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Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

RETURN TO SANITY?....Barack Obama on race and gender issues in the campaign:

I think that I may disagree with Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We're all Democrats. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. We all believe that regardless of race or gender that people should have equal opportunities....I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think they care about the African-American community and that they care about all Americans and they want to see equal rights and justice in this country.

Hillary Clinton:

Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women's rights movement, workers' rights movement, and other movements for justice in America. We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes — President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King — Senator Obama and I are on the same side.

Good. Maybe this will put a stop to the ugliness. We'll see. But as long as I'm on the subject, can I ask what the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny was thinking when he wrote this?

News conferences are a rarity for Mr. Obama. The last formal one — with chairs for reporters and a flag backdrop for him — was a month ago in Iowa. It was not immediately clear why he called one today, except to be seen as taking the high road heading into a key debate in Nevada on Tuesday with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards.

Excuse me? I lean toward the cynical side myself, but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit? Crikey.

Kevin Drum 8:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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Comments

Well, we don't know what's in his heart of hearts. But surely there might be a strategic reason for him to try to put an end to the silliness: That the conversation is dragging both of them down, that he's not sure he'll get the best of it in the end, and he'd rather take the change that the the subject will change to something more clearly flattering to him. None of this is incompatible with acting purely on principle, but the strategy has to enter his mind -- he'd be a lousy politician if it didn't.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA on January 14, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Too late to rescue this clown show. Requesting a write-in ballot and writing in Gore seems more and more like the only good choice.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 14, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

It was a *necessary* political gambit, Kevin. It is in his best interest not to let the Clinton's frame the race in a gender/race focus. The idea is to short-circuit any attempts by the Clinton campaign to do that, and the best way to get race distractions decoupled is to "take the high road" and to make it clear he doesn't want his supporters making things inadvertently tougher for him.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 14, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, before the ink is dry, Charlie Rangel says this from NYC:

"In a candid interview on "Inside City Hall," Rep. Charles Rangel calls Barack Obama "absolutely stupid" for attacking Hillary Clinton for remarks she made about President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Of course, Obama never attacked Clinton, but that's been lost in the fog war.

Hell, at this rate, I'm starting to look forward to voting for McCain, who makes me scream at the TV more often than not.

Posted by: pls on January 14, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Obama has publicly called off the attack I think we can expect this controversy to dry up very quickly. That will be a clear indication of who was driving the stories.

Posted by: tib on January 14, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Things are looking better for McCain tonight, and Kevin is still for the Dowager Empress until she gets him really, really angry for a couple of days straight. How Kevin could be shocked, SHOCKED! by Hillary's brass knuckles approach to this issue is mystifying. And she's still trying the functional equivalent of making the casino workers go and get a new photo ID at the last minute in Nevada -- doesn't that disqualify her?

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 14, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

As solid an "endorsement", albeit negatively cast, as I can imagine! A sincerely combative opponent of the astoundingly unrestrained Corporatism in this country sounds immensely palatable as a presidential candidate:

U.S. Corporate Elite Fear Candidate Edwards
by Kevin Drawbaughby [Guardian/UK]

Ask corporate lobbyists which presidential contender is most feared by their clients and the answer is almost always the same -- Democrat John Edwards.

The former North Carolina senator's chosen profession alone raises the hackles of business people. Before entering politics, he made a fortune as a trial lawyer.

In litigious America, trial lawyers bring lawsuits against companies on behalf of aggrieved individuals and sometimes win multimillion-dollar settlements. Edwards won several.

But beyond his profession, Edwards' tone and language on the campaign trail have increased business antipathy toward him. His stump speeches are peppered with attacks on "corporate greed" and warnings of "the destruction of the middle class."

He accuses lobbyists of "corrupting the government" and says Americans lack universal health care because of "drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists." ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on January 14, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I lean toward the cynical side myself, but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit?

I must be more cynical than you, because I really can't conceive of any of the candidates calling such a news conference except as a "purely political gambit". That means Obama, Hillary, or Edwards.

Besides, it's hardly as if there's a real conflict in the extreme cases between doing the right thing and doing the right thing politically: at a certain point, when the craziness gets too great, a "return to civility and reason" is exactly what the public wants and will reward -- as well it should.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 14, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK


The reason for this entire "race card" tit for tat from Obama and Hill was to marginalize Edwards. Notice how no one in the mainstream press, other than the always-insightful Krugman, has even mentioned Edwards in the last 5 days?

Everyone took the bait.

Hillary and Obama would love for Edwards to be written off, because he runs policy circles around both of them and makes their identity-driven campaigns look shallow.

It's just so clearly what this doh-see-doh was about. Mission accomplished: John who?


Posted by: jaymay on January 14, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, tib.

Obama just showed a very Presidential response to an extremely low blow from his opponent. Anybody who thinks he can't beat the Republican slime machine should be heartened by the way he just owned the debate here. By elevating it, he neutralized sleazy attacks and even turned them to his advantage by effectively using the bully pulpit of his candidacy.

It was very well done, and it's something that though they've "survived" attacks, the Clintons have never been capable of.

Posted by: anonymiss on January 14, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think what the reporter was trying to say was that Obama didn't give a reason for the press conference, which candidates normally do.

Posted by: Alex Parker on January 14, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

This issue was driven by press gossip. They love an easy story that writes itself, where they can be cynical and not research anything, nor write about boring policy.

But in general, I don't know why this idea that HRC was treated unfairly in the press came from - she's their candidate, for the most part. Sensing a Repub loss, the neo-cons have hedged their bets by hitching their wagon to Hillary...

She has acted like a hawk on the right issues, genuflected to the right people, promised support to the right groups. The AEI, TNR, NYT, WashPo, Brookings people have picked her.

Now, individual stories might criticize her on surface issues, because the catty press just can't resist falling back into their old, easy narratives. The ice queen, the manipulative woman.

But they want her to win. Obama's Arab-killing bona fides are suspect.

Posted by: luci on January 14, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Kevin; Zelaney's post is extremely cynical. Note the picture at the top of Obama supporters with very silly looking grins just below the headline Obama Tries to Stop the 'Silliness'. Although Charley on the MTA's is almost certainly correct, as well; I could hardly imagine Obama not analyzing the move from a tactical standpoint, even if political gain wasn't his primary motivation.

I'm reminded of David Foster Wallace's essay "Up Simba" on the McCain 2000 primary campaign (one of the two or three best essays I've read on contemporary politics, IMHO). Wallace starts off as a pretty serious cynic, but at some point, even as he continues to disagree with McCain's politics on every level, he starts to view his own cynicism as being nearly as dangerous as naively taking politics at face value. It's an extraordinary read, and eminantly applicable to the current races (though as far as I know the only way to get it is as a paid download from Amazon.com -- it was written for Rolling Stone, but in typical Wallace fashion the original essay was so long it would not only have taken up every column inch in the magazine, but also eaten into the advertising space...)

Posted by: Adam on January 14, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

I can press when there needs to be pressed. I can hold hands when there needs to be — hold hands.
--George W. Bush, White House, Jan. 6, 2008

Posted by: Quotation Man on January 14, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

I did a double-take on that too. (Obamamaniac, here)

But let's cut the reporter some slack. Every reporter knows by now the meme "The media likes Obama better." So, he's probably bending over backwards.

People, including reporters, respond to getting beaten up. So, I call it an attempt at fairness, and inconsequential overall.

Posted by: Stephen on January 14, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Good. Maybe this will put a stop to the ugliness."

"I lean toward the cynical side myself..."

Stick on the cynical side, then you won't be disappointed.

If the choice is running a principled campaign and letting the voters decide or winning at all cost, I think the Clintons will go with winning.

Posted by: Chris Brown on January 14, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK
And she's still trying the functional equivalent of making the casino workers go and get a new photo ID at the last minute in Nevada -- doesn't that disqualify her?

Looks to me like the casino's made a power play for a priviledged position and there was no way it wouldn't be challanged. Why should casino workers be allowed to caucus at the work place? Harder for them to take off in the middle of the day? Says who? Many of them work the night shift.

The problem, as in Iowa, is the caucus system. Caucuses are always ripe for manipulation and they are either impossible or inconvenient for many people to participate in.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 14, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

"It was a *necessary* political gambit, Kevin." - Doc at the Radar Station

Absolutely agreed, Doc, particularly in light of Clinton's extremely eloquent statements about Dr. King and the civil rights movement yesterday on 'Meet the Press.' No way was that eloquence spontaneous but rather a well-worked response, probably memorized and rehearsed. I also heard her original statement about ML King and LBJ. I was really taken aback by it at the time (even though it expressed 'political' reality) and couldn't understand how she could have made such a blunder.

Posted by: nepeta on January 14, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writrs: "Excuse me? I lean toward the cynical side myself, but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit?"

Kevin, I don't understand you final point (dig, as the case may be). WHAT IS SO CYNICAL ABOUT SAYING THAT A CANDIDATE WANTS TO ANNOUNCE THAT HE (OR SHE) IS TAKING THE HIGH ROAD?

Posted by: Erika S on January 14, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Obama wants to peel off black voters, and he was pushing this story through his people for as long as it would go... but then came MTP and HRC's reasonable statement, and now it looks like Obama is the one getting petty.

You can't act like you're all about a new form of politics, and then play the whiny sensitivity card. People simply aren't going to believe that the Clintons are racist, no matter how you edit a quote.

Posted by: Brian M. on January 14, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

You're being far too charitable. It is a reflex action for the Usual Suspects in the press corps to interpret ANYTHING a Democrat says in the most cynical way possible. The best you could say about this reporter is that she is too naive to realize how carefully she has been indoctrinated to (a) Always describe any action or statement by a Democrat to some negative, selfish, cynical, dishonest motivation, and (b) use only base, cynical definitions of the words "politics" and "political," so you can denigrate any politician you dislike and feel superior to them--again, usually Democrats.

Posted by: berken on January 14, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

The whole thing should have had a cycle time of a day or two. Maybe I'm cynical, but the fact that it was drawn out was either political calculation or ineptness.

Especially frustrating were the continuing disingenuous interpretations put on certain quotes and the conspiracy theories about some sort of orchestration between random sportscasters, rove, Hillary affiliates, and . . . the out-of-context and misinterpreted former president and Hillary herself. Did she orchestrate the misinterpretations? And what does an ill-concieved reference to past drug use have to do with race? Stupid, yes. Orchestrated? Innacurate? Dishonest? probably not.

I just don't get it. Enough dem bashing. Enough hypersensivity and deliberate misinterpretation. I'm waiting to see if Edwards decides to take the high road too.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Political Theater: a great cure for insomnia.

Wake me when the press starts paying attention to a Democrat that sounds like a Democrat.

Posted by: alex on January 14, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sanity means Democratic candidates not criticizing one another. Democratic candidates who never hold press conferences for weeks at a time are merely being high-minded when they do call one.

There's a long way to go in this campaign yet. It's helpful to know what the ground rules are.

Posted by: Zathras on January 14, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well here's a simple rule for you Zathras, not a single one of the Republican candidates is competent to run a daycare - for worms. You have the most psychotic, bloodthirsty, fiscally reckless candidates one could imagine - and those are your frontrunners.

Anyone who takes John "I'm okay with torture so long as it is Americans doing it" McCain or Mitt "wait, what is it I stand for today?" Romney or Rudy "Mayor of 911" Ghouliani seriously is deeply inattentive or deeply disturbed.

After seven years of Republican misrule, mismanagement and at least one unprovoked assault on innocents that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives no serious person could vote to continue Republican "leadership" of this nation.

The staggering corruption under Bush and the Republicans is beyond belief. Comparing Bush and Clinton makes it obvious. Hell, comparing Bush and Nixon still shows how obviously corrupt Bush is. Voting to extend the corruption of the United States, by voting for another Republican, merely demonstrates your hatred for this nation and its core values.

Posted by: heavy on January 14, 2008 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

For those who wonder how Democratic Primary Voters (DPV) perceive the fairness of the press towards Clinton and Obama, this is what the recent CBS/New York Times (1/9-12/08) poll discovered:

41. Compared to the way the news media have treated other candidates, have the news media been harder on Hillary Clinton, easier on Hillary Clinton, or have they treated her the same as other candidates?

Harder 51
Easier 5
Same 40
DK/NA 4

45. Compared to the way the news media have treated other candidates, have the news media been harder on Barack Obama, easier on Barack Obama, or have they treated him the same as other candidates?

Harder 12
Easier 25
Same 60
DK/NA 3

Posted by: emmarose on January 14, 2008 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think it took two to tango on this one. Both campaigns must have felt that it was in their interest to fight on this racially-coded turf.

As Ezra says, "It's hard to imagine this many sophisticated, liberal political operators making this many mistakes, of this type." Robert Johnson's line about "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is really beyond acceptable.

On the other hand, the Obama campaign clearly chose to make Hillary's MLK statement an issue. I think the reasoning must have been: the Clinton campaign is going to bait us this way sooner or later. And we can't totally ignore it without looking weak. So we might as well call them on it now, while we have a statement *by the candidate herself* to complain semi-plausibly about.

I think it was a shrewd call, and I think the news conference was doubly shrewd. I'd say advantage Obama.

Posted by: Gillray on January 14, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting poll numbers, emmarose.

I wonder how the apparent perception that Obama was getting easier treatment than Hillary percolated down to voters -- whether it was something that was said by others or something arising out of independent observation.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 14, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

the Obama campaign clearly chose to make Hillary's MLK statement an issue.

Obama baited her into making it by holding out MLK as a counterexample to her "false hopes" trope. He knew she'd be asked to respond and that she would almost certainly say something that could be twisted to look racist.

Posted by: Swift Loris on January 14, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Even Andrea Mitchell, certainly no Hillary supporter, said today that the Obama campaign was keeping up pressure on this race thing.

I want to know when Barack has to appear on some show like Bill Clinton had to do....Obama answering why his theme song after the Iowa win was Jay Z singing "I got 99 problems but the bitch ain't one."

Is that okay? Is Bill Clinton a racist for questioning Obama's war votes but Obama condoning -- and, I contend, with a bit of a smirk -- this crap just fine?

Posted by: Pat on January 14, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

emmarose, just like it was once hard to cover the "good news in iraq", let's just say its, hard to find positive coverage about Hillary. Her candidacy appears to be about her being a woman and her last name being clinton. This is 2008, not 1968.

Posted by: jor on January 14, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

As Ezra says, "It's hard to imagine this many sophisticated, liberal political operators making this many mistakes, of this type." Robert Johnson's line about "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is really beyond acceptable.

Ummm. Robert Johnson is not a "sophisticated political operative". He's an eccentric billionaire who commonly jumps into controversy. Donald Trump has more experience in politics.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking the Jay-Z thing was made up by the New York Post. Obama's a fan but I don't see anyone else saying they used that song after Iowa.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking the Jay-Z thing was made up by the New York Post. Obama's a fan but I don't see anyone else saying they used that song after Iowa.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2008 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

by the way emma, you are advocating for the he-said she-said, 50/50 journalism that we have all come to deplore when its come to the bush administration, be passed along to hillary.

Posted by: jor on January 14, 2008 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim said:
Looks to me like the casino's made a power play for a priviledged position and there was no way it wouldn't be challanged. Why should casino workers be allowed to caucus at the work place? Harder for them to take off in the middle of the day? Says who? Many of them work the night shift.

The problem, as in Iowa, is the caucus system. Caucuses are always ripe for manipulation and they are either impossible or inconvenient for many people to participate in.

And it was just pure coincidence that a group supporting Clinton decided that this plan, which was set months ago by the party, is unfair with only a week until the caucus and just days after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama?

It's abundantly clear that the lawsuit is a shameless attempt to minimize the impact of the culinary workers now that they came out in support of Obama.

Posted by: apistat on January 14, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

The NY Post made it up? It was on MSNBC tonight...

Posted by: Pat on January 15, 2008 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

emmarose, just like it was once hard to cover the "good news in iraq", let's just say its, hard to find positive coverage about Hillary. Her candidacy appears to be about her being a woman and her last name being Clinton. This is 2008, not 1968.

Blaming the victim, again. Like most candidates, Senator Clinton talks about any number of issues and goals in her campaign speeches and literature. It is the press coverage that dumbs down most of these campaigns to one or two talking points. Clinton's candidacy is no more ONLY about her being a woman then Obama's is ONLY about bipartisanship or Edwards is ONLY about attacking big business. If you insist on describing the campaigns is such a simplistic manner are ONLY helping the MSM dumb down the process.

Posted by: Berken on January 15, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Back to the issues! Interesting parallels between the change vs. experience debate in the recent Australian election and ours.

http://acropolisreview.com/2008/01/kevin-rudd-barack-obama-australian.html

Posted by: Jake on January 15, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm. Robert Johnson is not a "sophisticated political operative". He's an eccentric billionaire who commonly jumps into controversy.

Well, his comments certainly weren't sophisticated (nor, for that matter, was his argument as to why a repeal of the estate tax is inherently unfair to African-Americans) but he didn't just happen to be walking by the Clinton event & take it upon himself to jump up on stage.

Posted by: junebug on January 15, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I home the Freeper comment at 12:23 is quickly deleted.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 15, 2008 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Pat concerning Jay-Z:

MSNBC repeated the story or showed the video? I'm curious. Supposedly they played U2 and Stevie Wonder respectively before and after his Iowa speech. Maybe they played it at a different event but I've yet to see video.

Junebug concerning Robert Johnson:

My point exactly. The guy thinks Liberia should be the Israel of African Americans. Generally forceful but not that sophisticated. You can argue against his placement on stage, but I don't think any sane person thinks Hillary is pulling his strings.

Posted by: B on January 15, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

" The Experience Lie "
at Slate magazine (http://www.slate.com/id/2182073/)

Finally, someone in the media has caught on to Hillary's "35 years of experience" lie. It is often said that the number one ethical mistake made by job applicants is overstating and exaggerating experience, which is exactly what Hillary is doing. Going with Bill to a state dinner and shaking the hand of a diplomat is not exactly foreign policy "experience."

Fact of the matter is, Dem primary voters are choosing between three relatively inexperienced candidates.

Posted by: Elliott on January 15, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

John Edwards campaign is about giving government back to the people, so everyone can benefit.

Posted by: MarkH on January 15, 2008 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

What Kevin is missing is that the reporter presumably wrote this after he attended the news conference, so he apparently factored the content into his assessment.

As to the underlying race baiting, it should be clear to everyone that Hillary will do just about anything to get the nomination. She and her husband are where they are today because of their willingness to lie to the American people. First in 1992 (about a variety of things, including Gennifer Flowers and cattle futures), then in 1998 about Lewinski where Bill successfully lied to save his job and now Hillary is running for president only because that lie was successful.

Dick Morris predicted and now believes that the Clintons are purposely injecting race into the debate to cause people to believe that Obama cannot be elected. It basically looks like the Clintons were purposely causing the race issue to be raised for some reason, and if it was purposeful, they now have accomplished their objective and can pull back.

Posted by: brian on January 15, 2008 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

...but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit?

I'm sure frankly0 can. To him Obama is Satan incarnate.

I'm exaggerating, I think...

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on January 15, 2008 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

What a stupid system we have.

I don't care which of the top 3 is our candidate. I just want this stupid primary season to be over so we can move on to campaigning and ass-whoopin' the Republican candidate and winning back the White House.

Honestly.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 15, 2008 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's campaign seems very impressive. If you have ever been in the thick of a Presidential campaign, and you were to hitch a ride with the candidate on his plane, there is something that becomes very clear, very quickly. It's a question as to whether the candidate is competent or not. But I see Obama is very ambitious! Once I have read a book -- "The Audacity of Hope" by Obama, it seems that his analysis of the world situation, from the US, to Indonesia, to Africa, to Iraq shows a much deeper understanding than would be evident from the debates: http://dealstudio.com/searchdeals.php?deal_id=39018&ru=279 , I indeed think his ambition will make him big chance.

Posted by: Douglas on January 15, 2008 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

btw, I strongly suspect too (though I hope I'm wrong) that the post at 12.23 is a case of sockpuppetry intended as a setup by a poster who has also been doing Mary Rosh style postings.

Posted by: snitcher-snack on January 15, 2008 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

then in 1998 about Lewinski where Bill successfully lied to save his job and now Hillary is running for president only because that lie was successful.

Everyone in the frickin' world knowing what you did is a case of successful lying? Jeez, brian, just when I think you can't be any denser you come along and plainly show me how completely wrong I am.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 15, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

It looks like Christmas in January for Hillary.

It turns out there's a Youtube video created by Barack Obama's Chicago church to commemorate the 2007 Trumpet gala bash last November 2, where the Presidential candidate's long-time spiritual advisor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., gave his

Lifetime Achievement

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter Award

to

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

Uh-oh.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/01/trumpet-gala-2007.html

Posted by: Steve Sailer on January 15, 2008 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ken on January 15, 2008 at 12:23 AM,

You undermine your repulsion against bigotry when you use a SLUR to attack Clinton (Yes, misogyny is bigotry)! Seriously, calling someone a "racist bitch" is as hilariously hypocritical as referring to someone as a "antisemitic spic." Good God. What an idiot!

I bet you're a white man aren't you? Dumb fuck.

_______________________

I don't understand why there's a double standard here: Axelrod is amazing at playing hardball and there has been proof the Obama campaign has pushed this non-story (The South Carolina primary memo is available at Huffington Post), including inflammatory remarks from Jesse Jackson, Jr., the national co-chair (and if we want to include supporters, Dyson went on MSNBC to state that any criticism of Obama was "racial in subtext"). The Clintons' comments (MLK, "fairy tale") were distorted and Cuomo (a supporter) did not use that poor choice of words to describe Obama, but politics in general.

The fact that even on this website Obama gets a free pass is something else. Whoever the nominee is I'll vote for. I just hope the madness stops.

Posted by: Davidson on January 15, 2008 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 15, 2008 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

That narcoleptic fit was induced by Steve Sailor not Davidson.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 15, 2008 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm ready to banner my car and to stick my sign out in the front yard for Election '08.

CLINTON/OBAMA.

Anybody else ready to stick such a sign out? Anybody know of a website from where to launch the Democratic dream team CLINTON/OBAMA for their run to the White House? If we begin now, just think of the head start we can get on the limping Repubs!

Posted by: Erika S on January 15, 2008 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

I fully support Obama and I have no doubt that the Clinton campaign was engaging in some subtle (and less than subtle) racial politics against him but look, the Republicans are going to do more and worse in the general.

If Obama can't handle this (and we'll see how it shakes out) then he certainly won't be able to win despite republican attacks. Crying not fair is maybe be true but doing that alone is not going to do anyone any good, so I think how Obama responds and how people react to the last week (will white voters now panic about him?) will be instructive in seeing what happens in the general.

I for one, hope he does well and wins.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 15, 2008 at 4:54 AM | PERMALINK

What an amazing coincidence, Ken! As I read your soon-to-be-deleted post, the local oldies station played "Dueling Banjoes".

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 15, 2008 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

... can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit?

—Kevin Drum

I'm not sure that I would call it a political gambit. But I think Obama and his campaign realized that the damage had already been done. Having written off black support, HRC had to make race an issue beyond South Carolina. And it now is. A truce is in his interest, but it won't stop the racial insinuations and innuendo.

HRC is pitting white women against blacks. In addition, her campaign will try to pit Latinos against Blacks. (Look for sleazy racial politics there also). It is the cynical but realistic and now central strategy of her campaign -- made necessary by today's identity politics.

Like I've stated before, I think we should all vote for the nominee. I will. But the folks who don't think that this was a deliberate -- and likely successful -- strategy on the part of HRC's campaign are fooling themselves. And thinking it will end? Well, if you do, I have bridge ...

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 15, 2008 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

Zeleny's right.

Posted by: Lee on January 15, 2008 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

Aghh!!!!!!

On CNN, Joe Scarborough just annoucned that the Democrats are having a "race war" and are splitting down the middle over race. I nearly fell off the couch. One of his co-anchors did question him and said "war? really?" and he said, "oh, well, a race CONFLICT, then."

I'd hazard a guess that the GOP is absolutely salivating over the idea of twisting everything around to make the Dems look racist and/or sexist-- if Hillary wins then Dems are racist, if Obama wins we're sexist. At this moment the Dems are doing much to help.

Dems better get their shit together or this is going to be the MSM spin. I hope that Hillary and Obama can take a step back, tell their surrogates to take it easy, and make sure that this doesn't end up defining the 2008 election.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on January 15, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Obama baited her into making it by holding out MLK as a counterexample to her "false hopes" trope. He knew she'd be asked to respond and that she would almost certainly say something that could be twisted to look racist.

This is an implausible interpretation of recent events. But just to get it straight: the point is that with all of Hillary's vaunted political experience, she's a chump, who fell into a trap set by a comparative political novice?

Posted by: Dagome on January 15, 2008 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Well at least the guns in our circular firing squad work. It's somewhat reassuring to know we would have had good weapons in the general election had we been able to bring the whole democratic electorate with us.

Better than some old dude who thinks the word burqa makes a sentence funny.

Posted by: B on January 15, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Obama baited her into making it by holding out MLK as a counterexample to her . . ."

"The reason for this entire "race card" tit for tat from Obama and Hill was to marginalize Edwards"

"It's hard to imagine this many sophisticated, liberal political operators making this many mistakes, of this type"

I get the strange feeling that a lot of the time we're ascribing causation and motives to the plinko chip on the price is right.

Posted by: B on January 15, 2008 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that both candidates came out with very similar statements suggests to me that party leaders prevailed upon them to draw a quick close to this recent spat and pull the Democratic campaign up out of the race and gender rut into which it has fallen. The whole episode has been very bad for Democrats, and to stop the squabbling among surrogates and supporters it is necessary for the two candidates to take public charge of the discussion and tell everyone to cool it.

Posted by: Dan Kervick on January 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

B:

I agree -- I think this thing was starting to get a bit too hot for both camps and they jointly agreed (for now) to shut it down. Someone meant to start the fire, but after that it went places no one anticipated publicly. I expect a couple of rambling opening statements from both to try to put it behind them (at least publicly). Under the radar, the local campaign officials will keep talking about it without hitting the media.

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 15, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

with all of Hillary's vaunted political experience, she's a chump, who fell into a trap set by a comparative political novice?

I think she was caught off-guard. That can happen to the savviest politician; it's certainly happened to her before (driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, e.g.). And Obama may be a comparative novice, but he was pissed about her "false hopes" trope, and he has sharp instincts.

Her response in the interview when she was asked to comment on Obama's MLK remarks couldn't have been planned; it was too awkward.

Posted by: Swift Loris on January 15, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Good comments people But,The press started this whole dust up and believe it or not from a lie.Russert played all you posters for chumps. HA hbahh ahh hah hah hhah.

Posted by: john john on January 15, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Could the moderator please delete the 12:23 post by Ken?

And then have Inkblot go sit on his face and smother him, slowly.

Posted by: optical weenie on January 15, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

A politician trying to get elected, huh? How shocking.

Posted by: Brian on January 15, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Optical Weenie: Done. Inkblot, however, will have to be bribed in order to summon up the energy to go sit on someone.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on January 15, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me? I lean toward the cynical side myself, ``but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit? Crikey.''

Not to mention that political gambits should be EXPECTED in a political campaign and not to mention that it's the job of a real journalist to back up an assertion like that instead of just asserting it. we're just doomed.

Posted by: secularhuman on January 16, 2008 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

apistat: what I am saying it that the Casino caucuses would still have been challanged if the same union had endorsed Clinton as opposed to Obama. Other voters, other unions will not appreciate discrimination.

Giving a certain block of voters an advantage in caucus participation will not fly. If the court does not intervene, the Democratic party will absolutely fix the problem before it happens again. Bad decision in the first place.

Posted by: little ole jim on January 16, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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