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Tilting at Windmills

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January 21, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

DEBATE THREAD....Oh hell. Marian's new laptop came today, and when she came home we unpacked it and set everything up. So I totally gapped out and forgot that there was a Democratic debate tonight. Apparently I missed a slugfest, too.

For me, though, it's time for dinner. For the rest of you, consider this an open thread to chatter about who did what to whom.

Kevin Drum 10:04 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (124)

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Comments

What did she buy?

Posted by: MildlyDisturbed on January 21, 2008 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Martin Luther King, Jr., returned from the dead and endorsed early retirement for Wolf Blitzer.

Posted by: Creosote on January 21, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards is vain.
Hillary is an ugly shrew with a ton of ugly baggage.
Barack needs to find a backbone to whip the others with.

Who won?

Obama... with 7 measly vertebrae.

Posted by: kody on January 21, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

I see kody you're cross-posting your post from TPM. It must have taken you a long time to compose. I can understand your sense of pride.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 21, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

well that was fun. I don't think Clinton did herself any favors with her "present" attacks and mentioning the slumlord. Obama was a bit on the ropes but did well. I'd call Obama and Edwards the winners...

Posted by: evermore on January 21, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kev,

I hope that laptop was a MacBook! Then we can iSight together!

Trog


Posted by: troglodyte on January 21, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

It was a wonderful debate, for so many reasons:

1. Second in a row where Clinton/Edwards/Obama took control of the debate away from the moderator, continuing to make their points and actually, really, *debate* one another... as Blitzer bleated ineffectually about time limits.

2. Incredibly substantive, and on real issues. It was thrilling to hear Democrats again talking about economic equality and upward mobility and eradicating poverty. I don't know if Clinton and Obama would have focused as much attention on these issues if Edwards hadn't made them the centerpoint of his campaign, sp kudos to him for that.

3. All attacked and counterattacked satisfactorially - and, IMO, each was forceful without going over the line (that is, without getting personal). I liked seeing that. I liked seeing that they all know how to handle themselves, and all are able to come out swinging.

4. I like them all. It's going to be very hard to choose, when we have our caucuses here in Washington. I believe any of them would be a terrific President.

Posted by: CaseyL on January 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Once again the moderator lost. In spite of a strong efforts by Hillary and Obama. The smiley gringo won.

Posted by: B on January 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

All three had their moments. Edwards positioned himself perfectly in the first half of the debate as being above the squalor when Obama and Hillary were attacking each other. He appealed well to African-American voters and sounded more authentic than usual in his rhetoric. He has a few phrases that he repeats too often, but overall, he made his best case yet for his candidacy.

Obama showed for the first time that he can hit back very hard, but his attractiveness as a candidate is dependent on positivity, much more so than either Clinton or Edwards, that just having to attack and be attacked harshly may have hurt him overall. He seemed much better in the 2nd half of the debate, connected his positive message to a political strategy better than he has before, and overall seemed more eloquent (I like Obama, but I could have explained his "present" votes in the Illinois legislature better than he did).

Clinton's performance is hard for me to gauge. One of her strengths is policy, and she comes off as more knowledgeable than Obama and Edwards time and time again. She had some moments of passion that came off well too. On the downside (or upside, depending on how you look at it), she has wholly adopted the "win at any cost" campaign tactics that Republicans national candidates often favor and have used to great effect. Her comments on Obama's remarks about Reagan and his present votes are just plain willful distortions.

Some people may find it a plus that she is willing to get dirty to win, but for me, every time I started warming up to her, she would make an unfair attack and I would lose whatever admiration I was starting to gain from her. Politicians who are willing to do anything to get into power are willing to do anything to stay in power. The last seven years is as good of an example of that as any.

Summary:
Edwards: Did well, may have "won"
Obama: Mixed performance, better in 2nd half of the debate
Clinton: I have no idea. Probably depends on whatever pre-conceived beliefs one has about her more than anything.

Guess who I support? I hope you won't be able to tell.

Posted by: Jason on January 21, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

I am going to keep repeating this. If Hillary can't get her husband under control and look presidential in her own right, she has no business running for President. I have read the full transcript and watched the tape of the full Reno interview. If Hillary read the full transcript she knows the truth and the best that can be said for her is that she is lying to protect Bill Clinton's reputation.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 21, 2008 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obama tried to beat Clinton at her own game. It was a valiant effort, but he ain't there yet.

All I can say is that we have three thoroughbreds racing, the Retardicans have inbreeds stupefying each other.

Posted by: elmo on January 21, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Great heavyweight fight. Very exciting. Each candidate hurt the other and was hurt.

Edwards very passionate but agenda isnt selling and cannot pivot mid campaign. Son of a Millworker thing endlessly. Why real progressives didnt break for him instead of Obama is curious. Could it be that they know the agenda wont sell?

Clinton: solid. No mistakes. Organized. Has the credentials. Has plans. I thought she did well on the health care issue, but then again I come down very strongly on the side of requiring everyone to participate in the system.

Obama. Good counter puncher. Great sense of humor. Wants to bring people together and voted against the war. Besides that i really dont know what he would do specifically.

These are three strong candidates and they debate pretty well. We are getting some good exchanges.

Posted by: Jammer on January 21, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually good to see some of the dirty laundry reach the surface. Obama won't get a free ride in November on the "present" votes, the signature protests, the real estate deals (or the drug use for that matter). I'd personally feel a lot better supporting him if I didn't feel the media and the republicans were trying to lull us (and him) into complacency.

My guess is the Illinois legislature crap gets downplayed till next September.

Posted by: B on January 21, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

HRC lied shamelessly about what Obama said. She claimed twice that Obama said that the Republicans had "good ideas." By rights, she ought to get slammed in the media for this blatant dishonesty, but she'll probably get away with it because of the he said-she said journalism that people on liberal blogs always complain about.

Posted by: ikl on January 21, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Edwards probably came out the best tonight, mostly because he avoided the ugliness between Clinton and Obama and wasn't the focus of the debate.

The real question though is who won between Clinton and Obama...and I don't think there was a clear cut winner.

I was impressed with Hillary when she talked about herself and her dedication to the fight for universal health care as well as other issues...but then she would negate most of those good feelings by reverting to low blows and dirty attacks against Obama. If she just would have cut her answers short and left the crude attacks out, she'd have looked much better.

Obama started out very well, but then seemed to get tripped up when Hillary and Edwards ganged up on his health care plan. And he seemed to have trouble explaining and defending himself at times.

Posted by: Dan on January 21, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

Glad it was noteworthy enough for you to notice.

Can't say I remember reading your opinion over there, or... over here.

A wee bit banal perhaps?

[Interesting IP check. How's about picking one and sticking with it?]

Posted by: kody on January 21, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

How I wish one of them would have answered the final question with "Wolf, I wouldn't presume to speak for Martin Luther King. And, Wolf, having built your career on a beard and lame questions, that is the lamest."

Posted by: Michael on January 21, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton constantly yelled about what she is going to do to fix all out problems. She strikes me as incredibly authoritarian, although maybe some Democrats like that. She doesn't look like she knows how to listen or reflect. Obama is much more thoughtful and nuanced, with an actual message that's not just about grabbing power and managing the government.

The debate format favors Clinton's style, since she is loud, fast, and focused. Obama sometimes comes across as halting or meandering. He is not suited to the rough and tumble or personal attacks required. If only the voters got to hear some of his full speeches!


Posted by: chili on January 21, 2008 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

kody, shut your chickenhawk ass up...boy. You ain't pimping shit here asshole.

Posted by: elmo on January 21, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually not sure what Obama was saying about Republicans. I guess he's saying that every 20 years or so Americans wake up and start marching in a different direction. And he's sort of like the pied piper character -- like Kennedy, Reagan, And Gingrich before him?

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

"I think Kennedy, twenty years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction," Obama said, "So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times. I think we’re in one of those times right now. Where people feel like things as they are going aren't working. We're bogged down in the same arguments that we've been having, and they're not useful.

"And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we’ve done that, we tried it."

Posted by: B on January 21, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what he was talking about either B. But he sure left out the last time the party in power got voted out of the presidency because people weren't happy with the way things were going - Clinton over Bush in '92.

Posted by: Dawn on January 21, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Heeeerrrreee kody kody kody...

Heeeerrrreee kody kody kody...

Come on boy! Where you at...

Posted by: elmo on January 21, 2008 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

So for all of the liberal commentators who complain about the "he said/she said" national media, here's your chance to show you are different:

Who willfully distorted the truth in tonight's debate? Are you willing to make the call?

Posted by: nathan on January 21, 2008 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, B, that is what he's saying. The republicans had their chance and they failed miserably. Have you studied American history at all?

Posted by: nathan on January 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's pretty obvious Obama is saying that every so often the American people are ready for a transformational leader to bring about drastic change. Reagan was such a figure, and was able to tap into the public's mood to push through a conservative agenda (even though that agenda was harmful to the American people).

And Obama thinks that people are again ready for dramatic change, and he wants to do for the Democratic agenda what Reagan was able to do for Republicans.

Clinton had the potential to accomplish this, but did not. How else do you explain NAFTA?

Posted by: Dan on January 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm actually not sure what Obama was saying about Republicans."

That they've driven the agenda over the past 10 or 15 years.

That Reagan transformed American politics.

This accusation that Obama was implying "... and that's good" is absurd, and frankly so dirty that it should be beneath the Clintons.

Here's what former President Clinton said that Obama said:

"Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas. I'm not making this up, folks."

Here's what Senator Clinton, this evening, said that Obama said:

"The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last ten to fifteen years."

Here's the out-of-context soundbite that Senator and President Clinton are referring to:

"I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years".

And finally, here is what Obama actually did say:

"The Republican approach I think has played itself out. I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies, when they're being debated among the presidential candidates, it's all tax cuts. Well, we've done that, we've tried it."

Posted by: donk on January 21, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Too damn bad about Edwards. He says all the right things to be the progressive candidate. But, at this point in time, after listening to several debates and seeing these candidates in a variety of forums, I'm really not sure if the exposure has helped me know them better.

Obama started as a progressive, then keeps moving to the right, with his talk about Reagan, no mandates for health insurance, Bush-like SS reform, and so on.

Clinton has yet to separate herself from the pro-business mindset Robert Reich revealed in his book (Locked in the Cabinet). After Bill appointed Goldman Sachs Robert Rubin and pushed all of the "Free Trade" treaties, I'm very suspicious.

Edwards sounds great, but doesn't appear to have a shot, and I'm not sure how he would govern if he actually got the chance.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 21, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you FORGOT there was a debate. That sounds like Dana Perino and the Bay of Pigs!!

My opinion is that each candidate had their best and worst moments.

Hillary slammed Obama on healthcare. She schooled him.
However, she was totally creamed on the McCain discussion. She walked right into the trap on that one. She basically called herself McCain lite. He hammered her on it. Unfortunately for Obama, it won't be seen over and over because it was during the seated part of the debate where the temp. had been dialed down.

I do know that:
1. Hillary will not be seeing crying ever again, ever. That horse has been flogged.
2. Neither one will be on the others' ticket after tonight.
3. I don't think it is possible for Bill Clinton to keep up with his idiotic comments now without the press being all over his shit. So by that token, Obama could be seen as being the only one able to control Bill, unlike Hillary. When I heard Obama this morning, I felt that was part of his argument. Curious how it will play out.

Posted by: swarty on January 21, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mac or PC?
(is there a 3rd choice?)

Posted by: RS on January 21, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin you're not alone, I was watching "the world after people", which kinda puts politics in a different perspective. Reading the comments it sounds as if all three did well. This should bode well for November.

Posted by: bigTom on January 21, 2008 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Answer: The Aristocrats.

Posted by: lampwick on January 21, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

I am still amazed at those of you who think we've seen "tough" or "dirty" politics in the primaries so far. "Feh" as Kevin would say. Folks, the Republicans are going to be all over "present," "drugs," "landlords," etc. this summer. Obama better get his "A" game in gear or he'll be done faster than you can say "swiftboat." As for you Hillary supporters, if you think she has withstood the Republican onslaught already you are dead wrong. They have never really gone after her directly--it was always to get at Bill. They will have some made-up "he really didn't earn those medals" story for her too. I hope we see a little more of these types of debates--the Republicans have been practicing much better than us.

Posted by: Bush Lover on January 21, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama started as a progressive, then keeps moving to the right, with his talk about Reagan, no mandates for health insurance, Bush-like SS reform, and so on."

Uh....what? His talk of Reagan was spot on, and has been intentionally misquoted, spun, and misinterpreted. Seriously, shouldn't we all want a President who can accomplish as much for progressives as Reagan accomplished for conservatives? I know I do...

And "Bush-like SS" reform? Have you even read Obama's plan for SS? It's identical to Edward's, and merely involves raising the cap from it's current 97K ceiling. Sounds ideal to me...

I wish people would stop buying into the spin and utter garbage the Clinton campaign and her allies put out there.

Posted by: Dan on January 21, 2008 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Alas, Clinton won the debate...making it more and more likely that there will be a 3rd party candidate in the general election.

Posted by: parrot on January 21, 2008 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

For all you trying to put a happy face on Obama's Reagan remarks...give it up. It's a lost cause. The best Barack can do is to run away from it like a wingnut from war...

Posted by: elmo on January 21, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think Edwards won this time, but regardless, the question is whoever the ultimate nominee is, can he/she press with the vigor shown here in the presidential debates. If so, we win hands down. If not, I don't wanna think about it.

Posted by: hollywood on January 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

"For all you trying to put a happy face on Obama's Reagan remarks...give it up. It's a lost cause. The best Barack can do is to run away from it like a wingnut from war..."

Yeah, who cares about the truth, the Clinton spin worked...why fight it?

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Don't blame me Dan, he should have never tried to play the "Reagan" card and you know it. That shit was just stupid, and his campaign should run as fast and far from that rhetoric as it can...pronto...

Posted by: elmo on January 22, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Making the Trust Fund larger will do nothing to stop the cries of the Republicans who insist that the Trust Fund is empty paper. The best plan for Social Security is the same as the best plan for Iraq prior to the Republican assault on that nation: do nothing. There was plenty of time to let the inspections work, there is plenty of time before the Trust Fund is exhausted.

If a Republican tells you its raining you had better check for yourself. They are most likely lying.

Posted by: heavy on January 22, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

evermore: "I don't think Clinton did herself any favors with her 'present' attacks and mentioning the slumlord."

The "slumlord" to which Mrs. Clinton was referring is none other than Antoin "Tony" Rezko, longtime Democratic party operative who's currently under federal indictment for corruption and influence peddling. His trial is set to begin on February 25 in Chicago, and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald -- remember him? -- is handling the prosecution personally.

And Sen. Obama was being extremely disingenuous when he retorted that he only did five hours of work for Rezko's company. Rezko has in fact been a political mentor to the senator, and has organized and hosted numerous political fundraisers for him. Both men have enjoyed a political relationship and friendship that goes back 17 years.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Jebus Elmo! So telling the truth is wrong and Obama should run from it? You sound like a MoDo column in the making - where ever she is.

Posted by: Keith G on January 22, 2008 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Mac or PC?

The fact that Kevin spent the whole evening "setting everything up" should answer that question for you. If the new computer had been a Mac, it would have been ready to go as soon as it came out of the box.

Posted by: Oregonian on January 22, 2008 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Dan, I fear elmo might just be right. The base seems to want only red meat. Go team Blue! Team Red Sucks! Anything that varies from that hurts your chances with the base. Never mind that all those ex-conservatives and independents might be even more interested in someone who understand that Reagen really did redefine the political landscape for them. After all, that just marks them as idiots and mouth breathers. Now if we could only figure out how to trick them into voting for us.

Sigh. If only we cared about a functional democracy as much as we cared about Team Blue.

Posted by: socratic_me on January 22, 2008 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

That hurt, Keith G. I'd rather burn the hairs off my ass than be compared to Red-dud!

And I may deserve it, but Reagan gained Dem votes by lying...acting...fooling...for the good of fascists!

I'm sorry, but Obama fucked up...

Posted by: elmo on January 22, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Dan,

I'm still doing my best to ignore all things said by candidate spouses.

By my reading Obama isn't so much praising Republicans as he's being cynical about the ability of the electorate to wade through policy disputes in a rational manner. Or maybe he's just channelling a few different pundits he saw on TV. It strikes me as a pretty honest comment though.

Of course the whole thing leaves me wanting to slap Reagan around. The man was not what they say he was.

Posted by: B on January 22, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Bush Lover, ya got that right! If McCain's the nominee for the Red State, you can damn well bet they are going to run HRC's "35 years of experience" through a swiftboat blender and be as happy as a tornado in a trailer park doing it, esp. against "St." McCain.

Posted by: CB on January 22, 2008 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

You Obama cult members kill me. You're all over Hillary for "distorting" Obama's entirely too kind remarks about Reagan and the Republicans (really? They were really "the party of ideas?" To whom besides the Hannitys of this world?), and you couldn't care less that Obama has repeatedly grossly distorted Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" remark.

If you all didn't have such spectacular double standards, you might have a chance of getting somewhere in convincing others to support your hero.

Posted by: gyfalcon on January 22, 2008 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of open threads, I only just learned in the last day or so the theory that Jeff Gannon/James Guckert/Jeff Guckert is in fact the abducted paperboy Johnny Gosch all growed up. I came across this fascinating information after watching the suppressed Discovery Channel show on the Franklin pedophilia ring and trying to look up whatever happened to some of the sources in that show. (I actually fastforwarded through a lot of the show because some of the people just struck me as pretty cheesy, but I got the gist of everything.)

Anyway the pictures comparing Gannon/Guckert to Gosch are pretty convincing:
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/ring.htm

Maybe I'm just gullible, but I think that Gannon is in fact Johnny Gosch.

I don't know that it's worth reading all of the other stuff about the supposed Franklin pedophilia ring, blah, blah, blah. I suppose there must be real pedophilia rings on planet earth and in the United States, but it all seems so foreign and hard to accept. And, of course, when the same stories start talking about satanism, I completely tune out.

Anyway, I'm sure we'll never know the truth about these matters. ...But Gannon should at least have the grace to get the DNA test to ease the mind of Johnny Gosch's mother.

If you watch the pieces on this affair at YouTube, Gannon, or that mindless rightwing clod with a beard appearing on MSNBC, actually claimed 2 years ago to be 48 years old and thus he couldn't be Johnny Gosch, who would have been about 35 at the time. That might be pretty dispositive if Gannon WAS 48, but he so clearly wasn't remotely that old. It was such a transparent lie.

Posted by: Anon on January 22, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a political junkie, but I haven't watched a single second of any of the debates, this year or last, and I don't feel like I've missed a thing.

They are so overreported on by the media that it is no longer necessary to watch the actual debates themselves....

Posted by: mfw13 on January 22, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

I think that it is important to pay attention to and confront the Mr. Rezko, the Obama acquaintance and longstanding contributer in Chicago who is soon to go on trial, matter. While some tender ones above might say "Oh no--eek--lets not talk about that," it won't take much to remind us what Republicans will do with the retelling of that story. It has been frontpage news in Chicago. These stories tend only to get worse overtime...they usually don't go away just because we don't want to hear about them. christinep

Posted by: christinep on January 22, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

They are so overreported on by the media that it is no longer necessary to watch the actual debates themselves...

That is the stupidest shit said on this thread so far, and that is with me having commented more than once...

Posted by: elmo on January 22, 2008 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know. My initial impression is that Obama may have fucked the pooch with this Reagan b.s. OTOH, maybe he's Bobby Fischer (without the anti-semitism), thinking moves ahead as the Repugs get ready for a lovefest at the Reagan Library. The man does know some moves. Hillary is calculating but you can see her calculation 5 miles away. I love you credit card companies but I don't really love you--yeah, uh-hunh. I voted for the war but really I didn't. I voted for bankruptcy reform but really I didn't. I'm Bill Clinton's wife but really I'm not. C'mon.

Posted by: hollywood on January 22, 2008 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

gyfalcon, chill. Have a beer. I'll buy.

Posted by: Keith G on January 22, 2008 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

A comparison of George W. Bush to Ian Richardson as a Nazi:

I'm just rewatching the superb and delightful miniseries "Private Schulz" for the first time in about 25 years, and while our antihero Michael Elphick is a supreme delight, Ian Richardson does have a nice George W. Bush moment at the beginning. They've uncovered a plot by some of their men to kill the fuehrer, and Richardson as Major Neuheim asks them the code phrase with which they would have identified themselves to their English allies.

They say that the phrase chosen was, "The war could be over by Christmas."

Richardson slaps them in the face and says, "You swine! You're supposed to be soldiers and you want the war to be over Christmas?!"

You want the war to be over by Christmas? That is such pre-Kristallnacht thinking. Kristallnacht changed everything.

Posted by: Anon on January 22, 2008 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Uh....what? His talk of Reagan was spot on...

Buy a clue, Dan. Borrow the money if you need to. It's that important.

'The party of ideas'? He puts those 'ideas' out there as positive or neutral? WTF is that? Those ideas were neither neutral nor positive and have contributed heavily to the state we find ourselves in today. He was trying to hitch a ride on the Reagan lies (Hey! Have you heard that tax cuts increase revenue? It's wunnerful!!) to cast himself as a 'transformational' leader without thinking about that clueless 'transformational leaders' can be a f'ing disaster when they're stupid opr lazy. But he's gonna be a vision thing transformational leader, right? Cheezuz.

The republican machine will eat up and spit out this rube in a heartbeat. Or maybe not. Perhaps he'll charm them with hope and a snappy uplifting speech. With lots of smiles.

I like Obama but he was a senator for a year when he decided to seek the presidency. He's a brilliant politician but he isn't ready for the republican machine. Not by a long shot.

Posted by: steve-O on January 22, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares about the debates. Global markets are falling apart and the US markets are expected to follow suit. We are worried about the upcoming recession...

Posted by: rational on January 22, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

I like Obama but he was a senator for a year when he decided to seek the presidency. He's a brilliant politician but he isn't ready for the republican machine.

Shut the fuck up SteveO… Don’t tell me you have a problem with that you sniveling little wimp. It’s nothing compared to what the Republicans will say.

Posted by: antiphone on January 22, 2008 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Who said it - Obama, or right-wing-hack pundit?

I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

Posted by: Max Power on January 22, 2008 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Max, I remember the 1980 and 1984 elections very clearly. Like it or not, the paragraph you quote is a pretty good description of why a lot of people I knew voted for Reagan.

Face the cold reality: LBJ won a landslide in 1964 with 61% of the pop vote. Since then, the *high point* in pop vote percentage was Jimmy Carter with 50.1% in 1976. Clinton never won a majority of the pop vote; Reagan did easily both times. (I realize electoral votes not pop votes choose presidents but the pop votes are also decent predictors of whether parties pick up ground in Congress.)

So yes, a reflective Democrat might ask, how come, over the last 40 years, Republicans have done so much better? I don't think the bit you quote is the whole answer, but it's not a bad start.

What I find unbelievable in the knee-jerk responses to this quote is the adamant refusal to learn from defeat. You run the play, you get your butt kicked, you run the same play, you get your butt kicked again...

But nooo -- not only is it forbidden to rethink, but mentioning the very possibility that the other guys kicked out butts by appealing to voters better (ya think?) is considered some sort of dreadful gaffe.

Posted by: c on January 22, 2008 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

steve-O, it was spot on. Unfortunately for Obama, too many people totally misunderstood what he was saying (in many cases consciously distorting his statement and then professing outrage at their own distortions). And it is they who need to "buy a clue", or actually just stop playing dumb.

If you want to interpret his statements to "Obama loves Reagan and wants to be like him", then there's nothing I can say to change your mind, because your mind was already made up before he opened his mouth.

I personally would love to have Democratic President accomplish as much for the progressive agenda, as Reagan accomplished for the conservative agenda....not sure why that's such a difficult concept to grasp.

It seems to me that this whole "controversy" is no different than Hannity taking this Obama quote about Afghanistan:

"We've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

And turning it into Obama "bashing America" and "accusing U.S. soldiers of [intentionally] killing innocent Afghani civilians" (http://mediamatters.org/items/200708200006)

Now does Hannity actually believe that Obama was bashing America and accusing US soldiers of intentionally targeting innocent civilians? Of course not, but it scored some cheap political points, so he went for it. It's a classic Republican tactic and that's what he does for a living.

What's troubling is Hillary seems to have adopted that same tactic and has shown no shame in using it as frequently as possible.

You can argue that it was a clumsy statement by Obama that leaves him open for this kind of "distort and attack" smear, and I'd agree with you, he should have been clearer. But then everyone needs to realize that "distort and attack" is exactly what Hillary did and continues to do.

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Dan(at 11:53 pm),
It's not the "the spin and utter garbage the Clinton campaign and her allies put out there." Obama raised the issue that social security is a problem that needs to be solved. First, it's not a problem. It will be solvent for many years, even if nothing is done. It's Bush-like to pontificate about the Social Security crisis, as if it existed. There is no crisis with Social Security. We have Medicare/Medicaid that are bigger and more pressing problems (also, prescription drug payments for Medicare) and those are just two of the more immediate problems in the healthcare arena.

Obama brought up a false issue to attack Clinton and pander to conservatives. There are many crises around the world, including fiscal ones in this country. Social Security reform is a red herring.

Politically, it's also stupid. As Bush found out, even with all his "political capital" at the time and despite all his efforts, he created a huge backlash, instead of a groundswell of support, when he tried to make it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

With regard to Reagan, here's what Obama said: I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years.

This is NOT a criticism of Reagan and the GOP. It's impossible to interpret it that way. No amount of subsequent explanation can alter the fact that this statement is giving credit to the Republicans for being the party of ideas (as opposed to the Dems who were bereft of ideas).

I'm for Edwards, not Clinton. I just don't see how progressives can take Obama seriously as their champion. Oh, and I do agree with Krugman as well. He's been speaking the truth against the right and for our side long before Obama showed up. He's a proven friend. Obama needs to have a longer track record to convince me he deserves progressive support for the office of president.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 22, 2008 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

Talk about Republicans as the "party of ideas" was a Democratic meme several years ago. Excerpts from a NYTimes magazine article from October 2003 (note the reference to Hillary at the end):

Exiled from power, the stalwarts of the Democratic Party's Washington establishment plot their return at dinner parties in the capital's tonier neighborhoods...

The featured speaker this time was not a candidate for office or even a politician. It was John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton's last White House chief of staff and who is considered one of the party's sharpest and toughest operatives...

He is also the leader and architect of a new liberal think tank in Washington known as the Center for American Progress...

''The rise of the machinery of ideas on the right has been impressive,'' Podesta told the gathering, to nods of assent. ''People have noticed it, and we have talked about it. But we haven't really found the vehicles to compete with what's coming at us.''

Going back to Barry Goldwater, Podesta said, conservatives ''built up institutions with a lot of influence, a lot of ideas. And they generated a lot of money to get out those ideas. It didn't happen by accident. And I think it's had a substantial effect on why we have a conservative party that controls the White House and the Congress and is making substantial efforts to control the judiciary.''...

Just about every leading Democrat in Washington agrees that the party could use a new Big Idea, something to compete with the current conservative agenda...

[Some Democrats] want Podesta's group to function not simply as a TV booking agency but also as the kind of idea factory that Heritage, Cato and A.E.I. were in the 1970's, pumping out provocative new proposals that could eventually define in the public mind what it means to be progressive.

Senator Hillary Clinton is one of them. ''We do have to do a better job to compete in the arena with the ideas we already have,'' she told me. ''But it's also clear to me that we need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democratic Party's values.''

Someting Obama's campaign could use right now.

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

I should add that I am not happy about this confrontation between Obama and Clinton, because it does not help the Democrats as a whole -- but I do think that the Clintons' attack on this point is disingenuous in view of the above article (and many others like it that were published at that time).

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Any of you folks actually open your ears while you were supposedly observing the debate ?

Sure doesn`t sound like it.

Still junior high sis boom bah I guess.

"...It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins..." - Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: daCascadian on January 22, 2008 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

c: "Max, I remember the 1980 and 1984 elections very clearly. Like it or not, the paragraph you quote is a pretty good description of why a lot of people I knew voted for Reagan."

Yeah, well, in 1980 I was eighteen, terribly naive politically, and therefore susceptible to the kind of pablum that was peddled by Ronald Reagan. Fool me once ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Dan: "You can argue that it was a clumsy statement by Obama ..."

It wasn't a clumsy statement at all, but rather a very deliberate and calculated one. Sen. Obama was speaking to the conservative editors of the GOP-friendly Reno Gazette-Journal, and was seeking the paper's endorsement -- which obviously came at a high price.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Our comments are not worthy of daCascadian. Sir(?), your disdain cuts us to the quick. Please enlighten us as to what we would have heard, had our ears been open like yours!!

Posted by: DevilDog on January 22, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

brian, thesite's clueless GOP concern troll, arrives on the scene to "assist" Dan and his fellow Obama supporters -- much to their collective dismay and chagrin.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union - "The era of big government is over." (A Reaganesque pronouncement if there ever was one.)

Bill Clinton - 'End Welfare as we know it." (More Reagan.)

Bill Clinton - "Tough on crime." (Hell, he even went back to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a mentally retarded guy when he was running in 1992.)

Bill Clinton - candidate drawn from the heart of the Democratic Leadership Council, a corporate operation devoted to ending the "excesses" of '60s and '70s liberalism.

The thing that Clinton is best remembered for is cutting federal deficits, another achievement that smacks of tryiing to out-Reagan Reagan.

The Clintons are the embodiment of Democrats who were forced to "inhale" Reagan's tailwinds even fifteen years after his ascendency. The hypocrisy and falsification of history of this pair is stunning. Progressive Democrats - who owe nothing to the Clintons except watching universal health coverage set back a decade and a half by her arrogance and incompetence - embrace this recycled '90s fairy tale at their own risk.

Posted by: brucds on January 22, 2008 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

As for mentioning Reagan -- this is a direct quote from an endorsement of Hillary that appears on her own website:

Her list of favorite presidents - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, George H.W. Bush and Reagan - demonstrates how she thinks. As expected, Bill Clinton was also included on the aforementioned list.

If you live in a glass house...

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK

DevilDog: "Please enlighten us as to what we would have heard, had our ears been open like yours!!"

I heard Obama claim, in response to Mrs. Clinton's charge that he worked for "slumlord Tony Rezko", that he only worked for Rezko as his company's attorney for five hours.

That's another finely parsed statement that could well come back to haunt him before all is said and done. Mrs. Clinton's staff really did their homework, and she baited him successfully into saying something ill-advised. If the Chicago media picks up on it, especially in advance of Illinois' Feb. 5 primary, he'll have some more 'splainin' to do.

From yesterday's Chicago Tribune:

"According to Saturday's Chicago Sun-Times, which cites an unnamed source, Obama was the unnamed 'political candidate' referred to in a Dec. 21 court document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in "sham" finder's fees.

"From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama's successful run for the Senate in the name of Glenview entrepreneur Joseph Aramanda, the story said.

"Aramanda's attorney, Terence Gillespie, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

"Business records show Aramanda once served as chief operating officer of a Rezko company, and Aramanda has been publicly identified as 'Individual D' in the pension fraud case against Rezko. Aramanda has not been charged with any crime."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

Not you, Donald. I read what you said earlier. Besides, we know better than to believe a Punahou grad will be the working class hero.

No, I want to know what daCascadian thinks everyone else missed.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 22, 2008 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

Donald, do you really want Obama to compete with the Clintons on shady financial deals? Do you think the Clintons are going to come out on top?

Posted by: Jor on January 22, 2008 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Its going to be Giuliani Time on Republicans this Fall. Payback time.

Posted by: bob h on January 22, 2008 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

Her list of favorite presidents . . .

Evidently that was a misquote by the New Hampshire newspaper. Although the original editorial is still on the web page.

http://facts.hillaryhub.com/archive/?id=5309

Posted by: toast on January 22, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

elmo said:

"Don't blame me Dan, he should have never tried to play the "Reagan" card and you know it. That shit was just stupid, and his campaign should run as fast and far from that rhetoric as it can...pronto..."

Sounds like a last ditch effort by the Clintons' campaign to me. "Please just let us lie about what you said without you defending yourself...it's much easier that way!" If you can't win, try and make your opponent stop fighting. I know Reagan's name makes your petite ears bleed, but quite frankly, if you don't think Ronald Reagan had an impact on modern political discourse, you're just not paying attention. As smart as the Clintons' are, we know they are aware of the truth...they're simply lying...again.

They're digging a hole, bro. Right now, the waters are somewhat muddied, you've spun it pretty well, but if y'all keep going it'll come back pretty hard and it won't be pretty. Now you don't have to believe me, just the way I see it and that ain't really worth much.

Posted by: drosz on January 22, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Donald, do you really want Obama to compete with the Clintons on shady financial deals? Do you think the Clintons are going to come out on top?

I still don't understand "Whitewater" -- but I'm pretty sure it's been thoroughly investigated by a special prosecutor, an independent counsel, hundreds of corporate lawyers, hundreds of government lawyers, and a formidable Republican oppo team led by Ted Olson.

Obama has a few problems with his real estate transactions: 1) they are pretty much unknown to the public, 2) the involvement of a lobbyist in two separate steps is clear and straightforward , and 3) he didn't lose money. I chalk it up to naivete, but eventually he'll take a political hit on it. The "5 hour" thing was downright stupid and will only make things worse.

Posted by: B on January 22, 2008 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if the "reagan card" was that stupid. The reagan myth is quite widespread among rural democrats, conservative democrats and independents. It mostly just pisses off those who comment on political blogs.

Posted by: B on January 22, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

I think the Rezko thing is going to hurt Obama. My local lib/political activist buddies think it's not going to be a big deal outside of Chicago(land), and won't much depress his vote totals even in Chicago. It will be interesting to see who's right.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if the "reagan card" was that stupid.The reagan myth is quite widespread among rural democrats, conservative democrats and independents. It mostly just pisses off those who comment on political blogs.

Bingo.

And further, the people it most pisses off are the ones who already had no intention of voting for Obama.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

So, the Rezko thing is a killer? Do you think the repubs will neglect to mention Monica? Gimme' a break.

Posted by: Cyn2 on January 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Do you think the repubs will neglect to mention Monica?

No, but I suspect they aren't planning on arguing that Miss Lewinsky went down on Mrs. Clinton.

(Cringing) I'm just sayin'! They'd be more likely to resurrect Whitewater, which to this day remains a murky mark against both Clintons to a lot of low-information voters. All those Clinton stories have zombie-like qualities, except that no one ever manages to really shoot them in the head. Good lord, my mother brought up the White House travel office the other night. I couldn't believe it.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

So, the Rezko thing is a killer?

No, I was thinking it's going to be worth a few points to the republicans at some point as it's not factored into the market yet. A lot depends on timing, momentum, spin, media, and Obama's response. Like it or not, the image of a fresh candidate is susceptible to significant manipulation. It might not be that hard to end up with lower negatives than Hillary, but there are some uncertainties.

It's hard for me to imagine a concerted Monica attack that changes things much one way or another. My guess is most direct attacks would backfire.

Posted by: B on January 22, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect they aren't planning on arguing that Miss Lewinsky went down on Mrs. Clinton.

Maybe they'll argue that Hillary procured Monica for Bill's birthday?

Posted by: B on January 22, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Or just forced the girl at gunpoint or by hinting that she'd end up like Vince Foster if she didn't comply. No matter what, Madame Sinister was involved.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK
this is a direct quote from an endorsement of Hillary that appears on her own website: Her list of favorite presidents -....Reagan - demonstrates how she thinks. ..If you live in a glass house.....JS at 3:29 AM
Actually from her site: Clinton did not say Reagan was favorite president

Bad Oppo Alert! Hillary Did Not List Ronald Reagan As Favorite President
In an effort to divert attention from Senator Obama’s comments about President Reagan and his assertion that the GOP has been the "party of ideas," the Obama campaign circulated an item this evening from the Salmon Press in New Hampshire that asserts that Senator Clinton listed the former President as one of her favorite presidents. In fact, Senator Clinton only complimented President Reagan’s communications skills – an attribute of his that has been widely praised by Americans of all ideological stripes – and did not list him as one of her favorite presidents. She also noted that she respected George H.W. Bush.
David Cutler, the co-owner of Salmon Press Newspapers, released the following statement:
The question posed was originally what portraits would you hang in the White House if you were President and as the dialogue progressed, who are the presidents you admire most?
She [Sen. Clinton] listed several presidents that she admired and mentioned she liked Reagan’s communication skills. She did not say Reagan was her favorite President. She didn’t say anything close to that.

Nice try, chum, but try harder and better next time.

Posted by: Mike on January 22, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

No Third Term. No Evita. No Banana Republic.

Posted by: Slipsok on January 22, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I watched nearly the entire debate live with my college-senior daughter who will be voting in her first presidential election this year.

First, appearances. All three candidates looked well and sounded well.

HRC was a bit hoarse. She has a rhetorical tic, sort of like throat clearing, in her routine, introductory, "Well," and you know what's coming: "here's what I think about that!" She's well-prepared, aggressive, and something else. Kind of like a bully. Frankly, she reminds me of myself in an argument with my husband. Interrupts and talks over with authority that brooks no opposition. She will prevail in an argument just through force of will.

Obama's halting style, noted by others, presents a bit of a contrast to HRC. He appears to be thinking and speaking at the same time, where by way of contrast HRC has everything in her head on a loop (e.g., "ready on day 1, 35 years of experience."). This speaking style, incidentally, may explain her rather robotic delivery. There is passion and intelligence, to be sure, but these seem to be laid as second and third tracks on the HRC recording.

Anyway, Obama usually manages to bring his point home, however, at the end (if given enough time), with a conclusion that makes you go, "Wow, I get it." He appears to be working on a theme that expresses a private value or reflects what appears to be intensive and extensive reading and thinking about biography and history. He is an excellent counter-puncher.

BO Affect: a sincerely visionary wit.

My sense? He really wants to answer the question. HRC doesn't labor under this burden, ignoring the question and pivoting immediately to her attack loop or her recitation of achievements loop.

HRC's style is more that of a bludgeoner,her intellectual strength is policy. Her willful distortions of Obama's positions are off-putting to this voter.

HRC Affect: a slightly nasty know-it-all not all that good at listening.

Edwards was great last night: he helped himself (and saved H and O) with a well-timed intervention. Self-effacing. Great timing. Great stories. Some great reaction shots.

JE Affect: Everyman, tough fighter, kind advocate.

As for how the ethics raps will play out for Obama v. HRC, I have no idea. My guess? Hillary will have a worse time of it. And Bill? He's a liability now.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 22, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

the people it most pisses off are the ones who already had no intention of voting for Obama.

Sen. Obama is bringing Americans together against progressive policies by rallying them to Reaganism. I have no intention of joining that coalition.

Posted by: Brojo on January 22, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta say that Obama blew it with his Reagan comment. I understand that Obama was complimenting Reagan on his abilities. However, I don't think you can separate, as Obama tries to do, Reagan's abilities from what those abilities were used to do. Obama could have chosen another transformative figure, Gandhi, King, and LBJ all come to mind. Why Reagan? Is it because, as another poster points out, that Obama was trying for an endorsement from a conservative newspaper? If so, that doesn't speak to well to Obama willingness to stand tall now does it? It sorta makes him a politician, like that bad ol' Hillary.

Posted by: Radix on January 22, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Radix, and all you other chuckleheads who have fallen for the Clinton spin, read what Hillary had to say about Reagan in Tom Brokaw's book "Boom" and THEN tell me how bad it is to mention the Gipper. Jeez, what a bunch of tools you are.

Posted by: Traven on January 22, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Cyn2: "So, the Rezko thing is a killer?"

Not necessarily. But Sen. Obama does need to find a way to get out in front of the issue, instead of merely responding reactively and reluctantly to revelations as they become public.

For example, Tony Rezko was first indicted by a federal grand jury back in 2006. Yet just the other day, Obama's campaign announced that it was returning some $40,000 in Rezko-related donations, but only after Obama was identified by sources as the "political candidate" in pre-trial filings.

I'm not sure why Obama is proving so reluctant to discuss his relationship with Rezko, but if he doesn't address the issue forthrightly prior to Feb. 25 (The date scheduled for Rezko's trial to begin), this holds serious potential to become a slow political death by a thousand small cuts.

Whitewater ultimately proved to be much ado about nothing, but the Clintons' collective initial mishandling of the issue only fueled public speculation of potential wrongdoing on their part, and ultimately caused both Bill and Hillary a lot of grief and cost them a lot of political capital.

Sen. Obama should take his cue from the Clintons' very public and humiliating experience, and not replicate the behavior that led to it.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding Obama's Reagan remarks (I did not read the transcript, just saw extended clips), which HRC reprised in the debate in what to me was a willful distortion of Obama's simple assertion that Reagan presided over a transformation of the political landscape--frankly, transformed it by stealing Democrats away from their nominee with, well, with a lot of things amply documented elsewhere that don't require linking.

Obama is signaling his readiness to reclaim those lost sheep. Dems can't win with just a good share of independents. They have to reclaim Dems who went over to the dark side in 1980 because they thought they saw morning in America.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

This is one Democrat who will never vote for Hillary. OK, I will if Rudy "Norman Podhoretz" Giuliani miraculously wins the Republican nomination, but otherwise, NFW.

Posted by: Greebe on January 22, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Although I doubt he meant it, Obama picked the only decent time to have mentioned Reagan. He wasn't going to win NV, he's going to win S.C., and by the time Feb 5 rolls around we'll be on to something else, probably having to do with why hispanics in CA won't vote for blacks or something. Hillary is essentially conceding S.C. and you can see it by her travel schedule and the "expectations game" her advisers are already playing.

I understand that to win a general election you have to win a primary, but to win a general election you are going to have to win the votes of people who either did, or would have voted for Reagan. If Hillary is the nominee, the GOP nominee is not going to have to be personally mean to Hillary because of the trillions of $$$ the anti-Hillary 527s are going to spend. And since at this point, I just don't see B.O. being the VP nominee, a Hillary nomination will do 2 things -- increase GOP turnout and decrease democratic turn out (blacks will not be that excited -- especially when the aforementioned anti-Hillary 527s remind them how she treated B.O.).

Posted by: Blue Moon on January 22, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on January 22, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Traven, So what you're telling me is that Obama did nothing more than what Hillary has done? That makes him different than her how? By the way, did you read my last statement in my post above? You know, the one that acknowledged the point you were making about Hillary and her comments about Reagan. So who's the Tool here?

Posted by: Radix on January 22, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Me: the people it most pisses off are the ones who already had no intention of voting for Obama.

Brojo: Sen. Obama is bringing Americans together against progressive policies by rallying them to Reaganism. I have no intention of joining that coalition.

Me again: The people it most pisses off are the ones who already had no intention of voting for Obama.

Posted by: shortstop on January 22, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Greebe: "This is one Democrat who will never vote for Hillary. OK, I will if Rudy 'Norman Podhoretz' Giuliani miraculously wins the Republican nomination, but otherwise, NFW."

Your spew does nothing to enhance your claim to be a real Democrat. Rather, such statements reflect the frustration of a political dilletante.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Donald in Hawaii wants to go over the Rezko thing, huh?

Webb Hubbell, Susan McDougall, James McDougall, Roger Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, Marc Rich, Johnny Chung, Donald Hsu. That's more than half a dozen felons associated with "The Clintons" off the top of my head. I'm sure the list is much longer if you want to give it some thought.

Posted by: Pug on January 22, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Quoting DevilDog:

"With regard to Reagan, here's what Obama said: I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years.

This is NOT a criticism of Reagan and the GOP. It's impossible to interpret it that way."

*sigh*...Why am I not surprised that you chose to take out the sentences immediately before and after that?

Here's the actual quote:

"We’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having, and they’re not useful. And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they’re being debated among the Presidential candidates and it’s all tax cuts. Well, you know, we’ve done that, we tried it."

So yeah, if you ignore everything but the party of ideas comment, sure you could portray it as Obama praising those Republican ideas....but you would also be distorting what he said, and engaging in the same tactics that the Hannitys and Limbaughs of the world use everyday.

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards won the debate...and the Clintons aren't being honest about Obama's remarks, which is disappointing.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 22, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Pug: "Webb Hubbell, Susan McDougall, James McDougall ..."

Nice comeback. Perhaps if you CC'ed that retort to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, he'll be inspired to drop forthwith the whole Rezko investigation, and then everyone will live happily ever after.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

No, Donald, it represents the frustration of a Democrat who has voted for every Democratic nominee for president since 1972 -- frustration with the slime, dishonesty and lies of Hillary. I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. And I know the lesson of 2000, so don't lecture me. But there comes a time in one's life where principle has to take priority. And Hillary is unprincipled. So I will take a pass. I won't vote Republican or for Bloomberg or whatever. I will sit at home and see the wreckage come. Hopefully Hillary will lose and a principled, honest Democrat can take the White House back in 2012. But I'll wait till 2016 if need be. And if that means more Neanderthals on the Supreme Court, so be it. I am not going to help turn this country into Argentina.

Posted by: Greebe on January 22, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK
....The Clinton attack machine....meathead republican at 11:58 AM
That one is a figment of your imagination, but your Republican slime machine is quivering in anticipation of a nice young greenhorn
....Webb Hubbell, Susan McDougall.... Pug at 12:15 PM
Nice recitation of long discredited RNC talking points, and you illustrate the problem: The charges you raise have all been found false, Obama has yet to find the right way to innoculate himself from the inevitable attacks. By the way, Susan McDougall was a real heroine against the Starr slime machine as was Julie Steele. It took two women with real guts to stand up to those brownshirts
....you would also be distorting what he said, and engaging in the same tactics that the Hannitys and Limbaughs ... use everyday. Dan at 12:19 PM
No, he was making a contrast from the time that Republicans were the 'party of ideas' to their current barrenness. If you can't find an adequate way to deal with misstatements now, how will you deal with the deliberate distortions and lies to come? Posted by: Mike on January 22, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush, I believe you meant to say the Clintons ARE being dishonest about Obama's quote, as the link you provided proves...

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, forget what I just said, you got it right.

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

If Sen. Obama would be honest and say Reagan fooled Chauvanistic/Adam Smith Democrats into voting Republican and that he can fool them back to voting Democratic, that would be better than attributing any value to Reaganism except its propaganda value.

If Sen. Obama would be honest and explicitly say Reagan was a liar who used racism and economic privilege to appeal to Southern and conservative Democrats and that he was going to use his communication skills to help them understand they voted against their best interests, that would be endearing.

But Sen. Obama is not saying these things to Democrats. Sen. Obama is saying Reagan had valuable ideas in order to endear Reagan voters to him so he can become president. That is not a message that encourages me to support him.

Posted by: Brojo on January 22, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

If Sen. Obama would be honest and say . . .

My sense of the Reagan remarks, for Obama, is that he was being honest. But he was also speaking abstractly about "ideas" writ large, and voter perceptions about those so-called ideas, and profound electoral shifts springing from those perceptions.

He was discussing election history with an editorial board and casting himself as the Democratic counterfigure to Reagan. Why not? Do we want the White House (and Congress) or not?

Posted by: paxr55 on January 22, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ya' know, I thought for a moment last night that we had three pretty good candidates. But, I gotta' say, that the Clintons have bought up many raw memories of things that I'd managed to push into the background of my mind. The scandals, the bitter fighting, the behavior in the oval office. It all comes to the fore in the recent campaigning and it's not good for our party.

Posted by: Cyn2 on January 22, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't catch all the debate last night but saw the flare-ups on replays.

Obama's in a jam. His desire to conduct an idealistic transcendental campaign doesn't square with the reality that the primaries have degenerated into identity politics and that the Clintons are playing sleazeball. He's increasingly distracted and on the defensive. Before the primary season I had always been a spirited defender of Hillary Clinton, but she has plummeted in my estimation since, and last night she was really shameless.

Hillary knows that Obama's "present" votes were but a fraction of the total and an accepted tactic in Illinois politics, as reported in The New York Times. She knows what Obama meant by Reagan's success (I believe it was called a "revolution"), which is not a matter of ideology but a historical fact. She knows Obama has consistently been opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the start (and that he removed his speech from his website to help the Democrats in 2004!). She is simply willing to set scruples aside in order to malign Obama and win. Charming.

That said, I don't get why liberals are threatening not to vote for Hillary or sit out the election if she gets the nom. As unsavory as she's been these past weeks, she's done nothing to compare with Bill's Ricky Ray Rector stunt. It was completely repugnant, but I voted for him anyway against a Republican party that was far less malignant that its present-day incarnation.

Posted by: Lucy on January 22, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Dan on January 22, 2008 at 12:31 PM: Oops, forget what I just said, you got it right.

Tomato, Tomatoe...No problem.

Brojo on January 22, 2008 at 12:35 PM: Sen. Obama is saying Reagan had valuable ideas in order to endear Reagan voters to him so he can become president.

That's completely wrong, Brojo. From the earlier link:

“The Republican approach I think has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies, when they’re being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we’ve done that, we’ve tried it.”

Having said that, I'm not enamored of Obama's attempt to draw a comparison between himself and Reagan as 'uniters' of the American people. The 'golden era of Reagan' was pretty shitty for a lot of people, including my family...

That is not a message that encourages me to support him.

I don't like the comparison, but it's bad enough in itself without The Clintons misrepresenting what was said and meant.

Oh, by the way; anyone notice that there was three candidates at the debate?

Posted by: grape_crush on January 22, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody who doesn't recognize Hillary is a joker when she says she fought poverty her whole career has to remember it was extra hard for her to do that while sitting on the board of directors of WalMart and workings as a corporate lawyer for the Rose Law Firm.

Anybody who thinks Barack spent only 5 hours on Rezko's interests hasn't been paying attention. Barack (Mr. Hotair) panders to everyone without saying what he's going to do for the Reagan Democrats while not offending the Liberals while repeating John Edwards speeches about Teddy Roosevelt and Progressivism. Sheesh. I don't know what Barack is for except getting elected. He is all over the map the way his life sent him from Africa to Indonesia to Hawaii to L.A. to N.Y. to Boston to Chicago and on to Washington D.C. He has no foundation, no principles (that I can see) and he will say absolutely anything. If he becomes the nominee he should have to face Mitt Romney and argue over integrity and substance.

John Edwards has more integrity in his little finger than the other two combined.

Posted by: MarkH on January 22, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama: "I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom."

I think it is fair to say reaching out to Republicans and telling them their party had any ideas worth pursuing, for any amount of time in the Twentieth Century, is an attempt by Sen. Obama to obtain Reagan voters' support. Sen. Obama thinks he needs their support to win the nomination and the presidency, which may be true. It does not inspire confidence in me that an Obama presidency will do the things I think need doing, because Obama is reaching out to Reaganites rather than liberal social democrats. That is Sen. Obama's choice. My choice will probably be to vote for someone else in the primary.

Posted by: Brojo on January 22, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Greebe: "No, Donald, it represents the frustration of a Democrat who has voted for every Democratic nominee for president since 1972 -- frustration with the slime, dishonesty and lies of Hillary."

Whatever. Enjoy the Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 22, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK
So yes, a reflective Democrat might ask, how come, over the last 40 years, Republicans have done so much better?.....c at 2:36 AM
I appreciate the attempt to frame the answer so that it meshes with your politics, but history is more nuanced.

For example, Reagan's policies were never popular with the electorate, yet he won. The reason has to do with racial and social politics; and like Eisenhower, a personable demeanor. He encouraged and led voters to ignore their economic and personal interest by wedge issues that appealed to their personal biases. Most of this depended on outright deception and distortion. Unions, for example, became, not the helper of the working classes, but the enemy. How was this accomplished? Endless hours of talk radio, numerous papers and 'studies' from rightist think tanks, newspaper propaganda from anti-union corporatist, the list goes on.

Regarding social interests, the right of each and every American to live their live was attacked as immoral sexual behavior run amok, cultural wars, family values, anti-Christian fear mongering propaganda, exaggerated claims of drugs and crime, and that list goes on as well.

For these Republican claims to be accepted so widely, they have and use since the time of Goldwater, an extensive, very well financed right wing propaganda network, a fifth column of anti-democratic organizations that are the backbone of their success.

We saw how well this worked in 2000 with the endless smears&lies against Al Gore. By election day, 64% of white male voters had the opinion that he was a congenital liar. We saw the same in 2004 when Bush supporters funded tens of thousands of attack ads as well as the Swift Boat Veteran smears.

Victory in the face of this vast right-wing union of corporatist and supposedly 'Christian' interests is extremely difficult. It takes special circumstances. This cycle, at this time it appears that the utter failure and incompetence of the ruling class may have sufficient force to drive the electorate. As always, truth and transparency help. But nothing helps so much as to have a fighter not an appeaser.

.... She is simply willing to set scruples aside in order to malign Obama ....Lucy at 1:38 PM

Obama supporters think their man is perfect, untouchable and so handsome that women should vote for him reflexively. Voting 'present' was a way not to take a controversial stand. Obama commented on Reagan in his book, The Audacity of Hope.
...Mr. Obama talks about how the Republican party today is still living out Ronald Reagan’s legacy. To Mr. Obama, Ronald Reagan’s policies were too harsh, but he does admire the political skill with which Reagan framed the debate. He states that Reagan spoke to America’s longing for order, our need to believe we are not simply subject to blind, impersonal forces but that we can shape our individual and collective destinies, so long as we rediscover the traditional virtues of hard work, patriotism, personal responsibility, optimism and faith. He states that Reagan created a narrative which has been very durable, that we should side with those who work hard, obey the law, care for their families, and love their country, and against those who are out of touch, tax and spend, blame America first, politically correct elites.....

Posted by: Mike on January 22, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

He is all over the map the way his life sent him from Africa to Indonesia to Hawaii to L.A. to N.Y. to Boston to Chicago and on to Washington D.C.

this is a bad thing in your book? are people who leave their birth states, travel, pursue education at top schools and learn something about the larger world scaaaaaary to you?

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 22, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

The list of Hillary's allegedly favorable presidents that includes Reagan has been up at her website since December 12th. She only issued a correction On January 18, after she had accused Obama of something similar and he responded. (The correction does not appear on the same page where the list still stands, which is sloppy ad best). In fact, I could not find the correction in the press releases under the Jan 18 date -- perhaps it is somewhere else. I know it was in the press -- but it seems to me it should appear where the original text appears as well.

So Hillary's position on Reagan was nuanced (she only admired his communication skills). So was Obama's (he thought Reagan had been able to bring about big changes, though good ones). Both claim to disapprove of Reagan's policies. Why did Hillary come up with these accusations then? Is only one side entitled to nuanced positions?

Hillary's accusations on the "party of ideas" issue continues to have the problem of the similar 2003 comments came from the Clinton corner, and, Mike, you did not address that inconvenient fact.

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Obama supporters think their man is perfect...

Not true, and a straw man. Some of us simply think that Hillary is more imperfect than Obama and/or is perceived more negatively by the voters.

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo, see my comment of 2:54AM regarding the "party of ideas" issue.

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

(he thought Reagan had been able to bring about big changes, though good ones)

That should have been ... though not good ones

Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Dan (12:19 pm),

Thanks for the response. Okay, suppose I give Obama a pass on the Reagan/Republican issue, since it's open to interpretation. He still blew it by re-opening the SS issue and having the least robust healthcare proposal. Again, I would vote for the guy, or Clinton for that matter. But of the three, Edwards best respresents progessive ideals AND, to get back to the seminal question, he came off best in the debate.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 22, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

But of the three, Edwards best respresents progessive ideals

That's what I thought too, and he was my first choice a few weeks ago. But then it became clear that he does not strike a nerve with the voters. And there was this from Senator Feingold, for whom I have a lot of respect:

The one that is the most problematic is [John] Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war … He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on.


Posted by: JS on January 22, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

DevilDog,

Now those are legitimate criticisms, and Obama will have to defend his proposals as best he can. I thought Edwards won the debate as well. But seeing Hillary intentionally distort Obama's statements just doesn't sit well with me.

Posted by: Dan on January 22, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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