a progressive.

But Billary? NEVAH

Posted by: getaclue on December 30, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: Of course the wingnuts are aware of pschological projection. They have made its use as a weapon into a high art form.

IMHO the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the swamp fever virus. The noise machine has invested heavily for more than a decade in implanting this virus into the amygdalas of nearly all likely voters. All of these voters have some of these obnoxious virus particles imbedded within them, waiting to que up a visceral negative reaction to Hillary. The republicans would really like to see how well their bioweapon (technically psychological) can perform next November.

Posted by: bigTom on December 30, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Among activist liberals, Hillary is mostly viewed as as smart and hardworking, but also triangulating and mainstream.

you have criticised Obama for being too respectful of conservative reservations about universal health care. I think the difference here, as perceived by swing voters, is that Obama actually respects opinions that are non-doctrinaire, whereas Clinton is purely calculating. Despite what Clinton may say now, she has a history of angry rhetoric quite different from Obama's history of hopeful and achievement-oriented rhetoric. This isn't an aboslute, it's a comparison: among those voters motivated by anger, there is more support for Clinton than for Obama; and Obama's less angry rhetoric will appeal more to the non-Democrats in the voting public.

I think you dismiss the quoted argument too soon. On the other hand, the really angry Democratic vote probably goes to Kucinich. So the rank order is Kucinich voters more angry than Clinton voters more angry than Obama voters. Just a guess.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 30, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Speed
"There are no final victories" -- well, duh, Speed. This politics, you know, human existence in history. No side ever gets to pick up its chips and go home. Get used to it.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on December 30, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Insensitive,

There are three things wrong with you last comment.

1. People who are voting for Hillary are not voting for her to because they are, "convinced the boobs will never accept a blackish man the way you groovy guys would." Most of the Hillary supporters I know are voting for her because: 1. they remember the Clinton white house as a good administration that had stability, that was economically better for a majority of Americans, where we were more internationally respected, etc.; 2. Because she is competent and well spoken and will probably have a competent executive branch; 3. Hillary is politically experienced - especially dealing with Republicans; 4. They know what she stands for and agree with her ideas and proposals; and 5. she could probably get things done. You probably noticed that I did not say, "most Americans will not vote for a Black man." Why? Because nobody I know, and I know a lot of people, ever said that. Most Hillary (and to a lesser extent Edwards supporters) are not voting for Obama because they see him as: 1. Politically inexperienced (give him a couple terms in the Senate and he should be ready), and 2. more style than substance. Your suggestion that Democrats are voting for Hillary because they are so shallow that they do not think Republicans will vote for a Black guy is both wrong and highly offensive. It is part of this larger meme that if Democrats don't vote for Obama, they are racists. There are too many things wrong with this statement to respond to here.

2. Why would many Democrats support a candidate with a 47% disapproval rating? Because many Democrats remember the last two elections, and they know that ANY candidate they choose is going to be smeared and hated by around 47% of the country. All of these Republicans and Conservatives that are professing love for Obama now are not going to vote for him in November, and will probably start smearing him in July.

3. Finally, you state that Democrats nominated John Kerry because we "were sure he could bambozzle the boobs out in the red states." This is complete BS. Nobody nominated Kerry to bamboozle red staters. People nominated Kerry because: 1. He was the most centrist candidate and had the best chance of getting moderate voters (which is distinguishable from "bamboozling red staters"); 2. He had REAL wartime experience fighting in the kind of war that we are fighting in right now; and 3. He was politically experienced. Nobody knew he was going to run a terrible presidential campaign when we nominated him. Nobody voted for him to bamboozle anyone - he was the best candidate we had then and he would have made a much better president than our current one. The ultimate irony is that the next president will probably use John Kerry's ideas for Iraq and and the Global War on Terror.

Anyway, you are essentially doing what people above have alluded to. You are projecting your own prejudices on to other people which is both wrong and highly offensive. Just because your name is Mr. Insensitive doesn't mean you have to be insensitive.

Posted by: adlsad on December 30, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is as crazy as Chris Matthews.
Obama is too nice to win.
The GOP wants to run against Clinton.
Edwards wants to fight. That's why I support him.

Posted by: kmblue on December 30, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

So the rank order is Kucinich voters more angry than Clinton voters more angry than Obama voters.

This very simplistic summary leaves out several key points:

a) There is no general "angry" bloc. Progressives are perturbed for several reasons, which are being addressed, when they are being addressed, by different candidates to different degrees.

b) There are more candidates running than Kucinich, Clinton and Obama. Taking a) into consideration, Edwards' candidacy shouldn't be dismissed for its emphasis on health care and middle-class insecurity, nor should Dodd's for being the only one to really focus on Constitutional issues and presidential overreach.

c) Most of us who are angry are also pragmatic. Except in states whose primaries are scheduled too late to be a deciding factor, Kucinich will get very few actual votes even from those of us who admire some of his positions.

Posted by: shortstop on December 30, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Meant to add, but the phone rang: The pragmatism I referred to in c) also means that several other candidates, not just Kucinich, won't get many early primary votes--but I was specifically addressing Matthew's assertion that "the really angry Democratic vote probably goes to Kucinich."

Posted by: shortstop on December 30, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

The real angry voter bloc is up in Alaska with Mike Gravel trying to burn things in the rain.

Posted by: B on December 30, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, KD, and welcome back. Imho, Sullivan is bi-polar: when he is good he is very, very good (eg, torture), when he is bad, he is horrid (just about everything else.)

I really want Edwards to win. He's the truest liberal in the bunch and carries less baggage. He is the candidate who best articulates what has gone wrong in America.

Obama is brilliant and inspirational. I admire him greatly, but I've gotten worried lately that he thinks he can compromise with the modern Conservative movement. That way lies a good man who will be reamed by the competition and whose presidency will be ineffectual.

Clinton is competent and hard-working, but she lacks vision and judgment. The fact that she is running at all shows that she places Power ahead of Principle, and I anticipate that will come back to haunt us if she becomes the next POTUS. Basically, Clinton is a female version of GWB, though more competent, the one chosen to restore the Clintonistas, just as GWB was groomed to restore the Bushies. I do not understand her appeal.

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 30, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Obama would beat us, bad. We would hemorrhage Republican women and a significant number of conservatives would vote Obama to teach the Republicans in Washington not to deviate from Reagan and Goldwater. We would be forced to return to first principles, and we would.

This part of Sullivan's reader's remarks is clearly a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy. Movement conservatives, whatever they are telling themselves in December 2007, are obviously not going to vote in "significant" numbers, come November 2008, for any candidate who wants to end the Iraq war, repeal Bush's upper-income tax cuts, and pass a massive expansion of public spending on health care.

Moreover, another severe GOP loss at the polls is unlikely to lead to a return to movement conservatism's version af "first principles" and, if it did, that would only ensure repeat losses in the future, since those principles are, at bottom, the reason for the party's present disarray.

If Bush has spent more domestically than movement conservatives would like, it was only to grease the political skids (through both increased patronage and a show of social concern) for the vast tax cuts for the wealthy that remain the linchpin of the movement's domestic agenda. If he has trounced civil liberties and abused human rights in ways that have made some of the more tender-hearted movement conservatives recoil, it was in the service of an aggressive nationalism that has been the core of the movement's foreign policy orientation since Nixon and McCarthy defined that orientation in the late 40's and early 50's, and that remains so today.

All this is a way of saying that the passage quoted above is so detached from political reality as to be almost incoherent. But that raises the question of why some movement conservatives are finding this incoherence compelling: Why are they publicly fantasizing about a purifying loss to a candidate whom they currently perceive, through the veil of their own demonology, to be less-than-hostile to their movement (if only because Hillary Clinton already has a starring role in that demonology that no other candidate can match)?

I'll venture an answer by translating the passage in a way that I think captures its true (though probably unconscious) intention:

We, movement conservatives, having at long last completely captured the Republican party, have now driven that party into the ground. We have already suffered one heavy loss at the polls because of it, and we are about to suffer another. Let us hope that the winning Democrat is one who, being above all concerned to appear fair-minded, will not seize the moment by pressing his party's advantage, and isolating us for the extremists we are. For otherwise, in our present weakened state, we might well be done for as a viable force in national politics.

Now I don't know if the movement conservatives who are attracted to this scenario are right about Sen. Obama--perhaps his rhetoric of unity really is, as some have suggested, a strategic ruse designed to introduce wedges into the GOP coalition. But I am pretty sure that those movement conservatives who claim to be attracted to Sen. Obama are hoping that they are right about him--namely, that his rhetoric portends a lack of steel in the Senator's political makeup, that will allow their movement to escape a Democratic victory, to fight another day.

And I am pretty sure that their intense hatred of Sen. Clinton, though its shapes constantly tap into vast resevoirs of irrationality, stems from a political fear that is not itself entirely irrational--namely, the fear that she has plenty of steel in her political makeup, and that she will, once in power, wield it in such a way as destroy what is left of their movement.

Posted by: Amileoj on December 30, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton is a female version of GWB, though more competent, the one chosen to restore the Clintonistas, just as GWB was groomed to restore the Bushies

Were there any foreign dictators who thumbed their noses at Clinton 42? I imagine she could try to improve his image by engaging the Palestinian/Israeli issue in a serious way. Or perhaps by revamping sexual harassment/workplace relationship guidelines for the executive branch.

I'm not paying that much attention to the primaries -- but I was glad to see Clinton state that we've made serious errors in Pakistan supporting an anti-democratic military dictator. Maybe others are saying it, but it was nice to see someone decide to state the obvious concerning the Bhutto assassination. Not the risk averse position I would generally expect from her.

Posted by: B on December 30, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary isn't my primary candidate (neither is Obama) although as I have made clear in the past, whoever secures the Democratic nomination will have my support and my vote.

That said, Larry Johnson is supporting Hillary, and Andrew is in full froth at the prospect. I dunno about you, but if I were in Hillary's shoes, I would rather have Sully impotently and feebly flailing at me, while LJ covered my back. Just sayin'...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 30, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Clintonism is frowned on by many on the left because it compromises too readily and depends on corporate power. But this simply states political reality, and in itself doesn't really disqualify Hillary. We're not even close to a period when genuine populism is going to take this country back. In fact, today's pseudo-populism is virtually indistinguishable from mainstream Republican policy positions: tax cuts, huge deficits, bellicose foreign policy, culture war, and environmental denialism.

A populism of the left is virtually impossible despite John Edwards' best efforts. Even with the Republican coalition falling apart, most Americans still resent the poor more than the rich. We shouldn't kid ourselves that we have the numbers to dramatically change America. Clinton isn't perfect but let's not make that the enemy of possible.

Posted by: walt on December 30, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Today you want to go with "safe" Hillary with 47% negatives because you're convinced the boobs will never accept a blackish man the way you groovy guys would."

Accept is one thing.

Vote for is another thing.

And when I said old, white people I meant old white people - in the stix especially, but more generally a lot of places. It's them folks who are still hung up on race.

Posted by: Linus on December 30, 2007 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

God how I hate that bullshit phrase, "don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough". It can cover a multitude of sins.

We (of the left end of the liberal spectrum) do not want a perfect candidate. We want a BETTER candidate than Hillary Clinton.

Her voting record in the Senate (the facts people, not wishful thinking) shows her to be a Republican, not a liberal. She has supported too many Bush initiatives for anyone to consider her a liberal. That is, anyone who doesn't have their head up their ass and assumes that if someone has a (D) after their name they're actually a liberal, Liberman anyone? And his voting record isn't that different from Hillary's. He is a pariah because he didn't have former presidential spouse who people remember fondly.

I've got facts to back up my assertion that HC should not be Democratic nominee, and that is her voting record in the Senate where she's supported the most heinous legislation that has come from the Bush regime. What do her supporters have? Blind faith is what it is. Blind faith that since Bill Clinton's Republican lite administration was better than Bush's malignant reign that a President Hillary Clinton will reinstate those "golden years".

And look what blind faith got us over the last thirty years. The insistence that the "moderate" Democratic nominee is the more electable candidate than anyone who is true to the populist wing of the party.

Twenty years of Republican presidents and twelve years of Republican Congress. That's your fault pragmatist! Not the Nader voters, not merely Republican election fraud (which wouldn't amount to a hill of beans unless the race is so close that a one or two percent difference can swing the election).

You're the ones who gave us Mondale and Dukakis and Kerry. All respectable, milktoast candidates who readily snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

And yes, Al Gore would have been a great president and I greatly admire how he has grown and developed since 2000. Hell, Jimmy Carter has accomplished more since his presidency than most of the Democratic candidates that have been nominated after him.

If anyone is to blame for the waning of our Republic it's you centrists. The "don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough" middle of the road feckless tools. The DLC has used you like the Moneycons have used the Christianists. As useful idiots who will vote for the Democratic candidate out of fear that the Republicans will win. And it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy every time, the Republicans do win.

Thanks a lot.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on December 30, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad and Linus

I did not say that Dems who choose to vote against Obama are racists, any more than those that voted for Kerry were warmongers - what I believe is that a large percentage of Hillary supporters would privately prefer Obama but think the common people aren't ready or are not as enlightened as they are... I think in retrospect Howard Dean would have been a much better candidate for your side than Kerry, but the same dynamic effected that race.

As to your second argument, I completely disagree that any Dem could engender the same passion and ill will that Hillary does -- I've said before that Obama will face the dirtiest campaign in American history, but I think the default position would be for decent people to vote for him and not reward the bad guys, just as JFK made the Catholic issue a net plus, where undecideds could show they weren't bigots by voting for him. If you honestly think America is still too irredeemably racist I can't convince you otherwise, but I think Obama could win decisively against a Dan-Quayle=like Romney, for example.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

This is mostly to JohnK, wondering who likes Hillary -

I like Hillary. The main reason I do is that she has consistently demonstrated over a long period of time that she understands the issues. I may not always agree with the priorities that guide her reasoning leading to her positions, but there is no doubt in my mind that she has a complete grasp of the facts and has looked at the issue thoroughly from all sides. Perhaps other candidates do as well and aren't as good as articulating their understanding as she is - if so, that is another of her strengths.

Regarding your assertion that
"When you listen to callers on progressive radio stations it seems that most of the callers are for Edwards or Kucinich. Maybe they attract people who are interested in issues. Perhaps Obama and Clinton attract people based more on feeling?"

I agree with your observation, but not your conclusion. I believe the people who actually call in to the radio shows are the most emotionally driven of all. Talk radio is a hot medium.

Posted by: Dawn on December 30, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus,

Is Clinton's voting record that much different than Obama's?

I'm not snarking, just asking since you seem to have done the reasearch.

Posted by: Dawn on December 30, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

mr insensitive at 12:45 PM:
….Last time your party nominated a guy none of you really believed in or had any enthusiasm for….
Are you referring to Kerry whose voters waited for hours in Ohio and other states?
...Today you want to go with "safe" Hillary….Hell, Lee Atwater had more respect for the American people than you do…
Is that the Lee Atwater who played the race card every chance he could? Running a woman candidate is no more "safe" than running a minority candidate.

….Obama actually respects opinions that are non-doctrinaire….MatthewRmarler at 1:15 PM

There are few tenets of the RepubliConTarian party that are non-doctrinaire. Supply side tax cutting, not paying the way, corporate interests above people, welfare for corporations and the wealthy are all shibboleths to which candidates must pledge. As to anyone being "calculating" that is the nature of a political campaigns and Obama's is no different in that regard.
…. I completely disagree that any Dem could engender the same passion and ill will that Hillary does…. mr insensitive at 6:31 PM |

Apparently you have been asleep for the past 15 years. The last two democratic candidates were subjected to even worse smearing than the Clintons in '92 and '96. The Republican smear machine is even better financed via its 527 groups than it was a decade ago.

Posted by: Mike on December 30, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK


If I remember correctly, the Ohio voters that had to wait for hours were in the rural exurbs of Columbus - Repub voters. Never let the facts get in the way of a good meme, though.

I did not respect Lee Atwater, I see you didn't either, that's why your side should not emulate him.

I have not been asleep the last 15 years, and I have a lot more affinity with Republicans than you do. I can tell the Hugh Hewitts, Michelle Malkins and Powerline types respect and fear Obama's potential. Thier reaction to Hillary is on a completely different level: To a very large part of the public Hillary has been defined as a feminist harpie ever since her cracks about Tammy Winette and stay at home moms, her alliance-of-convenience definition of marriage with Bill, and her track record when confronted with challenges from the WH travel office, Whitewater, cattle futures, billing recordzzzz..........

If you want four more years of hate-pit politics, elect Hillary. I'd like to avoid it.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 30, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Helena Montana: I don't like Obama, either, though. He strikes me as being a charming lightweight, striking only for his ungenuineness.

Now there I have to disagree. Obama is smart, hard-working, ambitious (yes, even "articulate".) He is a little untried at the national level, and lacking in administrative experience. That's all. He's more of a centrist than Hillary Clinton, closer to Bill Clinton in that regard, and less like Gore. More respectful of the individuals in the private sector who are able to make things work, less eager to take control of everything. Some commentary about him may be superficial.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 30, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

I just made Kevin's column my number one blog to turn to when I start reading. The top three Dems are fine with me as candidates. I give Hill the nod because of her experience and two great terms as senator. Obama can take over for her in 2016, he just needs more time. Edwards will always have my heart, but his stinko run as veep in '04 still grates me. I don't have a problem electing a defense lawyer, but most of America would, I think.

I rarely read Sully anymore because of his HRC screed. I do think his animus is psychologically based. It's made me start to discount all of his opinions.

Posted by: LuigiDaMan on December 30, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

"If I remember correctly, the Ohio voters that had to wait for hours were in the rural exurbs of Columbus - Repub voters. Never let the facts get in the way of a good meme, though."

You remember incorrectly. Don't let that get in the way of correcting yourself.

The only reason we will have hate pit politics is becuase the republicans hate Hillary so much. Hillary is a centrist, and if you don't think she is, than it shows how much of an extremist you are.

Posted by: mickslam on December 30, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not snarking, just asking since you seem to have done the reasearch. Posted by: Dawn on December 30, 2007 at 7:42 PM

He voted for the bankruptcy "reform" bill, he didn't vote for the Lieberman-Kyle bill. But then again, he didn't vote one way or the other. I don't particularly hold that against him since the bill went up for vote in less than twenty-four hours since it was introduced the floor and he was several thousand miles away campaigning.

Some people say he should have dropped everything and flew to Washington to vote against it. As if he could do so on a moments notice. These same critics forgive Hillary for voting for the authorization to use military force against Iraq.

I can't say that Obama is that liberal. I would call him a centrist, Hillary a Republican, and John Edwards a populist centrist. Dennis Kucinich is the only liberal currently running for President in this election.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on December 30, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

In a movie about the 1992 campaign of Bill Clinton it was James Carville who told the worker-bees that if they let the stories about Bill's girlfriends derail them they would never ever ever have another Democratic president ... EVER AGAIN.

Well, now, just after one more Repub president we can elect another Democratic president.

Looking at the relative positions of our candidates (both Repub and Dem) over the last several decades, it's clear things shifted to the Right, at least with the candidates and elected presidents. The Republicans went from Nixon to Reagan the Bush family. That's a steady shift to the Right which is in the process of destroying us. Democrats went from LBJ to Carter to Mondale to Dukakis to Clinton to Gore and Kerry. That's perhaps less of a shift to the Right, but if you only consider the ones elected (LBJ, Carter & Clinton) it is again a strong shift to the Right. Why has this happened and can we do anything about it continuing with whomever the electorate considers the most conservative Dem candidate?

I think there's a mood in the country that we've had enough damage from Bush that we need to go Democratic. How far to the Left they might want to go is unclear. Certainly the debate over whether Hillary is a war hawk Repub-lite or a Liberal pinko and over whether Obama is something or just an empty suit is interesting, but more importantly, where do the top 3 Dem candidates stand (in the public's mind) on the political spectrum and how far to the Left do they want and need to go.

I heard Luntz say Hillary is perceived as being far Left and Edwards is perceived as the most Right of the Dems. This is weird to me and I don't trust anything Luntz says, except when he gives his name or says Edwards has nice hair.

So, just where do the public think these candidates are?

Hillary and Obama have more campaign money and Hillary's campaign shows it. Obama seems spare with his money in terms of his public appearances. Is one frugal and the other wasteful or is one "presidential" and the other second-tier? It's hard to know what they think.

My impression is that all three now realize the public wants change away from Bush in a big way and the only question is which candidate do they want to execute the changes and which do they trust to get 'er done.

For my money it's Edwards who has zeroed in first on all the big issues we're talking about today. That's foresightedness and being in tune with the public's needs. Call it Leadership. He also gives a great stump speech.

Hillary has been working a long time on children's issues and health care. Her record isn't perfect, but there has been progress made. I think it speaks well to that campaign's choice of 'Experience' as a focal point. I don't think her actual experience is as much as she pretends, but there is some very real experience there. With her it's the connection to the very nasty experiences of the presidency of Bill Clinton which are troubling. Has it made her paranoid or more determined than ever to fight for the things we need? It's not clear. I must say, however, she has also learned to give a pretty good stump speech. Her style is cooler and slower than Edwards, but very good.

Obama has surprised me. After his great convention speech I thought he was going to be great, but he stumbles around and his stump speech is disjointed and odd. He lacks something which I can't quite identify. Maybe it's just lack of experience at this level of politics. The pace they're keeping and the number of speeches they give is incredible. Maybe his greenness is most obvious in terms of his early gaffes in the campaign and now with his odd stump speeches. I won't say he doesn't have moments, but he isn't consistently great.

I can easily see Edwards and Clinton outpacing Obama and the others. If that happens the question will become who gets Obama's supporters. I can't imagine them going to Clinton. If they go for Edwards, then he'll take off and win the whole thing. This is the year of the Progressives and Clinton isn't their favorite. Her war hawk talk and cozying up to big money are unattractive.

Iowa? Who knows. But, if Obama loses it's Edwards all the way from there.

I say, vote for Edwards now and get on with it!

John Edwards for President -- Inevitable Leadership!

Posted by: MarkH on December 30, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: shortstop on December 30, 2007 at 1:41 PM |

Fair enough. However, Sullivan raised the "anger" issue and Drum commented on it, so that's where my comment originated. Of the "angry" Democrats, I think that rank ordering is good to a first approximation. Kucinich will win few votes (I didn't say otherwise, but I left it open). Of the "angry Democratic vote", I think if anything the angry Democratic vote will go more to Clinton, and I think that Obama will try harder to appeal to swing voters.

right now, it looks like "angy Republicans" are backing Huckabee. Any Democratic candidate can defeat Huckabee. Against the other Republican candidates, however, Clinton has a lot more negatives to overcome than Obama does. You can be almost sure that the Republican candidate will get at least 40% of the vote, and the Democratic candidate will get at least 40% of the vote. I think Obama has a better chance of getting a majority of the swing voters without alienating the core Democrats (who in their turn are angry at her over her Iraq war vote.) Furthermore, I think that the Republicans are more afraid of Obama winning the swing vote than they are of Clinton winning the swing vote.

Others have commented on Obama's race being an impediment to swing voters voting for him instead of for a a Republican. maybe so, but does anyone think that such racist voters would actually vote for Clinton? Such racists as I know dislike Clinton more than Obama. I don't know, of course, how common this is.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 30, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

"I did not say that Dems who choose to vote against Obama are racists, any more than those that voted for Kerry were warmongers - what I believe is that a large percentage of Hillary supporters would privately prefer Obama but think the common people aren't ready or are not as enlightened as they are..."

I think the sense among a certain significant number of Democratic primary voters is that it's that Clinton lady's turn not that Mr. Obama is a little too black for the White House.

I also think that Angry Liberals tend to see Mrs. Clinton as too corporate, too hawkish, too hackish.

It is I believe the Republican primary voters who will ultimately choose Mr. Giuliani precisely - in part - because he is so polarizing and hated by libs.

Democrats will choose Mrs. Clinton I think in spite of the fact that she is such a polarizing figure. They know this about her (who doesn't?) and it worries them.

Posted by: Linus on December 30, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler, the swing vote is going to go to the Moderate Midwestern Methodist in the race. And that's Hillary Clinton. This is just a simple fact, particularly given the fact that she has huge establishment support and the tacit backing of Rupert Murdoch.

I have really been the odd man out advocating for Hillary's candidacy on the basis of "she'll be the only candidate willing to settle scores with the unsavory element of Republicans who need to be banished from Washington." Most other rank-and-file Hillary backers are of the, "I just loved Bill!" sort. The "liberal activist" wing that went for Dean and Clark in droves back in '04 is overwhelmingly for Obama and Edwards now.

And Obama isn't going to get the nomination. It will either be Hillary's nomination in a walk, or a fight between Hillary and Edwards.

Posted by: Tyro on December 30, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

The right wing has such unreal and distorted ideas about HRC. Even she does get the nomination, they are going to be really surprised when she beats them in November, bad.

Posted by: nemo on December 30, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

I bust a gut laughing every time one of these Clenis-fearing, Swiftboat-lying chuckleheads sniffs about how unseemly "anger" is.

Good times.

Posted by: melior on December 31, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: George Bush probably would be an O.K. guy to watch a Texas Rangers game with and throw down a few brewskis with. He just is such a catastrophic disaster as the leader of the United States, that I hate what he has done to my beloved country.

i totally agree....

in my case...i respect and support gwb's stance on being physically fit..

i think he should do it full time...

it most likely would result in less dead americans...

Posted by: mr. irony on December 31, 2007 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

[Post your wingnuttery on your own blog.]

Posted by: daveinboca on December 31, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Do you mind if I call you "daveinbohica"?

Dr. Morpheus - well put, and I agree with you that Kucinich is the only liberal running.

Posted by: kenga on December 31, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

OT(well, tangentially):
Out of curiosity - has anyone out there heard any mention whatsoever of a need for a modern-day equivalent to FDR's CCC and other public spending/construction/employment programs?
I mean, we have the American Society of Civil Engineers stating that US transportation infrastructure is 20 years overdue for a major overhaul(I-35 MN, anyone?), a Housing/Construction sector that is in the process of going down the crapper, and a recession waiting in the wings.

Is there an electoral downside to saying "We need to undertake massive spending on our nation's infrastructure - it is badly in need of repair, 2/3 of our economic activity is dependent on reliable transport, and increasing numbers of skilled workers are facing employment problems. Now is the time."

Posted by: kenga on December 31, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan has absolutely no credibility whatsoever on anything even tangentially related to Hillary Clinton. Although I'm an Edwards supporter, I almost want Hillary to win just for the Sullivan-head-exploding effect. He's really insufferable.

Also, one thing you need to remember about Sullivan is that he's the most retro kind of Tory economic conservative. Hates anything to do with the welfare state (hey, when you're pulling down what he does, why not?). So, it's simply impossible for Sullivan to support a true candidate of the left when it comes to economics. Hence his support of Obama.

Posted by: Jasper on January 1, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK



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