Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 13, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

CLINTON vs. McCAIN, ROUND 2....The other day I suggested that in a general election Hillary Clinton would probably do as well against John McCain as Barack Obama would. Basically, I figured that although Obama might do better at snagging independents than Clinton, Clinton might do better at winning the votes of women. What's more, McCain would play the experience card against Obama big time, but wouldn't have as much luck playing it against Clinton.

Which all sounds great, but what about those polls showing that Obama outperforms Clinton in a head-to-head matchup against McCain? Basically, my position on Wednesday was that these polls are meaningless this far ahead of the election. However, there's a new poll out that backs me up and gives Hillary a slight lead over Obama in a matchup against McCain, so naturally I'm reevaluating my position. Polls that suggest I'm right can't be completely meaningless, can they?

Kevin Drum 8:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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What you're really saying is that, like everybody else, you have no idea, and will have none until the votes are counted on Feb. 5, if then.

Posted by: Chris Brown on January 13, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, I think you were right about the polls the first time. Though probably also right in your analysis, which was what really matttered anyway.

Although something juts occured to me: the only way for Obama to beat Clinton is to overcome the "experience" hurdle (right?). In which case, if he does win, he'll be pretty well equipped to handle the same argument from McCain, won't he? Granted, I'm sure that McCain would find a way to raise the issue in a new way, but I don't know that it would have that much resonance. Conversely, if Obama can't address that argument now, he'll lose, which is good because it would mean he'd lose in the general. One more reason that a meaningful primary is a very good thing...

Posted by: Adam on January 13, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't know what to make of polls anyways, since New Hampshire.

Posted by: Boorring on January 13, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

And now that I've followed the link to the poll results I realize that you must be kidding, though I'm afraid I don't get the joke.

"new poll out that backs me up and gives Hillary a slight lead over Obama in a matchup against McCain"

"Slight lead" = 1%

Posted by: Chris Brown on January 13, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

What experience does Clinton have? A few more years in the Senate than Obama?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on January 13, 2008 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

If it makes you feel any better, polls and pundits thought the Dallas Cowboys and the Colts were going to win their respective playoff games today...

Posted by: adlsad on January 13, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Polls, shmolls. The bottom line is that conservatives detest McCain -- they call him the anti-conservative. He doesn't have a chance against anyone. Hugh Hewitt, arguably the premier conservative blogger, has tons of vitriol against McCain. For example--

Hewitt: When Santorum says that "we’re looking at the media trying to make Barack Obama the president, and make John McCain the shill for him," and "I think they know that John McCain can’t win this election," he is exactly on target.
http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/blog

Posted by: Don Bacon on January 13, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

You can't argue with polls. Pollsters are scientists.

Posted by: AJ on January 13, 2008 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

First, the odds are still against McCain getting the nomination.

Second, why would McCain not be able to play the experience card against a women with less experience than Lureen Wallace? And who's experience that can be quantified makes GWB's experience with Arbusto Oil look like Jack Welch at GE?

Third, it's obvious that Rove has loaned out his Diebold programmers to the Goldwater Girl's campaign, because he sees the potential strength of Obama's appeal. Even Kucinich knows that. It wasn't till this very day that I started suspecting Kevin is one of the Rovian deep cover agents as well. Polls be damned, we'll always have Diebold.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 13, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

None of the three have any real experience in foreign affairs other than of the posturing sort. None have been bureaucrats w/foreign policy responsibility (hello Bill Richardson !) & just have to spin their time as elected officials.

Not that this is anything new of course.

What a bunch of losers (tho not as big as those on the "other" side)

"Proof depends on who you are. We're looking for a preponderance of evidence, and some people need more of a preponderance than other people." - John Kantner

Posted by: daCascadian on January 13, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's our year. I don't think there's anyone the other side could put up that stands a chance. Voters know now that Republicanism is a disaster and they will eagerly vote for our fine fine fine Democratic candidate regardless of gender, color, or position on the issues.

In fact, I am so confident of this, that I am willing to spot the Republicans an entire YEAR of Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi do nothingism and then have our candidates cry and laugh on demand, and tell Republicans they are right to worry about SSI.

Bwahahah! WE CAN'T LOSE!!!!!

Posted by: jerry on January 13, 2008 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

here is something else to factor in: votes for Clinton as the Democratic nominee that she might have had, say, 2 weeks ago, versus now. I voted for Bill Clinton in 92 & 96; Gore in 00; Kerry in 04. I had long been telling friends that Hillary would be ok. But not any more. Have people noticed how quickly how ugly the campaign has gotten? Ok, it's not always true that where's there's smoke there's fire, but what is a certainty is that where the Clintons are, there's always smoke. Nastiness. Just look at today's back and forth. And intentional or not, does it matter in the end? So if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I will write in Obama on the ballot, or Gore, or maybe even go to McC ... no, just can't do it ... anyway, I'll figure it out, but I will not vote for her. Ain't gonna happen. ABC.

Posted by: SJW on January 13, 2008 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

As for the "experience" argument itself, I'd say on the surface it's pretty silly --that is, that the two candidates are roughly on equal terms there. Clinton knows the contours of the Executive branch better than Obama, but Obama has has more legislative experience than Clinton. Likewise with the related "talk vs. action" line -- if "action" here means writing and/or passing legislation, there are pretty equal arguments to be made for both candidates.

But Obama hasn't done a very good job of convincing people he's got the policy substance to back up his rhetoric. It's not just a question of having the substance; he's laid out as many, or close to as many, policy proposals as Clinton, with about the same level of specificity. Heck, even his book gets deep enough into policy specifics to satisfy most people. But none of the voters just now tuning in have a way of knowing this, and the responsibility is on him to show them "the beef." If he doesn't, he has little chance of winning the nomination.

I think this is deeply related to debate performances, the one arena where Obama has not done terribly well so far. He seems to do a great job at Town Halls in which he can take several minutes to get into policy nuances--he can get his wonk on as well as anyone. Indeed, it may be that had he held a few more town halls in NH, he could have swung things his way. He hasn't been so great, though, when he only has a minute or two to explain himself. So far, that's been okay, but looking to Feb. 5, those sound-byte moments are pretty much all he has to work with. If he doesn't figure out how to use them more effectively to convey a substance behind his rhetoric, the race will probably be Clinton's to lose.

Posted by: Adam on January 13, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

If 9 polls in New Hampshire varied wildly with the actual result only 3 days later, what chance has any poll, 10 months out & before final candidates are even known, at forecasting an actual result? Polls are useful snapshots of current opinion among necessarily small samples of the electorate. Even as indicators of wider, current opinion their margin for error is large. As predictors of opinion & actual voting behaviour 10 months in the future, they are basically worthless.

Any credible pollster will tell you that this poll, any poll, is simply a snapshot of current opinion, not a reliable predictor of future opinion or behaviour. That pundits and others try to use them that way is understandable, but they do so at their own peril.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on January 13, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's our year. I don't think there's anyone the other side could put up that stands a chance.

Jerry's being sarcastic, but I think this is basically correct.

BTW, I think the next year is likely bringing a nasty recession with it. Since the Civil War, no incumbent party has ever held the White House if there's a significant economic downturn during the campaign. This even leaving aside the Shrub's extraordinary unpopularity over nearly the entirety of his second term.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 13, 2008 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Now that we've run into identity group (primary) politics there are some dangers. If the group who identifies with the losing candidate thinks the process was unfair there could be serious defections come November. I wish the two campaigns, and their less well controlled partisan cheerleaders would keep this in mind.

So far the one invariant of this primary season seems to be that conventional wisdom is always wrong!

Posted by: bigTom on January 13, 2008 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

I mostly agree with the generally optimistic "whoever, we're gonna win" sentiment upthread.

But I worry. Hillary has been hit with all the Republican slime machine, AND the media Heathers, can muster. Obama has been hit with neither.

What's gonna happen when the Roves and the Matthewses open up on Obama? That WILL happen, sure as the sunrise.

It worries me a lot, actually.

Posted by: bleh on January 13, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

2008 is by no means a gimme for the Dems. And I think Kevin is wrong: McCain would crush Clinton like a bug.

If that's the match-up, he instantly becomes the feel-good candidate, beloved by the media, independents, and puppy dogs. He's the only GOP candidate who has any anti-Bush credentials (weak thought they may be post-2004), and in a general election he could play that up without any critical media scrutiny. Lots of Democratic-leaning men in swing states will vote for him, canceling out any boost HRC gets from GOP women. Meanwhile, I know lots of Republicans who are aching to cast a protest vote for the Dems this year, but only if it's Obama, and never for Hillary.

Personally, I like Hillary. But, as much as I hate to say it, George Will (!?!) was right to say that she has a ceiling of 52% of the vote, and that's if everything goes right for us this year. Obama could win in a landslide, although he's no lock either. Take it from a red stater, it will be a lot easier to drive around in the south and midwest this year with Obama stickers on our cars.

Posted by: RMcD on January 13, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Polling of head to head match ups is almost meaningless at this point. Look instead at favorable / unfavorables number to get a rough sense of how people feel about the candidates.

Posted by: ikl on January 13, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what stage McCain's melanoma is in (there are 4 stages, and it appears his family and doctors have been very careful not to mention which stage)?

This is a very important issue that can't be overlooked--a 71- or 72-year-old with a serious form of cancer, which might require further surgery, radiation, chemo.

Who will the VP be if he is elected? Will he be presidential material? Would we want Lindsey Graham next in line to become president? (My guess, however, is that the Graham Cracker has his sights set on becoming AG, since a key qualification is how little regard one has for the Constitution.)

At what point would McCain step down if his condition worsens to the point of his being unable to do the job?

What about the demands of being president on a man who is elderly and ill? Remember, if he is elected and serves two terms, he will be over 80 years old when he leaves office.

niland

Posted by: n on January 13, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

But I worry. Hillary has been hit with all the Republican slime machine... Obama has been hit with neither.

But she's been hit mainly in the press. The real test will come when the swiftboating starts -- the saturation ad campaign of misinformation. Which one of them will be the easier target, and which one will fight back more effectively? That's hard to predict, but it's a more relevant question than what current match-up polls say.

Posted by: JS on January 13, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck the Clintons.

Posted by: antiphone on January 13, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

JS: I'm not sure what "mainly in the press" means, but it seems to me that, over the past decade and a half, Clinton has been hit in pretty much every environment that's politically meaningful -- print media, TV, talk radio, blogs, mailers, etc. -- and on a wide range of personal and professional issues -- cheating Bill, body image, health-care systems, Iraq, etc. and etc.

I actually think she's benefiting these days from having been demonized so thoroughly -- she gets some airtime, and people realize she doesn't have horns and hooves -- although I don't know that she'll benefit much from that in a general election.

IOW, she's already been Swiftboated (Vince Foster, lesbianism, you name it), and she's not dead yet.

And what worries me is, can Obama survive the same treatment? Because there can be no doubt at all that he will be subjected to it...

Posted by: bleh on January 13, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Polls about the November election this early in the year are meaningless, yes. They can't reflect the dynamics of a two-candidate race in which one candidate must defend the record of an incumbent President of his own party, after that President's approval ratings have been bopping along around 30% for nearly two years.

Presidents who have reached the end of their second term far less unpopular than George W. Bush have handicapped the candidates from their own party that have tried to succeed them: Eisenhower, Johnson, Clinton all had the "time for a change" argument working against them; any Republican candidate this year will face that same argument, times about six. Obama or Clinton (or John Edwards, or Kevin Drum) might have a close race against John McCain. The campaign in November will actually be against McCain (or some other Republican) plus Bush. It will not be close.

Posted by: Zathras on January 13, 2008 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I agree with your premise that such polls are meaningless, coming as they do 11 months prior the election. While I think Hillary Clinton is the stronger candidate at this point, that's entirely my own opinion. Initially, I would have preferred John Edwards, but he's clearly out of it, and his arrogant remarks directed at Hillary Clinton really turned me off.

Therefore, provided that their respective egos don't get the better of them to the point that they beat each other senseless during the primary season, either Mrs. Clinton or Barack Obama would be fine candidates in the general election.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 13, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'll still, very reluctantly vote for Hillary -- but my guess is if she is the nominee -- by Feb 5th, she will have pulled off sooo many ugly stunts, that I might just stay home and forget it. And I'm not alone. That isn't whats gonna happen on the republican side, when they rally against hillary.

Posted by: Jor on January 13, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Early polls are poor predictors because voters are still not paying full attention to the race. Voters are saying they are more likely to vote for Obama and Clinton because the media is more enamored with the Democrats than the Republicans. When the general election comes, people will pay more attention to the Republicans.

Giuliani and Mccain both have their expertise in national security and terrorism. Romney has been an expert manager when he was a governor and as a corporate executive. None of the Democrats has the same expertise. These qualities will make the Republicans more difficult to beat in the general election than the polls first make it appear.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

McCain would be the ONLY Republican thus far that could turn the general election into a nail-biter, no matter who the Dems nominate-barring of course the entrance of a 3rd party spoiler or some other Republican being drafted at the convention. But, my n=1 *former* Guilliani supporter ("he's too MEAN") AND bible-thumper that I know (she hasn't been reading her bible too much lately) is thumbs down on McCain--"He's too old!"

My prediction: I think the Dems win big in 2008 no matter what.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 13, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

If as I suspect we are heading into a major recession, then I think indeed there will be a strong desire for an experienced leader McCain and Clinton.
Unfortunately there is a matter of timing here with the rush of early primaries. If the recession comes slowly then Obama might have enough delegates to nominate him. But then he could be hit in the summer or fall by a terrible economy which would favor McCain

Posted by: aeolius on January 13, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Unless a series of state polls show a consistent trend, this far out, they need to be taken with a grain of salt, or so I think. For instance, one blog post I read about this topic showed Clinton polling better than McCain in Virginia than she did against him in Ohio. Now both are likely to be swing states, but Virginia is definitely more conservative than Ohio. What's the deal with that?

Posted by: Brian on January 13, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

antiphone: "Fuck the Clintons."

You know, I thought about saying precisely that after the election in '92, but like I told Barbara, it just wouldn't have been prudent at that juncture.

So instead, I dropped 35,000 troops into Mogadishu -- yep, dropped 'em right smack-dab in the middle of a civil war -- and wished both of them a merry Christmas.

I might not have won that election, but I made sure that Ridley Scott fellow would get some really great material for a movie someday.

Posted by: George H.W. Bush on January 13, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

I worry a lot about a McCain-Obama match-up, only because we will still have troops in the field. In peacetime it would be no contest. Hillary has spent her time in the Senate learning about military affairs. She can use that to counter McCain at least a little. Obama has nothing in that regard.

Posted by: Dawn on January 13, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

By "in the press" I meant in newspapers and news stories, which don't reach as many people as a saturation ad campaign. Also, I'm not sure we can say with confidence that all the cards of a Republican negative campaign against Hillary (a swiftboating) are already in the open. If they're making stuff up, who says they can't always make more?

Posted by: JS on January 13, 2008 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that any one of the Republicans, especially the Mayor of 911, have even the slightest clue about national security is a joke. Not one of those 27 guys in the Volkswagon is fit to be president of the local neighborhood watch - let alone a nation trying to extricate itself from George W. Bush's disaster in Iraq.

Posted by: heavy on January 13, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Even if McCain gets elected (God forbid) this year, he won't serve a full term. He is headed for the boneyard in three years - max. The old coot is riddled with cancer. So, be very worried about his choice for VP....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 13, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only person who thinks John Edwards continued participation is hurting Obama? And has anybody else noticed that the way delegates are awarded in the Democratic primaries that Edwards could be setting himself up as king or queen maker.

How many winner take all states are there anyway?

Posted by: corpus juris on January 13, 2008 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does it matter which side of McCain's face you poll? They seem particularly creative with hiding it in shadows for his campaign literature and commercials.

Posted by: B on January 13, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are totally deluding yourself to think that Clinton is likely to do as well as Obama in a general election match up against any Republican. You have to factor in what Hillary Clinton does to the Republican base - it infuses them with energy and motivation they would not otherwise have this year, when they are otherwise divided and demoralized.

National polls at this stage are 100% meaningless. Look at the fundmentals. Hillary Clinton is HATED by many Americans. As a former first lady, even people with no interest in politics at all have developed hardened views of her. She has a low ceiling of support. She might be able to win, but she could never win big.

I think she is deadly at the top of the ticket in red states and swing states, which is why Obama is being endorsed by Democrats like Claire McCaskill and Ben Nelson.

Posted by: Fran on January 13, 2008 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mark Twain once wrote: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Posted by: Ya Know.... on January 13, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

I think I am a bell weather a head by a few weeks.

Every time that bitch opens her mouth and slimes and smears I get furious to the point of thinking i may not vote Dem after all. I would vote McCain over Billery. probably not any of the others

i just can not pull the lever for a third term of Billery.

They are a lot like Bush/Rove, smarter, not asbad, but we deserve much better.

THE CLINTONS SUCK

Posted by: gerard on January 13, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

These are "registered voters", and they always seem to favor democrats. It still looks good though. Id like to see the breakdown of voters by political party.

Posted by: Jonesy on January 13, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the posters here seem a little unhinged tonight in their hatred of Clinton. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that three new polls came out today showing her still leading in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: emmarose on January 13, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic overconfidence never ceases to amaze me. Yes, thanks to Bush the issue environment in 2008 looks good for us. But since when have Dems had an easy time taking the White House? How close was 1976, the last time the GOP looked so bad? Damned close, and we ended up with a one-termer with no political capital who helped usher in a period of GOP dominance. (Sorry, Jimmy.) Even the mighty Clinton struggled to his 43% in 1992.

Then there's the electoral college edge toward the GOP. Bill Clinton once said that he hadn't "broken" the GOP's lock on the electoral college, he'd just "picked" it. If HRC is the nominee, the GOP won't have to spend a dime defending the south or the plains. Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico will be about the only former red states in play. Against an uninspiring HRC campaign, McCain's age will play well in the first two, and his regionalism will help in the latter.

We need a powerful narrative to counter that strength, and Obama has easily the best narrative in this campaign. If the election is about "experience," McCain beats Hillary. Same if it's about military strength (I'm talking image here). Only Obama can bust out of those narratives by changing the terrain the election will be fought over. His youth will become a dramatic advantage over McCain, and the media herd will lap it up. That's partly why, as Fran points out, red state Dems are starting to endorse Obama.

Posted by: RMcD on January 13, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Experience. If that is such a great thing, how come the Bush cabinet, packed with "experienced" old hands such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice etc have failed so miserably in running the foreign and domestic policies?

If Obama is the Dem nominee, he should learn how to say what I said above. Of course, in a more palatable way. He should drive home the point that "experience", however you measure it, is unrelated to being a great President.

McCain, like Cheney, has a lot of experience being a politician. That doesn't mean the same thing as being an effective executive.

Posted by: rational on January 14, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

I keep hearing, Hillary has been hit by the slime machine and we know she is tough. It is not about how tough the candidate is, it is about how well the candidates public approval stands up to the slime. They are different things. Sure it helps if the candidate can take it, but that doesn't he his/her voters can.

IMO much of the slime was stuck to Hillary from years back, when most voters were not thinking of her as a candidate. They probably means they weren't thinking "she is a candidate I might want to vote for someday, I should make sure this stuff doesn't effect me". In Obama's case, they didn't start targeting him until he showed up as a viable candidate, so hopefully the voters anti-slime immune system has had a chance to fire up.

Posted by: bigTom on January 14, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Rasmussen has McCain up 49-38 over Clinton. While it appears that there may be a considerable GOP bias in his recent polling, this should give everyone a pause to consider.

Could it be that Clinton and maybe Obama are pretty weak candidates?

Posted by: mikeel on January 14, 2008 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

bleh: "What's gonna happen when the Roves and the Matthewses open up on Obama?"

...or the Clintons.

I'd like to see us stop talking about experience and start talking about leadership. Experience is a Clinton meme, they are trying to blur her eight years as First Lady into a resume line. On the dimension of leadership, there is no comparison between Clinton and Obama. She is a manager, he is a leader.

I am obliged to say the following over and over in the wan hope that someone will care. I have never voted for a Republican in my life, but if my choice next November is Clinton or McCain, my intention is to vote for McCain.

If Hillary is the Democratic choice, I will know that the Democrats have learned nothing from the past seven years and need a few more years in the wilderness.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 14, 2008 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

"How many winner take all states are there anyway?" - corpus juris

I'm sure you meant this as a rhetorical question but it got me curious. I can't find a definitive answer. The closest I got was that a "vast majority" of Dem primaries are proportional.

"Seeing the WINNER-TAKE-ALL primary as unfairly reducing the input of significant minority factions within the party in the presidential nominating process, the McGovern-Fraser reforms of the early-to-mid 1970's successfully promoted the so-called "PROPORTIONAL" type of primary as an alternative to be used in the Democratic Party's nomination process. In the PROPORTIONAL type of presidential preference primary, the district delegates are apportioned among the top vote-getters in each (usually congressional, but occasionally state legislative) district while the at-large delegates are apportioned among the top vote-getters statewide by the percentage of the vote received above a certain threshold (most often 15 percent: a figure actually mandated by the rules of the Democratic Party since 1992). This is the system used by the vast majority of the states holding presidential primaries in the Democratic Party;"

The Green Papers

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

"... but if my choice next November is Clinton or McCain, my intention is to vote for McCain." - PTate in MN

Ah, PTate, don't do that. Do what I'm planning to do if Clinton is the Dem nominee - stay home. That way I won't have to feel personally guilty for having voted for either one of them. I vote on an old-fashioned lever machine. I have no idea how to do a write-in on it. Maybe I should investigate that option.

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - Vote Edwards (he beats everyone)* and stop worrying.


*everyone not named Clinton or Obama

Posted by: vote Edwards on January 14, 2008 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

This is why Dems consistently lose. The Republicans rally around their candidate no matter, the Dems do their annual waiting for Godot act. I am voting for Clinton, Edwards, or Obama come hell or hight water.

I will not let the Rethugs win by sitting at home and congratulating myself on teaching the Dems and the country a lesson. How did that work in 2000? The Dems will never go with the Wellstone types until we have a solid majority and make the Republican Party a regional one. It won't happen with 5% of Dems sitting out, because they can't get over their irrational Clinted hatred, or their irrational fears of an Obama candidacy.

Hillary can win in places like VA and MO because many independent and Republican working women will vote for her. People don't get that dynamic, I don't think Obama has a comparable upside, even with all the paradigm shifting BS. Obama only has 28% compared to Hillary's 39% unfavorables. However, Obama already has 38% that will not vote for him compared to Clinton's 43%. Obama's negatives will rise very quickly, I think Clinton's as Drum has pointed out numerous times won't increase as quickly.

Clinton has been vetted against the Republican slime machine, Obama hasn't. I think that is a factor Dem primary voters need to take into account, when voting.

Posted by: harrys/mdana on January 14, 2008 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

If Hillary is the Democratic choice, I will know that the Democrats have learned nothing from the past seven years and need a few more years in the wilderness.

Wish I'd said that.

If she's the nominee, I'll get to do a write-in for the first time ever. I'm in a quandary, however, over which Duck to vote for: Daffy or Donald. Hmmm...what to do, what to do...

I'm leaning toward Daffy. There's too much conservatism in Donald's family; after all, there's his Uncle Scrooge, he's sure to be a Republican. Plutocratic to the core. Now, Daffy, on the other hand, he's totally unhinged, as Malkin would say, so he's gotta be a liberal moonbat. We could arrange a summit meeting with President Daffy and Ahmadinejad, and while they're shaking hands Daffy could slip him a bundle of dynamite and blow the bastard up and it wouldn't even be a suicide bombing, 'cause Daffy'd only get his bill blown off and singe some feathers, and heck, that happens in almost every Looney Tunes cartoon and he lives to tell about it every time, so...yeah, I'll proudly vote for Daffy Duck if I can't vote for Obama.

Sure as hell ain't voting for Hillary. Not. Gunna. Happen.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on January 14, 2008 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton has been vetted against the Republican slime machine, Obama hasn't. I think that is a factor Dem primary voters need to take into account, when voting.

You're dreaming. A Hillary candidacy would mobilize the right-wing as never before. They'd fight tooth-and-nail to destroy her. So what if Clinton has "been vetted" - if they can't use past scandals to smear her, they'll just make up new ones, and the media will back them up all the way!

Half the country hates her guts, and if she keeps up her bullshit attacks on Obama, I won't be the only Democrat voting for cartoon characters on Election Day.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on January 14, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm leaning toward Daffy..." - Screamin' Demon

One of the funniest and cleverest paragraphs I've read on this forum - EVER!

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that the Republican slime machine hates Hillary more than anybody else is a point in her favor. She's the greater threat to them.

Posted by: wobbly on January 14, 2008 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

Only Hillary believes that the "experience hurdle" is a tangible advantage for her. Voter surveys reveal an alternate reality: they don't care about experience.

I'd welcome a McCain-Obama matchup:

Old v. New
Old v. Young
Tired v. Vigorous
Past v. Future
Insider v. Outsider

Posted by: Ara on January 14, 2008 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know about this whole just as well thing, I mean I've been reading a lot of comments beneath articles dealing with that whole "shuck and jive" thing go something like "I'm African American, and I won't vote for Clinton - at least McCain is honorable."

Now it might be tempting to write those statements off, but if I were Karl Rove's replacement, I'd put the offending statements in mailers and send them to every African American in Florida and Ohio right before election day. It may be a fatal wound.

Posted by: Dirk on January 14, 2008 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

An anecdote is only worth as much as... an anecdote but well, here goes. I have three pretty good friends who are Republicans (better perhaps to say, have been Republicans up to now and I like to think the articles/books I've passed their way and talks we've had have had some effect). All three say they will likely vote for the Democratic candidate in 2008 - for one of the guys it will be the first time he's done this in 40 years of voting (He was shocked to learn in Jon Chait's book that the top tax bracket had moved all the way from 90 down to 28%). They have but one caveat. Unfortunately that caveat is that they will vote for the Democratic candidate unless that candidate happens to be Hillary. They would all vote for JM over HRC without hesistation...

This is no reason not to support Hillary. It is an anecdote involving just three people. They just happen to be the three Republican voters I know best.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 14, 2008 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

a few short weeks ago Rudy was the front runner and now he's toast - polls are meaningless this far ahead since voters in our absurd democracy vote by 'feeling it' and therefore have no real sense at all right now of what the various match-ups will feel like to them. But if one wants to actually try and look at it logically, it's obvious what kind of campaign war hero McCain would run against untested neophyte Obama and it's not too hard to imagine that being a winning strategy - whereas how McCain could successfully contrast himself with Hillary is not so clear - and so my guess would be any poll showing Obama doing well against McCain would be wishful thinking at best.

Posted by: huff on January 14, 2008 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

it's obvious what kind of campaign war hero McCain would run against untested neophyte Obama

The task would be to tie McCain to Bush and run a hope vs. fear campaign. Successfully played, upbeat beats downbeat.

For what it's worth too, one of the best synopses I've seen of the Democratic primary is
this one
by Albert Hunt (though Edwards gets left out as usual).

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 14, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the head to head polls consistently showed Edwards doing very well against the Republican contenders (until CNN started avoiding putting him in the mix). But why should the democratic party care? Its f-----g itself at this point.

Posted by: pollposition on January 14, 2008 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

"upbeat beats downbeat" - dubious, and it assumes McCain's message would play "down" - but even if one accepts your point one 'international incident' can change dynamic overnight and then hope becomes a pretty thin platform.

Posted by: Gaunt John on January 14, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

What if we are in a recession in a general election, are people going to trust Obama? Hillary won the very worried about the economy vote 40-36 which was 58% of the electorate.

McCain won the other side on that question by 10 pts, when he won the contest overall by 5 pts.

When people are worried about the economy, they tend to go with experience. Even though Bill Clinton was about Obama's age in 1992, he had 12 years experience as governor.

Posted by: h on January 14, 2008 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

When people are worried about the economy, they tend to go with experience. Even though Bill Clinton was about Obama's age in 1992, he had 12 years experience as governor.

which paled in comparison with the experience of George the Elder. Your example defeats your own premise.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 14, 2008 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

The many "great" accomplishments of Hillary Clinton:

Hillary did nothing to prevent the Senate confirmation of John Ashcroft.
Hillary did nothing to prevent the Senate confirmation of Alberto Gonzales.
Hillary did nothing regarding the failed Senate confirmation of John Bolton.
Hillary voted FOR cloture on the nomination of corrupt corporatist Priscilla Owen, clearing the way for her confirmation to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hillary voted FOR cloture on the nomination of unqualified fascist Janice Rogers Brown, clearing the way for her confirmation to the DC Court of Appeals.
Hillary voted FOR cloture on the nomination of religious zealot and homophobe William H. Pryor, clearing the way for his confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hillary voted FOR cloture on the nomination of John Roberts, clearing the way for his confirmation as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Hillary said little or nothing during the Senate confirmation of Samuel Alito.
Hillary did nothing to prevent the Senate confirmation of Michael Mukasey.
Hillary said nothing during this summer's vote on the Iraq War Supplemental.
Hillary said little or nothing during the vote to extend FISA.
Hillary said little or nothing on the Walter Reid scandal, even though she sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Hillary has said nothing during the current debate on Telecom Immunity.
Hillary has said nothing on the possible impeachment of Dick Cheney.
Hillary has said nothing on the possible impeachment of George Bush.
Hillary has said nothing on the myriad scandals surrounding the current administration.
Hillary campaigned for Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont.
Hillary did nothing to stop Medicare Part D.
Hillary did nothing to stop the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill.
Hillary voted FOR the 2001 Bankruptcy Bill.
Hillary proposed legislation to ban flag burning.
Hillary voted FOR the USAPATRIOT act.
Hillary voted FOR the reauthorization of the USAPATRIOT act.
Hillary voted AGAINST an amendment that would prohibit the use of cluster bombs against civilian targets.
Hillary voted FOR the Iraq War Resolution.
Hillary voted FOR the Kyl/Lieberman amendment.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on January 14, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Polls that suggest I'm right can't be completely meaningless, can they?
—Kevin Drum

Heh. True dat.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Senator Clinton get a pass on experience?
Her CV:
Professional Experience:
Attorney, Rose Law Firm, 1976-1992
Faculty, University of Arkansas Law School, 1975
Author
Former Staff Attorney, Children's Defense Fund.

Political Experience:
Candidate, United States President, 2008
Senator, United States Senate, 2000-present
First Lady, President Bill Clinton, 1992-2000
First Lady, State of Arkansas, 1978-1980, 1982-1992.

Organizations:
Co-Founder, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Board Member, Arkansas Children's Hospital
Board Member, Children's Defense Fund
Board Member, La Farge
Board Member, The Country's Best Yogurt Company
Board Member, Wal-Mart.

She has done some public service work prior to her 7 years of elected office but also sat on Walmart's board during their worst years of gutting the economies of small towns across America.
When she trots out the "35 years of working for change" why doesn't someone call her on it? Experience? We're talking about the junior Senator from NY not Joe Biden.

Posted by: Wally on January 14, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Am I the only person who thinks John Edwards continued participation is hurting Obama?

Posted by: corpus juris

No, you're not the only one. I just can't see Edwards supporters -- especially with an endorsement by Edwards of Obama -- going for Clinton.

I think HRC is very lucky Edwards is hanging in there. If Edwards bowed out, and supported Obama, she would be well behind in the polls.

I can understand Edwards wanting to stay in -- and his supporters wanting him to do so -- but my greatest fear is that it prolongs the race and guarantees a continuation of HRC's use of surrogates to bring race and drug use into the debate. In my mind, there is no question at this point that they are baiting Obama and his supporters.

A nasty race-laden battle could really hurt the dems in the fall and hand the White House to the repugs. At some point, heavy weights in the party are going have to step in and call for an end to the race baiting. Enough is enough.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 14, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

If the nominees are decided on Super Tuesday, February 5, for the rest of the campaign, it is going to be set-piece speeches and probably three one on one one hour and halfnational debates, with each candidate speaking 45 minutes. I think it is a no -brainer who most Americans would rather listen to...No one has ever said that Obama is boring..George Will describes him as the most interesting American politician to come along in the last 30 years. The New Hampshire Democrat exit polls show voters are

still looking for change (54 percent) over experience (19 percent) and that they overwhelmingly associate Mr. Obama with the former and Mrs. Clinton with the latter. By change, they don't mean merely a tuneup.

And the Republican voters voiced similar concerns.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on January 14, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for that list, Praedor Atrebates. I'm keeping it in a file for future reference.

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton v. Russert

Was anyone else annoyed watching Keith Olbermann on Friday when Olbermann's guest referred to Russert's "brilliant approach to questioning"?

Russert? The guy who is just as schmucky as all the rest of the news do-nothings? Who occasionally asks a hard question, but then doesn't do follow-up, especially if he's dealing with a Republican? THAT puffed-up, overpraised, phony old fart?

Feel free to discuss Russert's Sunday-morning interview with Clinton. I would certainly never watch it.

Posted by: Anon on January 14, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

"which paled in comparison with the experience of George the Elder. Your example defeats your own premise."

Not really he was a governor so he had 12 years of executive experiend compared to Bush's 0.

In terms of experience, at least it was comparable to Bush Sr. How will Obama's 3 1/2 years compare to McCain's 25 years in Congress?

Posted by: harrys/mdana on January 14, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

" if I were Karl Rove's replacement, I'd put the offending statements in mailers and send them to every African American in Florida and Ohio right before election day."
Posted by: Dirk on January 14, 2008 at 7:33 AM

Spoken like a true Democrat.
If you were really Karl Rove's replacement, you'd be having someone with whom you had no known or traceable connection sending mailers to every African American urging them to get out and vote in their district's election, which is of course on Thursday... and reminding them that if they've ever been arrested for any reason, they have to bring a permission slip from the police. And, of course, they have to have no outstanding debts, as debt enforcement officers will be present at every voting location to vet all voters, ensuring that their debts are fully paid before they're allowed to vote. And a couple other things that my imagination isn't quite twisted enough to anticipate, probably involving bogus "quotes" from Jesse and Al.

Posted by: smartalek on January 14, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to pose a question to Kevin and the Hillary supporters on this comments site, and I assure you I'm asking this completely without snark -- what are you talking about when you refer to Hillary's experience advantage? I know I'm a Republican and sometimes considered a troll, but I consider myself an above average follower of public affairs, and am willing to admit it when I think my side has made a bad call - but I cannot grasp the appeal of this woman. From her powers of observation and discernment (Bill was spending so much time with Monica because he was counseling her) to her fatwas against cooperating with the press, especially the NYTimes, refusing to defuse Whitewater stories, cattle futures stories, billing records stories, etc. (read George Stephanopoulos' forehead slapping account in All Too Human) to her Cheneyesque double secret healthcare task force planning to assign doctors by an affirmative action formula, what experience makes her preferable to Obama?

Someone upthread pointed out the distinction between leadership and experience, and I think that's what you folks are missing. Hillary may have sat in on a few more meetings than Obama, but I think she'd have trouble leading a three year old to the crapper - that's why I think she should stay in the Senate.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 14, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"If Hillary is the Democratic choice, I will know that the Democrats have learned nothing from the past seven years and need a few more years in the wilderness. "

You are right on the money. I live in the San Francisco bay area and almost everyone I know is a Democrat or leans that way. I can't recall anyone who's enthusiastic about her. Nose pinched resignation is the best response in my circle of friends. Personally, I've never voted Republican in my life, but if Hillary get's the nomination, I'll be more than happy to give them my vote. There's no way in hell I'm giving my vote to another DLC, corpratist, triangulating, full of crap, Democratic candidate.

Posted by: SPROCKET on January 14, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

This is off topic, but I don't know where else to put it. I want to comment on the brouhaha about the Oliphant HIllary and the Bad Guys cartoon.

In my high school NY Regents exams, we were always asked to interpret historical editorial cartoons in light of what we had learned about that period of American history. This would be an excellent one to use. Initially, my disgust with the cartoon was balanced by hilarity at the cartoonist's delusion that 60-year old-women suffers from PMS. One of the great things about turning 60 is that both PMS and menopause symptoms are a distant memory. Hillary is an excellent exemplar of the postmenopausal zest of older women that the anthropologist Margaet Mead spoke about. Women my and Hillary's age would be the best guardians of the nuclear button if the US could summon up enough courage to watch a woman age each and every single day.

The more I thought about it, the more I suspected the cartoon has been completely misunderstood. According to Wikipedia, Oliphant's trademark is a small penguin character named Punk, who is often seen making a sarcastic comment about the cartoon. The PMS remark is an important clue. Hillary is depicted as an old women and people still rant about PMS.

In 2005, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee expressed concern that some of Oliphant's caricatures were racist and misleading. That is important to know. Oliphant is criticizing sexist media attacks on Hillary by equating them to the rapid misogyny in some of the Arab world. After all, the world leaders repeating the US media attacks.

The demand of some liberal bloggers for Oliphant's firing is far more offensive than the cartoon. Pat Oliphant is 72 years old. The New York Times has described him as the"most influential cartoonist now working." In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, Oliphant won the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award seven times in 1971, 1973, 1974, 1984, 1989, 1990, and 1991, the Reuben Award twice in 1968 and 1972 and the Thomas Nast Prize.

The responsibility of political cartoonists is to offend us enough to shake up our knee-jerk assumptions and reactions. When a cartoonist with such a superb reputation produces something at first glance so offensive, we owe him the respect of thinking about it. My 31-year -old daughter instantly "realized that it was completely tongue-in-cheek and making fun of the idea that some people actually think this is what it would mean to have a woman president." My 34, 29, and 25 year old daughters agree with her. None of them believes the 72-year-old most influential political cartoonist in the country doesn't know that HIllary is ten years beyond PMS.

Posted by: Redstocking on January 14, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK
….McCain would crush Clinton like a bug….RMcD at 9:12 PM
Yup, selling Bomb Bomb Iran to the voters will be a cakewalk.
the easier target, and which one will fight back more effectively? …JS at 9:18 PM
Clinton is already being swift-boated by the media: Russert, NYTimes. Washpost, Matthews, and the others. Here is one thing that Obama and will be facing

...Long before the national media spotlight began to shine on every twist and turn of his life's journey, Barack Obama had this to say about himself: "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. . . . I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind."….

That is not good.

Then there is this other item land deal
…. In June 2005, in what Obama now describes as a "boneheaded" mistake, Obama and Rezko's wife bought adjacent properties on Chicago's South Side, closing the deals on the same day. Seven months later, wanting a bigger yard for his $1.65 million house, Obama bought a slice of the Rezko property for $104,500….

This isn't particularly good either but not as bad.

So far, there have been a number of media false claims on Obama that have merited rebukes: religion, and foreign schooling have been the main two. If Obama become the nominee, all this become pretty intense.

Posted by: Mike on January 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK
….Giuliani and Mccain both have their expertise in national security and terrorism….ex-lax at 10:24 PM
Dave, --- may I call you Dave? --- Neither one has any experience in national security and terrorism
….If they're making stuff up, who says they can't always make more? JS at 10:32 PM
O, they will. They did that to Al Gore and they will continue.
…you have to factor in what Hillary Clinton does to the Republican base ,,,Fran at 10:49 PM
Will the Republican al-qaeda be a fired up for a Mormon or the hated McCain?
Democratic overconfidence never ceases to amaze me. ….RMcD at 11:39 PM
Me either. Nothing is given. They ran 50 000 negative ads against Kerry before the conventions.
When she trots out the "35 years of working for change" why doesn't someone call her on it? …. Wally at 9:45 AM …. I think she'd have trouble leading a three year old to the crapper - that's why I think she should stay in the Senate….mr insensitive at 12:04 PM
You could check out her activist record which is pretty impressive, or you could just repeat the same old same old. Posted by: Mike on January 14, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton is already being swift-boated...

Oh, you mean people who worked closely with her and observed her for years are coming out and saying she's not worthy? Because that is what a swiftboating is. You're just talking about slime as usual.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, you mean people who worked closely with her and observed her for years are coming out and saying she's not worthy? Because that is what a swiftboating is.

Oh, you sanctimonious fucking liar--

The vast majority of the Swift Boat Veterans who Lied about Kerry never even served in Vietnam with or even at the same time he did. John O'Neill, the main organizer and author of the Swift Boat book, took command of PCF 94 more than five months AFTER Kerry left Vietnam.

Give it a rest and get back on your meds.

From the Nixon White House tapes:
April 23, 1971: Oval Office meeting with Haldeman, Kissinger
President: Apparently, this fellow, uh, that they put in the front row, is that what you say, the front [unintelligible] the real stars? Kerry.
Haldeman: Kerry. He is, he did a hell of a great job on the, uh --
President: He was extremely effective.
Haldeman: [Unintelligible] he did a superb job on it at Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. A Kennedy-type guy - he looks like a Kennedy and he, and he talks exactly like a Kennedy.
Kissinger : [Unintelligible].
President: Where did he serve?
Haldeman: He was a Navy lieutenant, jg., on a gunboat.

[edit]

Haldeman: He was only over there for, I thinks it's four months or five months.
President: Bob, the Navy didn’t have any casualties in Vietnam except in the air.
Haldeman: Well, this guy got a Purple Heart with two clusters and the Navy Star. He's got a hell of a bundle of lettuce up here.

---------------------------------

June 2, 1971: Oval Office meeting with Bob Haldeman
Haldeman: We got these guys now forming this Veterans for a – Peace with Justice, or uh – the veterans –
Nixon: They came in to see me? Are they here?
Haldeman: No we don’t want them to be able to see you yet. We don’t want to –
Nixon: Who are they?
Haldeman: Well, it’s this guy, uh, he’s got a beard, one of ‘em, and there’s this Navy officer [John O'Neill], just got out yesterday –
President: Yeah.
Haldeman: -- crew cut, real sharp looking guy who is more articulate than Kerry. He’s not as eloquent; he isn’t the ham that Kerry is. But he’s more believable.

[edit]

Haldeman: Colson put this together.

[edit]

Haldeman: This guy now [O’Neill], is gonna, he’s gonna move on Kerry. He’s gonna move around the country.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 14, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

The vast majority of the Swift Boat Veterans who Lied about Kerry never even served in Vietnam with or even at the same time he did. John O'Neill, the main organizer and author of the Swift Boat book, took command of PCF 94 more than five months AFTER Kerry left Vietnam.
Posted by: Pale Rider

Red herring, you miserable aged piece of crap. Of the 19 Boat CDRs pictured in that famous "band of brothers" shot, 3 supported him, 11 thought him unfit for command and others passed away.

That is what a swiftboating is.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Red herring, you miserable aged piece of crap. Of the 19 Boat CDRs pictured in that famous "band of brothers" shot, 3 supported him, 11 thought him unfit for command and others passed away.

You're a sad excuse for a miserable pile of shit, Mike.

I'm not even forty, dickweed.

And so why did O'Neill write the book? Why did O'Neill go on TV as the de facto spokesman of the group? Why did he organize the money and the publication? Why did O'Neill do all of these things, going so far as to, I don't know, perhaps pay people to lie?

Come on. Everything you need to know about this is found in the Nixon tapes. The Bushies just went back to O'Neill and updated the playbook.

You have no fucking idea how to behave in public anymore. Jeebus, man. Lock it up and take it elsewhere. No one likes to see the same trainwreck again and again and again.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 14, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

And so why did O'Neill write the book? Why did O'Neill go on TV as the de facto spokesman of the group? Why did he organize the money and the publication? Why did O'Neill do all of these things, going so far as to, I don't know, perhaps pay people to lie?
Posted by: Pale Rider

Stop with the diversions, dumbass. Who gives a shit. Red Herring, moron.

His band of brothers, a bond formed in combat, thought him unworthy. Of the 19 Boat CDRs pictured in that famous "band of brothers" shot, supported him, 11 thought him unfit for command.

That is what a swiftboating is.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Redstocking, a very interesting analysis, thank you.

I wish us liberals would stop claiming we believe in free speech. Apparently you get one cartoon off, and it's off with your head.

Posted by: jerry on January 14, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Boat commanders or boat crew?

Pathetic.

Sad and pathetic.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 14, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, you mean people who worked closely with her and observed her for
years are coming out and saying she's not worthy? Because that is what a
swiftboating is.

No, that's not what swiftboating is. Swiftboating is exploiting one's
happenstance relationship to a subject to confuse one's personal and
political opinions of the subject with their professional performance in
order to smear them.

The eleven vets who said they thought he was unfit for command
because of Kerry's post-war politics and actions - and not
because of anything that happened while they served with him.

They used false and misleading criteria on which to criticise him,
allowing the perception that their refusal to support Kerry had
something to do with his performance in combat when in fact it just
boiled down to their own personal politics.

From the original letter written on their behalf:

First, the use of the eleven images in this political campaign wrongfully and incorrectly suggests their present endorsement of his candidacy for President of the United States of America...In fact, as has long been evident to Senator Kerry, all of these gentlemen have felt anything but comradeship with him at any time since his slanderous testimony before Congress in 1971 and other pronouncements that he and they committed war crimes and atrocities.

When it became clear that attacking Kerry for his views of the war
wasn't gaining real traction, then a few were convinced to cast doubts
on his combat record by making claims they couldn't back up, because all
it takes is doubts, right?

It was a despicable, dishonorable stunt, and they abused their service
records when they engaged in it.

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

It was a despicable, dishonorable stunt, and they abused their service
records when they engaged in it.
Posted by: trex

It was a despicable, dishonest stunt for Kerry to use their pictures in his Band of Brothers photo, suggesting they somehow supported him, and they came out and cleared the record.

Kerry opened that bag of worms.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

The eleven vets who said they thought he was unfit for command because of Kerry's post-war politics and actions - and not because of anything that happened while they served with him.

That's because Kerry, in his post-war politics and actions, made up lies about what happened when he was serving with them. They didn't know he was a lying SOS until he started telling lies. Duh.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: No, the photo served to legitimately highlight Kerry's service, which
happened to be, you know, on a swift boat.

The "bag of worms" had nothing to do with the photo and everything to do
with Rove's plan to use Kerry's post-war statements against him in a
smear campaign were he to receive the Democratic nomination, and a
couple of shitheads from his unit were just useful patsies.

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

The "bag of worms" had nothing to do with the photo and everything to do with Rove's plan to use Kerry's post-war statements against him in a smear campaign were he to receive the Democratic nomination, and a couple of shitheads from his unit were just useful patsies.
Posted by: trex

Yea, those Naval Officers are a bunch of patsies. And no way Kerry should have had his post-war statements about his service considered as part of the candidacy, although certainly the fact that he served was very important. Reporting for duty!

There's slime as usual, and there's swiftboating. Learn the difference.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

The VA has more than 50 Texas locations.

Go. Get. Checked. Out.

Not. A. Moment. Too. Soon.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 14, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

One thing to keep in mind is that Hillary's negatives are baked into these numbers; Barack's and McCain's are yet to be explored.

Posted by: bob h on January 14, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yea, those Naval Officers are a bunch of patsies.

Yep, the ones who allowed themselves to be part of the smear campaign were indeed patsies. Service in the armed forces doesn't preclude one from engaging criminal or dishonorable activity, including garden-variety patsiedom. Gulf of Tonkin anyone?

And no way Kerry should have had his post-war statements about his service considered as part of the candidacy, although certainly the fact that he served was very important.

Um no, the argument was that the swift boaters shouldn't have pretended their objection was about Kerry's service when it was really about his politics and truth telling. Obfuscate much?

Kerry's "sin" was telling hard truths about a war that saw fragging, My Lai, widespread drug use, and rapes.

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Um no, the argument was that the swift boaters shouldn't have pretended their objection was about Kerry's service when it was really about his politics and truth telling. Obfuscate much?
Posted by: trex

After the war, Kerry made comments about what he did during the war that slimed fellow Naval Officers he served with and that they felt were lies. They took issue with it then, and still do to this day. That is the underlying basis of everything. It really is that simple to understand.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 14, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

After the war, Kerry made comments about what he did during the war that slimed fellow Naval Officers

a) He didn't "slime" anyone, he testified to what he'd witnessed

b) I know vets who witnessed the same and worse atrocities that Kerry testified to

c) your newest description of swift boating as political objection contradicts the definition of swift boating as "judgment based on close working relationships" you made upthead.

You twist and dissemble to try and win an argument. It really is that simple to understand.

Posted by: trex on January 14, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

I see only one way for the Democrats to lose the presidential race in '08, and that's to run Clinton against McCain.

As Matt Taibbi just remarked on Bill Maher the other night "Over 70% of the country wants out of Iraq, but we'll be nominating the two most pro-war candidates. How much more evidence do you need that the system is fucked-up?"

On the single-most important issue of the day, there's not a dime's worth of difference between Clinton and McCain, and McCain at least doesn't have her huge negatives.

Posted by: Brautigan on January 14, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

What exactly is the difference between Hillary Clinton, McCain and George W. Bush?

http://posterspost.com/?p=10

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