Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 27, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

OBAMA vs. CLINTON....Reader MDS thinks I'm overreacting:

Please, I beg you, reconsider. You were the only blogger making any sense on the Obama/Clinton front, and now you've jumped ship, too? Trust me, I live in Chicago, I've met Obama, I voted for him for Senate, I think he's great ... but he's just not up to running for president. Yes, the Clinton campaign said some stupid stuff. But no matter how much that turns you against Hillary, the way the Obama campaign has cried about it should turn you even more against Obama. Having watched him up close, I can tell you, Obama is an inspirational guy who doesn't have a clue how to campaign. If it's Obama vs. McCain, we're in for six months of Swift Boating followed by four more years of a Republican in the White House.

Kevin Drum 5:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (230)

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Comments

So its the best political machine money could buy, two Clintons , ANDtaking on Mrs. Inevitable -- and Obama can't campaign? That makes sense.

Posted by: Jor on January 27, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Cried about it?"

Posted by: Eazy on January 27, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

At last a cogent explanation for Obama only winning South Carolina by 28 points.

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Trust me I live in New York and I think Hillary has been a swell senator and.....you get the picture.

Ever see them make sausage?

Posted by: wren on January 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama is where he is without having a clue as to how to campaign, so we are seeing him at his worst, well, that is one hell of an endorsement for a President Obama, because it is all upside the campaign.

Posted by: razor on January 27, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've met Obama, asked him questions in a town hall meeting, voted for him for the senate, and he's simply the best out there. MDS is an idiot.

Posted by: Mike on January 27, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

He doesn't have a clue how to campaign? Seriously? He seems to be doing all right for himself running against both a presidential candidate and a former president.

Posted by: jbryan on January 27, 2008 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard people criticize Obama for not being ready to be president, but this is the first time I've heard someone suggest he's not up to "running for president."

Given not just his rhetorical skills but also how many new voters he's bringing in and his amazing success at building state organizations, what is he supposed to be doing wrong?

Regarding swiftboating: Obama's defense against the Clintons' race-baiting was tempered, media-savvy, and successful. We do not need to nominate a first-class mudslinger; we need to nominate someone who can respond forcefully to unfair attacks. Obama has performed extremely well against a well-financed, politically experienced, establishment-entrenched celebrity. I think he's the most gifted politician our party has had in decades.

And yes, I think he has "a clue" how to campaign.

Posted by: Joseph Clarke on January 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

When did we become such a cynical--or maybe cowardly--crowd? Three potentially good Dem candidates and the primary concern is what the RNC slime machine will do? Please.

Posted by: has407 on January 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

"doesn't have a clue how to campaign"? Really?! Now who am I to believe - you or my lyin' eyes and ears?

Posted by: Victoria on January 27, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'll join the MDS bashing. The fact is that Obama has managed to get the high ground against the Clintons, avoided overreacting to the Clinton tactics (it doesn't matter whether the Clintons are being malicious or not, they are attempting a take-down of Obama and he turned it around on them), and has garnered some very impressive endorsement of establishment types that seemed likely to go Clinton's way. He's made some mistakes no doubt, and this thing is by no means over, but is that is bad campaigning, God help Hillary or the Republicans if the guy ever gets good at campaigning.

Posted by: Jim on January 27, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

...I can tell you, Obama is an inspirational guy who doesn't have a clue how to campaign.

Now, Obama may not beat Clinton. In fact, if I were a betting man, I'd probably still wager on Clinton winning the nomination. However, that statement is just pure and utter horse pucky. Coming out of nowhere, Obama has raised over $100 million, racked up countless endorsements and beaten the vaunted Clinton Machine in two of four first states. And when the campaign got nasty, and the genius bloggers/pundits started wondering if he was "tough enough," Obama let the results (55 to 27%!) do the talking.
So, yeah....scoreboard.


Posted by: Ryan on January 27, 2008 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

But no matter how much that turns you against Hillary, the way the Obama campaign has cried about it should turn you even more against Obama.

Obama complaining about the vicious attacks from the Clinton is now called crying? It's saying things like this which explain why so many people are turning against Clinton and voting for Obama. Not to mention it sounds suspiciously racist that the only Black candidate in the Democratic race is being unfairly attacked for just defending himself.
It was saying things like this which led Obama to win his landslide victory in South Carolina. If Clinton and her surrogates/supporters keep on saying things like this and she wins the nomination, this will only lead Obama supporters to stay home or vote for the Republican in the general election.

Posted by: Al on January 27, 2008 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Having watched him up close, I can tell you, Obama is an inspirational guy who doesn't have a clue how to campaign.

I don't think even Ari Fleischer could say that with a straight face.

Posted by: Killjoy on January 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

The brilliant Charles Pierce from Alterman's blog:

As I was watching the debate the other night -- the Democratic one where Anderson Cooper came on afterwards and got to pretend to be Angelo Dundee -- I was struck by Senator Obama's resolute assertion that he was the candidate that can come to Washington and work with "independents and Republicans" to get things done. (One of his new ads has him sitting next to Dick Lugar, a Republican senator only slightly more relevant today than is Arthur Vandenberg.) I was struck even harder by it as I watched the Democratic Senate go supine, selling out poor Chris Dodd and the Constitution, and concocting retroactive alibis for the Telecom giants in a week where we finally got the empirical count of prewar Iraq lies. Here's my deal with His Barackosity. Take the list of Republican congresscritters, House and Senate. Make me a list of 10 of them with whom you think you can work to achieve anything close to the progressive goals you have said you want to achieve. Give me an honest run, and I guarantee you that you can't do it. You may get "something done" but it's not going to have anything to do with anything resembling the values of the party you seek to represent. This is a party that has to be forcibly disenthralled from its lunatic base.

I can't add anything to that except to say that I agree with it. As Digby often says, these people (Republicans) don't have to be "worked with," they need to be utterly and completely politically obliterated, and all credibility withheld until they repudiate their shameful conduct of the past decade.

Posted by: Charles on January 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, has407. About time we took politics back on our own terms.

Posted by: Chris on January 27, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Actually ... Obama is not the one who cried when things got tough.

And I think South Carolina had proved that he can handle incoming fire and win big. :)

Posted by: Benjamin on January 27, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

For someone that lives in Orange County, I thought Kevin actually came to his senses much earlier than is expected.

:0)

Si se puede!! Go Obmama!!!

And as a life long Democratic party member I have to say that Bill has tarnished his legacy, with me and many others in the party like me --those damn idealists-- forever. I won't ever defend nor look at the man ever the same way again. He looks... typical, which is sad.

Posted by: carlos on January 27, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Let's prove this guy wrong

Posted by: publius on January 27, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well if you think Hillary is going to fighht thhe R's you are out of your frickin' mind. She had a safe seat in the Senate but couldn't come up with the guts to vote against the war or the patriot act. She has been a collaborator and compromiser all down the line.

Also, agsint McCain, she can't win.

It is a pointless digression to keep arguing abouut which one will be the best President. Keep your eyes onn the prize: a Democrat in the Presidency next year. That won't happen if we nominate a candidate that is already hhated by 48% of the population. (Unles the Rethugs help us out by nominating their weakest candidate, too.)

No, we don't need to fear the Slime Machine but we also don't have to nominate the candidate thathas already been suuccessfully slimed. Clinton, for all of her reputed toughness has not been able either to stop the slime machine or dodge its slime. everything thrown at her has stuck. If we nominate Obama the machine will havve to startfresh. If we nominate Clinton all the Rethugs have to do is add a point or two to thhe 48% tht already hate her, and the election is lost.

There is no value at the poiint in the primaries to keep discussing which candiate would make the best President. the onnly thing left to talk about is which candidate can get to be President and we need to talk about it now before the wweakest one, Clinton, gets the nomination.

Posted by: wonkie on January 27, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, once you get away from the liberal blogosphere and their all-consuming hatred of Clinton, you see things a lot more clearly.

You're one of the few who didn't buy into all that MLK/LBJ stuff from the media and the Obama campaign. You were right on that. Don't let the braying hordes convince you otherwise.

Posted by: Ralph on January 27, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

And when the campaign got nasty, and the genius bloggers/pundits started wondering if he was "tough enough," Obama let the results (55 to 27%!) do the talking.

Yes, but in a state where African American voters made up a majority of the primary participants, and in a state where John Edwards still had a plausible rationale for remaining relevant. Neither of those facts will obtain from here on in. The fact is, Obama hasn't managed to exceed 35% of the white vote in any primary yet. Not saying it won't happen, and I'll certainly support his candidacy with enthusiasm should he prevail. But I think you have to take the South Carolina "landslide" in context. I think the real story last night was not Obama's thumping win, but Edwards's final collapse. Obama definitely doesn't want to get into a head to head against Hillary. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he's now got.

Posted by: Jasper on January 27, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's brilliant pivoting off of the Clintons' strategy in his speech last night is sufficient evidence of someone who knows what he is doing in campaigning.

McCain scares me far less against Obama than Clinton. He is extremely vulnerable both over Iraq and the economy, and now that the press (re: the Romney timetable charge) is catching on how much of a liar he is, I don't think he is going to get any sort of free ride against Obama.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on January 27, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people like me were brought into political awareness by the horrible nature of the Bush administration. We got behind Kerry because he was supposed to able to beat Bush. He was smashed because his supposed strengths didn't bring out enough new democrats, and his weaknesses (fair or not) kept republicans firmly in their own camp.

Hillary clinton doesn't inspire anyone under 65, and won't win a single republican that John Kerry lost.

If you assume that the republicans and independents vote exactly as they did in 2004, Obama is the only possible choice.

I would also warn that watching an Obama get sent packing by a bunch of old ladies who would vote democratic anyway, it going to turn off a lot of the people that Obama brings to the table.

Posted by: enozinho on January 27, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that Obama can't campaign is like saying that birds can't fly. It defies all experience and common sense.

All I can figure is that MDS was trying dance around a somewhat different statement, namely, that Obama has been getting a free pass because he's black. Or: you can't put one of those people in charge, they'll screw everything up.

Maybe I'm not being fair to MDS. Maybe he can explain how Obama got as far as he has without being able to campaign.

Maybe this isn't just racial hysteria dressed up in the urgent language of concern trolling.

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

For whatever it's worth, I have a good friend who is active fairly high up in Chicago's Republican Party, and some time ago he said the following to me: "If Hillary wins the nomination, we beat you, even though we really don't deserve to. If Obama gets the nomination, we lose. I've watched him these last ten years. He's a master at building impossible coalitions."

One man's opinion. But interesting.

Posted by: Victoria on January 27, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't ANYONE bothered that the Obama campaign had an avowed homophobe campaigning with him, and justified it by saying 'lots of african americans in the south agree with his opinion'. I.e. - we're pandering. I.e. We're tolerant of bigotry - IF it's gay people.

Bill clinton got a free pass from feminists. I think Obama's also getting a free pass. I found this pandering, weaseling, to be a very serious indication of character, and I do not understand why this story didn't get traction (almost every Obama supporter I know has NEVER heard of this).

Posted by: Samuel on January 27, 2008 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

For someone who doesn't know how to campaign, Obama sure is kicking a lot of ass.

That makes me wonder how credible MDS's opinion is.

Posted by: AtumHotep on January 27, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shame on Kevin for posting this reader's e-mail. It is a HRC talking point, not an argument. The fact remains that a) Obama has not "cried" about it - see his This Week response today w/ Steph. b) It is a logical fallacy at this point to suggest that if Obama goes head-to-head against McCain or Romney he'll lose because he's a bad campaigner. Clearly, the Clintons represent a crucible through which any quesitons about Obama's viability as a national candidate will be tested. If he gets past WFC/HRC, he'll be able to take on anyone.

Posted by: Mikeo on January 27, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not an Obama supporter -- he's too far right for me -- but this argument you present from MDS is silly. What possible facts could either support or contradict their claim? My point isn't that what they say is wrong -- it's not even wrong, as Pauli says. It's not a question of "what evidence do they have that Obama "cried" about it" -- but rather, that sort of claim is not one that can have hard evidence, or an argument about it. It's just a characterization designed to make the reality it purports to describe into truth. Obama complained about Bill's race BS, and that proves Obama can't take it? What a weird self-fulfilling description. This is spin, which I define as stuff purporting to be facts which, in reality, is just characterization that cannot be refuted.

That said, "doesn't have a clue how to campaign" is, I think, over-reaching. A win in Iowa, a win in SC, the press loves him, youths are enthusiastic, he's hung in for a month despite a huge deficit in the national polls -- hard to see how that's defined as "doesn't have a clue how to campaign", regardless of what specific criticisms one might have of his campaigning. Again, if this comment from MDS had come from a Clinton spokesperson, we'd dismiss it as BS spin out of hand.

And in any case, the whole point of Swift Boating is that the candidate doesn't have to do it. Why can't we be sleazy and Swift Boat McCain ourselves, if that's what we want? Certainly Obama's rhetoric will give him more plausible deniability than Hillary's.

Posted by: JD on January 27, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

"that MLK/LBJ stuff from the media and the Obama campaign"?

"Bill clinton got a free pass from feminists" -- for doing what?

Posted by: Eazy on January 27, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The barely-concealed awe and fear which Republicans over at The Corner and Red State have for Obama is a much better indicator of his chances this fall than the cowardly and bad-faith concern-trolling of some random 'Democrat' from Chicago.

Posted by: lampwick on January 27, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, why would you waste ink reporting a comment from somebody who has all the look of a liar (about liking and voting for Obama)?

As for Repubs and slime, I think Obama is less susceptible to these attacks, and that those attacks are more likely to backfire if used against Barack than Hillary. Moreover, I think the country, many many Repubs included, are sick to death of Repub slime and are likely to react with disgust and revulsion ... just as we've done with Bill Clinton's slime. (And, well, yes, I once liked BC; no more.)

Posted by: Fel on January 27, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel, watch Obama's speech on MLK day.

Posted by: Jor on January 27, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bill clinton got a free pass in the sense that if a republican had slept with an intern, they would have all shrieked about sexual harrasment, but because he was liberal, and, apparently, attractive, he slid by and maintained the vast majority of liberal feminist support.

My point: we need to judge everyone, right or left, by what they do, the lies they tell, the company they keep, and Barack Obama's standing on stage over and over with a homophobic minister is very disturbing to this (straight, though that shouldn't matter) man.

He weaseled out to bigotry to pander to southern black voters. Would he have done that with an avowed anti-white or anti-jewish minister? I don't think so!

Posted by: samuel on January 27, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary clinton doesn't inspire anyone under 65, and won't win a single republican that John Kerry lost.

Well, she inspires me, and I'm well under 65. I think the idea of a female president is a story of historic importance -- but one almost completely ignored by the media.

If you assume that the republicans and independents vote exactly as they did in 2004, Obama is the only possible choice.

Care to elaborate? As Kevin has helpfully pointed out, the whole "electability" issue is eminently debatable, and it is by no means clear who is the stronger Democratic nominee against McCain or Romney. The conventional wisdom is that Obama does better at gaining the votes of independents. The conventional wisdom is also that Clinton does better at holding down the votes of Democrats.

I would also warn that watching an Obama get sent packing by a bunch of old ladies who would vote democratic anyway, it going to turn off a lot of the people that Obama brings to the table.

One very seldom hears this selfish attitude among Clinton supporters: the vast majority of them are willing to do what it takes to make sure the Democratic nominee prevails in November. But one constantly hears this pathetic whining from Obama partisans: if my candidate, Senator Obama, doesn't get the party's nod, fuck the Democrats, I'm staying home.

How charming.

Posted by: Jasper on January 27, 2008 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks Senator Obama can't campaign obviously missed the 2004 Illinois Senate primary where Senator Obama came from behind to wind up with over 50% of the vote in a six-candidate field. His next closest opponent was tied into the Chicago machine and got 23% of the vote.

More to the point, Senator Obama has beaten Senator Clinton in half of the contests so far and been competitive in the others.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Senator Clinton's supporters like to point out that she's already been tested against all of the attacks the Republicans have put forth over the last sixteen years. That's true, but the flip side to that is true as well: if Senator Obama secures the nomination, he will have succeeded in defeating the Clintons where Republicans have tried and failed for the past sixteen years.

Posted by: Jason on January 27, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

What this guy doesn't get: there are plenty of us independent-minded progressive voters who simply will not vote for Hillary in November. I was hoping Edwards would be the one to stop her given his populist rhetoric, but I'll pull the lever for Obama if that is what it takes.

The Dems risk losing it all if they go with her as the nominee, and frankly, they'll deserve it.

Posted by: bdrube on January 27, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

jasper, are you over 50 years old? Cause hillary really isn't the last female who will have a shot at the presidency.

Posted by: Jor on January 27, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Drum has finally drunk the kool-aid

Yes, you just over-reacted to the Obama camp constant whining and the non-stop MSM noise machine, ignoring your own charts and figures that had plainly shown how the MSM has treated Obama with kids' gloves while vigorously going after Hillary in the most vicious way. Well, have fun out there in the ethereal world! We'll stick with our reality-based candidate; you can have your "mystique" candidate, with the "face" (Andrew Sullivan), who's going to transform the world without uttering a single word specifying how he'd do it (that is, unless you think his sophomoric bromides count for something).

In short, Drum, you have finally drunk the kool-aid. Good bye, and do not let the door hit you on the way out...

Posted by: dcshungu on January 27, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if Obama is so bad at campaigning what about the person who has lost to him twice?

Posted by: david in norcal on January 27, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think voting for Obama is "rolling the dice."

But I also think that someone who remains the most pro-corporate Democrat, the most hawkish, the closest Democrat to the Israel lobby and thereby the least likely to move on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, and the most establishment Democrat is voting for something we've had before.

Our party can either continue down the path of Clintonian, DLC-esque Democracy or we can try and fundamentally alter the rules of the game. Maybe it's naive, but if the Clinton wing of the party decides the party's 21st century future, I think America's future will not be what it could be.

Posted by: Steve W. on January 27, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems risk losing it all if they go with her as the nominee, and frankly, they'll deserve it.

They also "risk losing it all" if they go with Obama. Objective analysis -- as opposed to the entirely subjective hyperventilating one hears from Obama partisans -- clearly demonstrates both Obama and Clinton have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. It is entirely possible, though not terribly likely, that Hillary Clinton could lose a general election. It is also entirely possible, though not terribly likely, that Barrack Obama could do the same.

Posted by: Jasper on January 27, 2008 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Does he know how to campaign? Yes.
Has he produced solid policy blueprints? No.
Has he energized the youth vote? Yes.
Will he win the general? No.

Yep, put Obama at the top of the ticket and you get 4 more republican years. A McCain/Huckabee ticket will be all she wrote.

Posted by: elr on January 27, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Edwards dead-ender. I have my doubts about Obama's ability to govern--I think he's naive and has fallen for his own press wrt his ability to 'work with the other side'--, but to say he doesn't know how to campaign...?

He won Iowa, damn near won New Hampshire and Nevada, and got twice HRC's vote in So. Carolina.

The oddest thing about this primary campaign may well be listening to Clinton loyalists trying to discount the importance of charisma and oratory.

Posted by: Jim on January 27, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

"the Obama camp constant whining"?

Posted by: Eazy on January 27, 2008 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am amazed at the gloating I am seeing over the awesome awesomeness of Obama's campaign skills.

Because, to my eye, he can't think more than one move ahead, and has already committed several major strategic blunders that will come back and bite his butt hard. I have little confidence in his ability to take on the GOP successfully.

Posted by: Horselover Fat on January 27, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get why women think that a Billary presidency is somehow uplifting to women - but never mind.

Frank Rich has a very good piece in the NYT today about how Bill has made himself part of the narrative and has NOT been vetted for the last 8 years. It will be a long long nightmare folks. And Hillary will look less and less important and more and more like the mere proxy that she is. Let's talk donors to the Clinton Libary and his other deals. Let's talk bimbos coming out the whazoo, let's talk the White House papers that the archives have yet to release which show what came down on HillaryCare.

If Democrats don't wake up and begin to take Billary seriously which includes vetting Bill - they will have noting but scandals to cope with if Billary is nominated.

Posted by: C.B. on January 27, 2008 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Charles Pierce, from above:
Here's my deal with His Barackosity. Take the list of Republican congresscritters, House and Senate. Make me a list of 10 of them with whom you think you can work to achieve anything close to the progressive goals you have said you want to achieve. Give me an honest run, and I guarantee you that you can't do it.

wonkie, from above:
Well if you think Hillary is going to fighht the R's you are out of your frickin' mind. She had a safe seat in the Senate but couldn't come up with the guts to vote against the war or the patriot act. She has been a collaborator and compromiser all down the line.

...and that's why I'm sticking with Edwards as long as he hangs in there.

Posted by: Jim on January 27, 2008 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Please, people! MDS wrote that email right after Bobby Rush kicked Obama to the curb in 2000. He/she just forgot to update it.

For whatever it's worth, I have a good friend who is active fairly high up in Chicago's Republican Party.

That narrows it down to two or three people...:)

Posted by: shortstop on January 27, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, let’s see, I’m from Illinois, too. In this state politics is a contact sport. Some outsiders call it “bare knuckled,” but it’s a lot more like Sherman’s march to the sea on steroids.

That Obama was able to get elected to the state senate, and then the U.S. Senate suggests a) he knows a thing or two about campaigning and b) he knows a few things about getting elected, too.

Granted, the GOP imploded in the U.S. Senate race (the clown car drove up and out stepped Allan Keys—all by himself), but it’s unlikely they could have fielded ANYONE who could have beaten Obama for the Senate.

I’ve been in the news biz for a little over 31 years now, and I have to say Obama’s speech at the Dem convention blew me away, cynical attitude and all. I think the guy’s the real deal.

I’ve said it before: Hillary lost me the day she cast her vote for the AUMF. I’ve lived to see two Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions passed by stampeded legislators and they were both disasters. Hillary should have known better; in fact I think the DID know better. She had to have, given what happened when Congress gave LBJ the same authority the first time around. She and her ilk made their cold political calculations and the nation has been suffering ever since.

I have no idea what kind of President Obama would be other than he is already ten times the man W will ever be. So he’s got that going for him, at least.

Posted by: RAM on January 27, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Part of what's appealing about the Obama campagin's tactics is that their approach, rhetoric, and language is how little it resembles the debate style of Bill O'Reilly, blog comments, and Keith O. There's no gotcha, no pot-kettle-black/hoisted-petard/shocked-shocked undercurrent and triteness, no easy 1990s South Park irony.

Posted by: Eazy on January 27, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

the media hearts Obama. The media hearts McCain. The media hates Hillary with a virulence unmatched in recent history. David Duke gets better treatment than her. If you honestly think that none of this matters, especially given just how long this campaign is going to drag on, you have not been awake for the last eight years. Right now the blogs has (somewhat) mobilized the young, but the people over 35 get their hews from tv where hill is seen and presented as slightly less personable than a dead cow. Until the media conglomeracy dies, this is the system your stuck with, and it really is just a high school popularity contest all over again. I know "blogs make the difference" - but not yet.

Honestly, if McCain slugs Hillary in the face the media's headlines would read something like "Hillary attempts to destroy McCain's hand in dirty maneuver." and until you can stop that, even if Hilary wins (longshot) she will get nothing done because the media will hound her every single day. That's the reality you have, so get busy changing it if you don't like it, but you're going to have to get up from your keyboards and out into the world.

Posted by: bob on January 27, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Bill clinton got a free pass in the sense that if a republican had slept with an intern..."-Samuel

Monica Lewinsky was not an intern. She was paid staff. Please quit with the Republican talking points.

Obama won in a state that had a turnout of 55% of the voters being African-American, with a compliant Clinton hating media blowin' smoke up everyone's ass, and a liberal internet trying to get on the corporate media gravy train amplifying every Clinton criticism as some slimy attack. He won't have that in a general election at least the first two parts. If he can't get 25% of the white vote in SC and no higher than 35% in any other state in Democratic primaries, I don't see how he can win. I don't care if it is supposedly a Democratic year.

Think about this. Kennedy barely won against a Republican (Nixon) that his boss (Eisenhower) wouldn't endorse, the majority of the country's voters Democrats, and with the backing of his father's money and power which was substantial in 1960 politics. The Republicans will rally around Romney or McCain, they always do. I don't think JFK 2.0, will be as succesful as the original product.

Posted by: harry s/mdana on January 27, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

How charming.

Think of it this way. If you've spent your entire life, literally, with a Bush or a Clinton as VP/President, it is really hard to see Hillary as anything but the same old song. I'm all for a woman as president, just not Clinton. I decided long ago that I was voting against political dynasties, because it worked out so well the last time we projected the competence of one family member onto another.

Want to call that selfish, fine. But Clinton expecting the presidency to be handed to her because it's "her turn" is just as selfish. Especially since she was licking Bushes boots back when he was popular. Fighting against him in 2002, 2003, 2004 would have been damaging to her campaign prospects in 2008. How charming.

Posted by: enozinho on January 27, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Chait wrote an interesting piece about how something so obvious to Democrats - that McCain is far and away the more dangerous candidate - is lost on the Limbaughs and the Hewitts. How come Kevin Drum is their doppelganger? Hillary has some advantages, so does Obama. That's like saying A-Rod has some advantages, so does Bill Buckner. If the Kevin Drums get their way and Obama is deprived of this shot at the presidency, I guarantee black and progressive Americans will listen to his speech at this convention the way the Republicans listened to Ronald Reagan at Gerald Ford's convention, and will gladly sit home for a chance to vote for this guy in four more years.

Posted by: jojo on January 27, 2008 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

My guess that if Barack Obama becomes the nominee, the tightly contested primary campaign between him and Hillary Clinton will more than compensate for his heretofore lack of campaign experience.

I'm still supporting Mrs. Clinton, but I have no problem with Obama as our nominee, should that be the will of our prty's primary voters. He will have been battle-tested, and he will have a united party behind him, because this time around, friends won't let friends vote Republican.

But we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. Only five states have weighed in thus far, and there's still a long way to go.

(And, of course, Antoin "Tony" Rezko's trial for corruption and influence peddling begins in federal court on Feb. 25 -- to the chagrin of a lot of Chicago-area Democrats, not just Sen. Obama and probably far more so, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. And let's face it, people who are staring at a potential sentence of 15-to-life have been known on more than a few occasions to say practically anything to mitigate their predicament ...)

So really, for all we know, we could find ourselves heading into Denver to face a brokered convention, thus paving the way for the party to unite behind -- gasp! -- this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 27, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I can't argue with MDS, because there's no "there" there worth arguing with.

It's been pointed out enough above here that just by giving the Clinton machine, which is one of the most disciplined and successful in modern politics, a run for its money, Obama has proved that he is ready to tangle with whomever and whatever the GOP can throw at him.

What solidified my support for Obama (and I apologize if I'm going overboard here) was his work on police brutality in Illinois.

When he took up the cause, he was opposed by:
the governor
most of the legislature
all of the police unions

He worked with the unions to earn their support, and in the end, the measure passed 35-0 and the governor signed it. He was right, and he convinced even the unions (who's interest the law did not advance) that he was right. If you know Chicago, you know how hard nosed to police there are, and how impressive it is to convince them of anything.

To me that represents results, and just the sort of experience at political maneuvering that HRC supporters tell us Obama lacks.

Now, tell me why this isn't exactly what we need?

Posted by: heedless on January 27, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

At last a cogent explanation for Obama only winning South Carolina by 28 points.

Not to mention the turnout for dems vs. repubs. As in N.H., another conservative state, significantly larger turnout for dems.

Posted by: mattski on January 27, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin- Your first instinct of outrage was the right one. Bill Clinton has to remove himself from the dialogue.
http://jtaplin.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/time-for-bill-clinton-to-take-a-rest/

Posted by: Jonathan on January 27, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

I am SO SICK of Democrats. John McCain now seems like a breath of fresh air. And yes, I am a registered Democrat not a Republican.

Posted by: LyleW on January 27, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

To all of you folks out there who think that the Clintons are great progressive warriors who have their friends' backs, I have one word (acronym) for you: DOMA. 'Nuff said.

She's willing to do whatever it takes to gain the presidency, and I appreciate that. And I understand why that's attractive to Democrats. But I would contend that, despite her (newly) professed adherence to progressive values, she doesn't feel them deep down. She tried to disenfranchise voters in Nevada and stir up racial controversies everywhere. It is more than a little ironic that it seems that a lot of liberals are pulling for her precisely because she seems willing to dismiss the things that liberalism is supposed to stand for. Well, I know what I stand for. Getting a Democratic President is important, I agree. But getting a Democratic President who moves straight to the right and just tries to consolidate power (a la Bill, and more likely than not HRC as well) doesn't seem like much of a victory to me.

Someone mentioned Obama's campaigning with an anti-gay singer in SC as being equivalent to some of the more recent disgraces of the Clinton campaign. The difference was that, after word got out, Obama's campaign stopped using the guy and issued an apology to the gay community. Regardless of whether he knew, when the facts came out he did the right thing. When the Clinton campaign starts acting with a similar amount of rectitude, I'll start considering them.

Posted by: Lev on January 27, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

"So really, for all we know, we could find ourselves heading into Denver to face a brokered convention, thus paving the way for the party to unite behind -- gasp! -- this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize."

Donald, I would die that that were so.

Posted by: elr on January 27, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

...the way the Obama campaign has cried about it should turn you even more against Obama.

I've seen this sort of argument a lot. It always dumbfounds me that otherwise smart and savvy people tend to make it. It rests on a premise that strikes me as truly bizarre: that when Clinton makes claims like the "Obama said the Republicans had all the good ideas in the last 10 or 15 years," she's playing hardball, but when Obama counters that Clinton is showing voters that she can't be trusted, he's not playing hardball at all, he's just "crying."

I don't know where this kind of reasoning comes from. My best guess is that it's the result of a sort of Stokholm syndrome with respect to people like Maureen Dowd.

*

It's worth going over this in more detail:

The Clinton campaign has launched some attacks on Obama. Their attacks generally take the form "this thing about Obama shows that he's a bad candidate." That's fine, you say, politics ain't beanbag.

Fair enough.

The Obama campaign has responded to those attacks. Their responses generally take the form "Clinton's attacks show that she's a bad candidate."

This, you characterize as "crying."

I wonder: if Obama hadn't responded, but had instead launched an unrelated attack of his own, would the people who make MDS's argument respect his "toughness," or would they criticize his "inability to respond?"

Somehow I think I know the answer.

*

There is a legitimate version of MDS's argument that goes something like: most attacks will probably work, as long as they're at least semi-plusibly supported by facts. However, attacks that are primarily based on other candidate's attacks probably won't work, because they make the attacker seem whiny and weak.

Whether that's true or not is an empirical question. So far the evidence seems to favor Obama, though perhaps only slightly.

For people to act as though they know the answer to this question, though, is either disingenuous--they know it's an empirical question, but they're pretending that they don't so they can make an "objective" argument against the Obama campaign--or deeply naive--along the lines of saying "everyone I know is voting for Clinton, so she's definitely going to win."

Either way it's a very silly argument.

Posted by: Adam on January 27, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

If it's Obama vs. McCain, we're in for six months of Swift Boating

I doubt that Swift-Boating will work against Obama as effectively as it did against Kerry. Kerry had some liabilities that Obama doesn't have. If Republicans try to slime Obama in the general election, the swing voters will vote for Obama. At least, I think that's a proposition to think about.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on January 27, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah and in Barack's Illinois Senate race, the black candidate got nearly 100% of black votes. What does that tell ya?

;)

Posted by: david in norcal on January 27, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Drum sez:


For more, read Joe Klein and Karen Tumulty and Reed Hundt. I'm on pretty much the same page.

I just love the ad populum fallacy: I am not alone on this, so, therefore, I must be right! Tell me something, Drum: why is it racist to state the FACT that Jesse Jackson had won SC twice on the strength of the black vote, but it is not racist to state that John Edwards had won SC in 2004 because he was the native son?

I just don't get it. You have just examplified in the worst way my recent beef with the whole Obama candidacy, whose success to date can demonstrably be attributed to the soft bigotry of low expectations. The media has gone gaga over a first-term black senator from Illinois, despite the fact that he has no record or resume to speak of. The explanation: Obama has exceeded the white MSM's expectations of what a black man can achieve in this political arena, and thus anything positive that he does is magnified, anything that he touches turns to gold, anything that he says no matter how empty is elevated to the level of Confucian wisdom. His thin resume won't be scrutinized and challenged; his shady dealings in dirty Illinois politics with an indicted slumlord have received a pass from the MSM. In short, Obama is the "untouchable" candidate. Now, suppose Obama were a first-term WHITE senator from Illinois, with no record or resume to speak of but with the oratorical skills of Obama, how long do you think he would have lasted before the MSM had laughed him off stage?

Yes you over-reacted, but it happens to all those who drink the kool-aid...

Posted by: dcshungu on January 27, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 27, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Please, God, no, not more Al Gore speculation! I thought it was over. I guess I'll have to wait until January 21, 2009 for the Gore '08 speculation to end.

I love Al Gore and I think he would have made a great president, but let's not forget how awful a campaign he ran in 2000. Incumbent party, good economy, no real skeletons in his closet, good record, smart--and he lost to a failed businessman and drunk whose experience was limited to a job with about as many official responsibilites as Monarch of England. Maybe even fewer. He's partially made up for gagging that away, but I say that he should keep doing what he's doing.

Posted by: Lev on January 27, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jason: "Anyone who thinks Senator Obama can't campaign obviously missed the 2004 Illinois Senate primary where Senator Obama came from behind to wind up with over 50% of the vote in a six-candidate field. His next closest opponent was tied into the Chicago machine and got 23% of the vote."

It also didn't hamstring Obama that "his next closest opponent" was summarily bogged down by serious allegations of domestic violence during the course of that primary campaign.

And of course, it certainly didn't hurt Obama's chances when his prospective GOP opponent became mired in a sex scandal and was replaced by the Illinois GOP with the ubiquitous Mr. Alan Keyes, who proceeded to campaign on the theme that were Jesus Christ an Illinois resident, he would not vote for Barack Obama.

If we're going to assess relative campaign strengths and weaknesses, let's be honest here about historical fact.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 27, 2008 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my deal with His Barackosity. Take the list of Republican congresscritters, House and Senate. Make me a list of 10 of them with whom you think you can work to achieve anything close to the progressive goals you have said you want to achieve. Give me an honest run, and I guarantee you that you can't do it.

Now try the same exercise with Sen Clinton: she has already alienated everyone she might have to work with. Besides that, there is a strong argument, based on the turnouts, that Obama will be more helpful to congressional Democratic candidates.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on January 27, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Please, Kevin, I beg you, DON'T reconsider. At the end of the day, choosing a president is an emotional decision, because we can't measure their future performance, even with our best reasoning. On the other hand, it's amazing how accurate our 'knee jerk' reactions have proven to be. Remember how we all thought Clinton was a philanderer? Remember how we all thought Bush was an idiot? Remember those impressions being dismissed as 'unfair'?

It's great to be smart and hardworking. Senator Clinton is definitely both. It's great to be tough and not back down. There's no question Senator Clinton is tough. It's quite another thing to be willing to do or say _ANYTHING_ to win. It's just not right, I'm sorry. Your gut tells you this, and you should listen. I know the other side does it, but aren't we better than that? Isn't that the whole point?

As you've said yourself, we really can't know who'll fare better against the Republican nominee. But if Clinton is turning the stomachs of liberals now, imagine how the independents will feel later. Go with your gut. It's your best chance of predicting the future.

Posted by: Shag on January 27, 2008 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Let's assume that, indeed, Obama doesn't have a clue how to campaign. OK. SINCE WHEN should I feel even the slightest bit obliged to vote for the better campaigner? I care about who will best lead the nation during the 4 years after the election.

Posted by: tom veil on January 27, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

How did that random person's comment merit the status of a free-standing post?

Holy crap, Kevin, suck it up at last. You were wrong about Clinton, now you're seeing clearly. Good for you. There's no shame in seeing the error of your ways.

Posted by: Steph on January 27, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

I just read over at MYDD that Bill C was asked specifically about black candidates when he mentioned Jesse Jackson. Can anyone verify this?

Posted by: MarkL on January 27, 2008 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Want to call that selfish, fine. But Clinton expecting the presidency to be handed to her because it's "her turn" is just as selfish.

Clinton is certainly not "expecting the presidency to be handed to her." She's fighting for it tooth and nail -- increasingly against a Democratic and media establishment that hates her guts. I suspect she'll ultimately be successful.

At the end of the day, choosing a president is an emotional decision, because we can't measure their future performance.

I think this is entirely wrong. Perhaps this is the main difference between how young people make up their minds and how ancient 40ish fossils like me do so. It is obvious to me that Senator Obama's is the more uplifting candidacy. He clearly is the far superior speaker. He's younger. He's very energetic. His candidacy represents freshness, and, perhaps most importantly, excitement. But I use my head -- not my heart -- when deciding these things. I frankly don't care if I have to spend the next eight years with a pretty annoying couple given to significant levels of familial dysfunction and petty scandal. I'm capable of turning the channel if all Greta Van Sustern wants to do is talk about Bill's new girlfriend. My life doesn't revolve around politics. I want a return to competence in government. I want a good economy. I want fiscal responsibility, and healthcare reform, and a more progressive tax code. And I want to give our nation's foreign and defense policy back to the adults. I believe Hillary is the best bet to obtain these things (partly because I think she's our best bet at defeating the Republicans). Oh, I really don't want John McCain or Mitt Romney anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

So no, for me, at least, it's not about the heart, but about the head.

Posted by: Jasper on January 27, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, smacked mrs clinton in Iowa almost pulled off New Hampshire and seems to have derailed the inevitability express. Can't campaign? The clintonistas are desperate.

Posted by: klyde on January 27, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think what the polls say is that the proverbial silent majority of the Democratic primary electorate will vote for Mrs. Clinton not because they dislike Mr. Obama but because it's not yet his turn.

Posted by: Linus on January 27, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Do you know what is strange. Drum did not change his leanings because he suddenly disagreed with Hillary on the issues, nor was it because of something that Hillary herself had said. Rather, it is because of something that Hillary's ubiquitous and no. 1 surrogate had said, that he's decided to switch to Obama. I guess he never listened to the very insensitive comments that Obama's national campaign chairman, Jesse Jackson Jr, had made about Hillary after her NH win, did he? I never heard anyone in the press express outrage about that!

So much about the candidates' positions on the issues mattering most! The more I think about it, Drum, the more I feel that your chameleon act is good riddance.

Posted by: dcshungu on January 27, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Is it true that the first part of the question posed to Bill Clinton was clipped?

Posted by: GW on January 27, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

If you watch the video where Bill references Jesse Jackson -- why would he start out with a laugh, and say: "That's just bait, too" if the original question had merely been "What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes 2 of you to beat him?"

Someone at TPM posted that they saw the original airing of the exchange and that the video has been edited to omit the first question, so that appears Clinton brings up Jesse Jackson out of the blue.

Watch it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qqd2dfjl2pw&eurl=http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/

Posted by: jenmarie on January 27, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

OBAMA vs. CLINTON....Reader MDS thinks I'm overreacting ...

—Kevin Drum

Of all the comments you got, you pick this one to highlight?

Jackass.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

My brother and his VC partners are all corporate republicans.
They say they'll vote for Hillary this time. This is in Texas, mind you. My girlfriend works in an executive dining room serving the board members of a major oil company. She overheard 2 old farts saying they couldn't vote for any republicans and guess they'd have to vote for Hillary. Just more anecdotes.

Posted by: sarah on January 27, 2008 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed!

Bring on President McCain!

If Kumbaya Obama is our candidate, we will lose this November. Take it to the bank!

Posted by: LuigiDaMan on January 27, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Bring on President McCain!

McCain is an angry, bitter, senile asshole.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

This Reader MDS sounds deeply, creepily inauthentic to me.

Note the icky blandishments (Kevin, you're the only one!), the breathy, false sense of urgency, the "trust me" (a dead giveaway), the appeal to authority (which he can't establish other than by stating it, anonymously), and a ludicrous-on-its-face assertion that Obama would lose to swift-boating? Running against McCain?

I don't think so.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think the party is going off the deep end. Indulging in an orgy of wishful thinking and a whole lot of nit-picking political correctness that isn't going to mean a damn thing to the average voter in November. This isn't idealism, it's denial.

Strangely enough, the campaign that says we need to "turn the page," is shamelessly wrapping itself in a bunch of slick, retro nostalgia for the 60s. Or what they, cluelessly, imagine the 60s must have been. I guess the page they want to turn to is one in the first chapter of a book Dad started reading 40 years ago, but then put down and forgot about for a few decades. At what point do they wake up and realize that there's nothing in that book relevant to the realities we are living with today? After we experience a McGovern-like defeat?

If Obama can't sell himself as a "transcendent" candidate -- something most Americans won't give a damn about -- what in the hell is he going to sell himself as? A Clintonian who doesn't like the Clintons? A centrist with one term in the Senate, half of it spent campaigning for the Presidency? A community organizer? What in the hell is that going to mean to the mostly middle class and affluent people who vote in our elections?

I'm a middle class, moderate to liberal business owner. I spend my days talking with men from all over the country. Middle class, moderate guys who are disillustioned with Bush but who I know will never vote for Obama. Not because he is African American -- they could easily vote for Colin Powell -- but because, with his sophisticated, internationalist, academic background, he is simply foreign to them. Someone too exotic for them to relate to. Someone without any business experience, or executive experience, or leadership experience or even much legislative experience. These are the independent and moderate Republicans the Obama celebrating blogosphere thinks will vote for Obama. Why? Because he says he's all about "unity?" These guys don't care about that -- they're pragmatic. They care about competence, action, experience, and whether or not a candidate "speaks their language." Obama's language is beautiful -- but it is definitely NOT their language.

What are Democrats so totally culturally clueless about their own country?

Do you really think that "moderates and independents" think like Andrew Sullivan and the writers at The Atlantic Monthly?

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Racial politics greatly benefited Obama between NH and SC, therefore he immediately and skillfully brought it into the debate. Unfortunately for him, as a side effect, that has cast Obama as a black candidate - good for SC, but bad for 2/5. Now, after SC, it doesn't benefit him, so he tries to backpedal on the issue. But now it does benefit Clintons, so Bill does the same thing Obama did between Jan. 9 and Jan. 26 - brands Obama as a black candidate.

What's good for the goose, good for the gander. Kevin, you haven't condemned Obama back then, why are you so upset now? More importantly, I agree with MDS's comment - Obama is not ready this time around, he has never run against strong Republican opposition. Most importantly, even if he miraculously wins in November (I would vote for him in the general BTW, especially given the other choices), he would be woefully unprepared to be president. Inspiration doesn't cut it, sorry.

Posted by: anatol on January 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obama actually has a pretty decent voting record. I really think he is probably a bit more progressive on most issues than Hillary is. Most likely, he is trying to position himself as the optimist candidate and I think the "work with Republicans" angle is an attempt to pick up the independent and anti-Hillary voters.

Voting for Obama is a bit of a gamble. But I think the payoff could be very good compared to voting for the Clintons- who are more of a know quantity. I guarantee that Hillary will take back to the right for the general and we will get 4 more years of "triangulation", which is really a euphemism for giving in mostly to the corporate money interests.

Posted by: spiny on January 27, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think the party is going off the deep end. ... This isn't idealism, it's denial.

Psuedo-sophisticated, condescending bullshit.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

uh mary, Obama won in Iowa. Obama use to trash talk playing basketball. Did you forget that slur from the clinton camp? I don't think there is male alive that can not relate to trash talking in b-ball.

Posted by: jor on January 27, 2008 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

spiny: "Voting for Obama is a bit of a gamble."

And that's precisely why I'm not willing to take that wager during primary season.

But if Sen. Obama is our party's nominee, well, just hand me them dice and get outa the fuckin' way, 'cause ain't no way in Hell I'm voting for anyone but a Democrat this election, and I'm letting it all ride on him.

Period.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 27, 2008 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just as a perspective on Obama's "crushing" 28% win, consider what the underlying numbers actually reveal.

In fact, of course, Obama crushed Clinton based on one simple fact: in SC 53% of the Democratic voters were African-American, and 81% of them voted for Obama. Do the math, and that means that of the 55% of SC voters who went for Obama, a full 43% of them were African-American. Only 12% of the the 55% were white voters. Both Hillary and Edwards beat Obama amongst white voters by over 10%.

Thing is, if you project the same proportions into other states, and make appropriate adjustments for the actual number of white and African-American voters in those states, Clinton rides to an easy win in the good majority of them.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 27, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

jor --

John Kerry won in Iowa, too. And everyone who voted for him thought his military record would protect him from the big, bad Republicans and win over the guys.

Didn't happen.

Obama's a sophisticated, urbane, urban guy. Basketball trash talking isn't going to change that image one bit.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think Hillary's going to be the next president, precisely because of the economic crisis we are going through right now. None of the republicans know what to do and the public senses it.(Of course i also thought that Kerry would win in 2004).

Call it the luck of the Clintons that the housing bubble burst just in time for Hillary to showcase her grasp of economic policy.

As for me personally, though I'd vote for either Hillary or Obama, it would be nice to have someone other than a Bush or a Clinton in the white house.

Posted by: ppk on January 27, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, of course, Obama crushed Clinton based on one simple fact: in SC 53% of the Democratic voters were African-American, and 81% of them voted for Obama. Do the math, and that means that of the 55% of SC voters who went for Obama, a full 43% of them were African-American. Only 12% of the the 55% were white voters. Both Hillary and Edwards beat Obama amongst white voters by over 10%.

This creepy racial reading of the numbers is appearing all over the net.

Fact is:
Obama won the under thirty white vote.

Why are the Clinton folks insisting on seeing things through a racial lens rather than a generational lens? It is creepy. One hardly recognizes the Democratic party anymore.


Posted by: liberal historian on January 27, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I just noticed something just a moment ago, and I'm wondering if anyone else noticed it too... did any of you guys notice that Obama is black?

Posted by: President Bill Clinton on January 27, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

When did we become such a cynical--or maybe cowardly--crowd? Three potentially good Dem candidates and the primary concern is what the RNC slime machine will do?

Actually, it's looking more and more like the primary concern at this point is what the Clinton slime machine will do.

Posted by: zoog on January 27, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Obama won the under thirty white vote.

Yes, and your point is???

Why have people been "insisting on seeing things through a racial lens rather than a generational lens"?

Well, how about because the Obama campaign was stoking racial resentments in the SC race? How about that? Would that be a good reason to see the glaring difference between the white vote and the black vote as being significant?

And, since you claim to be an historian, don't you think that the mere brute fact that Obama won 81% of the black vote, but only 24% of the white vote somehow even by itself suggests that that is a very important variable to examine and make projections upon? Based on numbers alone, it would be obvious thing to look at.

Or is objectivity in looking at social phenomena not really your thing, even though you want to call yourself an historian?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 27, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think mary is right. Obama is just not down-to-earth, regular guy material. It's not about race. Colin Powell could win because he has made a career outside of urban, race-charged politics and has significant achievements, wasn't handed an education and lacks Obama's hangups. Obama as well has an off-putting 'you may kiss my ring' assiness and hauteur.

BTW it seems Kevin (like many others) is intimidated by the Obamabots and afraid of being accused of nefarious motives if he questions Obama's record or qualifications. The Obamabots will charge anyone who criticizes their Dear Leader of racial insensitivity or being too old or not cool enough.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 27, 2008 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Clinton is going to break her promise not to campaign in Florida.

Posted by: zoog on January 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

There is a David vs Goliath flavor to this Dem primary. The Goliath of Dem Party, Bill Clinton, is using his name recognition and position to pummel a newcomer and junior member of the party. I loved Bill Clinton's Presidency. He managed to keep the country out of destructive, useless wars. He managed to let the enterpreuners of the country run the economy. Yes, he had to keep himself busy behind closed doors to let the country prosper in peace.

That said, I don't like him use that to play the race card against Obama. This is David vs Goliath and those of who were initially neutral are leaning toward the underdog. We are liberals and have a natural tendency to root for the underdog. Bill Clinton should recognize that and play fair. Sure he can help his wife, but without resorting to the same old, tired Republican playbook we all detest. If we want more of that we would be rooting for Rudy 9ui11ani. Instead we want change.

Hope Hillary has the common sense to recognize that and assert control over her candidacy.

Posted by: rational on January 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

This guy has a point. The media has been very easy on Obama. That will change after the convention(assuming he becomes the candidate). I don't think it's clear that he is a strong campaigner. He certainly isn't as strong a campaigner as HRC(sorry Hillary haters, have to give credit where it's due). The media is trying to make a race of it between HRC and Obama. In order to do that, HRC has had to suffer. No matter what the Clintons do or say, it's always presented in a manner consistent with the narratives assigned to them(do anything to win etc).

The CW that the GOP wants to run against HRC is backwards; they'd rather run against Obama. That's why they're trying to get her out of the race now.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on January 27, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is just not down-to-earth, regular guy material. It's not about race. Colin Powell could win because he (...) wasn't handed an education

I am curious as to exactly what you mean by this. Please elaborate.

Posted by: zoog on January 27, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thing is, if you project the same proportions into other states, and make appropriate adjustments for the actual number of white and African-American voters in those states, Clinton rides to an easy win in the good majority of them.

Only if you assume that pretty much all Edwards' voters go to Clinton if he drops out of the race, something that is not at all in evidence.

Posted by: LS on January 27, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, joy. We have Democrats predisposed to go for the nice, "safe" choice in Hillary, just like we had the nice, safe, electable John Kerry. Great for Hillary, great for the GOP (who won't have to undo GWB's merger of the White House and RNC staffs because the Dems are apparently determined to keep them in office), too damn bad for the rest of the country.

Incidentally, "Remember personal info?" has never worked for me and I pretty much accept cookies from everywhere. Just now decided to mention it.

Posted by: Philip the Equal Opportunity Cynic on January 27, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell could win because he has made a career outside of urban, race-charged politics and has significant achievements, wasn't handed an education and lacks Obama's hangups

I could have believed that before 2000, but Mr. Powell succumbed to the trappings of power and in a desperate attempt to keep himself and his son in power, lent credibility to Bush's case for war. As Mr. Powell played telephone conversations between two supposed Iraqi military officers in his UN presentation, I couldn't help but wonder how easy it is to hire two Arabic speakers in the mideast for $10 a pop to record those conversations. Yet, he decided to sell us Bush's war with "evidence" only a two year old can believe.

If Mr. Powell was a true patriot he would have quit Bush's cabinet before the war and take his case to the American public. He may not have succeeded, but at least he wouldn't have been an accessory to Bush's war. Instead he chose to sell his soul to Bush in return for a cabinet position and a nice job for his son.

Posted by: rational on January 27, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thing is, if you project the same proportions into other states, and make appropriate adjustments for the actual number of white and African-American voters in those states, Clinton rides to an easy win in the good majority of them.

I misspoke. You also have to assume that white voters in other states would vote just like white voters in South Carolina. Maybe yes, maybe no. But you can't just assume it to be so.

Posted by: LS on January 27, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

liberal historian --

Why is Obama's exploitation of generational resentment any less creepy than his exploitation of racial ones?

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps this is the main difference between how young people make up their minds and how ancient 40ish fossils like me do so."

sorry Jasper, doesn't fly. I don't envision Hillary being able to move any progressive agenda forward. And I am not sure if she is the adult I want to hand our military to.

This 56 year old likes to think that he has made his presidential choices based on thoughtful consideration also. Voted for Reagan, twice. Just thought he was what we needed at the time. (Debate for another time). And the Dems were just pitiful. Didn't vote for Clinton the first time because I felt he was too green. After all he was governor of Arkansas! That was the kind of experience we needed. He changed my mind and got my vote the second time. Voted for Gore for the same reasons. Thought W was an idiot. Still do. I lived in DC at the time. Funny that I now live in Benton County, the reddest county in Arkansas (Home of Wal-Mart).

Made my decision to go with Obama after a Christmas dinner conversation with my 80 year old mother, two daughters and thier families. My youngest daughter teaches autistic kids in a high school in Nashville. She is bright, caring, politically moderate and a Christian. Apple sometimes falls far, far away from the tree. Her sister is an ultra liberal according to her Facebook profile. Got a degree and now runs a coffee shop by the school. They were for Obama, but didn't think he could win. Thought that he'd eventually get crushed by the machine. This was well before any primaries and they already felt the inevitability of a Hillary candidancy. They were obviously ambivivalent about it.


I am all about change in this election and I don't think that I will get it with Hillary. I want to feel the hope. This time I am not going to over think it. Just going to go with my gut. Now if I can bring my wavering but usually Republican voting mother over to the dark side (no pun intended) in the next few months we will be united. Cannot over emphasis how that makes me feel. Must be the 60's inner child in us.

Posted by: Bubbagmaz on January 27, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Right now I really dislike the Republicans, but I'm disgusted by the Democrats. The reason independents don't trust democrats is that you always vote against your own supposed ideals, suggesting that Democrats have none. You always underestimate the American people, suggesting that its quaint or stupid to suggest that integrity matters.

Case in point:

In 2004, most Democrats were against the Iraq war, but you nominated a candidate who voted to authorize the war 'cause you didn't want to look weak. Of course, that candidate made his choice to vote to authorize 'cause his Democratic adviser told him he should if he wanted to be president. So he looked like a phony and lost.

For God's sake, or science or whatever, stand for something just one time. If you say a black man can be president of the US, then you at least would have the respect of your enemies, and might win some of us who mostly agree with Democrats, but find them unbearably cowardly (see US Senate). This weasly "ahhh she's more electable" nonsense is going to get you guys takin' to the woodshed... again.

Posted by: jvoe on January 27, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's exploitation of generational resentment

WTF?

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

LS --

Presuming South Carolina is more culturally conservative than many other states (especially those in the West and Northeast that have a much better record of electing women to office than the Southern states), it is likely that Clinton will do better with white male voters elsewhere than she did in SC.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama got 25% of the white vote - in a three way highly contested primary. That isn't all that shabby, particularly given Edwards' presence as a semi-native son. Obama got more white votes than Hillary in Iowa, and wasn't all that far behind in New Hampshire or Nevada. I think he can handle himself with the white voters.

Posted by: Jim on January 27, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

rational: true true. Meant Powell would have been electable if he hadn't gotten caught in the Cheney spider web of deception and lies.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 27, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

mary and chrissy--

It's OK to join the GOP. Many whites left the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act. Obama's getting nominated will be your cue.

Buh-bye.

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 27, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton mentioned that Obama is African-American...........what a racist comment...he is always injecting race into everything he says.....[sarcasm]

Posted by: AAAAA on January 27, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the clarification Chrissy.

Posted by: rational on January 27, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Who on earth is MDS? WTF.

mary,

The 60s? Huh? So you dismiss Obama as an effete urbanite. Are you saying the ability to move people and inspire them to civic action is too sophisticated for your businessmen friends? You don't think the rhetoric of patriotism is "their language"? Are you calling us exotic who, unhappy at the jackbooted, imperial, rogue nation our country has become, see in Obama a leader who would not only raise the bar out of the shit but reawaken us to the, you know, great task?

The hodgepodge of Americans I know who are giving their time and energy to elect Obama president will be interested to get that memo.

Posted by: Lucy on January 27, 2008 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's a sophisticated, urbane, urban guy.

And this is why you won't vote for him? Or you think most Americans wouldn't want a sophisticated urban guy as president after eight years of the complete opposite?

Hillary isn't exactly a tobacco-spittin' varmint-huntin' good old boy herself. Should she win the nomination, we will once again receive some instruction as to how repellent large portions of the country find her personally, regardless of what her policies are.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 27, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Buzz off toasters. I am multi-racial but I am not buying Obama's bull. The guy is an ass, I don't care what color he is. You're the racist because you can't see Obama's faults because you only see his skin color.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 27, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get Drum's point in the previous post. He believes Hillary is a stronger candidate in the general (so do I, by far), but he's so upset about some of the tactics being used that he's leaning towards supporting Obama. In other words, he's willing to put up with at least four more years of tax cuts for the wealthy and none for the rest of us, a fucked up health care system, big business run amok, a further erosion of civil liberties, a Supreme Court tilting even further to the right, even more insane jingoistic warmongering in place of foreign policy, and income and wealth distribution even more skewed -- all this and more, because the Clinton camp wasn't as nice as Kevin would have liked. For some odd reason, the words "Grow the fuck up" come to mind.

Posted by: Martin Gale on January 27, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton mentioned that Obama is African-American ... [sarcasm]

Did he also, by any chance, mention that he himself got a blow job from a 21-year-old intern and pissed away most of his second term in office? [sarcasm]

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

So, let me get this straight...Obama builds an Iowa organization AND generates inspirational first-time/returning voters to attain an historic win, and he can't campaign? He fights Hillary to a draw in NH and Nevada, where she had huge leads in the fall, and he can't campaign? He then absolutely wallops her in South Carolina, in the process generating a record democratic turnout, and he can't campaign?

Hillary had a huge lead pretty much everywhere a few short months ago. Whatever the outcome (and whatever other shortcomings he might have), Obama has amply demonstrated that he can campaign.

Sorry, but MDS is a nitwit.

Posted by: brian_in_la on January 27, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm excited that the two front runners are a woman and an African American. It points to our (Dems) ability to rise above race and gender. I will vote for either candidate in the general election because either is a better choice than any of the candidates fielded by Rove's party.

That is the big picture. Something to remember as we squabble through the primaries...

Posted by: rational on January 27, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, how about because the Obama campaign was stoking racial resentments in the SC race? How about that? Would that be a good reason to see the glaring difference between the white vote and the black vote as being significant?

If the Obama campaign is stoking racial resentments why is Kevin Drum getting off the bus? Have you read his posts? Followed his links?

Again I assert: I can hardly recognize my party anymore. Did someone bite us and give us the race rabies? Or, were they always there hidden away in the corner?

For a different perspective, not necessarily correct, but definitely different, check out this link:

http://theamericanrace.typepad.com/tar/2008/01/after-sc-like-t.html

Posted by: liberal historian on January 27, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's exploitation of generational resentment

LOL--This one's so bad it's almost like a wingnut-written parody.

Nice try at spinning "He thoroughly motivates younger voters and my candidate leaves them ice cold," though.

Posted by: Enuf Allredy on January 27, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

@Mary

Want some generational resentment?

How about this ferocious wank from 1992:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,976996,00.html

Here's a little excerpt:


Imagine a hapless Clinton speechwriter
struggling to reduce the baby-boomer life
experience to tough-minded Kennedyesque
cadences. No way would the incoming President
dare tell the unvarnished generational
truth: "Again, the torch has been passed to a
new generation of Americans, born after World
War II, nurtured in prosperity, aroused by
Vietnam, sustained by rock 'n' roll, tested by
drugs and promiscuity, embraced by the media and
belatedly betrayed by the nation's decline in
living standards."

Funny how what goes around comes around...

Posted by: Adam on January 27, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Thank God somebody knows the truth.

Obama is NOT ready.

Posted by: eric on January 27, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

This thread is hilarious! Of course, you can't beat the email from MDS that Kevin referred to.

Posted by: GOD on January 27, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is NOT ready.

Convincing. VERY convincing.

Posted by: blah on January 27, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

I am multi-racial but I am not buying Obama's bull. The guy is an ass.

Saw right through him, did you?

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 27, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

sweaty guy --

I didn't say I won't vote for Obama in the general election (the only people I've ever heard declare they won't vote for the Democratic nominee -- whoever they are -- are Obama supporters. And the only candidate I have ever heard declare, not simply in this campaign but in any campaign, that his supporters wouldn't vote for his opponent if she got the nomination and he didn't, is Obama.)

What I did say is that Obama is not someone who many of the independent and moderate Republican men his supporters think will flock to him are actually likely to feel comfortable with or vote for. Style is part of it. But more important than style is that he doesn't reflect the values, background and record or offer the kind of "real world" experience and competence, that they value most. They may not be thrilled with Romney, but they'll count his business experience much, much higher than anything Obama can offer, and they'll both relate to McCain personally, and trust his experience more. (I'm talking about independents and moderates here, not hard core conservatives.)

Obama is certainly not the first Democratic candidate to lack the attributes the non-elitely-educated middle class most respects. In fact, he is one in a long line of Democratic candidates who lack those attributes. The problem isn't Obama, it is the Democrat's misunderstanding of who those men are and what they respect. These men have a totally different idea of "merit" than most elite Democrats. For Democrats, "merit" means education and credentials. For these guys, who tend to lean Republican, "merit" means more than credentials -- it means experience and pragmatic, concrete achievement.

As for Hillary, no, they won't vote for her. But, their wives will. And that's the vote we'll need to win.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, how about because the Obama campaign was stoking racial resentments zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Lucy on January 27, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton mentioned that Obama is African-American...........what a racist comment...he is always injecting race into everything he says.....[sarcasm]

I await your similarly stirring defense of Michael Richards.

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 27, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

sorry, the above should have read "unlikely" to feel comfortable with or vote for.

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

Um Mary?

Are you actually Maureen Dowd? Just sayin'

Also -- do you realize the extent to which traditional women hate HC? Remember the whole "I didn't stay home and bake cookies" fiasco?

Posted by: Adam on January 27, 2008 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Uh Mary,
Re my post at 9:34 concerning those moderate white middle aged men who won't vote for Obama.

Posted by: Bubbagmaz on January 27, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

If the Obama campaign is stoking racial resentments why is Kevin Drum getting off the bus? Have you read his posts? Followed his links?

Look, so-called liberal so-called historian, at base I really don't give any size shit what Kevin thinks about this. Perhaps you make your decisions by counting how many people show up at a party for an idea, but I don't. In the end, I care about the evidence. As I and others have pointed out in recent threads, there's no real disputing that the Obama campaign, through its co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr and through its SC campaign (as evidenced by the infamous memo) were quite deliberately provoking racial resentments in SC. (Even Obama was forced to apologize for the memo.)

If you're concerned about being someone biting you and giving you "race rabies", why don't you take up your little quarrel with the Obama campaign?

Posted by: frankly0 on January 27, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

"reader MDS" - yeah, right.

Suck on South Carolina...

Posted by: brucds on January 27, 2008 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

OK mary, I follow your argument at 10:11, and you do have a point.

Don't look now, but I think Romney could be a formidable candidate in the general. He's said to know a thing or two about the economy. Plus he's tall, isn't he?

Posted by: Lucy on January 27, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Mary--

I've missed you....I'm one Independent/Mostly Democrat in a family of about 40 Independents/Mostly Republicans. Rich, hard working, decent people who get married and stay happily so for life.

The fair-minded of them don't like Hillary at a very visceral level because she seems to have sold her soul for power. Pretty unfair, huh? But some of them would vote for Barack 'cause they got family in the military.

The base of Republicans and Dems cancel each other out. The republican base already has the racist locked up, so Obama's not going to lose there. You need a candidate who independents don't hate.

She'll lose the general.

Posted by: jvoe on January 27, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

adam, I think Mary is Paul Krugman

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

Adam --

And post-Boomers like Erik Prince, Jonah Goldberg, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc., have been tempered by tough times, forged in adversity, represent a great hope for our future?

You must be young. In time you'll learn that there are no innocent generations (although it is easy to think you are innocent went you haven't yet had much time to do any good or ill in the world), and, most disappointing of all, you'll learn that the worst opponents will actually be your contemporaries.

After all, mommy and daddy really do love you.

Eric Prince and your own generation of Bush and Cheney princes -- maybe not so much.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Econobuzz, not hard to see through someone who lacks a record of accomplishments and hard work, is preachy and vain and self absorbed, and thinks simple talk about hope is important. It's also not hard to see through when you realize the facts of who one's parents or grandparents or great grandparents were or are has nothing to do with making that person remarkable.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 27, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

@Mary

"there are no innocent generations"

True. But the boomers are one hell of an onanistic generation.

BTW if experience and adversity are so important then shouldn't I be voting for McCain?

Posted by: Adam on January 27, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Uh...do you really have to give every idiot space on your blog? He worked with Obama and can tell that he doesn't know how to campaign? WFT? Obama won Iowa. He won the most delegates in Nevada. He won South Carolina. He's got young people to actually turn out (something no one has been able to do...although everyone talks about it) in huge numbers. What do you call that: bad campaigning?

I can't remember the last time I read such a stupid post on such a smart blog.

Posted by: James Brown on January 27, 2008 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you're concerned about being someone biting you and giving you "race rabies", why don't you take up your little quarrel with the Obama campaign?

But it is not I who is foaming. I suggest you open your mind to the fact that many level-headed political observers, from Josh Marshall to Bob Herbert to Reed Hundt (who I now quote) have observed:

Perhaps too the Clintons feel that the Republicans would attack Barack on racial grounds, so it makes no difference if they beat McCain or Romney to this tactic. In any case, the Clintons are going negative because they do not believe they can with a positive message attract more voters to Hillary. They want to drive voters away from Barack; they want his negatives to be as high as theirs.
The Clintons are thus running their own version of the Republican Southern Strategy that worked so well to elect conservatives from Nixon through to the current Bush. Ironically, the Clintons themselves spent their political careers battling against that strategy. Defeating it in the border states in 1992 was central to Bill Clinton's election.

Since most of these people are ALSO Clinton fans you might want to check your "certainty" in at the door; and possibly consider that there is a whole other reality floating around out there. A reality that you are dismissing with curt, simple-minded, hydrophobic ease.

Here is hint:

When so many smart people see things a certain way it is an indication that the "evolution" of the dialog has left you behind.

Posted by: liberal historian on January 27, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Knowing how to campaign nowadays seems to built on knowing how to drive people away from the polls for the other guy. What happened in SC is that people were drawn in the opposite direction by some other motivation.

From what I see, Obama can certainly campaign moderately well. He may not be the best political operative in the world, but that's really not the point.

The ultimate politician, the best campaigner will be somebody who will do anything, screw over anyone, rationalize anything to gain and maintain power. But such a person can never be a good leader, because such a person would have to either be a psychopath, or so mind-numbingly egotistical and bubbled off that they can justify doing all the things required of that.

We got somebody like that the last two elections. And Americans can't take anymore of that. The last several years have been a season of purgatory for America, and we've been punished enough. Americans are sick of being turned on and attacked by others. They're looking for an end to the national nightmare.

Obama seems to me the better choice at this point, because he's thinking what many of us are thinking. What many Americans are thinking. That is: end the war. Not just the Iraq war, the culture war.

McCain has a problem, and Clinton's devastating loss is a clear sign of it, as is the loss of Edwards in New Hampshire. There is some kind of critical mass growing against this kind of politics. People have recognized that they are in some way to blame for their current condition, for the countries condition, having been repetitively herded one way and other with divisive rhetoric. They are sick of being messed around with, sick of being manipulated into acting against their own interests by somebody's slime operation.

There's only so long you can tolerate such a state of affairs before everything becomes hollow. People want something to be for, something to be together with other people about, rather than merely separated from them by it. They want something greater than that, and Obama's tapped into that, and he understands that on a level greater than most candidates in the field. There's a strength behind Obama, even if he himself doesn't wield it, and that can win past any swiftboat operation. The more they display ruthlessness in trying to beat that down, the more people are going to take it personally, and react against it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on January 27, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Adam --

Who do you mean by "traditional" women? The 90+ percent of women with school age children who work? Or the 70+ percent of women with younger children who work?

The "mommie wars" concept is little bit dated. I thought you represented a younger generation that had "turned a page" on all that old culture war nonsense.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody above mentioned that they were afraid Barack Obama couldn't attract white voters. That someone certainly isn't Bill Clinton. He has engaged in all this race baiting precisely because he is scared shitless that Barack Obama can attract white voters. What he is trying to do, and pretty successfully it would seem if all I had to go by was this thread, is to make us think of Barack Obama as being a "black" candidate instead of a very attractive candidate who happens to be black. That candidate who happens to be black was closing on Hillary pretty damn fast, too fast for Bill. That is why he decided he had to re-frame Obama as the new Jessie Jackson.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 27, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

All I know is, when Obama won Iowa, it was the first time in 16 years that I felt proud of my country.

For me, that's the beginning and the end of the argument.

Posted by: lampwick on January 27, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Adam --

You are the one who posted a piece mocking the Boomers easy life. I'm just pointing out that the same is true of every generation born after WWII. But Gen X or Y resentment of the Boomers doesn't interest me. Indulging in it doesn't further our politics or solve our problems -- problems that are going to affect every generation now living and to come.

Posted by: mary on January 27, 2008 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

That is: end the war. Not just the Iraq war, the culture war.

Amen to that.

Posted by: Lucy on January 27, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Re: MDS

That is the lamest comment I have ever heard. As if the Repugs won't swift boat Clinton. Either way, that doesn't give the Clintons the right to slime Obama.

Posted by: Rich on January 27, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You are addicted to the horse race and need to get into rehab ASAP.

This is one post too many on "electability."

The argument that Obama can't campaign is absurd on its face, but what is far more troubling is the creeping sense of defeatism/self-fulfilling prophecy that is growing like a cancer in both the Clinton and Obama camps.

If candidate X wins, and McCain is the GOP nominee then we can kiss the presidency goodbye.

How pathetic.

Almost makes me want to vote for McCain.

Then I remember the SCOTUS.

Come on people. We should be excited at the enthusiasm shown by Democratic voters in ALL of the primaries.

Are we really going to take our toys and go home if our favored candidates don't win the nomination this time around?

I think it's clear who is doing the crying - we're all on this website.

What other proof does one need that voting is far from a rational process?

At least let's change the subject to who will win the Superbowl.

Posted by: lobbygow on January 27, 2008 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

At least let's change the subject to who will win the Superbowl.

Isn't that what we are talking about? Oh wait, you mean there is another superbowl. Almost forgot about it in all this excitement LOL

Posted by: rational on January 27, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I'm not too bright. Can somebody explain to me why Clinton's comparrison of Obama to Jackson was wrong, not "innocent", or racist? What am I missing here?

Posted by: Mutaman on January 27, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

@Mary

1) I'm not mocking the Boomer's "easy life". I couldn't care less. I'm pointing out that the exact same individuals who waltzed into washington in 1992 as agents of generational change (see my link upthread) are now yelling at the kids to get off their damn lawn.

It's characteristic of narcissism and a sense of entitlement unfortunately epitomized by the Clintons.

2) Regarding HC's appeal to conservative women and the cookie baking fiasco. Do you read the NY times? Have you read Judith Warner's domestic disturbances? Try this link:

http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/motherhood/

The mommy wars are alive and well. Using labor force participation as a proxy for women's attitudes is wrong: a lot of those women are working because they have no choice, economically speaking. You're also focusing on the wrong group. It's older conservative women -- the mirror image of their liberal counterparts -- that will make HC's life difficult.

Posted by: Adam on January 27, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jason: "Anyone who thinks Senator Obama can't campaign obviously missed the 2004 Illinois Senate primary where Senator Obama came from behind to wind up with over 50% of the vote in a six-candidate field. His next closest opponent was tied into the Chicago machine and got 23% of the vote."

Donald: "It also didn't hamstring Obama that "his next closest opponent" was summarily bogged down by serious allegations of domestic violence during the course of that primary campaign."

By "next closest opponent," I wasn't referring to Blair Hull, who was leading in the race before the domestic violence allegations surfaced, but to Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, a second-generation Chicago Machine politician.

You're right that the race was unusual in that te frontrunner wound up imploding. But when that happened, nobody predicted it would wind up throwing the race to Obama -- everyone thought Hynes would win or that Hull would manage to survive the allegations.

Posted by: Jason on January 27, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

For the record, I don't think you are overreacting. Actually you are reacting exactly as I expected: you side with whomever happens to be up at the moment, with enough hemming and hawing to ensure that you can switch back to the other candidate when the momentum changes. Josh Marshall is doing the same thing, but he is less histrionic about it.

Posted by: Orson on January 27, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen Daugherty nailed it.

Posted by: Boorring on January 27, 2008 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding MDS Obama can't campaign comment, I have to say I find that remarkably difficult to believe. While I might be willing to buy that he has not been fully tested in campaigning in a hard fight to date (as FranklyO discusses earlier in this thread) that is far from saying he doesn't know how to campaign at all. That is simply moronic in the face of the evidence to date. He may end up proving to be less strong of a campaigner over time but to date I see no rational basis upon which to base any such statement, and it is not like I do not have my own concerns with the Obama candidacy.

Regarding the comment from mary on January 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM I tend to agree with her, especially with the point regarding what he has to sell if you take away his "transcendentalism". This is the big question many so us skeptics about Obama have, what is there to fall back on if his main selling point, his inspirationism, is somehow weakened/taken out of consideration? This can be by external events as easily as by deliberate intent by a campaign so this is not something which should be glossed over, and there Obama doesn't have a lot of substance to his record to date. What he has is decent and certainly shows he can work across the aisle, but it is thin and his Senate record is nothing remarkable either, indeed one could easily make the case he has had a fairly safe/conservative record in terms of political controversy/consequences for a general election overall. He doesn't have much experience at managing significant economic issues, he doesn't have much national security experience (and the he would have voted against the AUMF is not the be all and end all for foreign policy credentials, not even close) so what does he bring to the table when you subtract that one factor? I can easily see conservative businessmen (the old traditional Republican before movement conservativism infiltrated, took over and destroyed the GOP from within) finding that a serious concern and that if they must support a Dem (which they aren't going to be thrilled with whoever it is) they will support the one that appears to be the most competent to navigate their country through very troubled domestic and international waters both economic and foreign policy/national security (which is a valid issue if not the monster wins over all else one that it has been abused as in the post 9/11/01 world by Bushco/GOP) and Clinton has the edge there. As mary also notes there may also be many of their wives that will support HRC despite their own issues with her too on the same grounds, that if it must be a Dem make sure it is someone we can trust not to frak things up even worse.

There is a lot of assumption cranked into the Obama campaign, even more than the Clinton one, which is why I find it more ethereal and not as substantive and something to be concerned about. They could well be right, but so far the demographics have not been clearly favouring one side or the other to the point where I would say either side clearly has the decisive advantage, as it has been noted each candidate brings unique strengths and weaknesses to the table and once the candidate is picked then they face the hostile GOP and MSM that suddenly finds all sorts of things wrong with the Dem candidate they were so impressed by before (that is when they are at all, just ask Al Gore) and that is something I truly fear in the Obama candidacy. His supporters may be right, this may be the year such methods fail and even backlash, and if so Obama could well have the crushing victory so many of his supporters believe will be inevitable with his candidacy. Me, while I can appreciate the faith and sentiments involved like others have said of themselves I evaluate politics and political figures based on cold hard reason/logic, and especially in economic troubled times I suspect that conservative streak within the American nature/culture will be a powerful nagging voice factor in many that love the way Obama makes them feel but are not so clear on exactly how he plans to do it specifically, especially with such troubled times in the economy as well as internationally.

I will see what kind of response this generates tomorrow, this is definitely my last comment of the night, I am having trouble hitting the right keys.

Posted by: Scotian on January 28, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Econobuzz: "Did he also, by any chance, mention that he himself got a blow job from a 21-year-old intern and pissed away most of his second term in office?"

What a coincidence! I also pissed away most of his second term in office!

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

lobbygow: "At least let's change the subject to who will win the Superbowl."

Count me out. I'm still in mourning over what happened at the Sugar Bowl.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

I wanted to clarify two things that were posted previously.

1. The Tony Rezko trial should not involve any dealings with Barack Obama. The primary government official who will come up is Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The issue surrounding Obama's home purchase vis-a-vis Rezko is a black mark, but it's not fatal.

2. It was not Obama's Democratic primary opponent who was brought down by a sex scandal. Obama's biggest challenger in the primary was Illinois comptroller Dan Hynes, son of machine pol Thomas Hynes. Here in Chicago, no one expected Obama to pulverize Hynes, who was an acceptable candidate,the way he did. Obama beat Hynes handily in many wards that had voted against Harold Washington when he ran against Republican Bernard Epton in a racially charged campaign. Obama would have beaten Jack Ryan by 10 points at least.

Posted by: Mike B. on January 28, 2008 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Can somebody explain to me why Clinton's comparrison of Obama to Jackson was wrong, not "innocent", or racist? What am I missing here?

Here is something from TPM. In the best case, Clinton is comparing apples to oranges. Jesse Jackson won a hardly contested race after the nomination was already won. Obama, OTOH, won a highly contested race where a win can make a difference.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/064892.php

Posted by: rational on January 28, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jasper --

I appreciate your post. But the problem is this; everyone is viewing Obama in the context of this Democratic primary and a contest with the first female candidate with significant political backing. They are seeing his performance in a very skewed way, because they are underestimating the disadvantage that being a woman really presents to someone competing at this level. No woman has ever come anywhere -- not anywhere -- close to having the institutional support that Hillary has. That's a big hurdle overcome, but probably not a big enough advantage (compared to other women who ran in the past) to lessen how remarkable, and unlikely, it would be for her, or any woman, to win the nomination. To put things in perspective, if Hillary never wins another primary or caucus, she will have achieved more success -- much, much, much, much more success than any woman has ever achieved in a presidential race. What she has done already has never even come close to being done before. To put that into perspective, consider this; the first serious African American male candidate, Jesse Jackson, running 20 years ago, won 11 primaries and caucus races (in 1988). That's a serious contender. If, 20 years later, the first woman with name recognition and media viability does as well, it will be, like Jackson's run, truly historic.

My point is, Obama is playing against an opponent who is even more of an unprecedented candidate than he is, and who may actually, as a woman, be burdened with more cultural disadvantages than he is as an African American. That makes this race very different from anything that either one will face in the general election against a traditional, white male candidate.

I know that we're not allowed to discuss gender. Any mention of it is labeled "divisive" and we are suppose to pretend there is absolutely no difference between Hillary's candidacy and any other. But, come on, look at the historical reality. No woman has ever even won a primary before Hillary! How likely is it that a cultural barrier as significant as this is going to be knocked down on the very first try?

But, to get to my point; because his main competition is a woman, Obama will be competing in the primary in a very unusual environment and one that is much different than anything he'll face in the general. In the general election, against a much more experienced traditional male candidate, his inexperience will be a much bigger burden.

On the other hand,I don't think Hillary is very likely to get the nomination, unless there really is an overwhelming women's vote in her favor. Which may not materialize. But, if she did -- with the media, the blogosphere, at least half, if not more, of the party establishedment aligned against her, accomplish this remarkable and unlikely feat, I think she would have the advantage in the general election. Even though she would, as many Obama supporters suggest, be at a disadvantage because of her gender most especially among those independent and Republican leaning male voters everyone is worrying about. but her advantage, especially during uneasy economic times, would be experience and the positive association with her husband's administration. That I think would help her pick up the votes of independent and moderate Republican working women who are most concerned about "kitchen table" issues. And, especially if women show up at the polls in the high percentages we've seen so far in the primaries, that could put her over the top. In every election in the last 30 years Democrats have needed the gender gap to work in their favor in a big way in order to win in national elections, Hillary may be best positioned to deliver that gender gap margin.

None of this has anything to do with what I think of the candidates. It's just analysis of some of the factors at play. I don't expect Hillary to get the nomination, and the over-whelming overt hostility to the first serious female presidential candidate among my fellow Democrats has been hard to watch. I don't care about her winning as much as I care about seeing her treated with respect. She deserves it. To see Democrats attack her using the same ugly personal slurs and character assassination as the Republicans is extremely discouraging. If this kind of ugliness continues throughout the campaign I think it will harm the Democrats among their most important constituency -- women like me.

Frankly, if Hillary visious, dishonest people that the Obama supporters say they are, I don't understand why these people have ever called themselves Democrats. If I believed tholse kinds of thing about any prominent leaders in this party, I would never want to be a Democrat.

Posted by: mary on January 28, 2008 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that Senator Obama is provably a brilliant orator & a more-than capable campaigner. However, if his supporters think that being compared to Jesse Jackson (another brilliant orator & more-than capable campaigner) is below the belt, or dirty politicking, they're going to get a very nasty shock when & if he wins the nomination. Once the right-wing smear machine moves into high gear, comparisons to Martin Luther King & Jesse Jackson will very quickly come to seem like compliments.

And yes, like every other Clinton supporter that I know, if Obama wins the Dem nomination, I'll passionately support & happily vote for him. The unwillingness of many Obama supporters to give a comparable assurance speaks far worse of them than it does of their genuinely inspirational & remarkably gifted candidate.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on January 28, 2008 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama does know how to campaign. He won his Senate seat with over 70% of the vote, and he got more votes in the S. Carolina Democratic primary than John McCain and Mike Hucabee did in the Republican primary combinded. His victory came even after a week of taking every shot Billary could throw at him. Everyone keeps saying that Obama better learn how to take the hits because the Republicans aren't going to let up. Well he won the damn primary (one could more accurately say that he obliterated the competition with his 28 point victory) after taking all those hits so what exactly does he need to change about his approach? In fact, it really seems lately that it's Billary who should think about changing its strategy. When Bill Clinton slighted Obama by implying that his win in South Carolina was, as Jesse Jackson's before him, little more than the result of a symbolic vote by the African American community that will ultimately have no impact on the nomination he may have pushed a whole lot more African American support Barack's way. African Americans understand slights like these all too well, and it's going to be hard to persuade them that Billary really has their interests at heart when they so callously dismiss the historic achievement of one of their own. (If you don't think that Obama winning the SC primary is a big deal, look no further than the Confederate Flag that still flies on the State House Lawn, or the statue of "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman that stand in front of the Statehouse. Tillman proudly proclaimed that he had killed African Americans by his own hand while on the campaign trail and was rewarded with reelection time and again. This man's statue is still standing. When the soviets got kicked out of power their statues went with them.)

Posted by: Thomas on January 28, 2008 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Here is something from TPM. In the best case, Clinton is comparing apples to oranges.

And so what? Is all this outrage regarding Clinton's remarks over his comparing apples with oranges in this manner? Yes, there are differences between Jackson's campaign and Obama's campaign -- so what?

But I should think that if people are going to condemn Clinton so very vehemently over his remark, they have a pretty strong obligation to explain what it is exactly that's most offensive about it, right?

This is the thing about much of this discussion that just boggles my mind. All this emotion over Clinton's statement, here and at TPM, but nobody seems to engage the very issue at the heart of the controversy: what it is that Clinton was supposed to have been saying that he absolutely should never have said. Absent a compelling explanation, how can we possibly know whether the level of outrage we feel is justified by the nature of the remarks themselves?

I'm not saying that there may not be any such deeply offensive content, but I can certainly say I haven't heard coherent account of it yet.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

...and who may actually, as a woman, be burdened with more cultural disadvantages than he is as an African American.

I guess I'm going to prove your point because I ask: how much of that sentence is written because you are a woman? I could easily see an African-American male saying the exact same thing except with switched the tags. I find both views about equally convincing.

If I believed tholse [sic] kinds of thing about any prominent leaders in this party, I would never want to be a Democrat.

Because Republicans have proven themselves worse time and time again. Anything the Republican Party has touched has crumbled into dust. Where the hell have you been? Do you even read DKos or MyDD? Why do you think we focus so hard on electing more and BETTER Dems, why do you think we run primary challenges despite losing? Because the Democratic Party is the vehicle for positive change but we have to conquer it from within first.

I would love to have your belief that she will lose, I do not think so. I think she will win (unfortunately) and I think a chance for real change will be lost--and we are running out of time TO change. You say hyperbole? You say alarmism? I say in response 'Global Warming.' In fact, I cannot fathom why you believe she will not get the nomination. (White) Women HAVE been turning out to give her margins and there's no reason that wouldn't continue unless Obama provides a more compelling reason to vote for him.

I used to respect HRC, I think on some level I still do, but WJC's behavior has been bad, his position has been bad and you know what? They've gone after Obama harder than they ever have gone against their Republican opponents, at least as far back as 1996.

And you know what else? I firmly believe HRC could shut WJC up if she wished. It has become clear that WJC at least (and perhaps HRC for allowing him to do so) is quite willing to break the entire party in half for power and with the Michigan and Florida debacle, break Howard Dean's power and return the DNC to the useless consultant paying husk that it was under their man McAuliffe.

That ma'am is a betrayal of the highest order.

Posted by: MNPundit on January 28, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

as a woman, be burdened with more cultural disadvantages than he is as an African American.

Mary:

I respectfully, but forcefully, disagree with this assertion. Look at the history of the United States, look at the prosperity of the average woman and the average african american, look at the educational and career opportunity differences between women and african americans. The average African American is at a greater disadvantage.

On top of that, Hillary had the benefit of being a First Lady of a state and of a country. Yes, the Limbaughs of the world made her pay for it. The right wing attacks are duly noted and I understand the Clintons suffered in the hands of the vast rightwing conspiracy. Putting that aside, largely because Obama had nothing to do with that, she comes to the race with great advantages. Obama, OTOH, was a nobody and a self made man with no name recognition.

The Clintons made a political calculation that they should hit Obama hard, using whatever tactics they had at their disposal, before he became a contender. Unfortunately for them, it appears to be backfiring.

May the better candidate win. How they campaign is part of the definition of "better."

Posted by: rational on January 28, 2008 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

lampwick: "All I know is, when Obama won Iowa, it was the first time in 16 years that I felt proud of my country."

I agree, 100%. And I was rooting for Edwards!

As for Clinton running a better campaign...I have taken that claim as an article of faith because people in a better position to judge than me have said it was so. So I was astonished to read Matt Stoller's posts on Open Left here and here. It is something to think about. Clinton may not have the best campaign???

"Now, it's possible that this was a one-off, but from what I hear, the Clinton campaign at the top is somewhat disorganized, prone to panic, and driven by committee. Bill and Hillary never give up, of course, but there is tremendous infighting that is paralyzing. And let's just note that Mark Penn isn't a very good strategist, and you cannot sustainably build field organizations in the same reactive manner you can respond to media firestorms."


Posted by: PTate in MN on January 28, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Here is something from TPM. In the best case, Clinton is comparing apples to oranges.

And so what? Is all this outrage regarding Clinton's remarks over his comparing apples with oranges in this manner? Yes, there are differences between Jackson's campaign and Obama's campaign -- so what?

Frankly0: Ok, so why do you think Clinton made this comparison? He was politically active at that time and surely knew the full context of the races won by Jackson. He knows that, as a race, the comparison is meaningless. Why would he make a random comparison? He is too smart for that.

Posted by: rational on January 28, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is the New Coke candidate.

Posted by: enozinho on January 28, 2008 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand,I don't think Hillary is very likely to get the nomination

This is not the conventional wisdom. If you believe the Obama dismissers, Hillary will CRUSH him on Super Tuesday.

Do you really believe this, or are you just irritated by Obama's candidacy?

Don't sweat it. He's done a fine job, but the "wave of change" is overrated. I'm not a fan of either Obama or Clinton. I just want a Democratic president (or a progressive Republican - hey look, a unicorn!)

Hillary and Obama will both face a tough time of it in the red states, the South in particular. However, given Clinton's success so far, I think it's a bit early to be talking about how sexism derailed her candidacy.

Of course, it will be tough to convince anyone who is emotionally invested in either Obama or Clinton that their eventual defeat was not the result of some inherent character flaw in those that voted for someone else. Too old. Too male. Too racist. Too sexist.

Emotional stakes are high among the Democrats. I do think the media created a good deal of the problem by anointing Hillary as the front-runner years ago (remember?), even while she was still being coy about her intentions. She was treated favorably in the mainstream media for most of the buildup to this campaign. Then... an opportunity for a real story emerged -- conflict!!! Yay!!! Now they are knocking her down so that it looks like more of a contest than it is. I may be wrong about Obama, but I don't see him going all the way this time. Hillary should get a grip, fire Bill, and start worrying about creating a compelling vision for those folks she is currently losing to Edwards and Obama.

We've heard from a lot of folks on this thread who said they would "hold their nose" and vote for whomever the nominee was. I actually was unenthusiastic about Gore and very unenthusiastic about Kerry. By the time the general election rolled around, I had somehow managed to get excited about them. I don't see why the same would not be true for Hillary.

but her advantage, especially during uneasy economic times, would be experience and the positive association with her husband's administration

I think you underestimate how many Democrats dislike Bill Clinton for any number of reasons. Several believe he was "Republican lite" in his actual execution of the role. I don't believe that, but plenty of my liberal friends do. And who can argue that he shot himself in the foot by handing the Republicans Monicagate. Sure, the whole Starr investigation was a partisan witch-hunt, but that doesn't excuse his behavior or his lying.

The more I think about it, I'd say 90% of my "dislike" of Hillary is just misplaced anger at Bill Clinton. I blame him for handing the VRWC all the weapons they needed to keep GW Bush in power for 8 years. That's probably not fair, but politics ain't rational.

Hill needs to ditch Bill. His charisma is fading and that allows more critical examination of his actual legacy. I'm not sure "let's go back to the 90s" is going to cut it as a motivator for 2008. We are in a different world.

Posted by: lobbygow on January 28, 2008 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Adam --

Older conservative women aren't going to vote for Obama either. So what's your point?

And what is this nonsense about Boomers telling you to get off their lawn? Politically, what does that mean? The only campaign that has made any generational complaints is the Obama campaign -- and those complaints have been lodged against the Boomers. As if the problem with this country's recent leadership is generational rather than ideological.

My point with some of the post-Boomer conservatives I listed in a previous post is that the problem progressives face is overcoming an ideological divide, not a generational one. I don't care if you are 90 or 19 -- but I do care about what kind of policies you are willing to support.

And yes, I read the New York Times, but I do not live in awe of it. And, while I have great affection for the Gray Lady, it is a little retro when it comes to gender issues. I mean, come on, this is a paper whose star female columnist, the only woman to appear regularly on the editorial page, actually, in this century, wrote a book suggesting men don't like smart women. I don't think you can get much more retro than that. I can't help imagining her as she, attired in mini skirt and go go boots, scribbled away by the light of her lava lamp.

Posted by: mary on January 28, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

This afront to the Obama nation by MDS, which Kevin has foisted on blogosphere, has Barack's supporters coming out of the woodwork like . . . Paultards! This place is going to be rockin' on Super Tuesday.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 28, 2008 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

LOL DevilDog. It is the Clintonistas vs the Obaminators. There will be a run on pop corn on Super Tuesday :-)

Posted by: rational on January 28, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, btw, Kevin is a shrewd blogger. He pushed the right buttons today :-)

Posted by: rational on January 28, 2008 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

"And so what? Is all this outrage regarding Clinton's remarks over his comparing apples with oranges in this manner?"

Well put.

Posted by: Mutaman on January 28, 2008 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

He pushed the right buttons today :-)

True. I haven't commented here more than twice in the last year or so.

Posted by: enozinho on January 28, 2008 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama doesn't have a clue about campaigning, I don't know what that says about HRC. Doesn't sound like a reliable source to me.

Posted by: ikl on January 28, 2008 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

He got more votes in South Carolina than Hillary and Edwards combined. He knows how to campaign, that much is for sure and shouldn't even be debatable.

Posted by: chris in chicago on January 28, 2008 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Frankly0: Ok, so why do you think Clinton made this comparison? He was politically active at that time and surely knew the full context of the races won by Jackson. He knows that, as a race, the comparison is meaningless. Why would he make a random comparison? He is too smart for that."-rational

TPM and Josh Marshall are full of shit. The nomination was not sown up in either election at the time of the voting.

"1988: In 1988, South Carolina Democrats held a caucus rather than a primary. Jesse Jackson won, defeating Al Gore with approximately 55% of the vote."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Carolina_Primary

"The Rev. Jesse Jackson scored an overwhelming victory in the Democratic caucuses today in South Carolina, his native state, showing far greater support for his Presidential campaign than when he won in 1984."

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE0D9153AF930A25750C0A96E948260

Clinton is spinning the loss, and I don't see what is so horrible about trying to spin a loss in a state. No one had a problem when Obama spins he "won" Nevada or his surrogate Jesse Jackson Jr. spins that Clinton's win in New Hampshire should be discounted due to her tears.

Clinton discounted Tsongas win in New Hampshire in 1992 due to the fact he was from neighboring Massachusetts. Was that some sort of anti-New England or anti-Greek-American "gutter" politics?

Give me a fucking break. The "reporting" or opinion that passes on many progressive blogs is BS spin, that relies on treating the readers like rubes, no better than Fox news or LGF. They also act as if you can't remember what actually happened as they give you an alternate BS history.

How the fuck can the party get anything done if so many commentators like Drum, Greenwald and Marshall are such chicken-shits that sound like High Broderism? When stating something as basic as Obama won, because Black voters came home to the black candidate is cause for a conniption fit in the liberal blogosphere.

Black people tend to vote for viable black candidates, white people tend to do the same thing. Pass the smelling salts. Let's never mention it or ever point it out, because that would be racist.

The Republicans got into the mess they are when they went down the rabbit hole of "voodoo" economics. If you can't state something factual without getting smeared, then honesty will no longer be a viable option in this party. God help us if the Democratic Party continues down this path to absurdity.

Posted by: harry s/mdana on January 28, 2008 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's black!

And he has black children!

Posted by: President Bill Clinton on January 28, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

And he has black children!

Just like Jesse Jackson! Coincidence?

Posted by: enozinho on January 28, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

rational --

Hillary does come to the race with greater advantages than any woman running before her. But still, her candidacy is a huge cultural leap.

The issues at play here have nothing to do with women's relative prosperity, or even sexist discrimination in the classic sense. What a female candidate for the presidency challenges are important, deeply rooted cultural attitudes, shared by men and women alike, about what power and authority looks like. In our culture, public power, authority and leadership have always been seen as masculine. This isn't true in every culture -- some cultures in which women for the most part don't enjoy the freedoms and "equality" that American women enjoy have nonetheless had a much easier time accepting women leaders. That's because in those cultures power is seen as having both a masculine and a feminine aspect. That means that in those cultures a woman can exert power and provide leadership without upsetting gender roles.

But that's not true here. Accepting female leadership requires changing deeply held ideas not only about power but about gender. That's not something that happens overnight, or without a lot of uneasiness and resistance.

Also, as I've pointed out elsewhere, women's role in our society has completely changed in the last 40 years. Women now play vital roles all across our economy and within our social and cultural institutions. And they will continue to do so, because our complex modern society, and the economic realities for most families, demand it -- neither the modern workplace or the hame can without their contribution. But our cultural narratives haven't kept up, haven't given us a language for recognizing that contribution and respecting it. For instance people on this thread argued that Hillary is disliked among "traditional" women. But what does "traditional" mean in a society in which more than 90% of women with school age children, and over 70% of women with younger children, work outside the home? Traditional vs. feminist, mommie wars, etc., etc., they are outdated and inadequate ways of talking about modern women's lives and place in our economy and society. Yet we don't yet, have better ways of talking about these things.

When you consider that women's lives have changed so dramatically, yet we still have hardly made any progress in finding a language and concepts with which to accurately, and most important respectfully, talk about those changes -- it shouldn't be surprising that our political narratives haven't changed much in the last 50 years either.

Posted by: mary on January 28, 2008 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

The problem I have with Clinton is that she is running yet again on the idea that the Republicans control a majority of the voters and will decide the course of the election simply by choosing a campaign strategy. If you believe that that is true, the only way to win is to try to hold the blue states together and get out enough votes to reach the magic 270. That might have been true in 2004, but with the Republican machine fraying around the edges, it isn't true anymore.

I guess it's been so long since a Democrat played to win that people have forgotten what it is like.

Obama is playing to win, not only by taking voters away from the Republicans, but by taking issues away from them. Clinton is not doing that.

If Clinton wins, the Republicans live to fight another day. If Obama wins, they're dead.

Posted by: Splitting Image on January 28, 2008 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps reader MDS is referring to Obama's first congressional run against Bobby Rush. Obama lost -- Rush 61%, Obama 30%. Heckuva campaign.

During Obama's bid for the U.S. Senate, he ran unopposed when incumbent Fitzgerald decided against re-election. How could Obama lose?

More troubling... his ballot tactics in his state Senate campaign in Illinois.

Obama knows his way around a ballot
By David Jackson and Ray Long | Tribune staff reporters
6:48 PM CDT, April 3, 2007

The day after New Year's 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city's South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama's four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.
Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.
But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.
A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.
One of the candidates he eliminated, long-shot contender Gha-is Askia, now says that Obama's petition challenges belied his image as a champion of the little guy and crusader for voter rights.
"Why say you're for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?" Askia said. "He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?"
In a recent interview, Obama granted that "there's a legitimate argument to be made that you shouldn't create barriers to people getting on the ballot."
But the unsparing legal tactics were justified, he said, by obvious flaws in his opponents' signature sheets. "To my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up," Obama recalled.
"I gave some thought to … should people be on the ballot even if they didn't meet the requirements," he said. "My conclusion was that if you couldn't run a successful petition drive, then that raised questions in terms of how effective a representative you were going to be."
Asked whether the district's primary voters were well-served by having only one candidate, Obama smiled and said: "I think they ended up with a very good state senator."
More at the Chicago Tribune.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 28, 2008 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

"How the fuck can the party get anything done if so many commentators like Drum, Greenwald and Marshall are such chicken-shits that sound like High Broderism? When stating something as basic as Obama won, because Black voters came home to the black candidate is cause for a conniption fit in the liberal blogosphere."

Timing is everything in comedy and in politics, and this weekend was neither the time nor the place to bring up Jesse Jackson.

If all Clinton wanted to say was that South Carolina doesn't have a great track record of picking future Presidents, he did not need to look any further than John Edwards. Clinton is not being criticized for stating the obvious; he is being criticized for skipping over the obvious comparison in order to compare Obama to a black candidate who ran 20 years ago.

More to the point, only a few weeks ago, the Clinton campaign was stressing its appeal to black voters because of both Clintons' history of supporting black civil rights. Obama shouldn't have had as big an advantage as he did, and probably wouldn't have had if Clinton had kept his yap shut the past few weeks.

The Clintons' entire strategy is based on the idea that whatever you think of them personally, they are strong campaigners and can be counted on to run mistake-free, winning campaigns. Both of them have brought that into question recently.

Posted by: Splitting Image on January 28, 2008 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

harry s/mdana: When stating something as basic as Obama won, because Black voters came home to the black candidate is cause for a conniption fit in the liberal blogosphere."

After the Clinton campaign spent days denying it was involved in race-bating, then started accusing OBAMA's people of using race as a weapon in the campaign, Bill Clinton writes of his wife's resounding defeat by saying, essentially, "oh yeah, but you know this is a black state, they always win here, so it's not such a big deal". He did not need to bring race into it, but chose to. Obama could rightly have called Bill out on this, but chose not to, as he had chosen to make his victory speech as inclusive as possible. That's the difference between the two campaigns in a nutshell.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 28, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

So, one reader in Illinois thinks Obama's not ready to campaign nationally--and despite thousands of other Illinoisians who've contributed money and time to the national campaign of Obama, and thus believe he is, you prefer to listen to the opinion of the one who doesn't?

Geez.

You're starting to sound like Andrew Sullivan: "A reader writes..."

Except your reader's comments aren't even particularly noteworthy or, sadly, humorous.

Posted by: KathyF on January 28, 2008 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

Yea Obama was such a poor candidate in illinois that when Ryan's campaigned imploded dozens of the states best and brightest rethugs lined up to take Ryan's place.

Posted by: klyde on January 28, 2008 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Reader MDS. Keep blogging the other side. Otherwise, I think the ferry boat may tip over and sink from lack of balance.

I'm still an undecided voter but all this Obama! stuff gets boring and polarizing. I've quit reading practically everybody but you.

I know some moderate voters here in the shallow south who are awfully fond of McCain. I can see him wiping the floor with Obama.

Posted by: Bluegrass Poet on January 28, 2008 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

All this emotion over Clinton's statement ... how can we possibly know whether the level of outrage we feel is justified by the nature of the remarks themselves?

This is just so obtuse. Look, he made remarks that alienated a large portion of the Black (and white) community. Once again, it doesn't matter what he meant -- or what you or I think he meant.

As the leader of the democratic party, he should have been worrying about how his statements would be taken by the Black community -- folks who helped him win twice. In this regard, there are only two explanations: he is either dumb or duplicitous. Either he didn't know how they would be taken, which is dumb. Or, he knew how they would be taken and didn't give a big rat's ass, which is duplicitous.

To me, it's pretty clear that it's the latter, because if it was the former, he would have quickly apologized for the (unintentionally insulting) remarks -- saying he didn't intend them to insult, and then he would have STFU, right?

But he didn't did he?

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 28, 2008 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

The South Carolina primary, with it's unusually high concentration of black voters, was an anomaly that has Obama's supporters thinking he's suddenly the front runner. But Obama's not going to be able to play racial politics in the Super Tuesday states as effectively as he did in South Carolina. His campaign has been shameless in the way it has tried to portray the Clinton's as racist. To my mind, accusing a candidate of racism is much more underhanded thatn saying they liked Reagan, or whatever slight Obama is crying about this week. Bill Clinton didn't inject race into the campaign; history did. This notion that the only reason people talked about race is because of the Clinton's is just stupid. Obama got more than 80 percent of the black vote, and just 25 percent of the white vote,but let's pretend that race had nothing to do with it. If the primary would have consisted of three white candidates, would 80 percent of the black vote gone to one candidate? Every election result is subjected to all sorts of demographic analysis, but we're supposed to leave race out of the equation because we've just unuilaterally decided that race shouldn't matter, even though the evidence is overwhelming that it does? South Carolina is one of the only states to ever go for a black candidate in its primary, but now that a black candidate has won there for a second time, the first result is supposed to be wiped from the history books?

When Obama said last year that black voter turnout would go up 30 percent if he was the nominee, what do you suppose he meant? That blacks will respond more to his economic plan? His recommendations for the Middle East? Because as has been stated here many times by Obama supporters, it certainly wouldn't be because he's black.

Everyone has their own constituencies. How many times do we hear about how many ex-military are in states where McCain's running? How many times did we hear about the Mormon vote in Nevada? Why is one of Obama's largest natural constituencies the only one we're not allowed to address?

Prior to the South Carolina primary, Obama took pains to not be labelled as the black candidate. Then, heading into a state with a huge black voting population, he says he'll have to see Bill Clinton dance before he can say if he's a brother. Tell me, how many times have you heard Obama use the term "brother" prior to that? Or are the Clinton's the only ones who can be accused of using code words? Now that the primary's over, it's time to start distancing himself from his blackness.

Obama won big in South Carolina. He's winning this news cycle, so good for him. But if his starry-eyed followers think that he's somehow got the upper hand, I think they're in for a big disappointment on Feb. 5. Unless, of course, his campaign can figure out some new way to play the race card.

And by the way, zoog, Hillary isn't breaking her promise not to campaign in Florida. She's not going there until after the polls close. You may not realize this, but it's a little late to campaign after the polls close. I don't believe any of the candidates pledged to never set foot in Florida again.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 28, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

No one really has a clue about November. I can't agree with you or MDS (or for that matter any of the Obama fans) on that one.

However, I still have a hard time believing that there are enough whistle-listening dogs in the democratic party to help the Clinton's out if that was really their strategy. So far the issue has only helped Obama and I think that would have been obvious to everyone before it began. The fact that mock outrage at a great number of innocent remarks began in earnest with Clyburn in SC tells me the MDS is right about at least one thing.

BTW, after seeing Carter, Mondale, and GHWB stumble around in 21st century politics it's bizarre to me how anyone can believe that Clinton is incapable of saying stupid things and getting played. The concept that every statement is planned and vetted like a grandmaster playing chess doesn't strike me as realistic.

Posted by: B on January 28, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

According to ChrisO, Obama was playing the race card when he said he'd have to see how well WJC can dance before he can say if he's a brother!!! That is mind blowing one guys.

Posted by: GOD on January 28, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

econobuzz,

When was the last time you heard a politician apologize for anything?

Kevin,

Was that really the best your email folder had to offer? Or did you just feel like throwing that correspondent under the bus?

I'll be glad when the convention is behind us.

Posted by: B on January 28, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hey GOD, apparently your mind is so blown that you can't even compose a reasoned response to what I wrote. Perhaps you could point out where I'm wrong?

Posted by: ChrisO on January 28, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

What reasoned response? You are a moron if you're implying that he was playing the race card when he joked in response to a question about whether WJC is the first black president.

Posted by: GOD on January 28, 2008 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

ChrisO,

"White people can't dance" is a fact. SC exit p@!ls, SC demograp#!c$, and historical SC prim@&y results are things that should never come out of a polite politicians mouth.

Posted by: toast on January 28, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

If we take this post on its face, agree it is true ... I still have a question. If Obama is the nominee, do we assume all these battle-scarred, savvy, Bush-hating democratic operatives working for the Clintons will ... what? Abandon ship? Work for McCain? Spend two months in Aruba? I'd sure hope they would rally to the democratic nominee and fight like hell for him or her.


Seems like the Dems need to decide which candidate would make the best President and be best suited to take the country in a progressive direction.

Then, whether Billary or Obama, we can all unite and make sure they win. I just happen to think, come October, it'll be a lot easier to convince persuadable voters that Obama is worth a vote than to have that damn Billary Clinton conversation all over again with aunt Sally and uncle Bruce.

And I happen to think President Obama has a chance to actually move people in a progressive direction vs. Billary arguing and sniping at them to pass a progressive budget by 1 vote (and then lose the congress entirely during midterms).

Posted by: Blue on January 28, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I know I'm late, but my question for someone who has seem Obama upclose in Chicago is do you think he can be an effective President. All the talk focuses on his electability, his campaign and the symbolic message his election could send to the world. I want to know if people think he can run the country. Three years ago he was in the Illinois legislature, did the people who knew him then think hey, in three years this guy could be running the free world?
He was lucky nobody wanted the Democratic nomination for Senate and even luckier when the Republican incumbent self-destructed.
How did he come Presidential timber?

Posted by: phg on January 28, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

When was the last time you heard a politician apologize for anything?

are you kidding? from dick durbin on torture to john kerry on the military to (insert dozens of other recent examples here), most democratic politicians fall all over themselves to apologize the moment someone says they're offended.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 28, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Three years ago he was in the Illinois legislature, did the people who knew him then think hey, in three years this guy could be running the free world?

I doubt many took it that far, but he did draw a great deal of attention as an up-and-comer and someone who would be heard from later.

He was lucky nobody wanted the Democratic nomination for Senate and even luckier when the Republican incumbent self-destructed.

You're evidently not too familiar with that campaign. Several people wanted the Democratic nomination for the Senate; there were several on the primary ballot. Now, the best funded of them, billionaire Blair Hull, who would have succeeded in buying himself a U.S. Senate seat despite never having held municipal or state office of any kind, happened to self-destruct when his ex-wife announced that he'd a penchant for knocking her about.

I don't think it's in question that Obama would not have beaten Hull without that turn in the campaign road. Hull's name recognition had become huge; we were getting at least one mailing a day from him and the guy spent $21 per Illinois voter. But it's not true that Obama started with no opposition.

Posted by: shortstop on January 28, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Meant to add: Besides Blair Hull, the other Democratic primary challengers in 2004 included Gery Chico, a former Daley chief of staff and a popular-among-some-constituencies former head of the Chicago Public Schools. He had substantial support, as did Dan Hynes, a product of the Machine with big family connections who went on to become state comptroller. I believe Maria Pappas ran, too.

So a number of significant players wanted that nomination.

Posted by: shortstop on January 28, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

So, GOD, I should have known from your handle that you're an arrogant know-nothing. You managed to call names, but are clearly unable to articulate a coherent response. Check back when you have a thought.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

When was the last time you heard a politician apologize for anything?-- are you kidding? from dick durbin on torture to john kerry on the military to . . .

Yeah, I guess I should have said "saavy politician". Durbin and Kerry used apologies like a pro-wrestler uses a 3 second nap on the mat. It certainly didn't help them.

Not to say you can't use an apology as a backhanded attack or as a "high road" motif. But it's not really a sincere apology then is it?

Posted by: B on January 28, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

ChrisO, you got caught spouting BS. Your assertion that Obama was playing a race card in the quote you used is idiotic. Of course, you can't defend it. What a maroon!

Posted by: GOD on January 28, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - it must be interesting to be lobbied so intently.

To those who say Barack doesn't have the experience to be President, why doesn't the endorsements of committee chairs Leahy and Kennedy give you pause?

It's hard to think of Senators with more experience or technical ability in the sausage-grinding business - and Kennedy in particular has had an opportunity to see Obama and HRC up close. Having seen the goods, he's buying Obama.

I don't say you can't conclude, all things considered, that HRC is a better choice. But to say Obama has to be rejected as unqualified is more than a little rich.

Posted by: TedL on January 28, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

oh, you meant savvy politicians, B.

got it.

savvy politicians never apologize. they just plough on wondering why every time they open their pieholes, their spouses bleed votes.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 28, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

For my money they're both no good.

What it comes down to is that Hillary Clinton is the can-do executive and Barack Obama is the can-inspire leader and that their policy views are almost indistinguishable. But what are their politics? What do they actually believe in?

Both of them have so hedged their bets or are so maddingly vague or are so small-bore policy-wise as to be meaningless: maybe we’ll get out of Iraq and maybe we’ll leave bases and trainers/Blackwater and the air force stay, maybe we’ll have some sort of health care for America’s uninsured and underinsured and maybe we won't, perhaps we need to raise taxes or we need to cut taxes, maybe so-called illegal immigrants must return or perhaps they can stay, and their views on how to help stem the foreclosure mess are unknown.

Compare this to the Republican side of the aisle where the full throated, red meat ideologies of God, war on terror, starve the government, free markets and tax cuts for the rich thrive and rally its supporters: it is this that gives the party its vehemence, its strength. Republicans can put most of their message on a bumper sticker: “Markets work, governments don’t.”

The democrats have no such strong message. It helps explain the tepid campaigns of both Kerry and Gore. Indeed it continues to this day and explains why both Clinton and Obama lack a strong political ideology and just spin their wheels on race, gender, change vs. experience, she’s a liar, he’s a liar issues.

Clinton might have the executive ability to get things done and Obama might have the inspirational leadership to get things done but they both beg the question: what is their forceful, put it on a bumper sticker message of what they want to get done?

You know what the problem is with modern American politics? It's corporate money driven. As ABSCAM Congressman Ozzie Myers famously remarked, “Money talks, bullshit walks.”; it ought to replace “E pluribus unum” on our currency.


Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on January 28, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Having watched him up close, I can tell you, Obama is an inspirational guy who doesn't have a clue how to campaign.

Funny, that. He seems to be doing OK so far.

Posted by: Brautigan on January 28, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

So GOD, you're idea of me being "caught' is that you restate what I say, then proclaim me an idiot. You'd make a great debate coach. I try to engage only with those who seem to have something to say, but I always find myself breaking the rule for idiots like you. I contend that Obama used a term like "brother" intentionally (and for the first time, in my experience), in an effort to appear somewhat blacker leading into South Carolina (I don't suppose you noticed how many more black surrogates were speaking out for him?) If the Clintons can be accused of using code words, and if every statement they make can be twisted to sound racist, then what's wrong with my relatively benign observation? Do you really think that Obama went into South Carolina with not a thought as to what he had to do to win the black vote? That he sees all voters as just people, sort of an electoral Ghandi? Actually, I'm not sure you think anything, because you've responded to me in three posts now, and you've yet to make a cogent point.

And for the record, black voters are one of Obama's prime constituencies. It's not a slur against him (or a "smear" to use the favorite term of the Obama camp) to suggest that he treats them as a distinct bloc. If McCain's campaigning in an area with a lot of retired military, he'll drag a general or two up on the stage with him. That's just politics. Don't be such a child.

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

Having watched him up close, I can tell you, Obama is an inspirational guy who doesn't have a clue how to campaign.

Funny, that. He seems to be doing OK so far.

Really. Claiming to have the low-down on how good a campaigner someone is, when we have the results before our very eyes, is kinda like saying: "You may think George Clooney is handsome, but trust me, he's really not."

The only thing left for MDS to add is: "Are you going to believe me or your lying ears and eyes?"

Posted by: LynnDee on January 28, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

savvy politicians never apologize. they just plough on wondering why every time they open their pieholes, their spouses bleed votes.

Ha! Unfortunately there's more that goes into being a savvy politician. You also need to travel in a different bus then the press, limit question time to a short interval once every couple weeks, and limit your public interaction to hand shaking and the reading vetted speeches off teleprompters.

Posted by: B on January 28, 2008 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing that Democrats EVER win any presidential elections.

If a Republican candidate toes the line on crucial conservative issues (primarily endless tax cuts for the rich, but a few others as well) AND they show a reasonable likelihood of winning the general, the conservative press treats the candidate as untouchable: immune from serious criticism.

The progressive media plays by a different set of rules. Their lifeblood is the perpetual circular firing squad, leveling the most petty and often silly changes against whatever progressive candidate that has in some way offended their delicate sensibility on some hopelessly trivial matter. Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd are great examples, if you need some.

The latest offense is Bill Clinton's campaigning in S. Carolina and his apparently despicable observation that Jesse Jackson won that primary twice. He is somehow "injecting" race into the primary.

Just for grins, can we for a moment talk about, dare I mention it, REALITY? S. Carolina revealed a fairly typical human trait: people voting for candidates that look like them. Hillary won white women, Edwards won white men, and Obama won the black vote, men and women. What makes S. Carolina unusual is that half of the voters are black (a fact that the MSM had pointed out, oh, maybe a thousand times in the run-up to the voting) and it is Edwards' home state.

Bill Clinton didn't create this reality. He didn't exploit this reality. He was simply attempting to discount in advance the significance his wife's expected loss: not exactly an unheard of political tactic. If that comment was despicable, then all of politics is despicable and someone needs to explain to Bill (and me) just by what rules are we playing by and when did we start playing by them?

Please read Paul Krugman's incredibly sane and level-headed op-ed in the Times today about how this year looks a lot like 1992. It's a great read. Also, watch Charlie Cook on tonight's Hardball (I know, believe me, I know). He points out that Hillary is like a stock that has a narrow trading range, with a high floor and a low ceiling. Obama, on the other hand, is like a more volatile stock. He has a chance to win with 56% of the vote, which Hillary couldn't do. However, he also has a chance of losing with 45% of the vote, which Hillary couldn't do either.

I am genuinely conflicted by good great candidates. I'd much rather have this dilemma than the nose-holding one the Republicans are currently enduring.

Posted by: Tom on January 28, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

ChrisO, it was a fucking joke you idiot. Just because someone like you sees code words everywhere doesn't make it true. I'm not going to dignify your asinine analysis by writing a lengthy response. You're as of now the only person I know who has insinuated that Obama was playing a race card when he cracked that joke. It says more about you, maybe you need to look in the mirror.

Posted by: GOD on January 28, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

GOD, I know it was a joke. And the way he told it had a purpose. But I'm sure in your limited world view, if something's told as a joke it's impossible for it to have a purpose. That's OK, with each post you reinforce the notion that you don't have a thought in your head. "You're so wrong that I'm not even going to tell you why" is another way of saying "I can't string a few words together to express what I mean so I'll just insult you." You've had four tries now, and still can't make a cogent point.

Oh, and accusing a Hillary supporter of seeing code words evrywhere, that's rich. But I'm not going to tell you why I say that. I think it's a good mental exercise for you to work these things through on your own.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 29, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

ChrisO, if you still can't get the point because you are expecting a long essay, it means you really are very stupid.

Posted by: GOD on January 29, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Trust me, I live in Chicago, I've met Obama, I voted for him for Senate, I think he's great ... but he's just not up to running for president.

Again, I'm sure this has been said a million times on this thread, but:

Kev, don't buy this lying BS. This is the current talking pt that the HRC campaign is sending out to all their supporters, a variation on the old, "I like, blacks, in fact some of my best friends are black, but..." racist cliche.

DON'T FALL FOR IT.

Obama isn't up to running for POTUS? He's sure doing damn well against HRC and her racist ass.

Posted by: Disputo on January 29, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

GOD, I'm not looking for an essay, just a single valid argument beyond "I'm so right that it's your fault if you don't see it." This is now five posts by you without making a single point. If the truth is so breathtakingly clear, why do you keep posting without making a single coherent argument? I made my original point, then came back and supported it. Too bad you're incapable of doing anything but name calling.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Obama has been given a free pass on newscasts and commentaries that allows him to miss personal attacks that would be raging if he were not black.Not once have I heard someone doubt his electability with white America. Lets get real.
He has admitted drug use and has limited political experience. The State of Illinois put him in his position because of a need for a black person in office rather than his actual qualifications. Maybe he would make a good president, thats not the point, I want honest discourse about the likelyhood of his election.
Meanwhile, white commentators and voters have to tiptoe around carefully hoping not to offend, while others take the brunt of any personal attack that can be thought of.
The reality will sink in when the curtains close and the ballot is used to say what white people are afraid to say in public. Obama will lose and maybe he deserves to.
By the way ,I really despise the republican party
and I feel betrayed by this poor choice (Woman with baggage or unknown minor figure) given to us Dems.
Hello President McCain.

Posted by: TerryP on January 31, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is being helped by Republicans, large numbers of whom CHANGED PARTY TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARIES. Why, you ask? Because the Republicans a) despise the Clintons (already a good indication of where real change could come from), and b) want Obama to win the nomination, so that McCain can easily defeat him in the election (after he loses in one fell swoop all the Republicans/Independents who presently endorse him, loses all their backing, and after the Repbulican dirt machine (NY1, CNN, MSNBC, etc.) turns its ugly spout at him and away from Clinton--whom it has been aimed at for the past several years).

In other words, a nomination for Obama = Rebpublican president.

Also, he is not a likable person. Anyone who observes him closely can see that. He may have a broad contituency now (what he calls "bringing people together), but that will dissolve in a presidential race, when Republicans have finally eliminated Hillary and start to dig Obama's grave. He will not win a presidential election at this point.

PS - He was unimpressive in the debates as well. He speaks better (with his fake preacher tone) when he can prepare, but unscripted, he doesn't hold a candle to Clinton.

Posted by: max on February 10, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

ok...that really doesnt make any sense at all...if you look towards the Clinton campaign Hilary is hiding behind her husband...hes served his term...and how did the Obama campaign "cry" about it?

Posted by: Kayleigh on February 13, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is clearly the best person to take over the white house. i am so inspired by him. I am satisfied that my vote will take this country somewhere in November. If y0u are not on-board yet, get on-board. Do it for america!

Posted by: Leo on February 14, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Max. Obama my have a "fake preacher tone' but the majority of americans are inspired, driven and NOT BORED by him (Unlike monotonous Hillary). Are you saying that the mass of people supporting Obama are stupid and gullible? Do you even have any idea what it means to have good oratorical skills? If "he speaks well", as you stated, that means that he has good oratorical skills, not a fake preacher voice. lol. What debate were you watching buddy. What part of the debates was he unimpressive in? And "Obama is unlikeable! By you, most definitely. But lucky for us, you and your lack of objectivity are not running for political office. lol. Have you met anyone whio is more charismatic than Obama. Not even Bill Clinton is so gifted. Wake up, buddy!!!!!!

Posted by: Leo on February 14, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone cared to notice that Obama only has 2 years of experience in the Senate. I feel like I just overdosed on crazy pills when seeing his support. Have all of these supporters gone crazy? The answer is a definitive "YES" in my opinion as I am well informed. Wake up America!!!

Posted by: Dave on March 4, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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