Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE PACK....Ezra Klein watches pack journalism at work, 2008 style, and it's not pretty. Nickel version: If some other reporter says Hillary Clinton melted down because she displayed a flash of emotion in last night's debate, then she melted down. After all, who are you going to believe, the spin room or your own lyin' eyes?

In related news, apparently the flinty-eyed independents of New Hampshire aren't quite as flinty-eyed as they'd like you to believe. After a solid year of town halls, coffee klatsches, and early morning doorbell ringing — because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh.

Am I feeling bitter? You bet. Not because Hillary Clinton seems more likely than not to lose — I can live with that pretty easily — but because of how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her. Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill. Because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country. Because the fever swamp, in the end, is getting the last laugh.

On the other hand, it's not like anyone held a gun to her head and forced Hillary to hire Mark Penn. So overall, let's rule it an assisted suicide. And here's the good news: when the better candidates got taken out in 2004, we ended up with John Kerry, a decent man but a lousy candidate. This year, if Hillary does indeed go on to lose, we'll end up Barack Obama, a decent man and a terrific candidate. So at least we're making progress.

Kevin Drum 12:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (331)

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Comments

I think that unless a miracle occurs, Obama will be doomed in the general election if he is nominated. The anomalous participation of the younger voters in Iowa will be hard for him to replicate in November. Perhaps that's why the Republicans seem to be gunning for him.

I think I am going to change my ways and start praying for a miracle.


Posted by: gregor on January 6, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

A decent man whose entire appeal is based on kumbaya speeches. Who campaigns with homophobes, has the weakest health care and environmental proposals, attacks Krugman, etc.

Who would he choose and get to say yes for VP? Edwards? Richardson? Biden?

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 6, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "Am I feeling bitter? You bet ... because of how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her. "

Sometime you should read Bob Somerby's articles about the press coverage of Al Gore in the 2000 campaign.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 6, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think your bitterness is misplaced. If Hillary wasn't so cold-hearted, ruthless, and dishonest, she wouldn't have these problems. Obama is trying to change America with his politics of hope rather than Hillary's politics of fear and dispair. He is seeking change and bipartisanship over statism and polarization. This is progress, and you should be applauding it rather than lamenting it.

Posted by: Al on January 6, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary Clinton had been that passionate all along, if she had defended the Constitution the way she defended herself, or fought that hard against the war or against virtually any of the Bush outrages, if she had shown this passion before, she wouldn't be in the trouble she's in--either with the press or with the voters.

Posted by: Raenelle on January 6, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I can't think of a good way to stop this bandwagon effect other than a national primary, and that has its own problems.

No offence to Hillary Clinton: I think she would have made a good president. I will not miss her as a candidate, though. I do think women have it tougher than men as candidates; but there are women who would make much better candidates than she. Just not a great public speaker.

Posted by: mrsaturdaypants on January 6, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I like Obama. But change for changes sake is moronic.
8 years ago the country wanted change ... and they got a change president without any experience. Now we seem to be doomed to do the same thing again.

By no means is Hillary the panacea ... but at least she has dealt with the 'right wing conspiracy' and she knows all too well what they are capable of. Obama on the other hand, is doomed for a very rude awakening ... if the dems don't start thinking long term we are doomed for another rep in the white house.

Posted by: Sandy on January 6, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The anomalous participation of the younger voters in Iowa will be hard for him to replicate in November.

"Anomalous." Feh. You cynicism and condescending attitude is what got this country into this mess in the first place. Tell you what, since leadership by old people (i.e. baby boomers) has done nothing but screw things up by giving us outrageous wars, greedy tax cuts and impeachments over blowjobs, how about you stop beating up on young people and look in the mirror sometime? Stop acting like the youth don't give a damn about anything. It's only our planet you are polluting with your SUVs and plasma screens and our future you so eagerly mortgaged for tax cuts.

Anyway, you will be proven wrong. You already have been in Iowa, in fact. Get out of the way.

Posted by: ? on January 6, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The press doesn't like Democrats. The media are Republican. Some are more or less obvious about it, but with a few exceptions (Olbermann, Moyers), they are culturally and sentimentally playing for the other team.

Assuming Obama vanquishes Hillary, then they will start to pile on him. Dem front-runners will always be playing the media game under the Clinton Rules.

At this late date you shouldn't be surprised by any of this. It's part of the landscape. It's also why some of us have been saying for years that the Dems need to create their own media outposts - it's the onl¥ way they'll ever get a fair shake.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 6, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Marshall is fussing about the Mittmeister Meltdown? What's the deal there? As usual in Blogland, he doesn't completely explain his thinking. Because he WANTS Romney to get the nomination as some kind of thank you and apology to the politician for having had to deal with such unpleasantness at a debate? Huhh? That seems to be his reasoning--or at least he doesn't seem to think, hmm, Romney worst Republican candidate, me heap big Democrat, me heapum wantum Chief Many Wives to win nomination.

If that's his thinking, shouldn't the worst (and thus the best) candidate be Giuliani or Huckabee? Or would the glorious patriotic American public thrill to Giuliani? 911!! 911!!

Posted by: Anon on January 6, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason the press core holds Democrats to a higher standard than Republicans. There isn't a single Republican in the field I would hire to run the local YMCA, but Rudy, Mitt, McCain and the boys are all taken seriously. On the other hand Hillary didn't melt down in yesterday's debate. If anything she handled Obama quite well, but she still lost because she embraced Bill and the past. This is a generational change election. Bill is old news. Bill and Hillary are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I of Bill and Hillary's generation. That means I am old news too. I don't like being old news, but it happens to every generation.

Can Barack Obama really change things in Washington. So far color me skeptical. That leaves John Edwards and Mike Huckabee, but the press have said neither of them have a chance. I have to believe the press because they all talk with one voice. They all have homes in the Hamptons.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 6, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

In related news, apparently the flinty-eyed independents of New Hampshire aren't quite as flinty-eyed as they'd like you to believe. After a solid year of town halls, coffee klatsches, and early morning doorbell ringing — because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh.

Beautiful. Coffee's coming out of my nose.

All in all, a wonderful post. You rightly point out the inherent sexism and pack mentality in much of the criticism of HRC, but also correctly note that with Penn's help, she's helping herself implode. And I appreciated your ending with the can't-say-it-too-often observation that we can live with more than one of the main candidates this year. Nice work.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, we've got Robert Novak, Fox News, and now Al saying good things about Barrack Obama. Do they think McCain will stand a better chance against him? I'm guessing the strategy will be to sway the moron vote by having Fox News "accidently" calls him Osama a few hundred times, and others emphasize his middle name at every opportunity.

Posted by: Del Capslock on January 6, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

You are right I wrote "press core" instead of "press corp." It was a Freudian slip. They remind me of a bushel of rotten apples.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 6, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gregor, So Clinton would not be doomed because she draws no one else to the table and has the charisma of a wet blanket? When she has the highest negatives of any candidate running? When it appears that every independent voter can't stomach any more of the Clinton-Bush sequence? When she claims 35 years of her husbands experience as her own? How she decided to get into politics and pushed other hard working, deserving Democrats out of the way in New York so she could run?

Come on, pray if you will that a Democrat wins, and that the Democrat is one who can draw new faces into the party. Clinton won't, and she has no entitlement to claim this.

And, unfortunately Edwards has set himself up as the candidate of hypocrisy and anger, just in terms of how is viewed. That won't work either. Character counts, the ability to move people counts, words matter, and Obama is our best shot.

I agree with Kevin, the way this is happening isn't pretty, but that's not Obama's doing.

Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

The anomalous participation of the younger voters in Iowa will be hard for him to replicate in November.

I really love that three days after Iowa, this is now an established meme, despite Obama having won in virtually every subcategory.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, here's some nice praise for Obama -- from the Weekly Standard. (It's so great to be reaching all the way across the aisle right into the right wing cesspool, Obama! You've done both yourself and your supporters proud!)

Here's a dirty little secret that the liberal blogosphere will probably try to flush down the memory hole in the coming weeks – they didn't like Barack Obama. They had reason not to. When they stamped their little feet over Obama doing something like having a Gospel singer with decidedly non-progressive views on social issues campaign for him, Obama ignored them. That particular storm caused Markos Moulitsas to declare the Obama campaign in the throes of a full meltdown.
Obama incurred the wrath of the progressive blogosphere, and good God, a miracle occurred – he won anyway. Unlike his principal contenders who sucked up to the liberal bloggers at every available opportunity, Obama showed indifference or even hostility to their agenda. His success reveals the liberal bloggers' lack of king-making ability. This particular emperor has no clothes.
A progressive blog-reading audience of roughly 100,000 people has alternately enthralled and frightened the Democratic party for a couple of years now. Obama either saw that foolishness for what it was, or was sufficiently committed to his principles that he refused to pander. If he paid a price at the Iowa caucuses for this “gamble,” it was one he could afford. More likely, he paid no price, as the progressive blogosphere is deeply unrepresentative of the Democratic party rank and file. We learned that much last night.
Special note to Democratic politicians: If you don't feel like it, you don't have to keep attending the Yearly Kos. Your time would probably be better spent raising money or kissing babies.
Posted by: frankly0 on January 6, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh come on. If Hillary had run as a progressive with a liberal record (such as not voting on the war), she wouldn't be in this position. If she had learned from that mistake as much as Edwards seems to, she wouldn't have been in this position. If she had a progressive foreign policy team instead of a bunch of Israel hawks, she wouldn't be in this position. If she had ran in 2004, she probably would have walked away with the nomination.

Posted by: Reality Man on January 6, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't think she sounded shrill at all. I love me some honest reactions.

Most viewers understand there's a lot of subtext to these things, even if they're not quite sure what the subtext is. I love to see those rare flashes of honesty. And I completely disagreed with Richardson when he said this is the kind of bickering that turns people off. No, what turns people off is dishonest, disingenuous nitpicking, name calling and gamesmenship . I want to see real, honest discussion *and* disagreement about policies and records.

And no one's mentioned it, but I thought Clinton landed a nice blow to Edwards when she pointed out that his patients' rights' bill never passed the House. Maybe it was just a glancing blow, but a blow all the same.

Posted by: scruncher on January 6, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

i'm surprised that kevin is so "establishment" oriented as to promote Clinton. Clinton is this year what mondale was in 1984: almost irrelvant, with history having outpaced her. i feel sorry for her, but i do not feel sorry for America if she lsoes the nomination.
Obama is Bobby kennedy of our generation, and with luck, he WILL make it to the White House. He is the future of America.

Posted by: Chris on January 6, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I would be interested for you to explain when you have the time why you support Clinton.

Seriously. I'm just curious, not trying to start an argument.

Posted by: Chris Brown on January 6, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

(It's so great to be reaching all the way across the aisle right into the right wing cesspool, Obama! You've done both yourself and your supporters proud!)

frankly0, that piece says nothing in favor of Obama, reserving all its criticism for the netroots. Since most of the progressive blogosphere has been even less positive about HRC than about Obama, I'm not sure what point you think you're making this time.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I would be interested for you to explain when you have the time why you support Clinton.

Why the hell do people keep saying that, except for the twisted perspective brought about by their own partisan preferences for some other candidate?

Anybody who's read Kevin's remarks has seen him wax and wane almost from day to day about his preferences.

After Obama won Iowa, Kevin went on and on about how watching Obama's speech induced warm and fuzzies to run about his body. (I, of course, nearly puked, but, whatever.)

Posted by: frankly0 on January 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: Much as I hate to admit it, The Weekly Standard is right on this one. So what's your point: That the right wing is pumping up Obama because they think he'll be easier to knock down later? Epicycles within epicycles . . .

Posted by: georgedolf on January 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Kevin in being pissed off at how Hillary is pilloried. I would actually like her, even with the bad rep, if she wasn't so corporatist. I'm mostly pissed off that Edwards is being ignored, though. Obama stands for nothing but empty symbolism. How wonderful that White America can vote for a sell-out, no matter what the color of his skin! That will sure take the edge off our inevitable disappointment in his lack of accomplishments.

I wish Hillary and Obama bin Liberman would take their campaigns to the floor of the Senate for a filibuster of FISA (maybe promise them there will be cameras present). They could drone on as long as they like about nothing in particular, and I would find that 100 times more inspirational than any of their poll tested platitudes.

Posted by: jussumbody on January 6, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, please, just read the piece with a sensitive ear.

Clearly, the man is implicitly praising Obama for spurning the progressive netroots (or as he calls them, the "nutroots").

If you can't hear it, I just don't know what to say.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 6, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it takes not only good policies but a good messenger to deliver them. It isn't just the press that thinks that she is a bit shrill. I read little or none of the anti-Hillary screed in the press, avoid watching talking heads on shout TV, personally find her policies are generally OK, voted for Bill twice, don't care about whether she should have divorced him, I could care less if she had never been in the White House as 1st lady etc., etc. BUT... I have trouble listening to her, she comes across as shrill to me. That is probably unfair, but I can't help that.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 6, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"...an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area..."

That is such a stereotype. I'm sure nearly half of the caucus-goers were hog farmers.

Posted by: Grumpy on January 6, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't know what to say.

Mmmmmhmmmmm, and yet you keep talking.

I'm going outside to enjoy the 51-degree weather, woo hoo. Will catch up on your latest litany of petulant rants against Obama later, tater.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Spot on. I'm an Obama supporter to my toes, but I thought her first response was just fine. I don't mind people arguing about policy and she's got reasonable things to say. Her later "reality break" intervention was misjudged, reminding us that she has no feel for emotional timbre. But again on substance she was plausible. But God forbid journalists should write up substance.

Posted by: Colin on January 6, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Will catch up on your latest litany of petulant rants against Obama later, tater.

Yeah, and it would be nice to catch a break from the your Heatherish remarks.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 6, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think reports of the death of HRC's candidacy are a tad premature. The polls are showing a mixed bag of results. A couple have Obama with decent leads in NH, a couple have them tied. Even if she only takes second, it's entirely conceivable the margin will be tight. And then she's got Nevada -- a state where she does extremely well with the hotel unions. I think she's got the non-competitive Michigan situation in the bag, IIRC. If I were her at that point I'd concede South Carolina, and begin immediately focusing on the Super Tuesday states. The ultra-concentrated fish bowl effect of Iowa and New Hampshire -- where a single charismatic candidate can come in and sweep all before him with his personal magnetism -- won't be the same. The geographic spread is simply too wide. Super Tuesday is essentially a national primary, and Clinton still leads national surveys. A number of the contests moreover don't allow Independents and Republicans to vote. In the end, it's still about delegate counts. If she can keep her head, make smart criticisms of her opponent, and convince Democrats that a rush to the nomination isn't in their best interests (a perfectly reasonable position, I'd say), she could still yet wake up on February 6th leading or tied in the delegate count.

Clinton's biggest problem is that she's simply disliked by millions of people. And yet, I'd say in taking on the mantle of the underdog there's an opportunity for her, because by being forced to be scrappy -- rather than the regal uberbitch the press makes her out to be -- she has a chance to connect with voters in a more sympathetic fashion.

All this is predicated on having a decent financial situation. I have no idea what her burn rate is. If her money's on the verge of running out, it probably really is all over. She can't write her campaign a check like Mitt Romney. My guess is her national network and her husband's connections can still be leveraged into significant campaign contributions, but that's only a guess.

Oh, and Penn has gotta go.

Posted by: Jasper on January 6, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Weekly Standard wants to give some cover to their fellow Kewl Kids in the "liberal media" like Joe Klein and to the DLC politicians who go along with the Republican Party. The netroots needs to be rendered irrelevant. The Obama praise is just convenient.

To the contrary, Hillary's relative decline is part of general decline in support of the base, and other Americans, for the Republican-DLC status quo.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 6, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I have one word for you, entirely appropriate since this is Epiphany:

AMEN! To EVERYTHING you said!

Posted by: LAS on January 6, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Im with Kevin in my disappointment with the way the press has ganged up on HRC. If anything, the endless summer and fall of Democratic candidate debates had convinced me that HRC would have handled the presidency just fine, which was the important unresolved question in the process. Of course the debates showed that Obama and Edwards could keep their wits about them, too.

Posted by: troglodyte on January 6, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK
Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill..

This is one thing that has surprised me about this campaign. Not the Press so much as the large number of Progressive leaning citizens who call her shrill ad nauseum. In her so-called latest shrill moment, Clinton was responding to very obvious putdowns by Edwards and Obama. She really needed to respond strongly, and she did.

The fact that she was able to point to two specific accomplishments that are helping New Hampshire voters in a very material way right now should be points in her favor. It was a controlled response that was not shrill or angry, just firm, strong, and serious.

I don’t get that. I do get the support for Edwards and Obama. I also get the Press reaction because they love simplified themes. But I don’t get the unbridled hostility of so many Democrats and Progressives. That’s a little weird and a little unattractive.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 6, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you Kevin. It breaks my heart to see this decent, good woman pilloried by the gutless slugs of the mainstream media. And she isn't even my first choice as the nominee. Also, all that calm down, lower your voice, fingers on a chalkboard crap is sexism pure and simple. I, like millions of others born without testicles, have heard it all our lives.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The press gangs up on Hillary and Huckabee and excludes Ron Paul and Edwards. This is part of the game. Someone as experienced as Hillary Clinton of all people should have figured out what to do by now.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 6, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Am I feeling bitter? You bet. Not because Hillary Clinton seems more likely than not to lose I can live with that pretty easily but because of how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her."

Man, the losers always get to blame the press. If HRC had won, we would have Obama people blaming the MSM for annointing HRC early and giving her inevitability. If Edwards had won . . . etc.

Don't get me wrong. The press are awful. The L word in the media is not 'liberal' - it is 'lazy.'

But back to the main issue: HRC got beaten, plain and simple. She had plenty of mindshare (more than anyone else) and could easily have made her case. She did, and she failed.

BTW, the corn farmer dig about Iowans demonstrates that this particular post isn't worth the electrons with which it is encoded. Is it unfair that IA gets so much influence? Yup. But KD is just way bitter. Take ten, man. Obama did well with the professors and professionals and women and young and rural . . .etc. My bias has been that the Clinton supporters had a sense of entitlement about their candidate. Was I right?

Posted by: airron on January 6, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the press doesn't like Clinton, but I think it's absurd to suggest that would be the reason should she lose. In fact, it's the kind of whining from somebody who has an emotional investment in a candidate and isn't able to see the bigger picture. At the end of the day it's pretty hard to deny that she represents the establishment. She came into the campaign as the establishment candidate and she herself was happy to play that up when Mark Penn told her it would help her. But voters, at least at this moment, don't seem to be in the mood for that and that has nothing to do with the press.

Posted by: Charlie on January 6, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you can't have it both ways. You cannot simultaneously chastise the MSM for attacking Hillary, while also parroting their contempt for "Iowa corn farmers."

Posted by: charlie don't surf on January 6, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Also, all that calm down, lower your voice, fingers on a chalkboard crap is sexism pure and simple. I, like millions of others born without testicles, have heard it all our lives.

A-fucking-men. To the point I respond with a "Fuck you! Don't tell me to calm down! You get pissed off!"

Oh - and when someone calls me a bitch - I say "Thank you!"

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I rather liked jasper's argument that the Clinton campaign is not dead yet, but I don't agree with it. Super Tuesday is a national primary, but it's a primary that will be greatly influenced by the early contests. Already we are seeing movement in New Hampshire merely on the basis of the Iowa results, and this is in a state where they have extensive experience with all the candidates.

If Obama wins NH (not certain by any means), I imagine we'll see substantial movement in the national polls by the end of next week. A lot of people seem to have never believed Obama had a chance. Given that neatly falsifiable obstacle, Hillary's numbers might prove quite soft.

Posted by: Matthew on January 6, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why the hell do people keep saying (x), except for the twisted perspective brought about by their own partisan preferences for some other candidate?

That's rich.

Posted by: junebug on January 6, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't think she sounded shrill at all. I love me some honest reactions.

I'm with you, Scruncher, that's an urban myth MythBuster could destroy in 30 seconds that people are turned off by a strong, honest exchange. What turns them off is the numbing banality and predictability of so much political posing.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

As always, there are multiple factors contributing to a presidential candidate's losing (or winning), all fusing together across the network of millions of voters. I agree that HRC has it tough being a woman (but tougher than being a black man with the middle name "Hussein"? Really? You think people aren't ready to see Barack Obama as "too angry" if he doesn't present himself with great care?).

It seems to me that Hillary Clinton could not help running as the Clinton restoration candidate, for Bill Clinton's third term as it were. I never saw this point made so explicitly as last night when she basically took (her share -- arguably more -- of the) credit for the fiscal discipline of Bill's terms, but for good and bad this was her unavoidable fate. I believe that it's the single biggest reason she was the frontrunner (and if not, then why?), and it's working against her now. A third Clinton term is not what most voters want, even those (like me) who liked the first two.

No vocal tones are going to trump that at this point, IMO.

Posted by: mrsaturdaypants on January 6, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of you Hillary-philes just don't get it. Hillary = Nixon. She arouses visceral dislike in the opposition party and is loved by few in her own party. Should she win the nomination, a lot of Democrats—yours truly included—will hold their noses and vote for her. Just like a lot of Republicans held their noses and voted for Nixon in 1968. That doesn't mean we won't look for an alternative while we can.

Add Clinton-Bush fatigue (does this country really want or need 36 consecutive years of seeing members of these two families in the presidency or vice-presidency?) and this whole sense of entitlement Hillary brings to the table, and they may give some insight into why she's stumbling. That, and the lies about experience—given the test many of you apply to Hillary, it would seem Laura Bush also has more experience than Obama—make her travails understandable. And this whole entitlement deal really irks a lot of people. It would seem many Americans are just a bit tired of rich, connected people who somehow think they can effortlessly slide into our highest elective office.

The people of New York may not have a problem with some folks just up and deciding they are entitled to one of New York's high offices, but it may be that folks in the rest of the country apply a different test.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on January 6, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I would be interested for you to explain when you have the time why you support Clinton.

Chris Brown, I don't get the impression Kevin is supporting Clinton any more than I am. What he opposes is the petty meanness of the press that just pick at the poor woman like an open sore. It's disgusting and a grave disservice to our democracy. Enough already. It's why I like millions of others get our news from the web and hold the mainstream media in contempt for the gutless slugs they are.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I do not consider Senator Clinton to be shrill. I do believe, however, that she lacks an innate ability to connect with folks on a personal level, such as has her husband and, I think, as does Obama.

The Clinton campaign has been inept. I think the big mistake the campaign has made was including Mark Penn. The campaign should throw him and his sneering, porcine countenance off the bus. Better yet, under the wheels of the bus. The guy is a total pig.

The other grave error of the Clinton campaign, I think, is her wedding to the DLC and her adherence to the DLC campaign play book, which, Bill Clinton's elections notwithstanding, doesn't work.

Besides I think Senator Clinton is viewed by an electorate obviously hungry for change as yesterday's news.

Posted by: Chris Brown on January 6, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

a lot of people seem to be making a hell of a leap or (il)logic when they misconstrue the motives of people who would prefer we not pile on our own candidates and do the Thuglicans dirty work for them as automatic support for Hillary. The two things are not the same.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I have trouble listening to her, she comes across as shrill to me. That is probably unfair, but I can't help that.

Doc,

You're probably completely unaware of your sexism on the voice issue, but, believe me, women aren't. I was married for a very long time to a man who unconsciously changed the radio station EVERY time a female singer came on. He had no idea he was doing it. He denied it was sexism. Yet he would rant and rave and wake loud enough to wake the dead and swear that he never raised his voice once. But, you guessed it, I was the shrill one. You could probably use a little consciousness raising. Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Man, it's just so wrong to say that Hillary is going to go down because of the press corps and society's alleged allergies to "shrill" women and Iowa.

Hillary is a craven politician who generated wafer thin support by slavishly tying her bland opinions to the poll of the day and using the media (that supposedly brought about her downfall) to generate the idea of inevitability.

Hillary has failed because of Hillary not because of the media or gender politics or any other boogeyman she would like you to bring up. Her failure is a failure of courage and resolve, of character.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on January 6, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Would all the Clinton supporters complaining about the media-granted influence of the Iowa caucuses be complaining if she had won in Iowa, solidified her inevitability narrative, and then coasted into New Hampshire with a comfortable lead?

Iowa's disproportionate influence sucks, but in a way that's unfair to whoever loses, not in a way that's uniquely unfair to Clinton.

Posted by: LittleMac on January 6, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Here are some other takes
There's no doubt that we have the worst media on the planet. Pravda was more truthful and less partisan than the clowns like Matthews and his ilk. I email these people almost on a daily basis with corrections to their misstatements and propaganda, but their arrogance blinds them to their own prejudices.

....leadership by old people (i.e. baby boomers) has done nothing but screw things....? at 1:18 PM
The generation now 55 to 67 contains 10% of Americans while the voting age non-boomers comprise 63%. [Some demographers say the boomer generation are also the the group born between 1946 and 1964 or roughly 76 million, 24%. By contrast, there are an estimated 80 million born again evangelicals. The population of the US is 303 million which is 227 million non-boomers, approximately 50%. (25% boomer, 25% too young, 50 % non-boomer voting age citizens)

....One of the contributions made by the Boomer generation appears to be the expansion of individual freedom. Boomers often are associated with the civil rights movement, the feminist cause in the 1970s, gay rights, handicapped rights, and the right to privacy.[10]
Baby boomers presently make up the lion's share of the political, cultural, industrial, and academic leadership class in the United States. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, born within sixty days of each other in mid-1946, are the first and second Baby Boomer U.S. presidents, and their careers in office illustrate the wide, often diverging, spectrum of values and attitudes espoused by this largest American generational group to date....

It is certainly fair to condemn the Bush branch, those social conservatives, and being war mongers, but given the fact that boomers are a voting population minority out-numbered by social conservatives among others, your criticism is misplaced. It's a shame that subsequent generations preferred to wear logos of corporations who earned their profit by exporting American jobs to low wage countries than become activists themselves.

.... mondale was in 1984: almost irrelvant....Chris at 1:27 PM
Just think how much better off the country would have been had Mondale, Humphrey, and McGovern been elected: no Watergate, no Iran-Contra, no huge deficits, to mention a few things Democrats do differently. Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Oh - and when someone calls me a bitch - I say "Thank you!"

LOL, Blue Girl, you're my kinda woman.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Clintons have shown in this campaign that in many ways they are a step behind the times. Mark Penn, for example. I hope to see Hillary have a role in the Obama administration; after all she's been through, she'll make one hell of an elder stateswoman, and I bet she'll be gracious enough to accept that role.

Posted by: Tithonia on January 6, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon, would that be cranky, outspoken, and fed-the-fuck-up?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Are the MiaSMa hounds picking as hard on all those insufferably snippy Republican debaters as they have, are, and will on Hillary? Of course not. They are pimps.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B. on January 6, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, thank you for pointing out the unbelievable favoritism of the press. They're not even pretending to be objective. And that's a disgrace.

Posted by: Susan on January 6, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

attacks Krugman,

I know I'm coming late to this one, but I really hope I've read that line for the last time.

Krugman is a big boy and I'm sure his feelings weren't hurt. But if he's going to get paid the big bucks for writing a national column, then he certainly can put up with some occasional criticism.

Besides that, I appreciate the fact that Obama is willing to take on a major pundit as opposed to the Republican candidates who kiss Rush's ass.

Posted by: tomeck on January 6, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

a lot of people seem to be making a hell of a leap or (il)logic when they misconstrue the motives of people who would prefer we not pile on our own candidates and do the Thuglicans dirty work for them as automatic support for Hillary. The two things are not the same.

What she said.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why Hillary is likely to -- and DESERVES to -- lose: Because she takes gobs of money from the Insurance Lobby, the Telecom Lobby, the Banking Lobby, Rupert Murdoch, etc. (and Edwards and Obama have rightly called her on it).

Just one example of why this makes a difference: In the 1990s, when the Republican Congress passed a bankruptcy "reform" bill to make it harder for people to escape credit card debt, Hillary lobbyed her husband to veto "that awful bill." In 2005, Senator Clinton receives gobs of cash from the banking industry and suddenly decides "that awful bill" is worth voting for.

We need to change this corrupt system. Hillary is part of the problem.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on January 6, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary has failed because of Hillary not because of the media or gender politics or any other boogeyman she would like you to bring up. Her failure is a failure of courage and resolve, of character.

It breaks my heart to see this decent, good woman pilloried by the gutless slugs of the mainstream media.

Okay, I really have to get outside and away from the computer, but before I do:

Many on this thread are falling into the trap of either-or re Clinton's fortunes. It is perfectly possible, in fact pretty much indisputable, that Clinton's situation is a mixture of unfair press criticism/sexism and missteps of her own making. Those arguing for one to the exclusion of the other (notice that Kevin got it right and didn't do that) are oversimplifying the situation terribly.

As a semi-aside, I am both an infuriated observer of the random and often unthinking sexism thrown HRC's way for 15 years and a person who really dislikes hearing her voice (note I did not, nor will I ever, call her "shrill" or "angry"). I also shudder from head to toe when I hear the voices of GWB, Chris Matthews, Ted Kennedy, and Bradley Schlozman--in fact, of many more men than women. Badly modulated voices simply grate, and Clinton's got one. I don't think it's in question that we hear more about hers grating because many of her listeners suffer from a double gender standard, but I'd be careful about assuming that all negative reaction to the way she speaks can be attributed to bigotry.

(And as a preemptive to those who may feel inclined to start in on my innate and unexamined sexism, I have no Y chromosomes and my feminist credentials are strongly established here.)

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Bradley:

"Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to create the broadest possible coalition of people who will be interested in change in the positive sense," Bradley told ABC News in a phone interview. "There is a difference between a leader and a manager. He's a leader. He has a vision."

A leader vs. a manager (with very high negatives). The choice should be pretty clear.

Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Mike, I really needed that. Thanks for putting the influence of Baby Boomers into perspective. Talk about biting the had that feeds you. These adults fresh from childhood owe my generation a lot. Do they think it was easy? When I was their age, I had to hold my mouth right and quit high school if I didn't keep my knees together and got pregnant. Or I had to go to some quack who demanded sex plus $500 to give you an abortion. Those were the good old days alright.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Well shortstop, I wish I could go outside with you, but my two "X" chromosomes have to go clean out the fridge...

Back in a bit...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Your last paragraph makes mush of what was, until then, a superb post. There are no silver linings here: the press corps is still in control, still manifestly incompetent and corrupt, and because of that very fact we don't know what kind of candidate Obama really is, and we're not going to find out until his media gravy train ends, if then.

Who were the "better" candidates in '04, what made them "better", and if they were so good, why did they lose? Why was Kerry so lousy? Any answer to these questions instantly becomes suspect, because the vast majority of the data we have to formulate an answer with we got only after said data were filtered through the press corps -- which you yourself have attacked. If you're going to try to balance stuff out by tacking on some kind of "see, I'm not a pessimist" crap to the end of a post, at least make it better than this.

So it was all Mark Penn's fault?

Christ.

Posted by: Martin Gale on January 6, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK


In other words, Hillary will lose for exactly the reason that everyone predicted she will lose two years ago.

Seems strange to be "bitter" about that.

Also it's bullshit to equate Hillary with "women" generally. Unadulterated bullshit, if you'll excuse the pun.

Posted by: M.P. on January 6, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "If Hillary wasn't so cold-hearted, ruthless, and dishonest, she wouldn't have these problems. Obama is trying to change America with his politics of hope rather than Hillary's politics of fear and dispair."

That's right, Al. I bet you're just chomping at the bit to jump into that voting both and cast your vote for Sen. Obama next November.

And you know something else, Al? There are also lot of people who would probably pay good money to see you and Hillary alone in an empty room, with you half-naked from the waist down and tied backward to a wooden chair, and she's holding a can of Crisco, an aluminum baseball bat, and a large bag of half-rusty 2" ball-bearings.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you about Hillary Clinton, but I don't think Obama is decent. Did you hear him say to her that she's "likeable enough"? That was mean. And his whole schtick about bringing the country together is tiresome. What's more, it doesn't tell us about how he will govern -- likely, badly! Because he doesn't have the experience, he'll bungle everything from Iraq to global warming to health care. And then where will we be?

No, if Hillary goes down, it'll be in a dignified way, having made the honest argument that being president is not about being a superstar, it's about governance, and preferably good governance. But the people will get the president they deserve!

Posted by: illume on January 6, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"The people of New York may not have a problem with some folks just up and deciding they are entitled to one of New York's high offices, but it may be that folks in the rest of the country apply a different test."

Don't be so quick to assume what the people of New York may or may not have a problem with. It could be that they--or, rather, we--didn't have all that much choice in the matter. (BTW, the same was being said of RFK back in the '60s. We're used to that kind of thing.)

That aside, Nixon Did It is quite astute in comparing HRC with RMN--the bubble, the hatred of the press, etc. And while I'm on the subject of the Trickster, though there has been some revisionism on his record, with John Dean and George McGovern, among others, comparing him favorably to the current incumbent, don't forget that he had a Democratic congress to deal with. If Nixon had had Bush's congress, I'd hate to think where he might have gone.

Posted by: Henderstock on January 6, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

...but I'd be careful about assuming that all negative reaction to the way she speaks can be attributed to bigotry. - Shortstop

Thanks for that statement. Perhaps the word "shrill" isn't the best one to describe how I'm perceiving HRC. There are times when she gets feisty in a debate that gets me to pulling for her. I think what Chris Brown mentioned above is a more accurate reflection of what's going on:

"I do not consider Senator Clinton to be shrill. I do believe, however, that she lacks an innate ability to connect with folks on a personal level, such as has her husband and, I think, as does Obama."

Kevin had a thread here several months back where he was talking about the differences in her persona on and off camera. Maybe there is something useful there that can clarify this a bit further.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 6, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

But I don’t get the unbridled hostility of so many Democrats and Progressives.

I think it's the war, specifically, and enabling Bush, generally.

For six years the left blogs have been boiling mad at this conduct. For six years Clinton, along with other Democratic "leaders," kept it up. Clinton made the calculation that she had more to less to lose by alienating the Democratic base than by opposing Bush/Cheney and the right-wingers. She made the wrong calculation.

But don't expect anyone, especially anyone connected with Clinton or the Democratic establishment, to acknowledge that her support of the war cost her, permanently, the good will of large portions of the Democratic base.

Posted by: James E. Powell on January 6, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Just one example of why this makes a difference: In the 1990s, when the Republican Congress passed a bankruptcy "reform" bill to make it harder for people to escape credit card debt, Hillary lobbyed her husband to veto "that awful bill." In 2005, Senator Clinton receives gobs of cash from the banking industry and suddenly decides "that awful bill" is worth voting for.

Jim, you're right, and that was the beginning of the end for me too with Hillary. Nevertheless, I do have great respect and admiration for the woman and would vote for her to be President in a heartbeat. I don't understand these Democrats who wouldn't even if she is their first choice, she's a good choice. As Blue Girl said somewhere we really have a deep bench. We should be proud.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, preview is my friend.

Should be:

She made the calculation that she had less to lose . . .

Posted by: James E. Powell on January 6, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The debate did reinforce my image of Edwards. The machinations are transparent. And what does "likeable enough" mean?

Posted by: asdf on January 6, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

WTF???
AL in his 1:13pm comment likes Obama, and he made a similar comment yesterday.

Obama has crossover appeal, that's for sure. It is beyond reason (us stinkers might say irrational) but holy cow. Al and Andrew Sullivan like a left wing civil rights lawyer!!!???

Again, WTF?

Like Kevin, I prefer my politics a bit more grounded in the real world, but a kickass candidate is fine by me so long as he is a Democrat.

Kevin is right that Hillary was fine in the debate. The fuss is manufactured and sexist.

Posted by: tomtom on January 6, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

i know hillary will do poorly, because mrs. skippy, who, heretofor was considering voting for her, announced yesterday that hillary was so "calculating," and that's why she won't vote for her.

Posted by: skippy on January 6, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Tell you what, since leadership by old people (i.e. baby boomers) has done nothing but screw things up by giving us outrageous wars, greedy tax cuts and impeachments over blowjobs, how about you stop beating up on young people and look in the mirror sometime? Stop acting like the youth don't give a damn about anything. It's only our planet you are polluting with your SUVs and plasma screens and our future you so eagerly mortgaged for tax cuts.

Get out of the way. --- by ? at 1:18 pm

Wow! Talk about smearing with a broad brush. It was the Republicans who lied the country into a war and cut taxes at the same time. It was the Republicans who kept up a drumbeat for the impeachment of Clinton, when most voters were against it. It is Republicans who are blocking all progressive legislation in Congress, including anything that would slow down global warming. It is the Republicans who are totally responsible for gridlock in Washington.

Obama has been very smart—and also cynically manipulative—in convincing uninformed, naïve young people that Hillary Clinton represents that kind of past.

It was kind of sad watching FranklyO trying to reason with posters last night on this board, trying to tell them what economist Paul Krugman has said about Obama’s plans. His mistake was assuming that young people read any newspapers at all, let along the NY Times, and even know who Paul Krugman is. I wanted to tell him that what he was doing was like trying to reason with parrots. (Some of the parrots are sincerely repeating what Obama tells them. Some know better and are just cynical.)

Sadly, we have a generation of young people who don’t read. This makes them susceptible to anyone who wants to lead them with jingoistic phrases and platitudes. Every morning, I take my newspaper to coffee houses and read in-depth articles, even though I also get a lot of news from the internet. I am usually the only person in the place doing so.

I lead a simple life. My car is 17 years old, but I walk more than I drive. I don’t have a lot of techno-gadgets. My 20-inch TV runs on rabbit ears. My 5-year-old computer uses a dial-up modem. I have no debts. I have saved for the simple retirement I am living.

Now the younger generation is telling me to get lost. Well, I guess I can finally stop worrying about the country like I have during the ascendancy of the Republicans during the last 30 years. I can relax. I can stop voting for the schools, even though I don’t have children, and stop volunteering in the schools and writing letters to the editor in support of the schools. I can stop worrying about young people being sent off to die in wars for a lie. I can even stop voting.

In our state, the same idiot has already gathered enough signatures to put several nasty measures on the ballot to hurt people next November. (He hires an army of naive young people to gather his signatures.) Some are usually designed to force the teacher’s unions to spend enormous amounts of money and energy to defeat them. He will just keep doing it and will probably succeed, since young people don’t bother to read about issues in depth.

One of Hillary’s problems is that she cares deeply about issues and tries to educate people about them. Young people see her as a teacher and turn her off. They want the person who doesn’t make them think too hard.

It is all just really sad.

Posted by: emmarose on January 6, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Am I feeling bitter? You bet. Not because Hillary Clinton seems more likely than not to lose — I can live with that pretty easily — but because of how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her. Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill."

I'm with you 100% on this one Kevin. The journalists who follow the candidates really do behave with the maturity of high-school teenagers. And they just don't like HRC because she's the prissy smartypants at the front of the class. She may (or may not) make a good president, but it has nothing to do with whether she's a prissy smartypants or not.

Posted by: DCBob on January 6, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, woman can have a hard time with women's voice as well as can men. We've been conditioned from the beginning of time to associate a man's voice with authority. How long did it take to get a female news anchor? I'm not making this up. If you were to dispassionately examine the facts in the manner of Media Matters, for instance, I'm sure you'd discover at least a 100 negative references to Hillary's voice compared to every one reference to a male candidate's voice. In fact, Obama has a beautiful voice, but you don't even see that referenced as often as you do Hillary's voice. It's a serious problem for every woman in public life. HRC is not an actress. She hasn't worked on her voice the way Kathleen Turner has and she shouldn't have to. We just all need to get used to hearing women's voices in public and get over it. They're different from men's. So what.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Brown: "The other grave error of the Clinton campaign, I think, is her wedding to the DLC and her adherence to the DLC campaign play book, which, Bill Clinton's elections notwithstanding, doesn't work."

Doesn't it, now?

I would therefore challenge you to take a good hard look at the actual gist of Barack Obama's proposals concerning health care, Social Security, Medicare, etc. -- the good senator's soaring, 5th Dimension's "Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In" c. late 1960s-style populist rhetoric notwithstanding -- and then come back and tell us how those proposals differ distinctly, if at all, from that which is contained in the DLC platform.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton seems more likely than not to lose

YEAH!!!!!

Posted by: Howard Dean on January 6, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's the war, specifically

This all sort of comes down to whether you believe in the public recantation of an incredibly successful trial lawyer or you can extrapolate the words of a state legislator at an anti-war rally into an actual vote under the hypothetical scenario in which he actually gets to vote on a bill (regarding not a declaration of war but some vague crap about serious consequences for non-compliance).

I think it's more about happy forests and saddam attacking the twin towers.

Posted by: B on January 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I don't watch cable news, for my own sanity's sake-are the usual suspects spinning this as a meltdown? Hilary's my #2 choice behind Obama, but I thought it was a great response-very passionate and real, with some nice supporting facts.

I'm with Kevin in that I just don't understand where the vitriol against her comes from. Well, that's not completely true-clearly her stepping outside the expected 'adoring spouse' role in the '92 campaign irked the righties.

Posted by: Chris on January 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Illume, have you ever heard of something call "advisors"?

Now shaddup, concern troll.

Posted by: Ron on January 6, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I thought Hillary's response was pretty good in context, but I wasn't bothered by Howard Dean's aaargh!!! last time either. I think the sharks smell blood, and Hillarybots like KDrum should expect more of it for as long as she sticks around.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 6, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I second the complaints that Hillary has gotten too cozy with the moneyed establishment, and not just as formal lobbies etc. Hillary objected to raising the income cap for taking out FICA for Social Security. Then Obama rightly smacked her down on it, and people could see what was what.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 6, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon: We just all need to get used to hearing women's voices in public and get over it. They're different from men's. So what.

Give me a break, please. Since I just told you that there are more male than female voices among the ones I find grating, I really don't think it's a question of my "getting used to" female voices.

I've been quite up front about acknowledging that much of the criticism of HRC's voice is gender-based, but you apparently won't consider that anyone who finds her voice annoying might not be motivated by bigotry. That kind of knee-jerk dismissal--the "either-or" thinking I referred to earlier--is not a credibility enhancer.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK


Kevin, I think your bitterness is misplaced. If Hillary wasn't so cold-hearted, ruthless, and dishonest, she wouldn't have these problems. Obama is trying to change America with his politics of hope rather than Hillary's politics of fear and dispair. He is seeking change and bipartisanship over statism and polarization. This is progress, and you should be applauding it rather than lamenting it.

Posted by: Al on January 6, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Al?! Will wonders never cease! Al, yes Al (whatever he really is), has gotten on the Obama soul train! Hooo-raaay...
Oh wait a minute - As suggested upthread, maybe the Republicans want Obama to be nominated because they think he can be beaten. It must be a trick ...

Posted by: Neil B. on January 6, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Will catch up on your latest litany of petulant rants against Obama later, tater.
Post by: shortstop

Yeah, and it would be nice to catch a break from the your Heatherish remarks.
Posted by: frankly0

Rrwwrrr! Cat fight! Heh.

I can live with Obama or McCain. It's win-win from here on out.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 6, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

This pretty much says it all on the question of the need for a transformative politics--an evaluation that a substantive thinker like Bradley has come to:

http://xpatriate-greetingsfromlafayettepark.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Cara Prado on January 6, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Barack Obama, a decent man and a terrific candidate..." who is also going to lose.

Posted by: elr on January 6, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fullani run together, but now I've seen everything: Hillary is attacking Obama for being too pro-abortion rights. Here's the link:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Weblogs/CampaignStandard/default.asp#3842

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 6, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, you miss my point entirely. I'll confess I don't like her midwest accent. It's harsh to my southern ears, but how is that relevant to ANYTHING? Obama has big ears. How is that relevant? Edwards has a chronic tic with his tongue. How is that relevant? Kucinich is short. How is that relevant? Huckabee looks like Gomer Pyle. How is that relevant? Giuliani has a lisp. How is that relevant?

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bye all. Must return to New Orleans for work tomorrow. May be back later, but I've neglected waaaay too much. It's been real.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

And a goon comes to praise McCain - a warmonger who supports torture. I guess once you've determined that killing twice as many innocents (including women and children) as "bad guys" in an extra-judicial killing is okay, then it is a tiny step to go all out and support undermining the United States via torturing people who have been convicted of nothing and who are probably telling their torturers nothing because they, like you, know nothing.

Sure Obama will be a better president than the Iraqi dictator Bush, but then so would a syphilitic dog - at least it wouldn't terrorize the populations of foreign nations for the entertainment of swaggering jingoistic goons.

Posted by: heavy on January 6, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

'I think it's the war, specifically, and enabling Bush, generally.'

James, I don't know about Democrats as a group, but for me personally, Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards' AUMF vote on Iraq indicated to me serious, incomprehensible shortcomings in both candidates. Unfortunately, I like a lot of what Edwards is saying today but can't fully support him because of my persisting sorrow/anger/outrage about those prewar days and who wasn't smart enough and/or nonpolitical enough to vote against the AUMF. For me, I'm afraid to say, those AUMF votes have become a one-issue exclusion standard for choosing a primary candidate.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Clinton was great last night (LOVED her anger), and that Obama was full of his usual vague buzzwords. Edwards turned me off when he turned on Clinton and sided with Obama. It just turned me off. Obama's empty, "bi-partisan" rhetoric is going to get pretty old by November. I guess it's over, but Clinton still gets my vote on February 5. I'll vote for Obama in the general, but I think he is going to be a big disappointment to progressives.

Posted by: kim2b on January 6, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

McCain - a warmonger who supports torture.
Posted by: al-heavy

McCain sez...Abusive interrogation tactics produce bad intel, and undermine the values we hold dear. Why we must, as a nation, do better.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 6, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Before anyone complains, Hillary's mailer said Obama is soft on abortion rights in order to raise the issue of Obama's vote against the act protecting babies from abortion mill overbooking and negligence. Another cocaine dealer play on her part -- you sure can pick'em Drum.

heavy,

McCain wrote the law passed 90-9 against torture, he's done much more to stop injustice in the world than you have.

Posted by: jingoistic goon on January 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Rusty ball bearings? That's cold!

Posted by: pdiddy on January 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Journey safely, Sharon. i look forward to the next time you share your outlook with us. I find it a breath of fresh air!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight, a privileged white woman is losing because of the horrible sexist attitudes of Americans, but everyone's giving Obama a break?

I guess racism isn't a problem anymore. To say that Hillary had it much tougher than Obama vis-a-vis sexism and racism is completely ignorant.

Yes, I know no one has explicitly argued this, but that is the underlining current to most of the Hillary supporters. She's going down because she's a woman, and no other reason. Obama is going up because he's black. But he'll never win because he's black.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 6, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The salient point: nobody forced to hire Mark Penn. That choice speaks volumes about here likely approach to governance--all Washington establishment, all cuatious and incremental. So does her cookie-cutter, consultant, and focus-group approach tgo running. Clinton is a very smart woman and extraordinarily diligent, but has never built a compelling case for her candidacy. It was all built on inevitability and the (not so quiet, on hears) threat of retribution for those who don't go along. She and her advisors never realized that voters were, inevitably, going to going to take a close look at her. And she just doesn't ahve the political skills to function at this high level (as her husband assuredly did).

I'm tired of hearing the complaints about Obama's "kumbaya" speeches, and his speechmaking ability more generally. Words do matter. Rhetorical skill is built on habits of thought and mind. (That's why rhetoric was the center of classical Greek education.) That we're seeing the finest political speeches since RFK or JFK is testimony to the quality of the man. Anyone who isn't moved is deaf the romance of politics.

Posted by: Matt on January 6, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The trouble with having so few women (and/or minorities) in positions of power (political, corporate etc.) is that the few who are there become representative of the larger group. Things take on a meaning that they wouldn't in other context. If we already had lots of women presidents, liking or disliking Hillary would just be about her, not about women generally. Here's some subtext, though. I think people (especially younger people) do assume that we will elect a woman president eventually. Hillary isn't the "last chance" and if she loses, her defeat won't close the door on anything. As a result, rejecting Hillary is rejecting *her* not rejecting all women, all women in power etc...or at least it shouldn't be. The key to getting a female candidate who is *electable* is to broaden the pool sufficiently so that someone who is capable and well liked can get to be governor or senator and be a in a good position for a "promotion". That situation still needs some improvement, but it is moving. Simply being a woman isn't enough to win over other women or people generally (see, Condaleeza Rice, Elizabeth Dole etc.). If everyone liked Clinton to begin with, her gender would be icing on the cake (which is somewhat the situation with Obama), and would add a certain historic meaning, getting people misty eyed, etc. However, if enough people didn't like Clinton, they'd just as well have some other woman get the historic "first".

Posted by: JMS on January 6, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I really though that show of emotion by Hillary saved her butt in that debate, as well as from irrelevancy since the momentum was clearly against here there, so if she gets some media side effects about her shrillness or viciousness, that's something you just have to accept, even though it's ridiculous.

I was ready to write her off in that debate until it looked like she got mad and made some great points about experience and actually making change, so at least from a debate standpoint (and I used to be a debater), I thought that was brilliant, and I was very impressed.

As for the overall debate, I was impressed with all four candidates. I can't imagine a Republican debate could ever get this good, though we still need some more debates to actually explore the differences rather than just talk about them along with aggressive framing.

Edwards won the debate in my opinion, Obama held his own and won high marks for dropping the "transparent and accountable" framing at the perfect time, Hillary made her points and showed some emotion (good thing for me), and Richardson was personable, hilarious, and the best at spinning the most important progressive issues into nearly every discussion, as well as emphasizing that we need to work with people and governments, in a proactive manner, rather than just framing everything as us reactively intimidating people after problems strike.

Posted by: Jimm on January 6, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

HRC got into this knowing that the media was a big deal and knowing the individuals in the press corps and how they behaved individually and collectively.

It's hard for me to feel sorry for HRC walking into a situation that could be reasonably anticipated.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 6, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

'Hillary is attacking Obama for being too pro-abortion rights.'

Mr. Insensitive, That's strange since I read just last night (Josh Marshall) that Hillary is covering NH with fliers accusing Obama of not being pro-life because of his 'present' rather than 'no' votes in the IL legislature on anti-abortion legislation. Josh also posts Obama's response to Clinton's accusation. His response rang true to my ears. Perhaps Josh still has the long, rather complicated story still online.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

But he'll never win because he's black.

Who's saying that?

Posted by: B on January 6, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin.

I see a few rays of hope in a bleak blogsphere, and today, you were one. Big Tent Democrat was another, who with Taylor Marsh, were among the first to put the video up with the explicit question: Is America ready for a woman president??

I really like that moment. But then, American media is fond of writing crap like she was angry (code for shrill). Here is this intelligent, prepared woman with a mightly work ethic and an amazing mind, and she gets the Al Gore treatment. Sexism is a huge part of it, but not all of it.

Edwards and Obama have contributed to this sexism, b/c well it works for them. They also complain, and rage poetically against the cynism in Washington. And pundits go WOW, how elequent! No one seems to get the disconnect or care.

Republicans run campaigns differently than democrats. Hillary has been very reluctant to go after others; she doesn't want to damage the democratic chances in 2008. She seems to be the only adult. If Obama is nominated, there are three issue that I bet will surface:

1- His house deal; even he said in a debate that it was a mistake. This from a guy who never admits a mistake, which brings me to item 2

2- Replays of his remark about Pakistan, and the riot that followed. The message, do you really want this guy in charge?

3- experience, or lack thereof. (also see item 2)

Posted by: ghost2 on January 6, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Should Obama somehow get the nomination (unlike Kevin, I don't think pig farmers have much influence with the rest of the country (MSM notwithstanding), we will have another Republican administration. Obama will be DOA in the general election because the Repugs will tear into Mr. Kumbaya-but-I-really-haven't-done-anything, but-that's all right-Ma-because-really-have-the-audacity
of-hope-and-Oprah-on-my-side. If Obama supporters want to really look at their candidate's views they will see that it resembles Republican Lite. The guy's NH head is a freakin' lobbyist for Big Pharma, for chrissakes!

His healthcare plan is not universal nor single payer. 11 million people would still have no coverage (Thanks Barack!)

No wonder the insurance and drug companies love Obama! He's their man... until the general election. Then, it's safer to elect a Republican.

Posted by: LuigiDaMan on January 6, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Re: "a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country"

Kevin, you're a dumbass. You live in California, which has far more farmers than Iowa, and is the largest agricultural state in the US.

Those idiotic Iowans just gave you, as you admit, "a decent man and a terrific candidate". Perhaps you should STFU.

Then again, we did launch Huckabee... hrm. Maybe you should look into how many farmers are democrats first.

Posted by: smurfyhoser on January 6, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

mr. insensitive: "I've seen Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fullani run together, but now I've seen everything: Hillary is attacking Obama for being too pro-abortion rights. Here's the link: ..."

Regardless of whoever we might respectively support in this Democratic primary campaign, mr. insensitive, I think I can speak for most of my fellow Democrats when I note with reasonable certainty that you -- as a baldly partisan Republican who has historically persisted in providing us with myriad links to The Weekly Standard and sundry other far-right wackadoodle publications -- are never going to vote for Barack Obama or any othe Democrat come this November.

So, therefore, with that as a given, why the FUCK would you even believe that any of us would attach any credence whatso-fuckin'-EVER!!! to your nakedly cynical support for Obama over Mrs. Clinton during the primary season?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

I don't find Hillary Clinton "shrill", "angry" or anything like that. In fact, I think she's very charismatic. I just don't like her voting record, nor the policies she's been advocating on the campaign trail.

And yet the Hillary supporters cannot believe that anyone could oppose her unless it was because of some crypto-sexist character flaw.

Can't anyone legitimately oppose her because of her politics without being accused of being a sexist pig?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 6, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Bradley endorsement represents a serious and substantive evaluation and moves Obama forward significantly. Bradley is no doubt aware of Obama's potential negatives regarding the learning curve. However, walking through the likely course of a Clinton presidency, as compared to the potentially positive effect of changing the frame in which politics occurs--in the hands of an intelligent and decent man--the analysis results in the latter (remember Bradley's recent book, which called for just such transformation).

In short--go Barack:

Great Obama Theme Song:

http://xpatriate-greetingsfromlafayettepark.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Cara Prado on January 6, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The two Dems that the right wingers have been subtly trying to turn into the front runner were:

1) HRC
2) Obama

In both cases the right wing believes that they can steal a victory against either of these candidates due to nascent sexist and racist tendencies amongst the general public.

Now that it has become clear that Dem voters are shifting away from HRC, the right wing is content to sell Obama as the frontrunner because for them it is just as good.

Their least optimal opponent would be Edwards which is why you hear absolutely nothing about him in comparison with the other two.

Posted by: Condor on January 6, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Who's saying that? Posted by: B on January 6, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Not so much in this thread as the one before. There were several posts about how Obama was a guaranteed loser because nobody south of the Mason-Dixon line would every vote for a black man.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 6, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I can live with Obama or McCain. It's win-win from here on out.

NO! Dems better go after this lying clown, McCain, NOW. He is every bit as much a flip flopper as Romney.

We need to take out this senile old asshole NOW.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 6, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

It is pretty clear that the press sees negatives in HRC as a Democrat that they would see positives if she were running as a Republican. What's that all about?

Posted by: Bob M on January 6, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

not that it matters now, but...ugh....in my 4:44 comment, scratch pro-life, put in pro-choice...

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Vote for your favorite blogger here.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 6, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin. You expressed it perfectly.

Yep, she did do it, in part, to herself -- failing to have a narrative, failing to describe with specificity just what her experience means. Yep, the alternative is not so bad -- actually pretty damn good -- Obama, unlike Kerry, is a great candidate to put up this fall against McCain or anyone else.

But in the end, a narrow bunch of unrepresentative caucusers and the Clinton-hating press had an inordinate amount of influence in deciding this thing for the rest of us. And while I'm not one to levy charges of "sexism" lightly (or at all), I can't see how everything Hillary does is somehow "cynical," "shrill," "angry," and "vicious" without thinking some double-standards are being employed.

In the end, I'll be pleased as hell with Obama. But it sickens me that Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, Andy Sullivan, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, David Broder, Barbara Bush, and the rest will be grave dancing for the foreseeable future.

Ding dong, their bitch is finally dead.

Posted by: Anon Tech on January 6, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

ghost2: "[Obama's] house deal; even he said in a debate that it was a mistake."

For those Democrats who aren't familiar with the background of the relationship between Barack Obama and Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a longtime Illinois Democratic Party operative, you better be, especially if the senator becomes our nominee.

You can rest assured that the GOP will make Obama's friendship with Mr. Rezko a core issue in any prospective campaign waged against the junior senator from Illinois, especially if -- as has been widely rumored -- Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald somehow manages to obtain Rezko's cooperation and testimony in seeking a federal indictement for political corruption against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Anyway, I will have to defer to shortstop, who's a Chicago-area resident, regarding her own personal take on the matter, as to whether or not there's any actual fire behind all the smoke. But in the meantime, here's a link to what the Chicago Tribune first reported 14 months ago:

"Illinois' junior U.S. senator has become a political star, riding a surge of popularity that has made him a top potential candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

"Rezko, meanwhile, has achieved notoriety of a different sort. In October, he pleaded not guilty to federal charges involving pay-to-play allegations that surround Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration.

"Now the hows and whys of a real estate deal, and a train of subsequent transactions, are raising questions about the relationship between the two men, as Obama struggles to distance himself from Rezko, and Rezko strives to stay out of prison.

"Over the last 16 months, as they jointly worked to improve their side-by-side properties, the two men entered an ongoing series of personal financial arrangements. Because Rezko was widely reported to be under federal grand jury scrutiny, Obama said he was careful to ensure their transactions were ethical and proper."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Ha ha -- your Iraq-bombing heroine from the DLC has been kicked to the curb, and not a moment too soon.
Clintonism and triangulation have outlived their usefulness by a good 14 years or so.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by: moron on January 6, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, you miss my point entirely. I'll confess I don't like her midwest accent. It's harsh to my southern ears, but how is that relevant to ANYTHING?

It's not particularly relevant in the overall scheme of things. But you're moving goalposts, Sharon. You started out in this thread vehemently asserting that people who don't like HRC's voice are automatically sexists and "unused to women's voices." Contradicted on this odd assertion, you finally concede that you too find her voice annoying, but you now say your point is that none of this is relevant. Why didn't you just argue that to begin with? I doubt anyone but a few real HRC haters would have disagreed.

I'm going to have to disagree with my friend Blue Girl about this kind of thinking being a "breath of fresh air." To me, this "If you disagree with me you're a bigot, no matter how much you're trying to evenhandedly consider all angles and how mired in binary thinking I'm being" stuff--which you handed out in this thread and the one below it--is a stale wind. Been there, heard that, don't have much time for that brand of sloppy-thinking "feminism."

I think your energy and passion are great, but I wish you weren't so quick to ascribe bigoted motives to your fellow posters and to argue with points you imagine they're making, rather than the ones they're actually putting out there.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

This all sort of comes down to whether you believe in the public recantation of an incredibly successful trial lawyer or you can extrapolate the words of a state legislator at an anti-war rally into an actual vote under the hypothetical scenario in which he actually gets to vote on a bill (regarding not a declaration of war but some vague crap about serious consequences for non-compliance).

No, it's exactly the opposite. Hillary's and Edwards' vote ACTUALLY KILLED 3,800 BRAVE AMERICAN SERVICEMEMBERS. Obama, even if he had supported the thing, wouldn't have hurt anyone.

The fact that Edwards and Hillary actually had the constitutional power to decide whether to send this country to war made their obligation to oppose the war MORE critical, not less.

I tend to believe that they supported the war because they are hawks. It isn't as though either of them had a long record of opposing war in the past.

But if they vote to murder American troops purely for political reasons, that isn't an excuse-- it makes them even more evil.

Hillary is getting what she deserves for her decision to murder 3,800 brave American servicemembers. I hope she spends a lot of time in her remaining years pondering what might have been had she not been a hard right wing hawk.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

coming in late and addressing this to Kevin even tho he never reds down this far:

"Because the press doesn't like her. Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill. Because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country. Because the fever swamp, in the end, is getting the last laugh."

Kevin, some of this is true, but...cry me a fucking river about the woes of Hillary Clinton. Please.

I think your pity is slightly misplaced and more than slightly nostalgaic. She isn't the cartoon painted by the fever swamp, but she also isn't a great candidate in terms of either substance or charisma. By not winning the nomination she remains in the Senate & might vote more progressively there than she has if she isn't always trying to triangulate to the center in preparation for a Presidential run.

While the demonization of Hillary is a real thing, it has more effect on people who aren't going to vote for her anyway, Republicans, who will turn out to vote against her given the oppourtunity, no matter how much their own candidate sucks. What drives Democratic voters (the ones, you know, voting in the primaries)away from her, and towards either Obama or Edwards, is entirely different.

One thing that i think you underestimate is how unapealing Hillary is to people who have had a Bush or a Clinton on the Ballot their entire life. I'm 42, so I at least got to vote against Reagan once. This might not matter so much if there weren't both a more progressive (Edwards) and a more charismatic (Obama-but i don't mean that charisma is all he has) candidate. But that's the situation. So this means that we don't get to use this election to re-run the 90s and make all those morons in the fever swamp eat crow over how they treated Hillary. That's a small loss, given what's at stake. please stop crying about it.

Posted by: URK on January 6, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dilan,

I'm not proud of Hillary's or Edward's vote at the time. In fact I thought it was downright cowardly and I suspect they new precisely what the consequences were. I just am not convinced that Obama wouldn't have voted the same way. His little publicized anti-war speech is couched in the same terms that senator Kerry couched his yes vote -- i.e. "an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East". A lot of folks who voted for the resolution strongly cautioned the President not to abuse the power . . . i.e. go in without the UN, wait for the UN to produce a final report, allow the inspections to run their course, etc. Let's not rewrite history.

Call me a sceptic.

Posted by: B on January 6, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

new-->knew

I really suck at those.

Posted by: B on January 6, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is getting what she deserves for her decision to murder 3,800 brave American servicemembers.

Dilan: Is FDR a "murderer" too because he got 300,000 servicemen killed? You're a fucking idiot.

Posted by: Jif on January 6, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think people (especially younger people) do assume that we will elect a woman president eventually. Hillary isn't the "last chance" and if she loses, her defeat won't close the door on anything. As a result, rejecting Hillary is rejecting *her* not rejecting all women...

Very well said, JMS. Thanks, I needed that. I'm taking it to personally. Does it show? LOL

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to have to disagree with my friend Blue Girl about this kind of thinking being a "breath of fresh air." To me, this "If you disagree with me you're a bigot, no matter how much you're trying to evenhandedly consider all angles and how mired in binary thinking I'm being" stuff--which you handed out in this thread and the one below it--is a stale wind. Been there, heard that, don't have much time for that brand of sloppy-thinking "feminism."

People and perceptions differ, and here is a textbook example. I got something completely different out of Sharon's comments.

Nobody will ever (accurately, anyway) accuse us of groupthink, eh, shortstop?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Donald and B,


"So, therefore, with that as a given, why the FUCK would you even believe that any of us would attach any credence whatso-fuckin'-EVER!!! to your nakedly cynical support for Obama over Mrs. Clinton during the primary season?"

Thanks for your thoughtful and civil question: he're my answer:

1) why would I invest so much energy on a charade on this forum? You sound like Rush Limbaugh ranting at the closet lefties that temporaraly put McCain over his beloved GWB back in 2000 - the paranoid instinct still runs deep.

2) If my comments on various threads haven't convinced you of my bona fides, maybe I can ask some of the other regulars to come to my defense on this.

3) The wackadoo publications I link to have been Andrew Sullivan's blog and The Weekly Standard - links not likely visited by the echo chamber/circle jerk contingent but hardly outside the mainstream of political discourse. If you aren't willing to be exposed to your opponents arguments you're going to get cold-cocked like Mark Penn did last week.

B,

John Fund brought up this post-abortion vote several months ago, and I was sure Hillary's operators would unload it when necessary -- the flyer was sent out to put the abortion issue in play and to make Obama's pro-abortion record be the issue at this point.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 6, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

> I do not consider Senator Clinton to be shrill.
> I do believe, however, that she lacks an innate
> ability to connect with folks on a personal level,
> such as has her husband and, I think, as does
> Obama.
>
> The Clinton campaign has been inept. I think the
> big mistake the campaign has made was

This reminds me of the whole introvert/extrovert controversy. I can guarantee you that no human being who has what it takes to become a Governor or Senator (or British Prime Minister or President of Russia or whatever) has any ability or desire to "connect" to any individual outside his/her immediate family and closest pre-political-career friends - and often not them.

So it follows that what Bill and Barak have is the ability to /make people think that they are being connected with/ even when they are not, in fact, being so "connected" and never will be. While I am not a big fan of Hillary for various reasons perhaps what is going on here is that she is being honest and direct in her relationships with the Citizens of the nation, treating them as adults and peers rather than audience members at a motivational speaking seminar there to feel good and be fleeced.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 6, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

One thing which really offends me is Obama's blanket criticism of partisanship, as if those of us who have opposed the corruption in government were somehow part of the problem. Given that, his lack of a truly universal health care plan, and his use of right-wing talking points (social security is in crisis), I think progressives may be in for a nasty surprise with this guy.

Posted by: Paul on January 6, 2008 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody will ever (accurately, anyway) accuse us of groupthink, eh, shortstop?

Only Jingo, Blue, only Jingo, from the depths of his foggy rage. Oh, and majarosh did, I think, when he got indignant about us not laughing at his dead Muslims jokes.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary loses the election, I hoe she stays in the Senate and plays a Ted Kennedy role for the rest of her life. Perhaps giving up running for president will empower her to return to her original progressive, feminist convictions. I suspect New York will keep sending her back to the Senate.

Posted by: Mary Jo Koch on January 6, 2008 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I voted in my first presidential election in 1968, while on active duty in the Army and after having just come back from another tour in Vietnam. I voted for Hubert Humphrey; in 1972, I voted for McGovern. I stayed in the Army and am now a retired officer.

From the get-go, I believed the Democratic Party is fundamentally better for this nation; I've never wavered from that conviction. As also may be seen by my retired military status, I'm all about our nation and I want only the best for it. This is the calculus I use in my votes. I don't care about gender or race; I just want the best. Can any of you Hillary Clinton supporters tell me exactly what it is she's ever done for my country? Answer that. Granted, Obama hasn't done anything, either, but he doesn't have the negative baggage—and yeah, I pay attention to those votes of hers—Ms Clinton has. Nor does Edwards.

I personally think Ms Clinton is just another child of the establishment many of us believe has failed the nation. And I think she's authoritarian, to boot. I think continued violations of Americans' constitutional rights would be business-as-usual in an HRC administration. There is a high level of paranoia in Ms Clinton and I'm confident we'd continue seeing that.

Would I vote for HRC if she gets the nomination? Well, of course. I'd vote for the Devil over any Republican this year. But now we're in the primary season. My challenge to the Hillary supporters (and to Hillary) is to prove why she is better than third best in this race. Don't give me the sexism shit—as has been pointed out, this is a much more racist than sexist nation—just tell me why I should vote for Hillary. Not for Bill, but for Hillary. That should be pretty simple, I'd think.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on January 6, 2008 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

I can guarantee you that no human being who has what it takes to become a Governor or Senator (or British Prime Minister or President of Russia or whatever) has any ability or desire to "connect" to any individual outside his/her immediate family and closest pre-political-career friends - and often not them. - Cranky

Ah, come on now, I can see where a successful politician might be to some degree phony with respect to "desire to connect", but NO *ability to connect*? What it appears you are saying are that politicians are by nature pathological or personality disordered. Is that what you really mean? I can see where politicians as a group probably have the greater share of the narcissists around, but this seems overly cynical and dismal. It would seem to me that a successful politician would get a great deal of satisfaction of "connecting" to a huge group of people and motivating them to feel or accomplish something worthwhile. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your definition of "connect".

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 6, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

From Drudge:

Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a 13 percentage point lead over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the battle for votes in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll conducted in the state from Friday through this afternoon. The results were just released.

Does this begin to look like defeat for Hillary?
Well, maybe it is, but on the other hand, for 35 years she has been working for progressive interests. Barack is in some ways the fruition of all that she has worked for. She should happily support him. She is clearly a good, effective manager and thinker and as Mary-Jo says, should stay in the Senate and be the voice of New York.

On the other hand, this race isn't over, she might very well yet be the nominee. I just want the Democrats not to trash each other. We have so much more in common and a vicious enemy to fight and kill slowly, something I think we can achieve with Obama's well meaning, smiling, kiss of death.

Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Look, one point, which has yet to be answered satisfactorily, is the basic question of what Hillary has actually accomplished. Where are her great achievments? Where are the factual results of all this experience and competence? I agree she has had a rough time from the media, but so have many politicians. She can't hope for sympathy on that basis. As for her alleged evil character, I don't honestly see that reflected in her record. For me, the basic issue remains this: who actually is Hillary? What does she believe in? What can she really offer? I've heard the claims about experience (35 years being the latest figure), I've heard about the policy wonk. I just don't see where these claims are justified. Eight mediocre years in the mediocre Clinton administration? And then eight moderately mediocre years playing tag with the Bush administration? Where's the competence in that?

Posted by: nickzi on January 6, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't agree more with Kevin and what a few other commenters have said. There is definitely a sexist undercurrent to a lot of the criticism of Clinton. (Would anybody ever call a man "shrill"?)

I also hate it that a lot of the press is racing to the conclusion that the primary season is over because a few thousand Iowa professors gave Obama a plurality of delegates to their state convention.

But worst of all, if this is indeed the case, I'm stunned that we're going to lose the battle for universal health care in the Democratic primary. Who thought that was going to happen? The Republicans didn't even have to raise a dime.

Posted by: Steve C on January 6, 2008 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone as experienced as Hillary Clinton of all people should have figured out what to do by now."

Here's the thing -- she doesn't really have all that much experience. Not on her own stick, when it's her own office, and her own voters on the line. And I think many people get that, and every time Hillary trots out her "experience" and "ready from Day One" lines, she actually loses votes, because people's BS detectors go off.

I'm saying the nature of her experience is being misrepresented. She already has enough disturbing similarities to Mr. Bush -- she doesn't need to add puffing her record to them (ie, Bush represented his experience as Governor of Texas as being comparable to a typical state. The Governor of Texas is weak enough that, it ain't.)

I maintain there is a substantive, qualitative difference between being the president, and advising the president -- no matter how close one may be personally. She's representing her experience as if it's comparable to having been the president... and she wasn't, not by a long stretch.

Look, imagine a couple. Married. They're both astronauts by profession. She's been on the shuttle not just once, but twice. He, while qualified to be on the shuttle, and trained for the job, has never actually launched. Heck, he's even worked in Mission Control, being the main support link for his wife while she was on the shuttle.

Then, one day, he starts saying he should go on the next shuttle flight... because he's already been on two previous flights. His position is that he is so close to his wife, it was if he was really there, so his "experience" should include her two flights.

Not only that, but he starts denigrating other astronauts as being "less qualified," because they haven't been on shuttle flights the way he has -- even though the others in question have remarkably similar backgrounds, training, tenure in positions, drive for advancement, etc.

Gender is not the variable here, nor is training, nor is ability. It's the chutzpah.

Posted by: Hal O'Brien on January 6, 2008 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I usually agree with you--and I do with much of this post--but you are not endearing yourself by calling Iowans a bunch of "corn farmers." I grew up there, and not once did I encounter anyone who farmed corn--or pigs for that matter. Look, I understand how superior you think you are in big a booming metropolis in Cali, but understand that we Iowans are some of the most educated, tech-savvy folks. I'm goddamn sick and tired of all you fucking idiots who continue to disparage us as frigging retarded derelicts.

Posted by: nitzerebbgirl on January 6, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Character counts, ... Obama is our best shot.

Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008

Let's commemorate this moment. We may have to revisit it soon.

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is Bobby kennedy of our generation, and with luck, he WILL make it to the White House. He is the future of America.
Posted by: Chris on January 6, 2008

If you're going to refer to RFK as an icon or ideal could you at least capitalize his last name?

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jif: "Dilan: Is FDR a 'murderer' too because he got 300,000 servicemen killed? You're a fucking idiot.">/i>

Thank you.

Like the vast majority of people in Hawaii at the time, I opposed the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of 2002", and am still very proud that our islands' congressional delegation opposed it unanimously.

But let's also remember that in late 2002, a considerable majority of the American people -- myself included, I'll freely admit -- believed that Saddam Hussein was either hiding WMD or his means of developing said weaponry, and wanted U.N. inspectors back in Iraq to contain his efforts.

I opposed that particular congressional resolution simply because, as one who had spent a good portion of my professional life in a state legislature writing and analyzing law, I felt it to be a little too open-ended and thus vulnerable to possible misinterpretation. This, I believe, was a fear shared by many of us at the time, both on Kevin's blog and in other places.

However, there were others amongst us who desired simply to take the president at his word, when he publicly sought to reassure us that he would both seriously pursue a diplomatic resolution to the dispute, and would both consult Congress and seek further U.N. authorization to do so, prior to the undertaking of any military action against Iraq.

In hindsight, it's become readily apparent, thanks to our knowledge of the Downing Street memoes and sundry other events and documents, that President Bush was clearly and purposefully untruthful, both in means and motive.

That being said, for reasons painfully obvious and equally disingenuous and shortsighted, many of Barack Obama's supporters prefer to adhere to the Bush administration's purposeful misconstruation of Public Law 107-243 as a de facto declaration of war against Iraq, when in fact it was nothing of the sort.

It can be reasonably argued that Public Law 107-243 forced Saddam Hussein's hand regarding the re-entry of U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq under the director of Hans Blix, which in fact is what initially did occur.

Finally, it should be duly noted that the Bush administration instead openly ignored and violated the resolution's two key provisions, specifically Secs. 3(a)(2) and 3(b). There was no U.N. resolution that authorized a war of conquest and regime change in Iraq, and President Bush unilaterally failed to notify Congress in writing prior to the invasion of Iraq that the efforts of U.N. weapons inspectors had failed.

Rather, Bush just unilaterally ordered those inspectors out of the country before they could complete their work, i.e., uncover that there were in fact no WMD, which would undermine his case for war. And then, he unilaterally invaded Iraq.

Thus, the presdent lied, and in so doing violated both the law and the trust that many Americans had placed in him. I don't fault my fellow Americans who, in the aftermath of 9 / 11, simply were not willing to believe that their president would be untruthful about serious matters of war and peace.

But I will also take issue with those who, for whatever their reasons, seek to re-write history in an effort to deceive their fellow Americans, if not perhaps also delude themselves, about the events during the period of Sept. 2002 - Mar. 2003.

Then again, hindsight's most always 20 /20, isn't it?

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not proud of Hillary's or Edward's vote at the time. In fact I thought it was downright cowardly and I suspect they new precisely what the consequences were. I just am not convinced that Obama wouldn't have voted the same way. His little publicized anti-war speech is couched in the same terms that senator Kerry couched his yes vote -- i.e. "an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East". A lot of folks who voted for the resolution strongly cautioned the President not to abuse the power . . . i.e. go in without the UN, wait for the UN to produce a final report, allow the inspections to run their course, etc. Let's not rewrite history.

Call me a sceptic.

Look, I take your point that Obama was fortunate not to be in the Senate and be faced with the political consequences of his vote. But still, it also means that he wasn't the decisionmaker who decided to send our troops to die. Hillary and Edwards were two of them. So they are responsible for their votes.

Also, I don't think the position of "don't do this without multilateral support" was such a dumb position. Yes, there were other problems with it, but one of the big ones was that it was effectively unilateral (i.e., a coalition of the willing), both because it meant that it would be seen as illegitmate in the Muslim world and Iraq specifically, and also because it meant there were few checks on American misbehavior.

But remember, just because one accepted the Kerry position doesn't mean one had to cast the Kerry vote. The fact is that we HADN'T gotten the multilateral endorsement at the time of the 2002 vote, so people taking that position should have voted no. Hillary and Edwards voted yes.

At bottom, my position is that votes like this have consequences. And therefore, Kevin Drum's sob story for Hillary Clinton is totally full of it. That vote shows that she was either a dumbbell and not the smart person Drum claims her to be, or she was a cravenly evil person and not the good person that Drum claims her to be. Either way, she is getting exactly what she deserved. Obama didn't vote for that war, so there is no similar need to hold him accountable.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hilary's problem isn't the media, Hilary's problem is Hilary. She voted for the Iraq War out of political expediency. She was scared to be seen as weak and she didn't have the courage or judgement to stand up to Bush when it mattered and so now she is paying the price for her craven political miscalculation. She deserves it.

Posted by: Dresden on January 6, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Somerby predicted months ago that media would eat Hillary alive and thats exactly what is happening. Somerby's mistake is that he blames everything on the media when in fact the general public have to share a big part of the blame. "After all, who are you going to believe, the spin room or your own lyin' eyes?". Let's face it, people are just stupid. They'll do what the media tells them to do.

Posted by: Mighty Forego on January 6, 2008 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

From the get-go, I believed the Democratic Party is fundamentally better for this nation; I've never wavered from that conviction. As also may be seen by my retired military status, I'm all about our nation and I want only the best for it. This is the calculus I use in my votes.

I have spent a great deal of my online time trying to convince people that just because one has donned the cloth does not automatically make one a Republican. We are blue through and through in my household - but the shade is Strata.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 6, 2008 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

@nitzerebbgirl: As someone that is 50% iowan (and who grew up in Chicago and has lived in New York, DC, and SF) -- I say right on. Iowans are not only intelligent, but generally pretty moderate. And I think the issues in Iowa better mirror the changes that are happening in the rest of the country than suburban Los Angeles.

As for the Obama "kumbaya" approach, as I've mentioned here before, I'm in the middle of reading Rorty's "Achieving our Country" and his main thesis is that the post WWII American New Left -- overly influenced by the wrong aspects of Marxism, smitten with their baby boomer sense of entitlement and fixated on Stalinist ideals of political purity -- have splintered the traditional the Left coalitions who were perhaps a little more fixated on the progressive goals and who were quite amenable to the idea that you could be both progressive and anti-communist. I think what Obama is proposing (and is to some extant what Clinton did right) is less partisanship AMONG THE LEFT. The activist wing, indoctrinated by ivory tower elites to believe that their is no hope and in particular no hope in the American experiment, have taken the rag tag group of the Old Left (labor, farmers, activists, socialists) and pulled the whole group apart over such quaint notions like "selling out" and ignoring common goals in order to point out differences and to seek loyalty oaths.

I've always said that I'm a leftist that hates the Left. It's been Rorty's book that has reminded me why. Obama and I don't see eye to eye on everything, but I think he gets the idea that partisanship on the Left needs to stop. And that our goals are similar enough that we need to stick together. It's what has made the right such a force over the last 30 years -- they figured this out.

Posted by: Inaudible Nonsense on January 6, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky's post strikes me as one of the most insightful things written about what is going on in the Dem primary. Too many people are looking for the the answers from empty feel good rhetoric. Supporters at an Obama rally bear a remarkable resemblance to toddlers watching Barney.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 6, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary loses the election, I hoe she stays in the Senate and plays a Ted Kennedy role for the rest of her life. Perhaps giving up running for president will empower her to return to her original progressive, feminist convictions. I suspect New York will keep sending her back to the Senate.

If the people of New York are cool with that, fine. Nothing wrong with Hillary doing the gray eminence bit. Plus, like Kennedy she enrages conservatives beyond all rationality. It's handy to have someone like that in the party, especially when conservatives aren't popular and they have to start talking like reasonable people to win elections. Stick Hillary out in front for a little while and watch them go nuts.

People have already commented on the fact that Hillary comes across as more of a manager than a leader. She seems better able to form friendships and alliances at a personal/professional level than she is at inspiring mass enthusiasm from the American public. It is a shame she did not pursue the Senate Majority Leader position, where she might well be an asset (couldn't be worse than Reid, anyway). If there is anywhere Democrats need a good manager, it's the senate.

I know it's too early to write her eulogy as a presidential candidate, just speculating on what could have been...

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 6, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

> Ah, come on now, I can see where a successful
> politician might be to some degree phony with
> respect to "desire to connect", but NO *ability to
> connect*? What it appears you are saying are that
> politicians are by nature pathological or
> personality disordered. Is that what you really
> mean?

Yes, that is exactly what I mean. The concept has been discussed for thousands of years and IMHO is best captured by the short stories and novellas Philip K. Dick wrote in the 1950s around the theme of "no one who seeks higher office can be trusted with it".

But I have to say with all my experience with politicians I was stunned by how my then-neighbor Representative Blagojevich transformed literally overnight from a decent (if a bit reserved) guy-down-the block to an ice-cold Stepford Neighbor upon his election as Governor. Again, literally, he would no longer even acknowledge the presence of people who he had been barbecuing with at the previous summer's block party. Not very nice for us, but per PKD I have to wonder if it is possible to be any other way to do what it takes to win and handle an office of that nature (not that Blagojevich is a shining star in the "handle" part of it).

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 6, 2008 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's not the press that put Obama over the top in Iowa. It was tremendous local effort with direct personal contact rather than relying on ads plus an understandable distrust of our government and those in authority. Both Clintons are of a previous generation, and backward looking, even though not much older than Obama and Huckabee. Obama doesn't shout and call names but he is a powerful antidote to this hatred of immigrants and minorities that is a serious problem. As Frank Rich says, if you don't feel it in your gut, policy analyses won't help you.

As an elderly white man who attended segregated schools and heard Mexicans (who went to school with me) called dog meat and subhuman (in Texas) I see Hillary and Barack on different planets. I don't want another Clinton administration. I know that Congress is a big part of our problem. I think that Obama might steamroller many of the Republican candidates and bring in more liberal Congressmen. I think that nasty attacks on him (they won’t raise the race issue, they will focus on the idea that he’s foreign and Muslim, that he refuses to stand up for the National Anthem or place his hand over his heart- all complete bunko and focused on trivia) will backfire. Of course the 15% of the electorate that are white supremacist warmongers won’t support him, but they would not support any Democrat. Barack is human and will need some pressure after election if he is elected, but there is a large volunteer organization and many of us know that the push must continue after he gets to the White House if we want real change. There is something I feel in my gut that I haven't felt since 1968.

Posted by: bobsnodgrass on January 6, 2008 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm tired of hearing the complaints about Obama's "kumbaya" speeches, and his speechmaking ability more generally. Words do matter. Rhetorical skill is built on habits of thought and mind. (That's why rhetoric was the center of classical Greek education.) That we're seeing the finest political speeches since RFK or JFK is testimony to the quality of the man. Anyone who isn't moved is deaf the romance of politics.
Posted by: Matt on January 6, 2008

What if they aren't indicative of his thinking?

Remember what happened to Joe Biden when he was caught plaigarizing? People do need to know that what they're hearing reflects the thinking and beliefs of the candidate, even if the words are written by a wordsmith.

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Please cite me to the Drum column on the buildup to the Iraq catastrophe that reveals as much emotion as this post, in which one of the lead on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-handers-so-who-knowerers, acclaims as fact the bounce has to do with how Hillary is catagorized and not mutliple other more plausible explanations that any kindergarten on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hander could have manufactured in the blink of an eye.


Posted by: Razor on January 6, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

A modest question -

Will anyone on this blog confess to ANY time they changed their position on ANY issue when presented with new facts in this comments section. Hillary's campaign is in a death spiral right now, but to read these comments her supporters would rather curse the fates and hamstring Obama on the way down then admit they were wrong.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 6, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

mr. insensitive: "John Fund brought up this post-abortion vote several months ago ..."

To ever so loosely paraphrase your beloved Ronald Reagan -- there you go again, you ignorant neo-con yahoo, citing right-wing wackadoodles for us once again, and proving my point.

This time, your reliance is on John Fund, GOP political hack and ostensible anti-aborion advocate, who in 2002 impregnated his then-girlfriend Melinda Pillsbury Foster's teenaged daughter, Melissa, and then beat her up when she refused to initially comply with his demand that she terminate her pregnancy, thus resulting instead in the termination of his relationship with said girlfriend Ms. Pillsbury Foster, and also a temporary restraining order issued against Mr. Fund forbidding him from being within 100 yards of either woman.

So, go blow it out your ass, clown. There's no need to respond on your part, because I'm signing off.

But please, feel free to continue to play the right-wing fool for my friends here, to either your heart's content or the limits of their tolerance, whichever comes first.

Aloha again, everyone.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Those idiotic Iowans just gave you, as you admit, "a decent man and a terrific candidate". Perhaps you should STFU.

Posted by: smurfyhoser on January 6, 2008

He tells the host of the blog to Shut The Fuck Up? Is he going to be censored for that kind of language Kevin?

Maybe serious discussion about politics doesn't need us to call Iowans "idiotic".

If Obama is anything like his supporters then I can't see him bringing any people together except with his big abstract speeches. Down in the ditches all I hear is hate and "get out of the way" and "idiotic".

Leadership requires more and I'm not seeing it in the Obama camp.

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Good riddance to bad rubbish [referring to Hillary Clinton].
Posted by: moron on January 6, 2008

If this is the Obama way, then maybe we ought to avoid him.

Hillary isn't my cup of tea politically, but she's growing on me (in comparison to Obama).

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Pssssst, tone it down a little bit, MarkH. People are starting to get suspicious.

Posted by: RNC on January 6, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Edwards and Hillary actually had the constitutional power to decide whether to send this country to war made their obligation to oppose the war MORE critical, not less.

I tend to believe that they supported the war because they are hawks. It isn't as though either of them had a long record of opposing war in the past.

But if they vote to murder American troops purely for political reasons, that isn't an excuse-- it makes them even more evil.

Hillary is getting what she deserves for her decision to murder 3,800 brave American service members. I hope she spends a lot of time in her remaining years pondering what might have been had she not been a hard right wing hawk.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008

---------

First, to say they "murdered" soldiers is despicable. You disgust me with that comment!

I know of no Democrat who would make such a statement.

Second, their position to allow the president to execute foreign policy as he saw fit is based in Constitutional law.

That someone, probably Karl Rove, decided to put the issue to the Senate doesn't actually take the burden off the president. Bush was going to war no matter what and the way he handled the issue after the Senate passed the AUMF resolution proved it.

The AUMF had several caveats and Bush ignored them completely. He didn't convince the U.N. and still went ahead.

Maybe Kerry looked like a waffler, but in this instance it's Bush who simply ignored the Senate restrictions. That the American public didn't understand Kerry's explanation doesn't mean he wasn't right. My disagreement with him wasn't over the AUMF vote, but over whether we should continue and try to "win" the war or just put a quick end to that mistake.

Clinton and Edwards let the president decide and he alone made the decision to go ahead without regard for Truth or the consequences in terms of Lives or Treasure cost.

Obama didn't have the same perspective or responsibility and it's easy for him to say he was anti-war. He has been proven to be right. Hillary or Edwards could very easily have seen things the same way. That they still voted for the AUMF doesn't mean they believed in the war or that they wanted people to die (nonsense is all that is), it's thaht they understood their Constitutional role and provided their advice to the president.

He, George W. Bush, is the one who disregarded their restrictions and went ahead, broke the law, killed and destroyed for war profits and political glory. He and those in his administration who assisted him bear the responsibility.

Obama is wrong to say Clinton and Edwards made a worse decision than him. And, by not understanding this he showed me he is still too green to be our nation's leader.

I'll take Hillary or John any day over Obama.

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Character counts, ... Obama is our best shot.
Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008
Let's commemorate this moment. We may have to revisit it soon.
Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2008 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

OK MarkH, give us your worst about Obama. And if you really care about a Democrat winning in 08, do it NOW so we can find out about the real Obama that you apparently know. NOW, not later, after the nominee is selected. Give it your worst, will you? Thanks.

If not, could you kindly observe that your spewing has been noticed?

Posted by: Manfred on January 6, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Donald

So now I'm John Fund's character reference? Look, I'm sorry you're hurt about Hillary turning out to be a nothingburger on the campaign trail, but to go ballistic on the nearest Republican is not the way to deal with it. Let me propose a drinking game - next time you watch a Dem debate, chug a brewski every time Edwards says his pappy worked in the mill... you'll feel better the next day. Mr. Rove taught me that one back in my minion days. Aloha!

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 6, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

MarkH:

Sorry, but I don't buy your argument. I remember the fall of 2002. It was obvious that Bush was gunning to go to war at the time the AUMF was voted on. So Hillary, Edwards, and John Kerry can't say that they couldn't have foreseen that Bush would use that resolution to go to war. It was obvious at the time that there was, at the very least, a strong possibility that the resolution would be used to justify an invasion of Iraq.

It would be like if someone let a vicious dog out of the yard where the dog was being kept. Suppose the dog killed people when it was out. Now suppose the person who let the dog out said that they only did so to give the dog a chance to get some exercise. If the dog was already known to be vicious, this would not be an adequate defense, since it could have been foreseen that the dog might injure or kill someone beforehand.

This was the situation with Bush and the Iraq War resolution. If Hillary or Edwards weren't smart enough to realize this, then both are far too stupid to be president in the first place.

Posted by: Lee on January 6, 2008 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

> Second, their position to allow the president to
> execute foreign policy as he saw fit is based
> in Constitutional law.
>
> That someone, probably Karl Rove, decided to put
> the issue to the Senate doesn't actually take
> the burden off the president. Bush was going to
> war no matter what and the way he handled the
> issue after the Senate passed the AUMF
> resolution proved it.
>
> The AUMF had several caveats and Bush ignored
> them completely. He didn't convince the U.N. and
> still went ahead.

---------------
US Constitution, Section 8:

Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
[...]
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
---------------

Perhaps Ms. Clinton, Mr. Edwards, and Mr. Kerry should have reviewed that section prior to voting.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 6, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK
.... Do they think it was easy?...Sharon at 3:07 PM
Apparently they do. I remember the difficulty finding competent abortionists, and yes, $500, almost a month's pay, was the going price. There were constant fights for every aspect of life we now take for granted. The Stonewall rebellion is another under mentioned fight that occurred back in the day.
....McCain wrote the law passed 90-9 against torture.... jingoistic goon at 4:32 PM
He said and did nothing when Bush put a signing statement on that law that stated it was subject to the interpretation of the president. McCain supports the most unjust war since 'Nam. Q. E. D.
....That we're seeing the finest political speeches since RFK or JFK.... Matt at 4:37 PM
I met RFK a couple of times when he was politicking. Obama is no RFK. Responding to speech and exhortations is a part of our primate heritage. I, for one, distrust it because it arouses emotions without thought. When I find I can support the policy behind the rhetoric as was the case of Dr. King, then it's safe to allow oneself to be stirred by soaring words.
...triangulation have outlived their usefulness by a good 14 years or so....moron at 5:35 PM
Cool. Now we have The New Triangulation.
....The wackadoo publications I link to have been Andrew Sullivan's blog and The Weekly Standard ....mr insensitive at 6:14 PM
Yes, you have silly Sully, a foaming-at-mouth anti-Clinton and the neo-Cons rag, the Standard. Stellar sources of, on the one hand, pro-war propaganda; and, on the other hand, simplistic Clinton hatred. That establishes your bona fides perfectly. I think defenders will be sparse. Don't wait up for The 300.
.... Hillary's campaign is in a death spiral right now....Posted by: mr insensitive at 7:45 PM
Thus far, less then 250,000 Democrats have caucused, not voted. Super Tuesday is early February and will be far more decisive. Nothing may change, but no one should be written off before then, even Kucinich.
.... that the post WWII American New Left -- overly influenced by the wrong aspects of Marxism, smitten with their baby boomer sense of entitlement and fixated on Stalinist ideals of political purity.... Inaudible Nonsense at 7:35 PM
You claim to be a leftist but understand the New Left. Review the Port Huron Statement. It's a rejection of Marxist authoritarianism and a rejection of the old Marxist and socialist left. You have it complete bassackwards. The partisanship is from the Norquist and evangelical demand for ideological purity from Republicans. The modern Democratic Party is not left, it's centerist. It is the Republican's lurch to the far right that enables them to attempt to portray Democrats as being on the left.

From the Port Huron Statement:
...In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based in several root principles:

* that decision-making of basic social consequence be carried on by public groupings;
* that politics be seen positively, as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of social relations;
* that politics has the function of bringing people out of isolation and into community, thus being a necessary, though not sufficient, means of finding meaning in personal life;
* that the political order should serve to clarify problems in a way instrumental to their solution; it should provide outlets for the expression of personal grievance and aspiration; opposing views should be organized so as to illuminate choices and facilities the attainment of goals; channels should be commonly available to related men to knowledge and to power so that private problems -- from bad recreation facilities to personal alienation -- are formulated as general issues.

The economic sphere would have as its basis the principles:
* that work should involve incentives worthier than money or survival. It should be educative, not stultifying; creative, not mechanical; selfdirect, not manipulated, encouraging independence; a respect for others, a sense of dignity and a willingness to accept social responsibility, since it is this experience that has crucial influence on habits, perceptions and individual ethics;
* that the economic experience is so personally decisive that the individual must share in its full determination;
* that the economy itself is of such social importance that its major resources and means of production should be open to democratic participation and subject to democratic social regulation....

Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

IN RESPONSE KEVIN'S ". . .we'll end up Barack Obama, a decent man and a terrific candidate. So at least we're making progress."

I wish it were as you say, Kevin. But, it isn't. Obama, unfortunately, is NOT a terrific candidate -- not in the red-state sections of this country. He is too far to the left and represents TOO MUCH CHANGE to win a general election. . . .

Posted by: Erika S on January 6, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

"But let's also remember that in late 2002, a considerable majority of the American people -- myself included, I'll freely admit -- believed that Saddam Hussein was either hiding WMD or his means of developing said weaponry, and wanted U.N. inspectors back in Iraq to contain his efforts."

Donald - Yes, a considerable majority of the American people believed that Saddam was hiding WMD because they were reading the NYT and WP and WSJ and listening to the nightly news. But, for those reading the European press, alternative US news sites, US agency sites, etc. there was evidence aplenty that Saddam had ended his WMD programs in 2001. One could read the British transcript of the interview with Saddam's son-in-law online. He quite clearly stated that Saddam had put all WMD programs on ice in 2001. I wouldn't have been prone to believe this person, but Bush's avowal that he had said exactly the opposite raised quite a few red flags. Unfortunately I no longer have the hundreds of links to news items the world over that quite firmly convinced me that the US was not threatened by Saddam's Iraq (and which I was e-mailing constantly to senators and reps).

"It can be reasonably argued that Public Law 107-243 forced Saddam Hussein's hand regarding the re-entry of U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq under the director of Hans Blix, which in fact is what initially did occur."

No, Iraq had committed to allowing the return of UN inspectors prior to the AUMF vote.

"On September 12, amid increasing speculation that the United States is preparing to invade Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, President Bush delivers a speech to the United Nations calling on the organization to enforce its resolutions for disarming Iraq. Bush strongly implies that if the United Nations does not act, the United States will—a message that US officials make more explicit the following week.

Four days later, Baghdad announces that it will allow arms inspectors to return “without conditions.” Iraqi and UN officials meet September 17 to discuss the logistical arrangements for the return of inspectors and announce that final arrangements will be made at a meeting scheduled for the end of the month. The United States contends that there is nothing to talk about and warns that the Iraqis are simply stalling. The Bush administration continues to press the Security Council to approve a new UN resolution calling for Iraq to give weapons inspectors unfettered access and authorizing the use of force if Iraq does not comply."

armscontrol.org



Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Man, it's just so wrong to say that Hillary is going to go down because of the press corps and society's alleged allergies to "shrill" women and Iowa."

"Hillary is a craven politician who generated wafer thin support by slavishly tying her bland opinions to the poll of the day and using the media (that supposedly brought about her downfall) to generate the idea of inevitability."

"Hillary has failed because of Hillary not because of the media or gender politics or any other boogeyman she would like you to bring up. Her failure is a failure of courage and resolve, of character."

This is a fundamental truth that Kevin and the HRC apologists on this board do not face.

Support for HRC was always a mile wide and an inch deep. With her at the helm the issue isn't about health care or free trade or Iraq. The main issue of the campaign becomes THE CLINTON SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT. Nobody likes the feeling that they are being used as a stepping stone.

Hillary's downfall began with her transparently mendacious attempt to be on all sides of the "drivers licenses for illegals" question. The voters have a right to expect straight answers to their questions and to distrust someone who refuses to give them one. And her answer was so calculatedly triangulating that it reminded Democratic voters of what they dislike and distrust about the Clintons (and that is the core issue, Kevin. Trust. How can you truly trust a woman who will stay with a husband who constanlty cheats on her for no other reason than mutual narcissistic ambition ? When people stop trusting you it is all downhill very quickly. Democratic voters did to Hillary what she should have done to Bill.).

And she compounded her blunder with that "piling on a girl" whiny complaint. As if Hillary Clinton is some kind of fainting crinoline damsel in distress.

Posted by: Charles Warren on January 6, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

"If Hillary or Edwards weren't smart enough to realize this, then both are far too stupid to be president in the first place." - Lee

My sentiments exactly. And it hurts as far as Edwards is concerned, because I like him immensely.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

" How can you truly trust a woman who will stay with a husband who constanlty cheats on her for no other reason than mutual narcissistic ambition ? "

C'mon. Perhaps she loves the guy. I'm a married woman and there are a whole lot of worse things my husband could do to me than commit adultery.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

"C'mon. Perhaps she loves the guy. I'm a married woman and there are a whole lot of worse things my husband could do to me than commit adultery"--nepeta


I've never bought the idea that Hillary is a victim because of Bill Clinton's affairs. She has never been trapped in her marriage to him. She could have left anytime she chose if his behavior was unacceptable to her. While it may be true that she would have given up a lot in doing so, it's also true that Bill would have given up a lot by being monogamous. It's just plain unrealistic and unfair to expect someone like Bill Clinton, with an enormous sex drive, not to act on it just so Hillary won't get upset, or because of a few words he said in his wedding vows. It's almost like asking a gay person to pretend they're straight.

Posted by: Lee on January 6, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

" It's almost like asking a gay person to pretend they're straight."

Haha, Lee. Completely agreed. I have a hunch you're a female 'Lee.'

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

Nope.

Posted by: Lee on January 6, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

so much for my hunches...

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

"I've never bought the idea that Hillary is a victim because of Bill Clinton's affairs. She has never been trapped in her marriage to him. She could have left anytime she chose if his behavior was unacceptable to her. While it may be true that she would have given up a lot in doing so, it's also true that Bill would have given up a lot by being monogamous."

In the Bad Old Days, the wife of a rich, powerful man was expected to understand that her husband would have a much younger mistress or two. That's the way it was when men had all the property and power.

Why does Hillary put up with that now ? Ruthless ambition. She needs his people skills, the contacts and money they bring her. She is crummy with people and she knows that. It's like she hopes his seductive charm will rub off on her.

Posted by: Charles Warren on January 6, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

" How can you truly trust a woman who will stay with a husband who constanlty cheats on her for no other reason than mutual narcissistic ambition ? "


C'mon. Perhaps she loves the guy. I'm a married woman and there are a whole lot of worse things my husband could do to me than commit adultery.

Exactly, nepata. This was always my least favorite of the many odious republican grudges against HRC. Who the fuck are we to question what holds their marriage together? For a party that brays on so much about the sanctity of marriage, the Repubs sure couldn't stand the Clintons'.

At the same time, this is a secondary reason as to why it's difficult for me to support Hillary. There is just too much of this weird history and we will get it all again and again. I loved the 1990s, but I don't want to relive them forever. Hillary's personal dramas should remain New York's problem, not the nation's.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 6, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

sorry, second paragraph of my last post was nepata, not myself (a married sweaty guy).

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 6, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody will ever (accurately, anyway) accuse us of groupthink, eh, shortstop?
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.)

Only Jingo, Blue, only Jingo, from the depths of his foggy rage.
Posted by: shortstop

To the contrary, I respect BGRS. You? Not so much.

You guys don't do groupthink when you talk about dems, where you bring out the long knives on each other. Fun to watch.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 6, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Get out of the way.
Posted by: ? on January 6, 2008 at 1:18 PM

It's already been pointed out that you're painting with a really broad brush, there. I just want to add that, if the worst failing of the Baby Boom generation was the refusal of some of our more arrogant members to learn from the past, or to acknowledge that those older than ourselves might have anything useful to say, you're repeating that mistake.

Oh, and fuck you.
I'll get out of the way when I'm dead.

Posted by: thersites on January 6, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama, unfortunately, is NOT a terrific candidate -- not in the red-state sections of this country. He is too far to the left and represents TOO MUCH CHANGE to win a general election."

-Erika S

This is the kind of stuff that bugs me. Erika is calling Obama too liberal. Kevin railed against conservative Iowa voters who supported Obama.

People claim to value experience and competence, but support HC over Biden or Richardson.

Folks here seem determined to support HC come hell or high water. But could you at least pick a consistent reason?

Posted by: Adam on January 6, 2008 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Look, I understand how superior you think you are in big a booming metropolis in Cali, but understand that we Iowans are some of the most educated, tech-savvy folks. I'm goddamn sick and tired of all you fucking idiots who continue to disparage us as frigging retarded derelicts."

The rest of us pour money into your state every four years because that's the about the only way we can participate in the primary campaign. That and our disdain for Iowa is all we have. Don't take it away from us.

Posted by: Paul on January 6, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary and Barack each had a built-in arc coming into the whole election season. They were bound to cross for good from the start, whether in Iowa or Florida or California. We as Dems and ultimately all voters had to process the notion of another Clinton presidency, with Bill in the back room this time. It was probably inevitable that we would ultimately reject that picture. Besides, Bill is the Clinton we really like.

And Barack? If he truly has within what he projects outward, well, I must say, he is quite a vessel for all our dreams.

Posted by: Fel on January 6, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Too many people are looking for the the answers from empty feel good rhetoric. Supporters at an Obama rally bear a remarkable resemblance to toddlers watching Barney.

It's more like adults listening to the rhetoric of Lincoln, TR, or FDR. The tone matters. It communicates a fundamental basis on which problems will be addressed. Lincoln was disheartened by the war, but always hopeful of reconciliation with his opponents. TR and FDR never let their basically optimistic dispositions be corrupted by mean-spirited opposition (except for transient angers.) Edwards and Clinton sound like they have already been worn down to near despair, as were Carter and (differently) Nixon, but Obama has the classic American optimism.

Oh, sure, everybody makes fun of the "Kumbaya" tone, but after singing "Kumbaya" the singers went back to work in a more positive frame of mind.

Hillary might make a good vice president or secretary of HUD if Obama gets the nomination.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on January 6, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

McCain has personally bombed people - killing more than I have. Without McCain's support the anti-torture bill would never have been gutted by the Bush administration. It is McCain's help that passed the odious MCA that allows for kangaroo courts.

McCain has done more to promote torture than I ever could. His words are meaningless in the face of his actions.

But I like al-heavy. It's Mary's attempt to pretend that someone who opposes torture, mass slaughter, and the unprovoked assault on innocents is in league with mass murderers.

Put up or shut up - point to somewhere that shows I support terrorism? point to somewhere that shows I support killing anyone? Can't do it can you? You, on the other hand have made it clear that killing innocent women and children is okay so long as it serves some mission. You could deny it, but a search in the archives is all it takes to prove that I am merely reporting the truth (you could save us time and post the link again like you did when you got your Swaggering Jingoistic Goon moniker).

Here's a simple question for you SJRSM - how many people have died owing directly to actions of yours - dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? I can answer for me - zero. I can also answer the question of how many people (roughly) you have supported killing - hundreds of thousands. Every single death in Iraq owing to the unprovoked assault on their nation is a death you contributed to by word and or deed. Every head-chopper on the streets of Iraq, because there is no longer any law, can thank you personally for your help in giving him a purpose in life.

Unlike you some I don't approve of murder as a foreign policy tool. I don't approve of head-choppers whether they are man enough to stand next to their victims or if they are cowards who sit in the safety of being out of range and drop bombs on countless individuals. Both have demonstrated their commitment to the death of others.

No one who thinks that murder and torture are acceptable is an acceptable candidate. McCain's words to the contrary, he has demonstrated that he is perfectly fine with the way Bush has done both.

Posted by: heavy on January 6, 2008 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM, ROFLOAO. Like you even recognize which people you're getting slammed by most of the time.

We think we'll decline to enlighten you.

Posted by: thinking group on January 6, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

And what's with Kevin's primal scream of a post?

Specifically:

"After a solid year of town halls, coffee klatsches, and early morning doorbell ringing — because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh."

Candidate loses Iowa and their support evaporates? Media makes big deal nothing, sinking candidates chances in NH? OMG I feel deja vu coming on...

Here is Kevin, from the archives (1/22/04):

It's pretty obvious that there's an awful lot
of shallow support out there. Even Dean's loyal
supporters are apparently more interested in
beating Bush than in electing Howard Dean, and
when he stopped looking invincible they dropped
like flies.

Let me repeat that: when he stopped looking invincible they dropped like flies.

Sort of like: when she stopped looking inevitable they dropped like flies.

And what about the Dean Scream? Any mention of that MSM shitstorm which sunk his candidacy? I'm sure he wrote about how terrible it was - how populists get such negative portrayals in the MSM, etc.

Not till January 27th, after Kerry takes NH and Dean is safely interred. Then he just kind of throws up his hands goes "meh".

This is a beautiful test case: given exactly the same situation, why such a different response?

Well, Kevin's a technocrat. He distrusts populists and is far more comfortable with the likes of HC. I just wish he would be more open about it.

Posted by: Adam on January 6, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

[That is as far as I intend to let the tone deteriorate. Readers so inclined can get your unique style of outrage at your site - http://dilan.blogspot.com - and I am not banning you. But i am telling you to get under control before you post here again. --Mod]

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Second, their position to allow the president to execute foreign policy as he saw fit is based in Constitutional law."

Psssst. Mark H, got a secret for you. It ain't like that. Read your Constitution.

I guess next you'll tell us the Constitution allows the president to execute wiretaps as he sees fit, warrantless or not. How has Hillary Clinton voted on the Patriot Act and related legislation? I'm also certain Ms Clinton's been a leader of those legislators who've wondered just how the president thinks he has authority to listen in us on us whenever he wants without congressional authorization or judicial authority. Oh, she hasn't? Do tell.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on January 6, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Because we insist on an idiotic nominating system that gives a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country. Because the fever swamp, in the end, is getting the last laugh."

I'll never get the Clintonites and their supporters. Look at what was just said about the voters you've been trying to win for about a year now...'stupid rednecks should've known better to vote for ME and MINE!!' Hmmmm...maybe I DO get them and it ain't pretty...Go Obama! If you've made the most professional group of politicians we've seen in quite some time lose their minds, you must be doing something right. Someone stop the bleeding!! hehe


Posted by: drosz on January 6, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

I have no dog in this fight. Every single Democratic candidate would make a good President. But for those Republicans commenting about Mrs. Clinton, remember that the entire world remembers that the Clinton administration was one of competence.

There was only one scandal during Clinton's entire administration - that the Republicans could not accept their loss and therefore corruptly abused their power to attempt to unseat Clinton.

Posted by: heavy on January 6, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is an engaging candidate and I don't doubt that he is a thoroughly decent man.

Unfortunately, the reality is that decency and high-flown rhetoric don't get much accomplished in this great land of hours. It took a Kennedy to inspire us with talk of civil rights, but it took a Johnson -- a deeply flawed man, and very much a political creature in the least flattering sense of the term -- to actually shove Civil Rights legislation through congress.

Clinton isn't my first choice, or even my second. (1. Gore. 2. Richardson) But of the leading candidates, she is the one best qualified to actually function an effective politician, and if she's not as liberal as we'd like, she's far better than any of the Republican candidates.

Posted by: thersites on January 6, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, speaking of sloppy thinking... How on earth does this come down to does she or does she not have a bad voice? And that if...aha, gotcha...I say I don't like her midwestern accent that makes me an oh-so-binary feminist of the oh so daclasse, oh so yesterday school of feminism?

I guess the au courant school of feminism is, as your mean girl diatribe suggests, more like crabs in a basket who start dragging each other back down as soon as one of them manages to climb to the rim.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, hate how the press is covering this campaign. Today it is all over Hillary, with her shrill ways. Tomorrow it will be Obama, for something equally stupid and pointless, and probably with deniable undertones of rascism. If Edwards somehow won the nomination, same thing, but with homosexual undertones or somesuch.

I really, really hope we do better dealing with the press once we have a nominee. I don't want to see her/him "Gored."

Posted by: Emma Anne on January 6, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

URK, you're making sense, but I still share Kevin's feelings.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator,

I want to register my disapproval of your deletion of Dilan Esper's comment. I'm sure we all feel 'uncomfortable' with his use of the word 'murder' to describe the actions of any elected government official from the president on down. Still, it's an acceptable philosophical point of view. Authorizing the use of military force without any evidence of a real threat to the US or an ally does inevitably lead to a miscalculation which results in the deaths of a horrendous number of innocent people. It's not a mistake that can be easily apologized for or in any way redeemed. It's very, very serious business.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the whole introvert/extrovert controversy. I can guarantee you that no human being who has what it takes to become a Governor or Senator (or British Prime Minister or President of Russia or whatever) has any ability or desire to "connect" to any individual outside his/her immediate family and closest pre-political-career friends - and often not them.

Perfect. It's all so fucking phony it makes me want to puke. Who the fuck actually thinks it's a good idea to elect a President Larry the Cable Guy wants to drink beer with? Oh, I forgot, a depressing number of you do.

This is all so stupid this inane crap about voices and haircuts and sighs and brown suits. CUT IT OUT!

Cranky Old Woman

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler: Lincoln, TR and FDR all took tough stands. They stood for something substantial - not silly slogans.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 6, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Something for your amusement…

A 2008 Presidential Candidates Net Worth Graph in which the candidates are sized relative to their net worth…

http://thememlingindex.com/2008_presidential_candidates_net_worth_graph.html


You might be surprised at just how large Romney turned out.

Don’t forget to read my rant below the pic and links

Posted by: Onslow Memling on January 6, 2008 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon: Shortstop, speaking of sloppy thinking... How on earth does this come down to does she or does she not have a bad voice? And that if...aha, gotcha...I say I don't like her midwestern accent that makes me an oh-so-binary feminist of the oh so daclasse, oh so yesterday school of feminism?

I guess the au courant school of feminism is, as your mean girl diatribe suggests, more like crabs in a basket who start dragging each other back down as soon as one of them manages to climb to the rim.

It doesn't come down to "does she or does she not have a bad voice," of course. It comes down to "thinking that her voice is annoying does not automatically identify one as a sexist."

And I'd thought it was obvious, but the horribly binary thinking comes in when you a) go into dramatic, unrelated riffs on anti-southern prejudice when someone dispassionately observes that the deep southern states are highly unlikely to give their electoral votes to Democrats this year, and b) similarly fling charges of anti-woman bigotry at someone who openly acknowledges HRC's 15 years of sexist treatment but simultaneously notes that many of the criticisms of her are solidly based on her own record. My comment on the way she speaks originally was, as I said, an aside and a response to a discussion of her voice that was then being carried by several posters, including you.

I think I was pretty evenhanded in both conversations. I acknowledged the legitimacy of your concerns and explained why I don't think they're the whole picture in these cases. I invited you to provide evidence for one of your statements that is sharply at odds with the evidence; you declined, citing "gut feel." You were having none of anything I offered--it was your way or the bias highway. I'm either with you on every point or I'm against you...does it get any more binary than that?

As for the cries of "meanie!" (did a newbie really just say that on a political message board for grownups?) and the crabs-in-a-basket "analogy," is it really your argument that unless I approve of every action, political stance or personal trait of every woman who's a public figure, I'm selling out the sisterhood? Is that really what you mean to say?

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii on January 6, 2008 at 7:27 PM

Bravo! That was just wonderful. Thank you.

I felt the same way. It was confusing. I couldn't figure out the connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11, but I like 90% of America figured surely they know stuff I don't know. Hell, most people know lots of stuff I don't know. We have the media to thank for not presenting a counter argument, because, as it turns out, there were counter-arguments. We just never heard any.

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's the same spin we heard after Clinton's testimony that lead to his impeachment by the House of Representatives. "He melted down, red faced, unable to control his anger". No one who say the tape thought that was true. But the spin helped. This is another desperate pro-Clinton spin. Hillary will be thrown from the primaries, just as definitively as Clinton was impeached.

Posted by: anilp on January 6, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who condemn H. Clinton for voting for the bankruptcy bill, visit the following link: http://jinchi.blogspot.com/2007/03/hillary-clinton-and-bankruptcy-bill-of.html

She repeatedly supported amendments to add consumer protections, voted against cloture in an attempt to stop the bill, then was absent on the day it passed due to her husband having heart surgery. But she issued a statement condemning the bill.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 6, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon,

I hope you read my rebuttal (8:47 PM) to Donald's comment. The AUMF did not contribute to Iraq's acceptance of unconditional inspections. Iraq had already committed itself to such by mid-September. I agree that the media contributed to Bush's road to war. But certainly the media should have lost credence with the public long before Oct. 2002. To tell you the truth, I didn't 'fact-check' what the Clinton administration said, basically because I trusted them not to lie to the American people (except for the occasional 'little white' one). But starting January 20, 2001, I didn't believe a word coming out of the administration or major media unless I went to the effort to check things out independently or with people I trusted to have the facts. It's been a really long eight years. I'm ready for a rest.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

I agree with what you said about Dilan Esper's comment. I definitely consider George W. Bush and Dick Cheney "murderers."

As you said, it is inevitable that many innocent people were going to be killed in the Iraq War (they are in any modern war). This is, in fact, a major problem with the usual moral arguments against "terrorism." Why is it immoral to deliberately target civilians for attacks, but not immoral to start a war in which many civilians will inevitably be killed, even if steps are taken to prevent it? If I was going to be killed, I wouldn't give a shit if my death was "intentional" or not--I would just want it to be as painless as possible!

Posted by: Lee on January 6, 2008 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

[That is as far as I intend to let the tone deteriorate. Readers so inclined can get your unique style of outrage at your site - http://dilan.blogspot.com - and I am not banning you. But i am telling you to get under control before you post here again. --Mod]

Wow, Kevin.

Look, it's your site, and you have the right to take down comments if you want to. I would assure the people who are reading this that the comment I made wasn't some rant but was a perfectly logical argument about the immorality of Hillary Clinton's support for the Iraq War.

But Kevin, instead of accusing me of bringing down the tone here, I would truly suggest that you should ANSWER my point on Hillary Clinton's support for the Iraq War. Do you think it was a moral thing to do? Do you think she is not responsible for the vote and the consequences it caused? Do you think that she was justified in continuing to defend her vote and the war for several years?

I would suggest to you that this is animating A LOT of the support for Barack Obama. And it also suggests that your evaluation of Hillary Clinton's character is incorrect; that she isn't a good person with the right ideas who deserves our support, but is rather something else entirely.

Taking down comments is not the same as answering these questions. And I don't think you have really confronted the reality of exactly what a bad thing Hillary Clinton did in 2002 and what it says about her suitability to be President.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK
But I will also take issue with those who, for whatever their reasons, seek to re-write history in an effort to deceive their fellow Americans, if not perhaps also delude themselves, about the events during the period of Sept. 2002 - Mar. 2003.

Donald, Donald, Donald. I've made similar arguments a number of times. But it's a matter of faith to some that Hillary, Kerry, and others who voted for the AUMF were actually voting to invade Iraq and bear equal responsibility for Iraq with George Bush.

You seem to have actually been paying attention at the time of the AUMF, even read the damn thing. You are a member of a small minority my man. And history has been re-written.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 6, 2008 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

To say one other thing about this, part of my problem with the Democratic Party-- and I have heard a lot of this from other liberals as well-- is that dating back to the cold war, even though the Democrats represent most of the more dovish elements of America, the Democratic establishment has been consistently hawkish, and that they have caused or gone along with a series of wars, some of which can be justified, e.g., Kosovo, Afghanistan, some which are ambiguous, e.g., Korea, and some of which were unmitigated disasters, e.g., Vietnam, Iraq. This policy has been justified on electability grounds, i.e., that the American people are hawks, not doves, and also on the ground that the dovish position is unsophisticated, naive, etc. This is what Atrios calls the "dirty hippies" problem, that anything that is associated with the peace movement is treated as unserious and Pollyannish.

And the problems of the Iraq War have really caused a pushback against this sort of thinking. It looks perfectly clear to a lot of us that in the wake of Iraq, it is possible to get a candidate espousing a more dovish foreign policy into office, and once there, to effectuate a change in foreign policy towards a policy that is less hawkish, especially with respect to "wars of choice" that we view as essentially projects of an imperialist worldview.

Part of this project is to get us to think of war differently. Too many people view dropping bombs and sending troops places as if they are no big deal or should be justified by nothing more than cost-benefit analyses with the value of the lives that are taken greatly downplayed.

So when I use the rhetoric I do about the vote for war, it is because I am trying to point out that these votes are not mere ceremonies as we decide to continue our politics by other means and go to war. These are life and death decisions. And war should be a last resort, NOT a tool of foreign policy that can be taken out whenever it seems convenient or beneficial in the short term.

I believe that Hillary Clinton is a representative of the wing of the Democratic Party that consistently undervalued the costs of war, and has often chided those of us who pointed those costs out as a bunch of uninformed rubes. That is the context in which I view her war vote. And that is also the context in which I view her candidacy.

I want to make sure that the next time that a Republican President presents a war of choice to the Congress, the Democrats represent their constituents and vote "no". And making clear that these votes present a moral issue, that they are the instrument that determines whether people live or die, is crucial to that effort. I know that it is hard for people to now swallow that these votes are votes to kill people. But they are, and if they are viewed that way, we may be able to create a political space for mainstream Democrats to vote "no".

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 6, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop. You win. Now can we stop this. It's really painful. I really don't feel I jumped on you. I'm really not sure what set you off. Is it the newbie thing?

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Lee,

I'm glad you agree. We seem to be on the same wavelength a lot of the time. Close to 4,000 US military and 80-87,000 Iraqi civilians (iraqbodycount.org) have been killed in this unjustifiable war. 'Sorry, I made a mistake' or 'Sorry, I was lied to' just doesn't cut it.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Dilan,

Thanks for your well-stated response.

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop. I said, "We just all need to get used to hearing women's voices in public and get over it. They're different from men's. So what."

So this is what did it?! Do you not see that "we" includes me? I cast not a single aspersion on your feminist bona fides. So why cast aspersions on mine?

I thought your post was intelligent and thoughtful and I responded to it as a personal compliment to you.

Are you sure it's not the newbie thing?

Posted by: Sharon on January 6, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

little ole Jim,

It's little ole me here. You say,

"... I've made similar arguments a number of times. But it's a matter of faith to some that Hillary, Kerry, and others who voted for the AUMF were actually voting to invade Iraq and bear equal responsibility for Iraq with George Bush.'

I'm certainly not one of those who think that the ones who voted 'aye' on the AUMF were voting to invade Iraq. But voting 'aye' certainly did nothing to restrain Bush, if anything could have restrained him. Perhaps a solid Dem opposition on the AUMF might have given Bush pause at least. I thought 'little ole you' were well-informed about what was going down in the fall of 2002. No? What is all this crap about rewriting history???

Posted by: nepeta on January 6, 2008 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

nepata: an Iraqi official saying that inspectors would be readmitted is not the same as admission. Why do you find it so hard to believe that people would want to force Bush to follow a UN process? The language of the AUMF certainly makes that case. I don't get your dead certainty that they were voting for war.

Those Democrats were not voting to invade Iraq. They said at the time that they were not, but evidently you are able to read minds.

Also, you seem to alternately say the the AUMF meant something, then did not mean anything. If it meant anything, you must concede that Bush violated it. If you dislike all AUMFs, I agree with that. But you can't re-write it.

Anybody can legitimately accuse Clinton and Kerry of bad judgement. But your case that they were consciously voting to invade Iraq is weak.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 6, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

nepata: ok, didn't see your latest post before writing another myself. You don't go as far as I thought you did.

But you write: "Perhaps a solid Dem opposition on the AUMF might have given Bush pause at least."

That's my point. "Perhaps". I don't think anybody knew the best way to handle a rogue, untrustworthy President. Thus, I do not accuse Clinton, Kerry, and others of cowardice or stupidity.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 6, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

lil ole jim:

"AUMF" stands for Authorization to Use Military Force. It was legal permission under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, given by the Congress to President Bush, to take military action against Iraq. The resolution had a specific legal effect, and whatever some Democratic supporters said about their vote was not really relevant given what they were actually authorizing

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta, I did and it was excellent. You are fortunate to have been way ahead of Donald and me. It wasn't until I spent 3 months in 2003 in Scotland (my first trip to Europe) on a job and started to read UK newspapers that I realized just how badly bamboozled the public had been. It was a shock. I had been dutifully getting my info from the New York Times and Washington Post. At the time, I thought Tom Friedman and Judith Miller were solid gold. I considered myself well informed. So much for that fine vanity.

That said, there's no comparison between me, an ordinary citizen, and HRC, a Senator, in terms of access to information. She and the rest really have no good excuse and should have known, and very well might have known, better. I really can't forgive any of them for that. But to paraphrase Rumsfeld, we go to the polls with the leaders we have not necessarily the leaders we'd like to have. Sigh.

Posted by: Sharon on January 7, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

If we had been dealing with anything like a rational administration at the time, I might consider your argument. Also, I said I was NOT one who thought the 30-odd Dems who voted for the AUMF were voting for an invasion. But it sure is an odd way (despite what the AUMF says about UN involvement, inspectors, etc.) to show disapproval of Bush's rush to war. Secondly, it was more than 'an Iraqi official saying officials would be readmitted.' Did you read the stuff I posted from armscontrol.org? Not only does it admirably describe the state of war fever in the fall of 2002 in the US but accurately describes the UN negotiations with Iraq concerning readmission of inspectors. No way am I going to say that those of us who knew what was happening, little ole us, are rewriting history.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan: actually people argue all the time about the legal validity of AUMFs, that's one reason I don't like them. A Declaration of War is what people don't argue about. Then you don't have all this ambiguity.

I've read the AUMF many times: http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf

How one can argue that it's not all about Bush going to the UN, I don't know. You don't have to tell me that it authorized Bush to use force if all else failed. I already know that. Bush ignored the caveats.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I can understand the Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee cults of personality, that's what I expect from authoritarian followers.

But why Democrats need their very own cult around the personality of Barack? I just don't get it.

I think Hillary was right about likeability, too. Not that I'm especially eager to go have a beer with Obama. I find him very disrespectful and full of himself, but YMMV.

Posted by: Horselover Fat on January 7, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

little ole jim:

Actually, all the stuff about the UN are in the "Whereases". The "Whereases" are statements of legislative PURPOSE, which have no legal effect except as a means of interpreting ambiguity.

Unfortunately, the authorization itself is unambiguous. It simply says that if the President in his own judgment deems it necessary and appropriate to use force either to protect the US or to enforce the UN resolutions, he can do it.

It is a clear authorization that the President can use force and he gets to make the determination as to whether he thinks it is necessary without further input from the Congress or the UN.

And I will assure you that members of Congress, who know the difference between purpose clauses and the executory portions of a statute, knew exactly what they were doing when they buried the UN stuff in the purpose clauses.

This was a vote to authorize the use of force, and any legislator of at least average intelligence would see it as such.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon,

I'd love to hear what the Scottish response to the whole Iraq buildup was and the invasion. Were you in Scotland prior to the invasion or after?

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon: this is what I meant about rewriting history. People did not know with any certainty at all whether Tom Friedman, Judith Miller, etc. were correct at the time of the AUMF. Many of us just had reason to have doubts due to the fact that Iraq had been judged not to be a threat in recent history and the fact that the UN had already supervised the destruction of many of their weapons. Our doubts proved to be justified.

Almost all Democrats wanted to slow down the march to war, get UN inspectors readmitted, follow the process that had met with some success in the past.

George Bush was the treacherouos one. You can argue forever about the wisdom of the AUMF. My point is that people who do not like Clinton have rewritten the timeline in their heads. Now, they mistakenly "remember" that everyone "knew", or should have known, that Saddam was no threat at all and that a vote for the AUMF was a vote for war. They retroactively "know" that there was no way to stop George Bush, and that they "knew" that at the time.

I don't buy all of that. I absolutely believe that people knew Bush could not be trusted at the time of the AUMF, but that does not mean they knew the best way to restrain him.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan: here we go with the legalistic discussion, the Whereas stuff meaning nothing, but the authorizaion being solid.

To me, every AUMF will be like this forever, that's why I don't like them. There is no way they can use language that will absolutely require the President to follow any rules, procedures, intent or purpose of the AUMF. The President can simply say he tried, then go to war. Neither does the President have to be at all honest in the "required" report.

This view, which I acknowlege as probably true, is used to blast those who voted in favor as "really" voting for war. Yet the same folks say that it was obvious that Bush was going to go to war anyway. So what's their point? Round and round we go.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

little ole jim:

I concede that we didn't know that Saddam didn't have chemical weapons. Only Scott Ritter was saying that, and there were lots of reasons not to believe him.

But chemical weapons, of course, aren't really that dangerous. They are rightly illegal, but they were nothing to go to war over. Biological weapons are a somewhat tougher issue, but even there, it is actually very hard to make a biological weapon of actual mass destruction, and there wasn't any evidence that Iraq could do THAT, though there was some evidence that they might have been doing something in the bioweapons area that might have been a niusance weapon.

And the two things that really might have justified a war, nuclear weapons and support for Al Qaeda, were obviously and completely oversold or debunked.

With respect to nuclear weapons, the evidence was clear that he didn't have one in 2002 and wasn't going to have one for at least several years. There were governmental reports confirming this.

With respect to Al Qaeda, we already knew that the only Al Qaeda elements in Iraq were in the Kurdish areas which Saddam had no control over, and that they could have been taken out by the Bush Administration but they decided not to do so because they wanted the causus belli.

It was also clear we had Saddam in a box. There was a no fly zone, it was enforced, the Kurds were protected, and he couldn't invade his neighbors.

I knew all this stuff in 2002, and posted it on the Internet in various places. The only thing I didn't know was that Saddam had even stopped his chemical and non-mass destruction biological weapons programs, which, as I said, weren't really a threat to the US anyway.

I would tell you that the real historical revisionism is on your side of the debate. You have forgotten how, for many people, getting rid of Saddam was a good in itself. Remember how Howard Dean got criticized for saying that we weren't any safer having removed Saddam? There was a lurking humanitarian justification for the Iraq War that was argued by many liberal supporters of the thing.

You have also forgotten Friedman's actual argument. He said that we needed to kick some butt in that part of the world to get the Arabs' attention so they would do something about terrorism.

Focusing on what we (other than Scott Ritter) didn't know, i.e., about chemical weapons, distracts the discussion from all the things we really did know. But when people are in a rush to war, including Democrats, everyone who says that we need to slow down gets put down as a leftist peacenik who doesn't understand the threat that we face, doesn't take terrorism seriously, didn't learn the lessons of 9/11, etc. Yes, Bush and Cheney said these things, but Democrats said them too. And many of them, including Hillary, continued to say them even for years after it was perfectly clear by late 2003 that the thing was a horrible mistake.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Almost all Democrats wanted to slow down the march to war, get UN inspectors readmitted, follow the process that had met with some success in the past."
AND

" Now, they mistakenly "remember" that everyone "knew", or should have known, that Saddam was no threat at all and that a vote for the AUMF was a vote for war."

No, little ole Jim, I simply will not abide this logic. I very clearly remember the dismay and anger of the anti-war crowd at the AUMF vote by the majority of Dems and the equally thankful appreciation of the 19 Dem senators, 1 Ind. senator and 1 Republican senator who voted against the AUMF. I certainly understand those Americans who simply didn't understand how they were being fed propaganda by the administration and by the media. It was incredibly shocking for me to discover the extent of the effort. But I absolutely expect my senators to do their homework (they have staffs!!!) and to get to the truth about all issues, but particularly those of war and peace. If those Dems who voted for the AUMF were being so thoughtful about stopping Bush, how do you explain the nineteen who voted against it???


Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

To me, every AUMF will be like this forever, that's why I don't like them. There is no way they can use language that will absolutely require the President to follow any rules, procedures, intent or purpose of the AUMF. The President can simply say he tried, then go to war.

Actually, that's not true. For example:

"For the avoidance of doubt, the President is NOT granted any authorization to use military force to remove the government in Iraq unless and until it is determined, by majority vote of this Congress or the United Nations Security Council, that Iraq is in continuing violation of UN resoolutions and has failed to rectify such violations."

It can be done. The reason that language isn't in the AUMF is that this isn't what Congress was doing. Rather, they were authorizing force on the President's say-so.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Go, Dilan!!! Yes!!!!

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta: yes, read your link about the inspectors. Note the timeline:

Four days later, Baghdad announces that it will allow arms inspectors to return “without conditions.” Iraqi and UN officials meet September 17 to discuss the logistical arrangements for the return of inspectors and announce that final arrangements will be made at a meeting scheduled for the end of the month. The United States contends that there is nothing to talk about and warns that the Iraqis are simply stalling. The Bush administration continues to press the Security Council to approve a new UN resolution calling for Iraq to give weapons inspectors unfettered access and authorizing the use of force if Iraq does not comply.

So now we were past mid-September with the Bush Administration saying that Iraq was not serious about readmitting inspectors. The AUMF vote was in October, still with no inspectors back in Iraq and no hard and fast agreement. Everybody else was saying it was a good thing (Iraq’s offer).

I just remember seeing the whole world trying to restart the UN process, but the Bushies were the problem.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan,

Sorry for the cheering, but little did I know that when I was defending you with the moderator over the deletion of your post that you were so knowledgeable and well-spoken. I really appreciate your comments here since I tend to be a bit tongue-tied in expressing myself (also not nearly as well-informed as you).

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,

The AUMF vote was Oct 11. I don't suppose we remember whether the UN and Iraq came to a final plan regarding inspectors by the end of Sept?
Ugh...another google unless you have the answer.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan: sure, then it wouldn't be an AUMF, would it?

nepeta: I remember the dismay as well. But you ask:

If those Dems who voted for the AUMF were being so thoughtful about stopping Bush, how do you explain the nineteen who voted against it???

That's my point. Honest people can and did disagree about the best way to proceed. The 19 disagreed. And if Bush had invaded anyway, the others would have been saying "Why didn't you take advantage of the opportunity to get him to go to the UN?

I don't see this as a black and white situation at all.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,

A quick and dirty Google produced this from the Lehrer Newhour on Oct 1, 2002:

"U.N. and Iraqi officials reach a deal to return weapons inspectors in about two weeks. Secretary of State Powell rejected the return, saying a tougher resolution was needed ensure Iraqi compliance. Former inspectors debate the need for a new U.N. resolution."

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta: the timline at the link below indicates that as of December 2002, still no inspectors in Iraq.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_6_135/ai_n18614636

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

'Honest people can and did disagree about the best way to proceed.'

Of course. But again, I don't think the Dems were united in their vision or in their push-back against the war. I have one of those 'photographic' memories from a TV news show about John Edwards at some sort of house party in NC where you could here his voice. He was talking about what a threat Iraq was to the US, etc., etc., could have been Bush talking. I simply couldn't believe my ears. And quite honestly, I like what Edwards has to say in this campaign very, very much. But the total lack of intelligence (could that be a double entendre?) exhibited in this memory keeps me from supporting him. I am not using this AUMF argument in a political way, other than being personally incapable of supporting either Clinton or Edwards in the primary. I can understand how others may be more forgiving and either candidate could prove to be excellent (I hope!). I will support either of them if they become the Dem nominee.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

lil old jim,

I have a feeling that was because of the US objection to inspectors returning without a UN resolution. So there you go. The US didn't want a return of inspectors without a resolution providing consequences for noncompliance.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

"And if Bush had invaded anyway, the others would have been saying "Why didn't you take advantage of the opportunity to get him to go to the UN?"

Uh, you mean, if Bush had invaded with full Dem opposition to the AUMF? No, I think then there would have been no finger pointing at all. There would have been united Dem opposition to the war.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta: I can't read the minds of the Senators who voted on the AUMF, but to me the evidence supports the likelihood that some of them voted in favor for exactly the reasons their conteporaneous speeches said they did, e.g., the Clinton speech: http://clinton.senate.gov/speeches/iraq_101002.html

I don't think they were cowardly. And I doubt they were stupid, although it didn't work. Even Clinton admitted it was a mistake, but people want her to apologize, preferrably over and over again.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, little ole jim, no hard feelings, huh? I just remember having my mind blown by Clinton's speech. Time for bed. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

...because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh.

But it doesn't seem to have worked the same way on the Republican side (McCain was 4th with 13% in Iowa). So maybe something else is going on.

Posted by: JS on January 7, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Just a bit of a lullabye...

Clinton has never said her vote was a mistake. (That was Edwards.) Clinton said she was lied to about intelligence matters and hence her vote. Not a strategy to stop Bush at all, just claiming too much gullibility.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

IIRC the policy of regime change in Iraq originated in the Clinton administration. I also remember that Kenneth Pollack, whose book The Gathering Storm persuaded many prominent liberals that Saddam was a nuisance who would have to be reckoned with, was an analyst for the CIA under Bill Clinton. It's speculation how informed Hillary was about Middle Eastern affairs by 2002, but I'm guessing: pretty well informed, or misinformed, as the case may be.

By then it was clear that Wolfowitz & Co sought to exploit the opportunity presented by 911 to enact their imperial agenda, spelled out for all to see in the Project for the New American Century, and that Bush would go to war come hell or high water. It also appeared that Kerry, Edwards, and Hillary may have voted in favor of the authorization out of political expediency.

I honestly don't know what I would have done if I had been Kerry or Edwards, who aspired to unseat Bush in 2004, but Hillary had 6 years to go. And I understand the AUMF's caveats. Still, the meaning was clear: Bush had the go-ahead to invade.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta: "The AUMF did not contribute to Iraq's acceptance of unconditional inspections. Iraq had already committed itself to such by mid-September."

That's not true. Saddam did not agree to the deployment of U.N. weapons inspectors until late October 2002, and the first inspectors under Hans Blix arrived in mid-November of that year.

The initial debate in Congress over the AUMF was already well under way in mid-September. Further, five seperate amendments were offered at various times during tht period, all of which were opposed by the Bush administration and defeated. Final passage of AUMF occurred on October 11, 2002.

To state unequivocally, as you did in the above-cited statement, that the looming spectre of AUMF, and the attendant congressional discussions thereof, didn't influence Saddam's decision-making regarding the ultimate deployment of those weapons inspectors, is to perpetuate a willful ignorance.

As I've stated before, you can support or oppose whomever you wish in the Democratic primary. But I'm not going to sit here and watch you deliberately misconstrue well-documented history in order to perpetuate your flawed argument against a certain candidate that Public Law 103-247 was a declaration of war, when that was most assuredly not the congressional intent at the time it was passed.

If Sens. Clinton and Edwards were guilty of anything, it was their own naivete in taking the President of the United States at his word, when he publicly assured Congress prior to passage of AUMF that he would use that legislation as diplomatic leverage in negotiating a diplomatic resolution to what we now know in hindsight was a manufactured crisis.

Now, whether or not their naivete (or perhaps more aptly for some people on this thread, their gullibility) is truly a deal-breaker motivating your decision to oppose the Clinton and Edwards candidacies for the White House, that's a decision for you alone to make. That's not necessarily the way I feel at the moment, but I'm not going to begrudge anyone if they're thinking otherwise.

But I do hope, in light of this discussion, that any decision on your part regarding the election of our next president is in fact a well-informed one, and not one based primarily upon what has apparently become a well-accepted public fallacy.

Remember, 70% of the American people also once thought that Saddam's Iraq was behind the 9 /11 attacks. That grievously mistaken belief didn't make it so, nor did it justify our country's subsequent military action in that accursed country.

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 7, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

, I just read your comments as they were posted while I was composing my rebuttal, and want to apologize for sounding overly harsh.

I think that we can all agree that regardless of our differences on certain issues or the candidates we support in the Democratic primaries, any one of those candidates would make a far better president than the white trash that's being offered up by the GOP.

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 7, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Donald,

"That's not true. Saddam did not agree to the deployment of U.N. weapons inspectors until late October 2002, and the first inspectors under Hans Blix arrived in mid-November of that year."

Well, then, Lehrer was simply making this up on
Oct.1?

""U.N. and Iraqi officials reach a deal to return weapons inspectors in about two weeks. Secretary of State Powell rejected the return, saying a tougher resolution was needed ensure Iraqi compliance. Former inspectors debate the need for a new U.N. resolution."

As I tried to explain to lil ole Jim, my reason for discussing this topic was not for political reasons, i.e., dissing any candidates. I responded to your post re: rewriting history because I disagree vehemently with what you said in that regard. Senator Byrd was my hero in those days with his empty Senate chamber speeches. Bush didn't fool him for one minute. Of course the US public was fooled. My argument is that the US Senate has an obligation not to be fooled by an openly belligerant and deceptive president, Secretary of Defense, and finally, Secretary of State. Your argument varies from little ole jim's in that he believes those Dems who voted for the AUMF did so as a way to stop Bush. You seem to be saying that they voted the way they did from naivete. In the first instance, I say it was poor logic to think that supporting the AUMF was a surer way to stop Bush than in not supporting it. To your argument I respond that naivete is not an allowable fault in senators with plenty of resources to get at the truth. If I had been a senator at that time I would have gotten the names of the best middle-east and Iraq scholars in the Western world and given them all a call for their judgment on the issues. It's not rocket science. Goodnight.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

Luci, Excellent comment.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Donald says:

"I think that we can all agree that regardless of our differences on certain issues or the candidates we support in the Democratic primaries, any one of those candidates would make a far better president than the white trash that's being offered up by the GOP."

No argument with me on that statement. But then again, it's setting the bar pretty low.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

If one supposes that Clinton and Edwards voted for the AUMF because of a lack of character how does one explain Obama's votes to continue the war.
Or why the 2004 version of Obama stated, "What would I have done? I don't know...There's not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush's position at this stage" or how in 2003 he was against funding the Iraq war but has voted to continue funding it four times.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=2970930&page=1

I chalk up both the votes for the AUMF by Clinton and Edwards and the subsequent votes of Clinton and Obama as political expediency by Senators running for President. In 2002-03 the war critic was the person not in the Senate and from 2006-present the most outspoken war critic is also the person not a current Senator.

For those keeping track, 63% of all US casualties in Iraq have occurred since Obama was sworn into the Senate.

Posted by: Senators make bad choices on January 7, 2008 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

Or why the 2004 version of Obama stated, "What would I have done? I don't know...There's not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush's position at this stage"

That statement was made in July 2004, when Obama was trying not to undermine the two candidates on the Democratic ticket who had voted for the war resolution, as he made clear in an interview with Russert last year. If any Democratic bigwigs had a problem with it at the time, it didn't stop them from letting him give the keynote address at the convention in Boston later that month.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 7, 2008 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
You really think "a bunch of Iowa corn farmers 20x the influence of any Democratic voter in any urban area in the country"?

That's some bullshit.

Who's to say the results of an urban electorate would be any different? Or any better?

You yourself point out that New Hampshire voters basically are coming to the same conclusion as voters in Iowa.

Maybe Iowans are just as savvy as anyone else.

The "disproportionate influence" garbage is really poorly thought out. Who you gonna put in Iowa's place?? New York??? Florida? Getting another state out in front of Iowa just repeats the mistake varous misguided, envious power-hungry pols are complaining about.

So let's get real here: the East and West coasts need a reality check. If elections are too expensive, or hte media gives short shrift to Hillary or Ron Paul, fix those problems.

Kicking "corn farmers" as though their votes don't count does not reflect well on you.

Posted by: johnsturgeon on January 7, 2008 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

johnsturgeon, I agree with you to a point. I have nothing against farmers and find corn to be delicious, but the caucus system is nutty and should be jeered and mocked as often as possible. Iowans have, for reasons known only to themselves, grown really attached to this system so to some degree they'll catch some mockery themselves.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 7, 2008 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

sweaty guy,

Disagree about the caucus system.

The 'critiques' don't hold up.

Particularly in light of this year's result!

Voters going with their conscience have the chance to make their point and not 'waste' their votes: the instant runoff allows them to register their preference of the top three candidates. And that made a huge difference in ordering the results 1st Obama, 2nd Edwards and 3rd Clinton.

Further, the caucuses allow a genuine horizontal public debate between fellow citizens, unmediated by NewsCorpse or spinmeisters or the NYTs--all of whom, in their infinite wisdom, get it wrong as far as who is "electable" or "inevitable" or even desirable.

These folks talk to each other, have that chance; rather than sitting alone at home writing letters to the editor that'll be burned by Fred Hiatt and Pinch Sulzberger.

So, sorry, but none of hte critiques of caucusing hold up under even minimal scrutiny.

Posted by: johnsturgeon on January 7, 2008 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

Would the idiots who think Obama is without substance please learn to use Google? Oh, hell, just go to his website. If you disagree with him, fine, but don't criticize him for a lack of specific positions when you're too lazy to look them up. You sound like Republicans.

Posted by: Michael on January 7, 2008 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Because any time a woman raises her voice half a decibel she instantly becomes shrill."

The feminists can say it better, but I think some of what is being dished out to Hillary has to do with the necessity of putting the uppity, assertive woman back in her. The country that pioneered the modern woman's movement looks like it will never have a woman as president. I hope you Obama fans know what you are doing.

Posted by: bob h on January 7, 2008 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

(Thanks, nepata, and backatcha. I'm the other Lucy, though, not "luci" who also posts here.)

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

So, sorry, but none of hte critiques of caucusing hold up under even minimal scrutiny.

Eh, I don't know about that. Some of your points are great. I like instant runoffs as much as the next guy. But I also like secret ballots, not having to spend hours "voting" and being able to show up whenever I want on polling day. If I want to talk to people about whom I will vote for, I'll talk to family and friends. I'll take primaries any day.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 7, 2008 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK


bob h: The country that pioneered the modern woman's movement looks like it will never have a woman as president. I hope you Obama fans know what you are doing.

We're... doing our part to make sure the first woman president gets elected based entirely on her own merits, not the dynasty to which she belongs.

Seriously, enough "Après moi le Deluge!" from Hillary Clinton. The Democratic Party existed before her and her husband, and will find talent after her. Some of it is running right now. If I want inspiration I'll stick with Obama, if I want fire in the belly I'll turn to John Edwards, if I want a nice resume I will turn to Bill Richardson. Where does Hillary fit in here?

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 7, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

As an Iowan, I really feel that Hillary lost for three reasons. One, the war. So simple but true. Only one of my girlfriends even considered voting for her from the very beginning. Two, Clinton fatigue. No one wanted to hear about Vince Foster and she was always thought of reacting to polls and very managed. Three, the last few times I went to see her, she spoke in this weird, low, monotone. She was trying to scare voters with her hypnotic voice and talking about the perilous world. Iowans just didn't buy into fear. We did that with Bush.

Posted by: Misskaty on January 7, 2008 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton isn't losing because she's a woman. Her personality is an issue for her, but it's hardly just the press who dislike her, and it's unfair to lay the blame for Clinton's possible failing as a candidate at their feet. For me, the biggest reason I don't want her as the Democratic nominee isn't really her fault either: I've had twenty years of the names Bush and Clinton, and I want someone different.

Posted by: Quinn on January 7, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Iowa caucus turnout suuuuuuuuucks -- even if it was a 3-fold increase. I think the dems should let the three states with the highest primary turnout in 2008 lead in 2012. That'll teach 'em.

Posted by: asdf on January 7, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, it's not like anyone held a gun to her head and forced Hillary to hire Mark Penn. So overall, let's rule it an assisted suicide.

—Kevin Drum

Forget all the personal stuff. From a strategic standpoint, it was HRC's (via Penn?) cautious position on the most important issues -- the War, health care, Social Security, etc. -- that allowed Obama to gain traction. And then there were those age-old assumptions about the importance of experience, that most women would vote for a woman, the likelihood that the youth vote would not materialize, and that Bill would be a plus. Plus all of the careful triangulation (that eventually came off as duplicity.)

Now, ex ante, these all seemed like reasonable positions from a strategic standpoint, especially in terms of minimizing risk in the general. But, in hindsight, and pretty much ONLY in hindsight, they were exactly what gave the young and exciting upstart an opening.

Had HRC called for an immediate withdrawal, single payer, raising the SS income cap; had she targeted the youth vote, kept Bill under wraps, etc., Obama would not have had the opportunity to show his stuff.

A really strong case can be made that she lost on the issues -- that her strategy, which seemed eminently reasonable against most opponents at the outset, was in hindsight precisely the wrong one against a rock star -- across the board.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 7, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone has heard this all before, but for many of us who opposed Hillary's candidacy all along the overriding concern was that she could not win the general. Hillary has been the target of a virulent character assassination campaign for well over a decade by now. Whole swaths of the electorate have been conditioned to reflexively despise her, and she is the one candidate who could galvanize voters who might otherwise stay at home to get out to the polls to vote against her. Hillary is simply not the person to forge a new Democratic majority, as we have seen this past week.

If anyone can get that donkey rising, it's Obama, although I do worry about the racism thing.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Lucy @ 9:29 AM: Thanks for revisiting how the Repugs have demonized and scapegoated Ms. Clinton. Whatever the outcome of the primary, whatever the on-the-ground realities of H. Clinton's weaknesses and deficiencies, I for one and sick and f*****g tired of supposed 'progressives' who have thoroughly (and sometimes enthusiastically) bought into the scapegoating of this woman. It does not speak well of this country, and it does not speak well of the 'progressive community' (note: I support Edwards, and I will work my ass off for whomever gets the nomination). Yeah, there're lots of reasons to support someone else other than Clinton(catalogued nicely in these comments), but whatever else she has done she has worked HARD for years for what she believes in, and she in no way deserves the schoolyard vilification she has been on the receiving end of for, what, fifteen years? And this vilification is particularly repugnant when it emanates from the 'left.' It's sexist, it's gutter, and it says tons about the (lack of) emotional maturity of those engaging in it.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on January 7, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 12:51

Your post is soooo convincing and soooo depressing. Sigh. You leave no one with any wiggle room and, though it's hard to admit, you're right.

Posted by: Sharon on January 7, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum is exhibit #1 for why Clinton is on the verge of losing- she doesn't draw support that is more than a molecule deep (even her supporters don't like her very much). Already, her former/present supporters are saying and writing that her losing the nomination is OK with them.

If Obama wins tomorrow night by 5 or more points, the nomination fight is likely over- Clinton's support will dissipate like a fart in the wind.

Will Obama cruise to victory in the general election? I doubt it. Race will play a subliminal role in the entire election, and despite what many here believe, it will be the racism of Democrat voters that will determine the outcome.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 7, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta: in summary, I appreciate your willingness to hear me (and Hawaii man) out regarding what had happened leading up to AUMF vote and beyond. My primary point is that hard and fast facts tend to support the AUMF votes of Clinton and Kerry as being exactly what they said in their speeches at the time, i.e., get the crazy President of the United States back into a UN process that had worked in the past and away from a unilateral approach frought with danger. That would (and was resolving) resolve the issue of whether there was a real threat. Read the speeches if you haven’t.

Criticism of their votes, even given their reasoning, is fair, they know it, and they knew it at the time, and they knew whatever path they chose was risky. You have correctly identified a differnce in Donald’s argument and mine, but it’s not a big one. He emphasizes what we did not know at the time (and you call it naïve), whereas my emphasis is on the fact that, while many people rightly suspected the Bush administration gross exaggeration, they still could not prove a negative, i.e., no threatening weapons. Thus, what’s the hurry? Was the threat suddenly so huge that we had to abort the UN process? NO! And that’s what Clinton and Kerry were saying.

After the invasion of Iraq, Karl Rove and Co. began calling it a vote for war. Over time, people like Matt Yglesias have rewritten history, often assigning equal blame to to Bush and Democrats who voted in favor of the AUMF. I’m glad to see that you do not. Many Obama supporters do.

The “way people remember it” does not necessarily comport with fact. It’s like when so many people “knew” that Al Gore had claimed to invent the internet. Wasn’t so. Now, so many people “know” that Clinton “voted for war” and actively “supported the war” in many instances. They cite facts that turn out to be false:

Inspectors were already back in, or there was an agreement to get them back in, at the ime of the AUMF. No. The inspectors were not back in and there was no assurance that they would get back in. Note the Lehrer report you reference still says in plain english that Powell rejected the offer. Note exactly who was the problem: the Bush adminstration.
We “knew” there was no nuclear threat at the time of the AUMF. No, what we knew is that the Bush administration was presenting “evidence” that was not convincing. As Bill Clinton publically said less that a week before the war: let the inspectors finish the job. If there’s a threat, line up support. What’s the hurry? Is allied support important?. Or, you can ignore your lying eyes and ears and choose to believe the reports from Bush administration officials (Elliot Abrams!) that Bill Clinton was also “on board”.
We knew there was no connection to al Qaeda. No, at the time of the AUMF we simply knew that the Bush administration had no make a strong case, had not backed up their claims with hard facts. Kind of like the “hard” facts presented here that turn out to be false.
They claim that Clinton made a statement in support of the war on the eve of the war. No. What she actually did was make a short statement in support of the troops on the eve of the war. That you can support and identify with the troops without supporting the war is a point I am used to making to Republicans. Now I have to make it to liberal Democrats.

I’m glad that you do not go as far as Yglesias in your criticism. A lot of the facts and memories cited are defective.

I acknowledge the anger directed at Hillary, supposedly for her AUMF vote. Note Dilan’s statement, “Hillary is getting what she deserves for her decision to murder 3,800 brave American servicemembers.”

I don’t acknowledge the “facts” they offer in support of their argument.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Well, why didn't the racism of Iowa voters prevent Obama from winning in Iowa?

Posted by: Shard on January 7, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Conrad's Ghost, where have you been all my life? I stumbled, I fat-fingered, I mush-mouthed trying to articulate exactly what you so eloquently said in so few beautiful words. Like you, I support Edwards. Like you, I'm appalled at all this hideous savagery against HRC from the LEFT!?! From women?!? From feminists?!? What are these people thinking?

Every time you bring this up you have to deal with some tiresome, inane bullshit about how her suffering doesn't entitle her to the office. How on earth is that implied by anything Kevin, you, I, or anyone else have said on the subject? How does it serve our interests for liberals to pillory other liberals as "bleeding hearts"? This obtuseness, this meanness...soooo disappointing, soooo playing by the Ann Coulter et al book. I fear that if some of these people had grown up poor, in the sticks, with no education and no exposure they would fight dogs. It's repulsive!

Posted by: Sharon on January 7, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing to me that people are giving the nomination to Obama based on the Iowa caucuses and a possible New Hampshire win. I would guess Clinton has the funding to keep going through super Tuesday at the very least. Obama is in a nice position, but he hardly has anything sewn up.

Posted by: demisod on January 7, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK
In related news, apparently the flinty-eyed independents of New Hampshire aren't quite as flinty-eyed as they'd like you to believe. After a solid year of town halls, coffee klatsches, and early morning doorbell ringing — because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh.

I think this has to do with the cynicism of many voters that wouldn't support Obama because they didn't believe other people would vote for him. Now they have this new information and they're changing their minds accordingly.

Posted by: shard on January 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

We knew there was no connection to al Qaeda.

Oh my, there was no evidence whatsoever to support the contention that Iraq was involved in 911. At the time I accepted that Saddam had WMDs (oops), but even a casual observer could grasp that Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda's attacks on the US. Saddam and bin Laden were antagonists, for crying out loud.

I appreciate your efforts to set the record straight as you see fit, but that one is bunk.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I should clarify that my comment above was directed at little ole jim.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Shard,

Most people aren't racist in either party. There is no reason to think racism will be a decisive factor unless the election is very close (within 2-5 points). General election 2008 is likely to be within that margin, and racists who would otherwise vote for the Democratic candidate will cost Obama some support. Racists who are Republican won't vote for him in any case.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 7, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

lil ole jim says:

We “knew” there was no nuclear threat at the time of the AUMF. No, what we knew is that the Bush administration was presenting “evidence” that was not convincing. As Bill Clinton publically said less that a week before the war: let the inspectors finish the job. If there’s a threat, line up support. What’s the hurry? Is allied support important?. Or, you can ignore your lying eyes and ears and choose to believe the reports from Bush administration officials (Elliot Abrams!) that Bill Clinton was also “on board”.
We knew there was no connection to al Qaeda. No, at the time of the AUMF we simply knew that the Bush administration had no make a strong case, had not backed up their claims with hard facts. Kind of like the “hard” facts presented here that turn out to be false.

These statements are both false. We did know that there was no nuclear threat. Nuclear weapons, FYI, take many years to develop, especially clandestinely. We had good intelligence that they were nowhere near a nuclear weapon-- and this is true EVEN if we assume that people didn't realize the report of uranium sales from Africa is false. Nuclear weapons development requires years of enriching the uranium or producing the right isotope of plutonium. It isn't something that can be generated in months. Further, we were also using the no fly zone to bomb suspected nuclear sites. We had his program completely contained, and if I knew this without a security clearance, of course the US Senate did as well.

I am not saying we knew that there was no nuclear program, or that there might not be a threat several years down the line. But nothing imminent. Nothing worth starting a war over.

Same with Al Qaeda. The burden of proof was on the people who wanted to go to war. (By the way, this simple point-- that the politician who supports dropping bombs and shooting bullets at people has to prove the threat-- is forgotten by many war advocates.) The evidence showed that: (1) any Saddam-Al Qaeda relationship was unlikely, simply because of the secular nature of Saddam's government and the support for Al Qaeda from religious fundamentalists whom Saddam saw as a threat; and (2) every asserted connection, such as the Atta trip to Prague, and the presence of Al Qaeda forces in Kurdistan, was debunked.

So there was no evidence at all, and such an alliance was improbable. Yet you are claiming it was OK to go to war anyway. Essentially, you have defined the standard for going to war down to nothingness. This is exactly what the dovish wing of the Democratic Party objects to, and it is exactly our problem with the actions of many Democratic leaders over the years. Wars kill lots of people; they therefore require exceedingly persusaive justification.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"...while many people rightly suspected the Bush administration gross exaggeration, they still could not prove a negative, i.e., no threatening weapons."

Almost as if the argument was being constructed that way by the Bushies, because they had determined to go to war, and didn't want to leave the Iraqis a rhetorical way out, eh?

This is a letter I wrote to the New York Times on January 23rd 2003, arguing just this point (not that they published it). This is the article in USA Today where it slipped out that at least some in the oil industry thought, "Iraq's ability to extend its aggressions beyond its borders has been significantly reduced since the Gulf War." This is a post I made on March 18th 2003 going over the four possibilities regarding whether Saddam had WMD or not, and whether he'd use them. Note, for the purposes of this discussion, how I mention the battle plan was being drawn up in such a way that the Army clearly didn't think the threat was real. My point is, I, a plain old shlub in suburbia, was able to come to these correct conclusions with the information I had. If Clinton came to incorrect conclusions with the information she had, how much of an indictment is that of her judgment?

Contrast that to this video interview with an Illinois state legislator named Obama in November, 2002. He wasn't even sure he was going to run for Senate yet, let alone president. Yet he correctly identified the risks, both foreign and domestic, and he knew all the major interest groups internal to Iraq.

This is Clinton's own transcript of her floor speech on the AUMF:

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

Now this much is undisputed."

No. It was all under dispute, as anyone who'd been following the issue attentively knew.

She didn't. She was conned, hook, line, and sinker. And to this day, she won't admit she was wrong.

Posted by: Hal O'Brien on January 7, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: suspicion that the administration is exaggerating or lying is not the same as knowing. They were making some very specific claims at the time of the AUMF vote.(Mohammed Atta at a meeting in Prague for example, which the Czech govt. initially verified. Watcha gonna do?). We knew that, historically there had no been meaningful connection, thus all the doubt.

I can't imagine that anybody was more suspicious of their claim than myself, but how can you say that you "knew" at the time of the AUMF that there was no connection?

What we knew was that we had not made a good case for war. It would have been foolish not to continue the UN process. The whole world wanted to do so.

But you "knew"? Timeline please. Evidence please.

Like me, you probably had grave doubts, but you didn't know until later. Only a bit later were we were all confident that we had been lied to about so many things.

Now, people glibly state it as a fact without any concern over the timeline and what they knew when. Everybody knew everything and a yes vote on the AUMF was only possible for idiots and warmongers. Right.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

These statements are both false. We did know that there was no nuclear threat. Nuclear weapons, FYI, take many years to develop, especially clandestinely.

First, nukes are just a third of what typically constitutes WMDs. Second, in the AUMF it does not say that there was a Saddam-Al Qaeda relationship. Third, those are not the only two rationales (Nukes and Al Qaeda buddying up to Saddam) that are given in the AUMF.

In short, you're cherry picking to make your argument.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Dilan, all these things were debunked, but when? Are you saying, for instance, the aluminum tubes where debunked by the time of the AUMF? Are you saying uranium from Africa was debunked by then? You would be wrong.

Unfortunately, when the President of the United States makes a case for war based upon specific facts that turn out to be bunk, it takes a little time to debunk. So what was the hurry? They knew they were lying and they had to have their war. And by they, I am not talking about Clinton and Kerry, I am talking about the people who insisted upon aborting the UN process and insisted upon invading.

You are not presenting facts and timelines to support your arguement, you are just asserting what you knew.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

little old jim,

Thanks for your long summation. I feel handicapped about presenting my case for what was 'knowable,' as opposed to 'known,' by fall of 2002, because of no longer having links and sites at hand. I'm certainly not talking about what was 'knowable' by reading major media, which is what I think you mean by 'what was known.' Dilan has done a reasonable job of listing those 'knowables' but by no means all of them. I remember having facts at hand about Iraq's threat potential, or more precisely, lack thereof, from fall of 2002 and earlier. There was a network of 'underground' sites, mailing lists, etc. that provided tons of material, often with good verification. This acquired 'knowledge' of mine led to personal encounters with others that in hindsite were humorous, like my chasing a neighbor down the street yelling "Don't believe the TV News!!!" or unfortunate, a disagreement with a good friend over the 'evidence' for war that has soured the relationship to this day. So for me personally, this issue of the AUMF has little to do with the current primary race, but is instead a remembrance of my efforts (and admitted obsession) at the time to break through the curtain of propaganda being lowered over the US public. And my burning question at that time was why so few elected Democrats apparently had no more information than the general public. That question remains. Anyway, thanks for the conversation. At least I'm not totally 'rabid' anymore.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

jim, you are quibbling over semantics. By the way, I admit I drew plenty of erroneous conclusions during the march to war. As I mentioned before, I was persuaded that Saddam had WMDs and planned on reviving his nuclear weapons program, and subscribed to the "they must know something we don't know" theory to explain why people like Tony Blair were so intent on a very risky adventure that had so little international support.

But there was just no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Saddam had any connection to 911, as Dilan Esper demonstrates so well above. Not to mention that it was well known by 2002 that the neocons had been chomping at the bit for years to finish off Saddam and kick ass in the Middle East. They were considered cranks until they got Bush's ear after 911.

Come on.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta: yes, it was an amazing time, an infuriating time. I have a large electronic collection of Word documents where I saved newpapers articles (e.g., Walter Pincus did good work on debunking and casting doubt on the conventional wisdom as defined by the likes of Judith Miller), and all kinds of information about what was coming out in the lead up to the war.

Reading through them is interesting. The Bushies were so outrageous that it's hard for me to assign blame to the hapless Democrats. I notice that people tend to get hapless in the face of Presidential power. Presidents have too much power.

And some of us will probably hate AUMFs forever more. I think a President should always have to return for a specific declaration. In other words, no more AUMFs.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

First, nukes are just a third of what typically constitutes WMDs.

"WMD" is itself a piece of pro-war spin. Chemical weapons are rightfully illegal, but they are little threat. Same with biological weapons-- very few of them can truly cause mass destruction, and they are very hard to deliver. Most of them are nuisance weapons.

The only real threat out there that justifies a shooting war is nuclear weapons. And he was nowhere near having one of those, a fact that we KNEW in late 2002.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Dilan, all these things were debunked, but when? Are you saying, for instance, the aluminum tubes where debunked by the time of the AUMF? Are you saying uranium from Africa was debunked by then? You would be wrong.

Actually, the aluminum tubes were debunked the DAY AFTER the story broke.

I am NOT, however, saying the uranium from Africa was debunked before the AUMF. If you note, I assumed in my comment that it had not been debunked. But here's the thing-- the purchase of yellowcake uranium from Africa is something you do AT THE START of a nuclear weapons development process. That uranium needs to be clandestinely enriched over a period that will take years before it can go into a nuclear weapon.

What that purchase told us, even if it had been true, was that Saddam was years away. Which was consistent with everyone's intelligence estimates at the time.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: we may be saying close to the same thing. There was never any evidence that proved to be credible. But the example I gave, Atta in Prague meeting with Iraqi officials would be a direct connection worth investigating. Of course it was fabricated, but we didn't know that at first. Of course, to me, it would not even be close to a cause for war even if it were true, you got to go a lot further than that.

What frustrates me is that Democrats wanted to keep pressure upon Saddam and they made many statements designed to do so, sometimes exaggerated statements. Some of them signed off on an AUMF that was abused by the President. But if ever a war belonged to somebody, Iraq belonged to Bush. The media knew that at the time and repeated it frequently. The Democrats said stick with the UN process.

When things went bad, Republicans made a concerted effort, naturally, to share the blame, and asserted that the AUMF was "a vote for war". Suddenly, the MSM bought into that language. But an AUMF is not a declaration of war because it has conditions and a defined mission that the President is expected to execute. He violated that trust.

Boy, was that propaganda campaign successful.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK
Actually, the aluminum tubes were debunked the DAY AFTER the story broke.

Timeline and evidence please. Bush was presenting his case about the tubes at the UN itself mid-September, (and later Powell)just prior to the AUMF.

Aren't we proud of him? Aren't we proud the way the he and the Republicans rushed that vote?

Oh, I forgot. The Democrats are equally cupable. It just appeared that Bush was the prime instigator.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Same with biological weapons-- very few of them can truly cause mass destruction, and they are very hard to deliver. Most of them are nuisance weapons.

Eh? Think of what a few envelopes of anthrax did stateside. Not hard to extrapolate that to a mass mailing of coupons. Much easier to deliver than a radioactive device. As for the chemical weapons, tell that to the victims of the Anfar campaign.

The only real threat out there that justifies a shooting war is nuclear weapons. And he was nowhere near having one of those, a fact that we KNEW in late 2002.
Posted by: Dilan Esper

If you are going to take issue with Hillary's vote on the AUMF, you ought to take issue with what the AUMF actually says.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 7, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jim, I remember that Atta story being treated as a joke from the outset. By the way, I was livid at the Dems for rolling over on the AUMF and immediately perceived the vote as a pass to Bush.

Anyway, my point is that there was plenty of information available to Congress to properly assess the situation, and that the Senate Democrats had no excuse for "haplessness". After all, Barack Obama gave a very lucid and prescient speech against the war in October 2002. He got it right.

Posted by: Lucy on January 7, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Senate Democrats had no excuse for "haplessness."

Absolutely right, Lucy. Bush's 'outrageousness'(lil ole jim), was for me the give-away that not all was as it seemed. And you were certainly correct to point out PNAC and all the 'political' info we had at the time that pointed to imperial overreach. Also, not ALL Democrats took the subtle route of expressing their discontent by voting for the AUMF. There were heros, both in speeches and in the AUMF vote, who were undercovered and undercut by the media day in and day out.

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Timeline and evidence please. Bush was presenting his case about the tubes at the UN itself mid-September, (and later Powell)just prior to the AUMF.

These guys knew it on October 9, 2002. And they cite the first dissents started showing up in the newspapers on September 13, 2002, five days after the story broke:

http://www.isis-online.org/publications/iraq/aluminumtubes.html

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I hope a few of you are still around to see this short video of Sen. Byrd on YouTube. It makes me cry yet again.

Sen. Byrd

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Eh? Think of what a few envelopes of anthrax did stateside. Not hard to extrapolate that to a mass mailing of coupons. Much easier to deliver than a radioactive device. As for the chemical weapons, tell that to the victims of the Anfar campaign.

Stop it:

1. Anthrax killed a handful of people. Why? Because it isn't contagious. It kills only the person who comes in contact with it. And it is difficult to handle. And it is difficult to deliver.

That's what I mean by a nuisance weapon. It isn't that anthrax is something we want countries producing, but it isn't any more dangerous than a country having high explosives. Saddam could have killed more people by hiring someone to set off a bomb at a public gathering in the US than he could have with the type of bioweapons he developed.

2. Again, I am not defending chemical weapons either. But the Anfar campaign was just that, a military campaign. Loads of chemical weapons, if they are deployed by helicopters at close range, can kill thousands. So can bombs. The thing that makes a true weapon of mass destruction scary is that one weapon, delivered relatively clandestinely (say on a pickup truck or in a trash can) could kill tens of thousands. That's why nuclear weapons are scary.

The issue wasn't WMD's. That was the spin of the Republicans and Democrats who sponsored the Iraq War. The issue was those weapons which truly could be delivered and kill thousands in one fell swoop. And the evidence was conclusive that Saddam didn't have those types of weapons. Ergo, no threat that justified a shooting war.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

1. Anthrax killed a handful of people. Why? Because it isn't contagious. It kills only the person who comes in contact with it. And it is difficult to handle. And it is difficult to deliver.

It killed a handful because it only went out in a handful of letters. And Anthrax, hard as it may be to make, is a hell of a lot easier to make than a nuke weapon. Much, much easier to deliver as a terror agent (which was a main concern, if you'd bother to read the AUMF).

The thing that makes a true weapon of mass destruction scary is that one weapon, delivered relatively clandestinely (say on a pickup truck or in a trash can) could kill tens of thousands. That's why nuclear weapons are scary.

That's a limiting viewpoint, one that I doubt terrorists are guaranteed to adhere to. Al Qaeda had a functioning bio weapons program in Afghanistan, for example. Google it.

The issue wasn't WMD's. That was the spin of the Republicans and Democrats who sponsored the Iraq War. The issue was those weapons which truly could be delivered and kill thousands in one fell swoop. And the evidence was conclusive that Saddam didn't have those types of weapons. Ergo, no threat that justified a shooting war.
Posted by: Dilan Esper

Have you read the AUMF? The weps were just one part of it. Bush was stupid to hang his hat so much on it, but to argue it was the sole reason is wrong.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 7, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

A bunch of Iowa farmers...LOL. I live in Iowa. Thanks for the laugh both about 'a bunch of Iowa farmers' and the supposed impact of our quirky caucuses. With your warm indoor toilets, you can look back over the past few election cycles. Then compare the Iowa caucus winners with the eventual nominee for each party and then winner. It's a bit differ'nt. So much for the impact. Bill Clinton came in 3rd in 1992 with a whopping 3%. 1992 the Dems voted for their own Tom Harkin with 76%. 1988 the Dems voted for Dick Gephardt.

The republicans were about the same: 1988, the winner was Bob Dole, Rev. Pat was 2nd and Bush the elder was 3rd. 1980, Reagan was 2nd.

http://www.theiowacaucus.com/Iowa-caucus-history-results.php

Iowans didn't take out the good candidates in 2004. The press did the hack job and the public went along with it.

But, thanks for making us feel all important for up to an hour or two today. I need to get back to my chores, an' all, my boots are kinda messy and not all of its from the outdoor mud. Have a nice day.

Posted by: zane on January 7, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

It killed a handful because it only went out in a handful of letters. And Anthrax, hard as it may be to make, is a hell of a lot easier to make than a nuke weapon. Much, much easier to deliver as a terror agent (which was a main concern, if you'd bother to read the AUMF).

It's close to impossible to deliver enough anthrax to kill thousands of people, unless one had the type of equipment that can also deliver bombs. Within the first several deaths, exactly what did happen (the imposition of safeguards to protect the mail) would happen.

Anthrax is truly a nuisance weapon. It isn't worth going to war over-- unless you think that Saddam having any conventional explosives was worth going to war over.

That's a limiting viewpoint, one that I doubt terrorists are guaranteed to adhere to. Al Qaeda had a functioning bio weapons program in Afghanistan, for example. Google it.

What the heck is that supposed to mean? The issue isn't who has biological weapons-- WE HAVE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, for heaven's sake. The issue is whether they are the type of thing that can be used to perpetrate a 9/11 style attack. And they in fact can't, because they are hard to deliver and hard to handle.

Have you read the AUMF? The weps were just one part of it. Bush was stupid to hang his hat so much on it, but to argue it was the sole reason is wrong.

Just about every statement in the AUMF, except that Saddam was a tyrant who did bad things to his own people, has proven wrong or overblown. As I noted, the ones that matter were known to be wrong or overblown at the time. The ones that weren't known to be wrong or overblown didn't justify a war.

Look, part of your problem is that with all due respect, you don't realize just how hard it is to do effective WMD attacks (unless you have a miniaturized nuclear weapon, which only the first five nuclear powers have). Chemical weapons disperse, are bulky, and are best delivered in a battlefield situation with air superiority. Biological weapons disperse, are hard to spread from person to person, and are very difficult to handle. Nuclear weapons are huge and heavy and bulky and very difficult to develop, especially clandestinely, in that they require rare materials and a heck of a lot of processing.

I feel like I am having the same arguments that I had in 2002 all over again. This stuff is simply not that easy to do. It's simply not the case that just because Osama Bin Laden or someone in his orbit decides "let's do WMD's" that all the practical problems go away. The reason these guys use suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices is because even though such weapons are not esoteric, they work and are not difficult to manufacture or obtain and deploy.

A lot of the people who hype the threat either don't understand the difficulties in making and using WMD's or do understand them but hype the threat anyway.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: a bit surprised you also trust your memories more that documented fact. So you remember that the Atta story was treated as a joke from the start. Gee. In spite of the fact that the Czech Interior Ministry said it was a fact and even the Chech government itself went back and forth on the matter for the longest time. Like the other examples we've discussed, my memory is that it took awhile. People began to question. Finally disproved.

I'm not even going to bother to provide links. How can I compete with received wisdom. It's like religion.

In fact, it's Cheney-like. He immediately knew it was true and nothing ever conviced him otherwise. Received wisdom.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 7, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Down to some nitty-gritty stuff, lil ole jim.
It looks to me like the aluminum tube info broke in the NYT on 9/8/2002. On 9/18/2002 the aluminum tube evidence was challenged in the WP, so indeed the debunking process had begun well before the AUMF, as Dilan stated.


Evidence on Iraq Challenged: Experts Ask If Tubes Were Meant For Weapons Program

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: a bit surprised you also trust your memories more that documented fact. So you remember that the Atta story was treated as a joke from the start. Gee. In spite of the fact that the Czech Interior Ministry said it was a fact and even the Chech government itself went back and forth on the matter for the longest time. Like the other examples we've discussed, my memory is that it took awhile. People began to question. Finally disproved.

James Risen reported in the New York Times that the story was false on October 21, 2002, before the AUMF vote.

The information on all these things was out there. Some people didn't want to hear it in the rush to war.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 7, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

And a further establishment of the 'facts.' So whose memories are bad? Historical revisionism, my eye...

9. On May 1st, 2002, the status of the case changed radically when first Newsweek and then the Washington Post declared the meeting a fictoid. Walter Pincus in the Washington Post (based on a story a few days earlier by Michael Isikoff in Newsweek) stated “There is no evidence that the alleged leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Mohamed Atta, met in April 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, a finding that eliminates a once-suggested link between the terrorist attacks and the government of President Saddam Hussein, according to a senior administration official.”

Posted by: nepeta on January 7, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

It's been pretty disgusting to witness the pile on and petty, catty criticism and vicious behavior and coverage from MSM against Clinton. Pundits ala Matthews are appallingly biased.

We see an inexperienced Political RockStar with vague liberal concepts, and promises based on
ephemera. Obama says nothing much that is substantial, or that even matches his promise of change. D.C. will be around for a long time, and Obama knows this.

His record is slim. As a country we are in crisis mode and I watch these vain men take pot shots at Hillary for defending her ideas and showing emotion. She is being scrutinized as no man is.

Whether she wins or not she should fight like hell to perservere. Obama is counting on young Independents and a few Republicans. Hillary still has the Democrats and will wind up with the most Delegates at crunch time.

Our behavior towards our political elective process is frightening.

Hillary needs to drop Penn if she can. She needs to show empathy, hang in, and move forward.

I still think the hysteria I'm looking at is all part of our dysfunctional culture.

Posted by: norris morris on January 7, 2008 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Clinton is reaping what she has sown. No need to whine about it now. The media is reporting what is happening, Senator Clinton's very well financed campaign is imploding from the weight of it's own lies, misrepresentations, and missteps. And no amount of spin is gonna change that. If she can't handle "the media", she can't handle the Presidency.

Posted by: Not buying it on January 7, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Conrad's Ghost @ 10:16 AM:
I for one and sick and f*****g tired of supposed 'progressives' who have thoroughly (and sometimes enthusiastically) bought into the scapegoating of this woman.

No one's bought into Hillary's vilification.

But any clear-eyed, realist's assessment notes there's a decent chance a Hillary candidacy and the inevitable resurgent venom is the only damn thing capable of raising Republican prospects from the dead in 2008 and uniting them, against all odds, for a real run at the White House.

That decision alone called Hillary's political judgement into question. The Senatorial record, the tactics chosen, the Iowa misjudgements, followed by the Ed Muskie in New Hampshire scene? IN which Hillary lambasted Edwards in far worse terms--but using the same trope of dominance/ strength/ inevitability [sic] that Edward's response got flack for?

I've defended Hillary. I respect her and despise the MSM & right-wing attacks on Hillary.

But running this year, and running as she has really damaged her party. As did the Senatorial service. YOu don't attack fellow Democrats. And the campaign trail interviews are not an Oprah-style heart-to-heart therapy sessions. Campaign like Nixon did (in terms of press appearances/Q&As)--not Ed Muskie.

Your attack on fellow progressives was offensive.

Posted by: johnsturgeon on January 8, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK
James Risen reported in the New York Times that the story was false on October 21, 2002, before the AUMF vote.

Dilan: AUMF vote was October 11, which most people agree is prior to October 21.

nepeta: it would help if you would say where you get the information. Walter Pincus did great work on this and many other issues of contention, but this was not the last word on it by a long shot. Over time, he was proven correct. My consistent point is that the issue was not settled. Why make this so complicated? The timeline is the whole thing. I keep saying that people did immediately raise doubts about everything, but a lot of things were proven in the wake of the AUMF, not before.

Did you being completely wrong about the inspectors make any impression on you? The inspector issue that you and so many others have used to make a liar out of Clinton? Now you want to quibble about when everybody “knew” the Atta issue was settled and go back and forth about that?

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Dilan: AUMF vote was October 11, which most people agree is prior to October 21.

nepeta: it would help if you would say where you get the information. Walter Pincus did great work on this and many other issues of contention, but this was not the last word on it by a long shot. Over time, he was proven correct.

No way, little ole jim. The Atta story was debunked within weeks of when it was floated. If you go back to talkingpointsmemo.com in the summer of 2002, you will see Josh Marshall refers to it as such. (Indeed, one of the themes of liberal supporters of the Iraq War at that point was that they basically indicated that they KNEW that much of the stuff the Bush Administration was putting out was false. They just felt the war could be justified on other grounds.) The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic even stated the Atta thing was false in a 2002 visit. As nepeta points out, there were also stories in the Washington Post well before the AUMF vote.

Look, what you are really arguing is that if you chose to believe the Bush Administration and the conservative media, and disbelieve all the press accounts that were debunking their various rationales one by one, you could construct a case for war. But that really makes the point. We, as Democrats, shouldn't be believing anything the Bush Administration or the conservative media says without independent confirmation, especially when there is a pattern that a large portion of what they say about Iraq keeps getting proven false (or is transparently false from the start).

You are pretending that we found this all out afterwards. No. We found afterwards that it was even worse than we thought. But many opponents of the war got a lot of this stuff right BEFOREHAND. They had better judgment and better wisdom.

This isn't a case where the war opponents got lucky. Much of the information was out there. But the country was rushing to war, and war opponents were being marginalized, being called unsophisticated peaceniks who didn't understand 9/11 and didn't understand the need to confront the new Hitler in Baghdad. And, as I said, this rhetoric was used by DEMOCRATS, not just Republicans.

What we are witnessing now is the rebellion of the dovish base of the Democratic Party, who got the Iraq War right, against its foreign policy establishment, which undervalues the costs of war and was too quick to support Bush despite loads of evidence that this was a bad idea and that the premises were faulty. It is a very good development.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 8, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,

I provide a link to the challange to the aluminum tube story which appeared in the WP on 9/18/2002, well before the Oct 11, 2002 vote at 6:24 PM. Proof? I'm not sure there's any solid 'proof' today on an issue which was 'resolved' or 'dismissed' by a preponderance of expert opinion. Dilan and I are pointing out that there was strong reason to suspect (not definitive proof) before the AUMF vote that the administration was lying abut their evidence for war.

I believe it was you who brought up the Atta issue at 1:45 PM. I responded that a strong challenge had been made to this argument on May 1, 2002 (!!!) in both the WP and Newsweek.

I'm getting tired of googling all of this stuff to answer your original argument that none of this had even been challenged (or in your word 'known') prior to the AUMF vote. I have given you a timeline for my argument that these issues were challenged ('known') before the AUMF vote...and in the major media. That's all I can do.

"Did you being completely wrong about the inspectors make any impression on you?"

Excuse me? Your original argument was that Saddam had not agreed to unconditional inspections before the AUMF. My googling showed that indeed he had agreed to unconditional inspections by mid-Sept, with a planned final meeting to fine-tune the details by the end of Sept. and that the US IN THE PERSONAGE OF COLIN POWELL (for one) had rejected such return of inspectors without an accompanying UN resolution. So your initial statement that Saddam had not allowed the inspectors to return by the time of the AUMF was false.

And, please, little ole jim, quit accusing me of making this argument out of antipathy towards Clinton. I make it, regretfully, in connection to all those senators who voted for the AUMF, including my favorite candidate of the moment, John Edwards. Have you listened to the video of the Byrd speech I posted at 4:22 PM? That is the heart and soul of my argument, not the timeline
details we've been quibbling over, even though my timeline shows there was serious challenge in MSM to administration evidence.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

According to Somerby, you're part of the problem, Kevin, so if you're bitter, at least you know where to look.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on January 8, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Dilan,

You said, "It is a very good development." I hope you're right but I'm very nervous. Something doesn't feel right to me with all the 'bipartisan' talk of Obama and now the Bloomberg group. I'm really quite worried. Can you tell me why I shouldn't be?

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

You said, "It is a very good development." I hope you're right but I'm very nervous. Something doesn't feel right to me with all the 'bipartisan' talk of Obama and now the Bloomberg group. I'm really quite worried. Can you tell me why I shouldn't be?

No matter what Obama does, it is a positive development to repudiate people who voted for the war. As I noted above, that creates a different set of incentives the next time the Republicans try this, and also may reduce the incentive that the Democrats have to try to solve international crises by "looking tough" and favoring war over other solutions.

But as far as Obama's bipartisan rhetoric is concerned, it is probably just a matter of personal taste how you view this. The ideal governing style involves knowing when to work with the opposition and when to stand firm. So you want to draw the right contrasts without so poisoning your relationship with Republicans that you can't work with them when it will help get your program through.

If I can choose an icon from the other side, I actually think McCain is pretty good at this. He's a very conservative Republican, and not a man I would support in a million years. But he also is careful not to come down so hard on Democrats that he can't work with them on issues where there is some common ground, e.g., campaign finance reform, immigration. He does this by using bipartisan rhetoric and by deploying criticism of his own side on occasion, e.g., his defense of Kerry against the swift boaters.

So I don't personally have a big problem with Obama trying to sound bipartisan. At the same time, I do share the concerns that his critics do as to whether he will really stand up and fight the Republicans. What I do know is that the defeat of Hillary Clinton will empower the Democratic base that stood up against the Iraq War, and will serve as a cautionary tale for Obama if he compromises on issues where he should stand firm.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 8, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta: thanks for your patience and your attempt to speak to my brain. But…you write:

Dilan and I are pointing out that there was strong reason to suspect (not definitive proof) before the AUMF vote that the administration was lying abut their evidence for war.

Wow, and all this time I thought that was precisely what I was arguing. At the same time telling you and Dilan that you were being too hard on and exaggerating the “crime” of voting for the AUMF.

From one of my earlier post:

while many people rightly suspected the Bush administration gross exaggeration, they still could not prove a negative, i.e., no threatening weapons. Thus, what’s the hurry? Was the threat suddenly so huge that we had to abort the UN process? NO! And that’s what Clinton and Kerry were saying.

When you challanged what Hawaii Donald and I said about the inspectors, I ended up giving you links that demonstrate that Iraq had only just committed to inspectors at that time, but the Bush administration balked. The linked articles demostrate that there were no instpecotors in Iraq at the time of the AUMF, nor was there any agreement to put them there, or any reason to have confidence they would be allowed back in prior to a war. Re-read Donald’s initial post on this, check the referenced clauses in the AUMF, read the links I provided. My statement is correct. (And BTW, you misquoted me in you last post about the inspectors. I said exactly what I am saying now.)

The Dems, very openly at the time, emphasized the goal of getting the inspectors back in. Now, it is common for people to rewrite that history and say that it was a non-issue, as you did. You are wrong about that, period.

Dilan started out saying things like:

Hillary is getting what she deserves for her decision to murder 3,800 brave American servicemembers. I hope she spends a lot of time in her remaining years pondering what might have been had she not been a hard right wing hawk.

You started out saying things like:

. For me, I'm afraid to say, those AUMF votes have become a one-issue exclusion standard for choosing a primary candidate

Your (nepeta) statement is not extreme, it’s defensible, but you expressed admiration for Dilan’s facts and characterization, so I addressed comments to both of you.

My whole point is that they were dealing with a rogue President who was saying the UN process was irrelevant. A process that was known to have met with success and had build in restraints. Some said, “at least try to force him back into the UN process.” Others said, “that’s not good enough”.

You are welcome and entitled to your opinion. None of us are welcome to our own version of the AUMF, our own version of events, our own version of the timeline of events.

If one of your points is that we knew that almost for certain we knew we were being lied to, and that we knew for dead certain we were being subjected to gross exaggeration, then we agree on that.

If one of your points is that the AUMF was a mistake, we agree on that.

If you think the Dems who voted in favor of the AUMF were craven dishonest cowards, or that they had no legitimate argument, and that UN inspectors and UN Resolutions were not an issue, I don’t agree with that.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

lil ole Jim,

Oh, sheesh. We're talking past each other. For one thing, we're only dealing with information available through the MSM, which is maybe 50% of the info available at the time. Btw, it was my link that revealed the inspector situation in September 2002, not yours. I don't remember you providing any links at all to support your position. And it was my "So there you go" which I guess you interpreted as an admission of error when what I was saying was that it was the administration that was keeping inspectors out of Iraq, not Saddam. Included in that quote was a statement about previous UN inspectors questioning whether a new resolution was necessary. What I missed throughout the whole run-up to war was the kind of rhetoric exhibited by Byrd and a few other Democratics. Why couldn't Hillary Clinton or John Edwards or any of the other AUMF Dems have made a strong argument every day about the flimsy evidence of WMD as well as the principles upon which Byrd stood. Why was it just Byrd who took to the Senate floor to express outrage almost every week? And believe me, I heard them all on C-span. You can go ahead and believe whatever you want about the AUMF and the stand of most Dems in the prewar days. What I saw (my perspective, of course) was a feeble, even pathetically weak push-back among the majority of Dems against Bush's war evidence and war plans. So, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

little old jim,

"Wow, and all this time I thought that was precisely what I was arguing"

No, you were arguing that the 'challenges' to various evidence hadn't even appeared by the time of the AUMF. Hence your concern with 'timeline.' The public challenge to evidence was all that was necessary to implicate Bush in having deceived the American people, not 'proof.' Such 'proof' isn't even available today on most of these issues, except possibly for 'uranium from Africa.' There is probably an infinitely small chance that WMDs are buried somewhere in Iraq and have yet to be discovered. Challenges to evidence can sometimes not be proven but have to settled on 'preponderance of evidence.' Jury trials are decided on such all the time. This is another point you seem to be missing.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Dilan,

Thanks for your long response. I can't say I'm reassured though. I'm reacting to Obama purely on a 'vibe' level and sensing danger. This is such a strange primary season for me. I switch my support to a different candidate on almost a weekly basis...and I'm running out of candidates.
I'm guess I'll go with Kucinich for the primary and pray that the nominee will make things clearer by election day. Anyway, keep your excellent antenna out for a while longer, OK? Brojo suggests Obama connections to Archer Daniels Midland. There is such a thing in life as flying out of the frying pan into the fire.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: Bush was stupid to hang his hat so much on it, but to argue it was the sole reason is wrong.

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." -President Bush 3/6/03

Posted by: mr. irony on January 8, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta: Thanks for caring, but good gracious. I pointed out how your own link backed up my contention that Iraq had only made an offer in September 2002 and the Bush administration balked. Great guys, aren’t they? They wanted war. Thanks to Democrats, language was added to the AUMF to restart the UN process. I gave you an additional link where, in the wake of the AUMF, the UN order the resumption of work by the inspectors by a December 23 deadline. Are you actually reading my posts and the links? There is no doubt about this inspector issue.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_6_135/ai_n18614636

And see this link which specifically says the inspectors returned and worked from late November, 2002 to March 2003 when they had to flee due to Bush’s war.

http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL31671.pdf

And check out this link about how the treacherous Bush unilaterally ordered the inspectors by out of Iraq, without obtaining a UN Resolution to invade as every other country, even the British UN ambassador, said was understood in the first UN resolution. Bush is your bad guy.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/17/iraq/main544280.shtml

Finally, please hear my point when I say that Clinton, Kerry, and others were not saying there was solid evidence sufficient to go to war. They were saying the opposite. Read the contempraneous speeches they gave at the time of the AUMF if you want unfiltered access to their words.

Here is the text of her AUMF speech. This is not an MSM version, it’s the actual speech.

http://clinton.senate.gov/speeches/iraq_101002.html

Wow, hear is a YouTube on her AUMF speech I hadn’t seen before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wyCBF5CsCA

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta: Thanks for caring, but good gracious. I pointed out how your own link backed up my contention that Iraq had only made an offer in September 2002 and the Bush administration balked. Great guys, aren’t they? They wanted war. Thanks to Democrats, language was added to the AUMF to restart the UN process. I gave you an additional link where, in the wake of the AUMF, the UN order the resumption of work by the inspectors by a December 23 deadline. Are you actually reading my posts and the links? There is no doubt about this inspector issue.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_6_135/ai_n18614636

And see this link which specifically says the inspectors returned and worked from late November, 2002 to March 2003 when they had to flee due to Bush’s war.

http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RL31671.pdf

And check out this link about how the treacherous Bush unilaterally ordered the inspectors by out of Iraq, without obtaining a UN Resolution to invade as every other country, even the British UN ambassador, said was understood in the first UN resolution. Bush is your bad guy.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/17/iraq/main544280.shtml

Finally, please hear my point when I say that Clinton, Kerry, and others were not saying there was solid evidence sufficient to go to war. They were saying the opposite. Read the contempraneous speeches they gave at the time of the AUMF if you want unfiltered access to their words.

Here is the text of her AUMF speech. This is not an MSM version, it’s the actual speech.

http://clinton.senate.gov/speeches/iraq_101002.html

Wow, hear is a YouTube on her AUMF speech I hadn’t seen before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wyCBF5CsCA

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for your long response. I can't say I'm reassured though. I'm reacting to Obama purely on a 'vibe' level and sensing danger. This is such a strange primary season for me. I switch my support to a different candidate on almost a weekly basis...and I'm running out of candidates.
I'm guess I'll go with Kucinich for the primary and pray that the nominee will make things clearer by election day. Anyway, keep your excellent antenna out for a while longer, OK? Brojo suggests Obama connections to Archer Daniels Midland. There is such a thing in life as flying out of the frying pan into the fire.

As I said, the thing to remember about Obama is that even if he doesn't turn out as hoped, it will still set the precedent that will be in everyone's minds the next time someone tries to get us into a war of choice. So it still does some good.

As for ADM, I hate to disappoint you, but as long as Iowa has the first caucus, all viable Presidential candidates (save McCain, perhaps) are going to do its bidding.

Posted by: Dilan Esper on January 8, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

"... how she's likely to lose. Because the press doesn't like her."

How about the American don't like her and are tired of her bullshit husband?

...from a Republican, just changed parties here in CA to vote for Obama...AND donated money to him as well.

All you Clintonistas are what's wrong with your party.

Posted by: nietzshe's ghost on January 8, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim,

Good gwacious (sic), Charlie Brown! I think we should just call a truce here. We've both presented our views as best we could without swaying the other. It happens all the time. It's old news anyway. I'll look forward to reading your comments as usual, hopefully on topics on which we agree! Peace.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

PS to little ole jim,

Hillary is my senator. I sure don't need to read or hear that speech one more time in my life. Thanks anyway. Perhaps you should compare Hillary's speech to Byrd's. (Ugh, I really don't mean to continue pestering you. I'm just too stubborn by a long shot). I do understand your position on the AUMF and have respect for your position, but simply disagree with you. It's as simple as that.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

"As I said, the thing to remember about Obama is that even if he doesn't turn out as hoped, it will still set the precedent..."

But foreign policy is just 'one' of the major problems facing this country now and I agree we have to look to someone who will do all possible against the hawks in both parties and the military/industrial/corporate complex. I think Richardson has a foreign policy even less aggressive than Obama's. The question on al Qaeda in Pakistan in the last debate pretty much established that. But my worry about Obama is his call for bipartisanship more than anything else. I simply do not see that serving liberal interests. And on top of these particular worries comes his incredible charisma, almost impossible for me to withstand, but I want to go into this election with my eyes open. I'm just asking that you, someone who seems politically aware, keep your radar on and your investigative skills sharp. Anyway, thanks for your advice. I'll certainly keep it in mind.

Posted by: nepeta on January 8, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

ps back at ya: Obviously, nobody is likely to owe me an apology for being stubborn.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 8, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

pps: Got your message. Maybe we'll have the opportunity to lock horns again soon. (grin)

Posted by: nepeta on January 9, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Notice that when Bill cries the press is OK with that. Why?

Because Bill does the fake cry, and everyone knows it. It is a cheap pander, a political ploy to show his soft side, but fake.

When Hillary cries it is real, she is actually mourning the loss of entitlement to go shopping in Washington.

Posted by: Matt on January 9, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I got a big laugh out of reading some of the comments from the know-it-all types. You don't know much.

Obama can't win a national election. McCain would beat him by a mile.

Sad but true.

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