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Tilting at Windmills

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January 28, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

OBAMA AND THE PRESS....Howard Kurtz has sort of a fascinating/disturbing column today about Barack Obama and the press:

All traveling campaigns have a bubble-like quality, but Obama seems unusually insulated. One moment of absurdity came Tuesday, when reporters on the press bus were asked to dial into a conference call in which Obama announced a congressman's endorsement — even though the candidate was nearby and just as easily could have delivered the news in person to the bus captives. Obama answered a few questions, but reporters are generally placed on mute after they speak so there can be no follow-up.

....Obama often goes days without taking questions from national reporters, and when he does, the sessions can be slapdash affairs. In Nevada, for instance, correspondents were reduced to shouting queries at him during a photo op in the kitchen of the Mirage Hotel.

....Some reporters say Obama seems disdainful toward journalists, having submitted to precisely one off-the-record chat over beer several months ago in Iowa. To them, the absence of a senior official traveling with the press is a sign of benign neglect.

The primary reason, say those who have observed Obama most closely, is that he's never had to court the press, even in Illinois. Obama rocketed to national prominence with his 2004 Democratic convention speech, had an easy Senate election, and has gotten largely upbeat coverage from the moment he got into the presidential contest. His tactics have sometimes been criticized but not, by and large, his character.

The result: He has never had to learn press relations as a survival skill, not when he can just trot out Oprah Winfrey and ride the resulting wave.

Now, Obama has gotten pretty rapturous press coverage anyway, and Kurtz mentions later in his piece that reporters are just as susceptible to the famous Obama charisma as anyone. Still, the general election is going to be a slugfest, and it's a bad sign if Obama's press operation hasn't been honed to deal with it. What's more, it's also peculiar: why stay aloof from a press corps that loves you? Maybe someone should try to ask him.

Kevin Drum 1:53 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (157)

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I think it's called "keeping them in their place." By making access a rare thing, it'll become a precious commodity once the Obama administration becomes a reality. Then you can use the threat of cutting it off as a way of keeping these bozos in line.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 28, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

I thought it was Hillary that never spoke to her traveling press. This is news that a candidate isn't always accessible?

Posted by: scruncher on January 28, 2008 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe part of the undercurrent of press hostility toward the Clintons is the constant stream of BS spin that you have to listen to from their camp if you are a journalist. People might, on some level, just get sick of it. Just a guess.

I actually thought that this was encouraging - it fits right in with the rest of the Obama "brand." Running a different sort of campaign is more than just a slogan apparently. Might work, might not. But given the sort of press that he is getting, it seems like it has been pretty effective, so far. And it makes me feel that I'm less likely to be being sold a bill of goods here.

Posted by: ikl on January 28, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Also, the stuff discussed in the article is distinct from having a rapid response team. Obama seems fine on that front.

Posted by: ikl on January 28, 2008 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

My god, I thought one of the nice things about reading blogs is that we didn't have to read navel-gazing masturbatory whining from the mainstream press.

I hate primaries.

Posted by: PTS on January 28, 2008 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I don't like Howie Kutz either, but I agree with Kevin that this article was genuinely interesting.

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

Not to psychoanalyze too deeply here, but I wonder if it has something to do with his community organizer roots. He's made a big deal throughout the campaign about how that history has informed his approach to politics and how he believes it's essential to mobilize the public in support of the cause. His dislike of dealing personally with the press may reflect that same thinking: why deal with catty intermediaries when it's easier to go directly and make his case to the people?

It's a novel idea and it does seem to be working pretty well for now (it hasn't negatively impacted his press coverage much, by all appearances), though I wonder if it's a sustainable model. Still, whatever his level of personal access to the press, I don't think it speaks poorly of his overall press operation. His media team seems effective enough at pushing strategic spin; as noted, he's got a good rapid response team (we're constantly hearing about the conference calls being organized with the candidate, strategists, and surrogates); and, unlike the Clinton campaign, the whole press operation doesn't seem to be leaking like the Titanic at every opportunity.

Posted by: jbryan on January 28, 2008 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Since when has positive press correlated with access?

Posted by: Timothy on January 28, 2008 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Posted by: Measure for Measure on January 28, 2008 at 3:28 AM | PERMALINK

Still, the general election is going to be a slugfest, and it's a bad sign if Obama's press operation hasn't been honed to deal with it.

Kevin, I think you're right this does sound bad, but I think you're wrong that Obama cannot get around it. One of the great things about Obama is his charisma. His marvelous oratory skills allow him to communicate directly to the people and get around the antagonism the press has of him.
Right now, the liberal media has been biased toward Billary because they're the liberal establishment candidate. The liberal media never misses a chance to praise Billary and mock Obama. But Obama's insurgency campaign has allowed him to run roughshod over the liberal media despite its persistent hostility. I expect Obama will be able to continue this extraordinary path even in the general election.

Posted by: Al on January 28, 2008 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

jimBOB: I think it's called "keeping them in their place." By making access a rare thing, it'll become a precious commodity once the Obama administration becomes a reality. Then you can use the threat of cutting it off as a way of keeping these bozos in line.

Well, it worked for Shrub for the first four years.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 28, 2008 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

Obama can get away with it now, because the media is so contemptous of the Clinton campaign. However, if Clinton is discarded, the kid gloves will be discarded too. Just a guess.

Posted by: harry s/mdana on January 28, 2008 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Harry, you have it slightly wrong. It's the Hillary campaign who is contemptuous of the press. Until NH, she could barely deign to speak to them.

Posted by: KathyF on January 28, 2008 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, he's gotten this kind of fawning coverage even though the reporters feel stiffed? What would they be writing about him if they felt good about him?

The press' naked contempt of Hillary Clinton is one of the least professional episodes in political coverage that I can remember. Every four years I remember why I have so little respect for the political media--it's because they have so little respect for what they're supposed to do.

Posted by: Steve on January 28, 2008 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Well, it worked for Shrub for the first four years."-Devil Dog

However, Bush did not run his campaign in the same manner. He allowed almost as much access as McCain.

I understand McCain allows free booze on his bus. Drunk journalists make happy pliant journalists. Perhaps this is the one Republican "idea" the Democratic candidates should embrace. ;-)

Posted by: harry s/mdana on January 28, 2008 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Harry, you have it slightly wrong. It's the Hillary campaign who is contemptuous of the press. Until NH, she could barely deign to speak to them."-Kathy

What planet have you been living on the past 17 years?

Posted by: harry s/mdana on January 28, 2008 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

"I understand McCain allows free booze on his bus. Drunk journalists make happy pliant journalists. Perhaps this is the one Republican "idea" the Democratic candidates should embrace. ;-)"

Why stop with alcohol? Image the coverage a candidate would get if they passed out ecstasy to the press. Secretly, of course.

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

Well, just look at what happened a couple of weeks ago, when ABC reported that he was being 'contentious' and 'angry', when the video clearly showed otherwise?

The press loves to blow things out of proportion, and to take quotes out of context. Especially in a situation where there is no video evidence, it's hard for the candidate to fight back. I think it's rather smart of Obama to avoid putting himself in these situations.

Posted by: Castor Troy on January 28, 2008 at 5:33 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Al has been watching a completely different universe of media coverage than I have if he thinks the press has been tough on Obama and easy on Hillary. I see the exact opposite. Obama has been the candidate of whom no criticism is allowed. And that ranges from the MSM (Joe, Chris, Mika, Tucker, et al) to the lefty blogs (Arianna, Kos readers).

Whether Obama is open to the media or not, they seem to think he can do no wrong.

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

This is kind of obvious, isn't it? Reagan established the principle nearly 30 years ago: limit your access to the press. It lets you control the message of the day, rather than allowing the press to set it, and it avoids gaffes. Since then, I think only McCain has gotten real mileage from unfettered press access.

As to the absence of high-level spinners with the press corps... well, like you say, it hasn't hurt him much so far.

Posted by: Wagster on January 28, 2008 at 6:18 AM | PERMALINK

I distinctly remember an NPR article on All Things Considered on October 21, 2007 regarding how Clinton was giving the least amount of access.

So the question is, did Obama adopt a new policy, has Clinton, or is this the press just scrambling for some new hook?

Posted by: Decided FenceSitter on January 28, 2008 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Clinton Administration - initially, emphasized transparency, communication with the press. Resulting coverage - an unmitigated nightmare of negative coverage, bordering on libel/slander.

The Bush Administration - tightly controlled press availability throughout his campaign and presidency. Resulting coverage - overwhelmingly positive and willing to transmit his spin. Though he has recently become less popular, the negative press has lagged his dropping popularity with the public.

What lesson do we learn?

Posted by: MDtoMN on January 28, 2008 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

That was Fake Al, btw.

Posted by: Kenji on January 28, 2008 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

Howevermuch it sucks, Obama better be careful here -- if the press decides to turn on him because they feel slighted, I'm not sure all the charisma in the world can overcome a shift in tone from regular press outlets. I also remember reading somewhere recently that Obama does not take many questions at campaign events (unlike the now 'improved' brand of Hillary who is just itching to know what we the voters 'feel').

Listen, he's got to find a way to deal with this. Right now he seems most comfortable in these big soaring speeches where he is the most impressive politician in a long time --- BUT he seems oddly deficient in the one-on-one courting aspect of political behavior, whether it's with voters or with the press. Is he too cerebral for that just like he's supposedly too cerebral to be a decent debater (he's awful in them). Ok, it 'sucks' to have to sell your ideas constantly against pushback, but ya gotta do it. My fear about Obama is that he somehow thinks he's going to just speechify his way to success --- as if merely by listening to him, all his opponents will be moved, recgonize his genius and agree with him.

Sorry, it doesn't work that way. So like it or not, he's going to have to learn to be a bit less aloof, a bit more available and a lot more human. Listen, it would totally make my gorge rise on a daily basis to have to mollify the spoiled brats that make up the press corps, but even if you hate doing it, a smart politician figures out that having them on your side is better than having them snipe at you. Yeah, I know, 'it's not fair' that you have to do this. Just grow up, Barack.

Posted by: oxonhoya on January 28, 2008 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

Drum,

Obama's whole candidacy is built around creating illusions, and avoiding scrutiny because he'd be found lacking. It is an elaborate game of "smoke and mirrors" that the media has fallen for. You, too, fell for it and got "off the bus" the other day. I hope you are not complaining because that is the "monster" that the media have created: The "untouchable candidate." At this rate, the Dem party is setting itself up for a rude awakening if they do the unthinkable and nominate Obama, whose record and resume is so thin that he'd already been laughed off the stage he had been a first-term white Senator from Illinois. He is benefiting from the "soft bigotry of low expectations" and has been given a pass on shady dealings, policy positions, and claims that would have attracted vigorous scrutiny for any other candidate not named Obama.

Posted by: dcshungu on January 28, 2008 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

dschungu, so I guess you don't like Obama. What does that have to do with press access?

Posted by: c. on January 28, 2008 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Why avoid a press that loves you? Maybe because he's a phony. As a moderate conservative I just love the fact that you idiot liberals have fallen in love with this guy - one morning too late you're gonna wake up and realize you've gotten hitched to the pretty girl for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by: woldson on January 28, 2008 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

It's actually a rather clever posture, at least for the time being. Obama is focused on the formats which show him to maximal advantage - in particular, the inspirational address delivered to an enthusiastic audience. Reporters following the campaign, who need to file daily reports (or at times, several times a day) are left to report what he's just said in a carefully honed speech, how the rapturous audience responded, or how the latest endorser sang his praises. McCain, by contrast, is a decent stump-speaker, but there's nothing unprecedented or newsworthy about his appearances. Reporters love process stories, they love off-the-record chats, and they love gaggles in which the candidate may say something unexpected. That's particularly true of print reporters, who relish these chances to write about something that was said but not captured on camera. So yeah, I'm sure they're frustrated. But for now, the strategy is keeping them on the reservation.

That said, it can't work forever. But Hillary's campaign is instructive in this regard. She ran an incredibly tight ship when she was the prohibitive favorite, forcing the media to remain on message. When the Obama phenomena caught up with her, she opened up to the press, in what Ambinder labels "detente" and was instantly embraced. Not only that, but her new openness became a favorable process story.

So I say it's great for Obama to do this for as long as it works for him, and he can always switch and reap the rewards of access when its time.

Posted by: FlyOnTheWall on January 28, 2008 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Obama answered a few questions, but reporters are generally placed on mute after they speak so there can be no follow-up."

Oh no, he's trying to control his press coverage!

"Some reporters say Obama seems disdainful toward journalists,"

Probably because he is. Probably because he has good reason to be.

"The result: He has never had to learn press relations as a survival skill,"

That is very disturbing, because clearly he sucks at getting good press coverage. I'm also worried he is "naive," "green," and "wet behind the ears." Sure, he's won one caucus, tied in NH, won the most delegates in Nevada, and won more votes that all other candidate combined in South Carolina, but anyone can get lucky.

Posted by: Culture of Truth on January 28, 2008 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's one thing to be able to deliver a rousing speech that moves millions. Some of the worst characters in history have had that ability.

It's another thing to be able to relate to relate on a personal level. Obama does not have it. Read his book. Narcissist. Only views others as secondary or tertiary figures in his production. Narcissists can only relate when they are seeking to manipulate. Like being great at schmoozing the people with the big bucks. But understanding the lives of others is beyond their ken and of no interest to them.

The whole Obamamania from the silly fawning press is pure faddism.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 28, 2008 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - did you stop to consider Howie's habit of drinking heavily before he writes long columns? Or so I'm told. Maybe this article is just frustration from Howie as he watches the Repub candidates do a death spiral before his eyes.

Posted by: J. on January 28, 2008 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

My god, I thought one of the nice things about reading blogs is that we didn't have to read navel-gazing masturbatory whining from the mainstream press.

This site has been the very essence of NGMW for several weeks. And I have willingly participated in the political circle jerk.

Why is this topic even worthy of comment?

Kevin, are you so jaded that all you can do is discuss the relative negatives of the main Democratic contenders? I've been as guilty of obsessing with the horserace crap as anyone, but it's getting old.

You seem to want to support Hillary, but you don't really come across as being enthusiastic about her. Instead, you keep posting superficial factoids about Obama's supposed weaknesses.

Will you come to your senses after Hillary seals the deal on Super Tuesday?

When is all of this hemming and hawing going to stop? When you can support a clear winner and not have to worry about (GASP) being wrong?

Again I say, let's talk about the Super Bowl. It's far more meaningful than this BS.

Posted by: lobbygow on January 28, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Supporters can try to find a positive reason regarding access or message control, but perhaps a reason Obama doesn't allow much access to the press, or stages 'conversations' with people at his rallies rather than taking reasonably long sets of audience questions (as Edwards does regularly) is that he really is a bit less able to speak on the issues extemporaneously as opposed to giving a hell of a stemwinding speech. Both Hillary and Edwards come across better in debates or on the television talk shows. Because I am an Edwards supporter, based on my preference for his progressive policies, I am now basically in the position of watching how the battle between Clinton and Obama (both of whom I consider candidates who will be weaker than Edwards would have been in the general election) play out. Obama has great strengths, but he has many chinks in his armor that have not been tested at this point.

Posted by: Edwardian on January 28, 2008 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

I am surprised at how uninformed many of you posting here are. The press LOVED George Bush in 2000 because he was constantly schmoozing and giving them stupid nicknames. Remember all the ludicrous talk about who would be better to have a beer with. I was appalled everytime I heard this, because it was clearly implying that that would make him a better president and no one challenged this stupidity. In contrast, Gore was aloof and that was part of the reason they said they hated him. I even heard some journalists say that Bush gave them better food and that was why he got favorable treatment, as if that was a perfectly reasonable response from "professionals". The media was the biggest factor in Gore's defeat because they kept repeating dishonest Republican talking points about him while giving Bush's faults and bald-faced lies a pass. And MANY Democrats bought the spin. Even though Bush disappointed the media, they were not a lot better about Kerry.
There is nothing remotely objective about our political press. There is a reason that some of them even call themselves things like the kids from Beltway High. It is time that the American public wake up to the fact before they call another election for us.

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

seriously...weve had about 10 stories this week about reasons why Obama just isnt "cut out for" running for office.. its enough now. if you dont like him and dont want him as a president, just be honest about your feelings.. stop pretending you have fears about him not being savvy enough with the press, or quick enough with his responses, or any of the other ridiculous disqualifiers thats been mentioned in the past week...these are all are assinine as the "he isnt black enough" comments from last summer/fall.

Posted by: paul on January 28, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

When Obama wins he could harness Chrissy's exploding head as an alternative energy source.

Posted by: Lucy on January 28, 2008 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't Obama want to talk to the press?

Because, if the debates are any sign of his capabilities at extemporaneous speech, he's pretty wretched at it.

I sometimes wonder if Obama may not enjoy the most overrated reputation in the history of modern American politics. (I'll tell you -- I don't even get the claims to "eloquence" -- put his speeches side by side with either Lincoln's or MLK's, and you'll see what I mean.) And overinflated reputations can collapse with a simple pinprick -- and for Obama it's crucial that he stay in the bubble until after all votes are cast.

Of course, it's inconceivable that such a reputation will last 4 long years in the WH, where one faces actually adverse circumstances that will try one's appeal to the voters. I'm sure that he will try to find some way of casting all such criticism as mere racial innuendo, as he has done so well so far. And I'm sure that Kevin and Josh Marshall and all the other fine, fiercely independent bloggers will reach for the vapors on cue when he does so.

But somehow I just doubt that the average American voter is going to buy it. I have the slightest feeling that they are going to get awfully tired, then nauseated, by that cheap little trick.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

if you dont like him and dont want him as a president, just be honest about your feelings

Yes. This blog would be much improved if Kevin would take that advice.

Don't worry, the Kool Kids don't read your blog anyway. Only us "old" farts (did I really hear The Clash on an elevator yesterday?)

Enough already. Let's just hope that the inevitable poor sportspersonship on the part of the supporters of Hillary and Obama following the securing of enough delegates doesn't last for weeks. I think it would have a negative effect on turnout. For all of the talk about how well Democrats handle internal debate, we sure are mucking this up. The GOP must be delighted at the pettiness of the infighting. Hopefully it's limited to us wankers in the blogosphere.

Posted by: lobbygow on January 28, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

If a candidate is not "talking" to the press, maybe the press should be reading the position papers, analyzing and asking questions about them?

The press is always looking for something new that is an easy story rather than do the hard intellectual slogging that good reporting demands.

Posted by: bakho on January 28, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Still, the general election is going to be a slugfest, and it's a bad sign if Obama's press operation hasn't been honed to deal with it."

Really Kevin? Have you just drunk the Conservative Columnist Cool-Aid or the Clinton Cool-Aid. Nothing in that article suggests the conclusion you reach. In fact, I'd say that his press operation has been pretty effective given how quickly and strongly they have responded to Bill Clinton's lies and half-truths.

The article is interesting in that Obama clearly prefers to keep the press at arms length but I hardly see why that is a bad thing. There's a certain cowboy sitting in the oval office who has the same profile and I don't think an argument can be made that it hurt his election chances.

Now, maybe you can say that this is a bad thing for democracy or some flim-flam like that. But suggesting that Obama's dislike for getting cozy with the press corp is a weakness is a vacant claim.

Posted by: Nobcentral on January 28, 2008 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

You know, leaving aside whatever nastiness has emerged over the last few weeks, I'd be happy with either Obama or Clinton as the nominee. I'm more indifferent than most, but even if my feelings change, like Mark Kleiman said, no matter who it is, I'm going to work my tail off to get them elected. I hope others feel the same. What's more, I hope that Obama and Clinton don't hate each other, as some reports suggest. Because if that's the case, I worry that it might make it that much harder to Obama to pick up the phone and call Clinton to ask how to play hardball and how to deal with the press if he's the nominee and having a rough time.

Posted by: Brian on January 28, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Obama would be well served if he followed McCain's example. If you shower the media with access, booze, and "straight talk", they'll fluff you to no end.

Posted by: afferent input on January 28, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Howard Kurtz/media storyline: Everyone would be awesome if they were John McCain.

Posted by: Aaron on January 28, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

You know, leaving aside whatever nastiness has emerged over the last few weeks, I'd be happy with either Obama or Clinton as the nominee. I'm more indifferent than most, but even if my feelings change, like Mark Kleiman said, no matter who it is, I'm going to work my tail off to get them elected. I hope others feel the same.

Absolutely not, sir! Absolutely not!

I can't, for the life of me, figure out what liberals see in Obama. He's going to surrender to the terrorists and raise taxes--goodbye prosperity, hello Taliban at the shopping mall with suicide belts and the bur'qaa for every woman 7-107. Do you want to live with the Obamafication of America? Do you want everything to be Obamafied and for everything to be swept up by the Obamamentum? As some fellows once sang, Phony Obamamania has bitten the dust.

Now is not the time to surrender to Islamic Fundamentalism. If anything, this country needs a Christian President, and that's why I am reluctantly supporting Romney at this point. If you want someone to hoist aloft the sword and lead a crusade against the incursion of Islamic Fundamentalism, you need a Mormon to do it, I guess.

I am not sure what happened to Rudy. I want my $27,500 back, that's for certain.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

omg... thats hilarious, norman rogers...

um...you're not really serious, right?

you gave nearly 30K to rudy? (snicker)

Posted by: paul on January 28, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Thank you for getting back to what you've been doing - exposing the vulnerabilities of Obama's brain washing campaign.

If you fall into lock step like so many of the other pundits, I will stop reading you.

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

Well Kevin, I've been annoyed with Obama for the last few months, and this is the first positive thing I've heard out of his operation. Keep those blood sucking pieces of crap in the press in their place.

Posted by: DougMN on January 28, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin...the best of all political pundits, Eric Severeid, never told us who he voted for, ever. There is a reason for that related to pundit credibility. Now you have stepped right into it and the results are predictable: some people will hate you and others will adore you. Why can pundits be pundits and not insert themselves actively into the choice?

Posted by: Jammer on January 28, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have a window into an alternative universe, in which Kurtz wrote a column describing Obama's "relentless courting of the press, schmoozing with reporters, etc, etc."

And Kevin found that "peculiar and disturbing."

Posted by: Stephen on January 28, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

All you have to do is watch one 24 news cycle to see why a candidate with any sense would keep the media at arm's length. If you can't stomach that watch an episode of Jon Stewart's Daily show. Our mentally challenged press corp makes the general public look like Mensa. All the press wants to do is instigate conflict and magnify any minor disagreement into a cage match. Why would someone attempting to run an uplifting and inspirational campaign, which Obama has proven he can do, subject themselves to the whims of these idiots. The web gives us a chance to bypass the press and hear from the candidates directly and we have access to thoughtful analysis from alternate media, and media form outside the country. I couldn't care less what most of the US press has to say or have any interest in the inane questions they deem appropriate to ask. Our political system is a mess, our press is largely to blame.

Posted by: David on January 28, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, apart from all the tactical considerations folks have discussed above, you've completely missed the point on this one.

Go back and read some Glenn Greenwald: THE MEDIA THINKS POLITICS IS LIKE HIGH SCHOOL.

Obama is the popular new kid in the school, and the high school newspaper nerds are whining "why won't he hang out and share some of his coolness with us?"

Posted by: Steady Eddie on January 28, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

One of the main themes of his campaign is "We have to change the way we do business in Washington". He's not one of the good old boys and we have to stop sucking up the pundits. When it suits him I've seen him do one on one interviews. But sucking up to the reporters on the bus would undercut his message.

Posted by: markg8 on January 28, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

you gave nearly 30K to rudy?

No, that would be illegal. What I did was bundle that amount from donors directed by me to give money to Guiliani indirectly. I have five brothers and we work the phones during the fundraising periods and max everything out per quarter. We skirt the laws, but the FEC never bothers with us. Nothing is ever done in my own name. That's why you can't find much about me at places such as OpenSecrets.org.

Our mentally challenged press corp makes the general public look like Mensa.

While working the hotels in New Hampshire last December, I encountered several members of the media and had a sit-down with them and participated in a group discussion about the Guiliani campaign. Not one of those morons knew that Rudy had beaten confessions out of mobsters and sent them to prison. Not one of them knew that Rudy had fought off multiple attempts to intimidate him by having pitched submachinegun battles with cars full of mobsters, just like something out of the 1930s. Not one of them knew that the mob had been trying to carry out contract hits on Rudy for decades. There is one assassin, they call him Mufstafa the Blade, who was given $750,000 by the Gambino and Scarpatoni crime families to avenge the prosecution of Dead Legs Toppo, aka Vinnie Fish Eyes, aka Luciano Montellisimo.

This is why Rudy has to have more security than most. I suspect the mob is to blame for the demise of Rudy's campaign. I cannot prove it, but the Unions have been working overtime on behalf of their crime boss overlords to sink Rudy's chances.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

What chaps me right now is this blog giving voice to so many Hillary surrogates like MDS. And Widmer's specious "No JFK" article jumps at my handheld phone when I read this blog all month.
Anyway, the press's first inclination these days is to become the story. I like Obama's instincts to manage them away from making an off-the-cuff remark into the nexus of his message. The Reagan remark springs to mind.
What has Hillary ever accomplished on her own, incidentally? She is truly an unknown save for her pandering time in the lackluster Congress. I am tired of nepotism, dynasties, and the entire GOP.

Posted by: Sparko on January 28, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

What has Hillary ever accomplished on her own, incidentally? She is truly an unknown save for her pandering time in the lackluster Congress. I am tired of nepotism, dynasties, and the entire GOP.

We were in entire agreement, until you lost your mind and slammed my beloved Grand Old Party.

We are the only thing that is protecting America from More-of-the-Same from the Clintonistas and the creation of a politburo led by Chairman Hillary. You ask a question that sits at the business end of a loaded gun--what has she ever accomplished?

Nothing! You can give thanks to Republicans like myself who have worked overtime for years to thwart her collossal ambitions and hold in check her single-minded lust for power and control of the lives of every single American. She is like a wild-eyed beaver, eating every tree in the woods to turn a thin creek into a raging river below a massive government-built resevoir.

Think I'm kidding? The woman wants to control how you raise your children. Specialized farming collectives dedicated to growing winter wheat in June in ground heavily salted by orders of her seventy million agriculture bureaucrats is not far behind.

Shine your red stars, comrades.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

You lost me at "Howie Kurtz."

And look at all the interesting moonbat rightwingnuts in the comments. I love the bit about Giuliani's "pitched submachinegun battles." The subtle irony is fabulous.

Posted by: vorkosigan1 on January 28, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

As I think about it, there's at least one other modern American politician who had as overrated a reputation as Obama: George W Bush after 9/11.

But at least that can be discounted as a rally-around-the-flag effect.

Obama's reputation is, in contrast, made up out of the thinnest of air. A few speeches and couple of books which by any objective reckoning are pretty pedestrian in their effects -- little more than flowery banalities (and even the flowers seem plastic).

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Wonder how much print Howie has devoted to Bubbleboy himself, the Codpiece-in-Chief, who has given less press conferences during his nearly 8 (insufferable) years in the White House than any president in history . . .

Posted by: chuck on January 28, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I love the bit about Giuliani's "pitched submachinegun battles."

I'm sorry--you lost me at the part where you thought it was funny to joke about how Rudy had to use an Uzi to fend off an assassination from the Genovese family in 1983.

It is not widely known, but two soldiers from the Genovese family followed Rudy and his bodyguard to an eatery. Rudy and his man had a meal, the cannoli was excellent, according to the news reports. As Rudy got into his town car, the Genovese soldiers opened up with shotguns. Rudy immediately pulled the Uzi out of his briefcase and peppered their vehicle with rounds, causing them to accelerate into a parked car. Rudy and his man sped away, only to be followed by two more soldiers, who fired on the town car. Rudy popped another clip into the Uzi and fired at them, causing them to drive into a telephone pole.

THIS is what we want in a President--a man who stands up for the rule of law against all odds.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Wonder how much print Howie has devoted to Bubbleboy himself, the Codpiece-in-Chief, who has given less press conferences during his nearly 8 (insufferable) years in the White House than any president in history

And of course it will be so much better if a Democratic President does the same.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

In general it's kinda funny to see Obama supporters coming out in favor of Obama doing the very things that they once upon a time ridiculed Bush for.

Bush is the bubble boy -- but if Obama is one too, that's really and tremendously different!

Bush was a crazed coke head -- but if Obama indulged too, that was really and tremendously different, and you're a racist for even bringing up the subject!

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

why not have the press rate the candidates press relations after the election?

it could be published in US News and World Report as "best campaigns to cover"

it would fit in the cycle nicely with "best companises to work for", "best colleges", "best high schools", "best starbucks", "best pizzaria's", etc

Posted by: jamzo on January 28, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who attended an Obama political rally with a press pass here in St. Louis back in October, I can personally attest to this phenomena. Photographers and journalists were largely kept at bay throughout the event.

Photographers were actually barred from the press pit in front of the stage were Obama was speaking at the start of the event, and only allowed to visit the press pit one or two at a time during Obama's presentation, and they had to be escorted by an Obama campaign member.

I can tell you that many of the press people were not amused, and I've never heard of such a thing. I had to get in line with about 15 other photographers, and I was lucky to get two or three minutes in front of the stage to get my pictures.

There was a section directly to the right of the stage that was reserved for the elderly and disabled, and the press was barred from that area during the event as well. I think I would've had more opportunity to take pictures if I had just gotten in front of the stage early before the event started.

The Obama campaign seems far more concerned with catering to supporters, then to the media. It was a bit shocking actually, and quite impressive as well.

I can understand how media people get overwhelmed during Obama speeches, because it really is like being a rock concert, that is the only thing that is really comparable to the experience I had. The crowd energy was really unbelievable. The old guard journalists are the only ones who didn't seem to get caught up in the fervor, all the young people, photographers and journalists 40 and under, had huge smiles on their faces the whole time.

Posted by: Aaron B. Brown on January 28, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I can understand how media people get overwhelmed during Obama speeches, because it really is like being a rock concert, that is the only thing that is really comparable to the experience I had. The crowd energy was really unbelievable.

And how might that be different from, say, a Celine Dion concert? You assemble a critical mass of die-hard fans, and you get "crowd energy".

Look, the guy can get "crowd energy" out of something as trite as repeating the banality "Fired up! Ready to go!" That's what happens when you're the "It" guy. Until you stop being the "It" guy, of course.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama is simply practicing modern campaign tradecraft in his treatment of the press.

Fundamentally, Obama is no less a creature of the permanent campaign than Sen. Clinton or President Bush. His involvement in national politics, since before he was elected to the Senate in 2004, has been almost entirely in the context of the positioning needed for him to run for the White House this year.

This does not promise great things for the country if he should actually be elected, but for now the relevant point is that right at the core of modern campaign tradecraft is message discipline. It's absolutely fundamental. The press corps is not always a threat to message discipline, but it is always a potential threat -- all it takes is a couple of reporters asking a candidate on-the-record questions he has not prepared for, and a news cycle can be lost fighting off a story not under the campaign's control.

Obama, and his handlers, are aware of this, and aware also that as long as things seem to be going well he will pay no political price for stiffing the reporters who travel with his campaign. He knows this because the last two Presidents have both treated the press in much the same way. So does Sen. Clinton. So do Gov. Romney and Mayor Giuliani. Sen. McCain, obviously, does not, and if McCain were to be elected President it's possible the rules of the game would change; avoiding questions from reporters might come to be taken as a sign of a manipulative personality, or of simple cowardice.

But this is not certain, and McCain hasn't been elected to anything outside the state of Arizona. Sen. Obama very likely doesn't like going back and forth with reporters very much, on a personal level. I really don't think that's the most important consideration. Message discipline in modern election campaigns requires maintaining rigid control of the message, which in turn requires that the press report what the campaign wants them to report. It is much easier to ensure this if access to the candidate by the press is tightly controlled at all times.

Posted by: Zathras on January 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Some reporters say Obama seems disdainful toward journalists, having submitted to precisely one off-the-record chat over beer several months ago in Iowa

What possible value would an off-the-record chat have for a reader? These sound like spoiled brats who want to be admitted to the inner circle and consulted with like they were advisors.

Really, this is one of the best things I have ever heard about Obama.

Posted by: dc blogger on January 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Message discipline in modern election campaigns requires maintaining rigid control of the message, which in turn requires that the press report what the campaign wants them to report. It is much easier to ensure this if access to the candidate by the press is tightly controlled at all times.

Still another advocate of the bubble boy approach. And here I thought that it was a really bad thing because, well, just look at Bush for Christ's sake.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

And how might that be different from, say, a Celine Dion concert? You assemble a critical mass of die-hard fans, and you get "crowd energy".

You obviously have never heard Barack do his amazing rendition of "My Heart Will Go On"!

Posted by: The January Fool on January 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

You obviously have never heard Barack do his amazing rendition of "My Heart Will Go On"!

I can't allow myself. Tears start from my Obama-hating eyes, and I fall into a swoon.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0: Obama blah blah blah....

again, Obama blah blah blah....

once again, Obama blah blah blah....

Why is no one listening to me? I know this Obama blah blah blah...
He is a phony, the devil, the antichrist, blah blah blah....

Why am I being ignored? I know things you don't know, I'm smarter than all of you. You are allowing yourselves to be taken for fools, Obama is like Bush, blah blah blah....

Hello, Hellooo, Hellooooooooo, anybody there?


ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Borrriiiiiiiiiiing!

Posted by: GOD on January 28, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

GOD,

Read your junk.

Talk about overinflated reputations!

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

The Obama campaign seems far more concerned with catering to supporters, then to the media.

Man, that is just shocking. Doesn't Obama realize that the whole point of elections is to provide grist for the media to chew on? This whole process would go so much more smoothly if it weren't for those pesky voters.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

If the Washington press corps doesn't get to ask enough questions, then who will protect our liberty?

From the candidates' verbal gaffes, sex lives, and hair styles, I mean.

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 28, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Brilliant, Norman. You are in fine form this morning.

Shine your red stars, comrades.


And GOD, thank you for answering a prayer.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 28, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK
....The old guard journalists are the only ones who didn't seem to get caught up in the fervor, all the young people,.... had huge smiles on their faces .... Aaron B. Brown at 10:47 AM
The old guard has been down that road before. It's a dead end.


Craig Crawford: "[T]he evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness"

...CRAWFORD: You know, I have sat down here in Florida for the last month. And I have watched the coverage, and I really think the evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness. I mean, I think when Dr. Phil gets done with Britney [Spears], he ought to go to Washington and stage an intervention at the National Press Club. I mean, we've gotten into a situation where if you try to be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, "Well, where's the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?" you're accused of being a naïve shill for the Clintons. I mean, I think if somebody came out today and said that Bill Clinton -- if the town drunk in Columbia [South Carolina] came out and said, "Bill Clinton last night was poisoning the drinking water in Obama precincts," the media would say, "Ah, there goes Clinton again. You can't trust him." I really think it's a problem. You know what? You guys make him stronger with this bashing. This actually is what makes the Clintons stronger....

We saw the same crap against Al Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. Both times, the media did their best to elect George W. Bush. How'd that work out for us? These beltway elitists are so out of touch they think that they should be the story.


Posted by: Mike on January 28, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like someone to tell me the last time the media gave favorable coverage to a Democrat in a GE? Anyone who thinks the kid-glove press treatment of Obama will continue once the Republicans have their nominee has a short memory.

Do people actually believe the Republicans will suddenly come to their senses, care about the country, and play fair if Obama becomes president? Really??

Posted by: jenmarie on January 28, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Such a double standard in these posts ...
If Clinton doesn't talk to the press, she is somehow avoiding the issues, afraid to talk, et al, but when Obama does it, it's refreshing and a new type of campaigning?
Listen, I support Clinton in the primaries, but will gladly, happily, lovingly vote for Obama in the general election.
But, please spare me the BS ... it's OK that Obama supporters are such hardcore fans, but the level of hypocrisy is unbecoming and more than a little hostile.
And if any of you are under the misguided impression that the press will go along with this limited access much longer without lashing back, you're more naive than I thought.

Posted by: Sandy on January 28, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know if this is a wise policy of Obama's or not but it seems to be working. In any case it is not a good reason to go for Clinton who has years of bad press and bad press relations to over come. Better the candidate that starts out ahead then the one that starts out behind.

Posted by: wonkie on January 28, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

It has been pretty clear that, although the press gives him a pass when he makes damaging off-the-cuff remarks, the Clinton campaign does not. He has spent 2 weeks defending his "Reaan and the party of ideas" interview, and he fed the same fire yesterday on "This Week", though most liberals and maybe even Clinton are too tired of talking about Reagan to pounce on it again. He just is not a good, clear, off-the-cuff speaker and is keeping his odds of a fatal mistake low.

Posted by: Dawn on January 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama stays aloof from everyone. He is unresponsive to any inputs or requests for his output. Even his voting patterns as a state legislator were aloof, as those many present and 'accidental' votes demonstrate. Sen. Obama misses votes in Congress that might reveal something about him, too. His charisma and oratory skills are impressive, but his pronouncements of the willingness to use nuclear weapons and American military power is what the press appreciates. His finger wagging will eventually irk them, but his lack of respect to their power is what will become most annoying.

One quibble, editorialists like Howard Kurtz hide behind the facade they are journalists. Perhaps Sen. Obama is not disdainful of journalists, but of media opinion hacks. These hacks think their writing in prominent newpapers informs opinion. If Obama's popularity does not rely on media opinion, he would be correct to ignore them. It is probably in Obama's best interest, at this stage of the campaign, to keep elitist media opinion makers from outright endorsing him. If entrenched media hacks endorse him, that sends the wrong signal to the electorate expecting change. For Obama, it is better that those expecting change with his presidency not be too well informed until after the election.

Posted by: Brojo on January 28, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Press needs to back off. The Obama campaign will give them tidbits.

The campaign is grueling enough without having to answer questions to 100 microphonies (pun intended) at a time!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers always makes my day. He's a trip.

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

Although I think it's great that Obama gives precedence to voters at events, I'm also worried about Obama's distance from the press. oxonhoya at 7:03 and BernieO at 8:28 explained why. The honeymoon will be over at some point, and the media is fickle and vain.

I do remember the press fawning over Bush in 2000 and all the slack he got for being "a grownup" from "a good family". It was sheer class bias that burns me up just thinking about it. Yes Gore is from the upper class but the press treated him like a proxy for the upstart Clintons while playing along with Bush's phony cowboy act. The press corps then proceeded to act like a pack of zombies during the march to war. And what did Bush's pedigree get us? America floating face down in the pool while Daisy and Tom make their merry way.

Posted by: Lucy on January 28, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

having submitted to precisely one off-the-record chat over beer several months ago in Iowa

Ah, yes. The all important who-do-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with test.

Posted by: MikeKC on January 28, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Judging from the amount of sheer venom thrown in Obama's way this morning by some apparent GOPsters, it seems that the GOP is pivoting from their "Hillary is satan" line to "Obama is a sham" line. I guess SC really go to some folks. Some of these people may be Hillary supporters or just generalized haters too, but their venom is well seems a pretty clear reaction to a major success.

BTW, I don't count Norman Rodgers. Funny stuff. So, Norm, who do you think should play Rudy in the movie? Sadly, Lon Chaney is long gone, but perhaps his "Phantom of the Opera" make-up can be recreated.

As for Howie Kurtz, cue the violins. If the press wants to be treated like adults, they need to start acting that way. Their treatment of Bush proves that most of them have the mentality of...I wanna say "hyenas" but I think they probably have more integrity than a lot of these folks who get the vapors (and be all too easily manipulated) by the magic of "access." The American has proven itself to be broken. If they want the respect of anyone, candidates or readers, they're going to have to stop whining, stop trying to control the conversation, and start actually reporting.

Right now, it looks to me as if Obama's doing something right. And I love his "You're better than that" response to the reporter asking the cheap, leading question -- the equivalent, almost, of asking a bereaved relative "How do you feel?" (which still happens, btw, unbelievably). A bit of brilliantly applied Christianity, I'd call it.

Posted by: Bob on January 28, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Gore is from the upper class but the press treated him like a proxy for the upstart Clintons while playing along with Bush's phony cowboy act. The press corps then proceeded to act like a pack of zombies during the march to war. And what did Bush's pedigree get us? America floating face down in the pool while Daisy and Tom make their merry way.

That is precisely my point--although, to be fair, Bush was an authentic cowboy who could ride a horse and manage a large ranch. I see no evidence that he has been proven a fraud when it comes to driving a pick-em up truck and wearing jeans that are dusty and creased while looking very tanned, lean and muscular.

The problem with Rudy is that he never talked about his time spent fighting crime. Americans know him as a mayor, but what they should have known from the get-go was that Rudy was putting criminals in jail when John McCain and Mitt Romney were wet behind the ears and confused about who to pander to.

I used to call up this fellow I know who worked, briefly, for Rudy and scream at him. I told him to talk about the organized crime that Rudy has fought. Americans love organized crime and the way that it permeates the culture. Apparently, Rudy resisted the notion of doing so because he is modest, did not want to brag, and did not want to disclose just how many times he had to trade gunfire with mobsters. It's sad to see an American original go down in flames.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Behold the magic of Obama: Senator Ted Kennedy makes his first unambiguously positive appearance on the Drudge Report.

Posted by: lampwick on January 28, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0, Sandy: please quit shilling for Hillary. You are embarrassing yourselves. I used to take you seriously. Like Hillary.

Posted by: Sparko on January 28, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Even his voting patterns as a state legislator were aloof, as those many present and 'accidental' votes demonstrate.

Brojo, why are you circulating this meme. Obama voted present about 130 times out of 4000; present votes are an accepted tactic in Illinois politics.

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

With each TV program and article Kurtz writes, he sounds more and more Republican. He is far from objective when it comes to Democrats and liberal blogs.

Posted by: Mazurka on January 28, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

With each TV program and article Kurtz writes, he sounds more and more Republican.

Oh, bah! There are no Republicans working for the Washington Post.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why should he pal around with the press? And why is it "disturbing" if he doesn't?

I'm electing a president, not a buddy for the press. Reporters can get a dog or go hang out with McCain if they want a buddy. As to the idea that they'll be nicer to him if he charms them, why, look how well that worked out for Bill Clinton! It worked for Bush, it works for McCain. It never works for Democrats

Seems to me there's a slight chance it'd benefit him and a BIG chance they'd use it to write the kind of lightweight horse race "character" crap they always write about Hillary. If Obama started courting the press we'd get more Maureen Dowd columns questioning his masculinity. Keep those bastards at arm's length

Posted by: hc carey on January 28, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you missed the main point of Howard Kurtz's article: The Obama campaign's rejection of SPIN. Here's the "money" line Howard Kurtz's piece: "The no-spin zone is part of the Obama campaign's identity, with the candidate stealing a phrase from John McCain in telling crowds he wants 'a politics that's not based on PR and spin but is based on straight talk.'"

Posted by: pelican on January 28, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Frankly0, Sandy: please quit shilling for Hillary"

Frankly0 isn't so much shilling for Hillary as he is shilling against Obama. He's been displaying a wholly irrational hatred of Obama for months, on this and other forums.

Posted by: PaulB on January 28, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Still another advocate of the bubble boy approach. And here I thought that it was a really bad thing because, well, just look at Bush for Christ's sake."

Dear heart, Bush is a bubble boy for everyone, not just the press. If you have evidence that this is the case for Obama, as well, we'd love to hear it. What Kevin posted ain't it.

Posted by: PaulB on January 28, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Drum: ..it's a bad sign if Obama's press operation hasn't been honed to deal with it.

Heh. I'd say that Obama's press operation is dealing with it...

..why stay aloof from a press corps that loves you?

'Cause they can turn on you at any time. The press corps are not your friends, and are not even neutral...Their job is to get a story together that gets attention, and the quickest way to acheiving that objective is to 'report the controversy', even if none exists, is sourced from an opposing viewpoint, or - rarely - manufactured from whole cloth.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 28, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I am offering the theme Sen. Obama is aloof because he skipped the vote on the Lieberman-Kyl measure. He does not want me to think he is for nuking Iran and he does not want independents and Reaganites to think he is not for nuking Iran. I have little confidence he is not for keeping Iran as a useful demon to continue US military aggression.

I will reconsider his present votes in IL and try not to use them as a critical measure. Thank you for the link.

Posted by: Brojo on January 28, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

He's been displaying a wholly irrational hatred of Obama for months, on this and other forums.

Oh no! I think that Obama is really bad news for Democrats!

How dare I argue that case, with examples and evidence, in the midst of a campaign! It's crazed, deranged behavior, I tell you!

Can't someone stop me before I criticize again??

Posted by: frankly0 on January 28, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

When Obama wins he could harness Chrissy's exploding head as an alternative energy source.

lol...and franklyo's noggin can be the backup generator. (is there a volume control on that thing?)

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 28, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

How dare I argue that case, with examples and evidence, in the midst of a campaign! It's crazed, deranged behavior, I tell you!

Speaking as someone who knows derangement and knows it inside and out, I can tell you, categorically, that what you speak of is merely internecine warfare.

I do so love a fight between liberals. Hoo hoo! Tally ho!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

That is precisely my point--although, to be fair, Bush was an authentic cowboy who could ride a horse and manage a large ranch.
Posted by: Norman Rogers

Only someone as mentally ill as Rogers would be unaware that Bush is, in fact, terrified of horses. Rogers really needs to get back to the treatment facility.

Posted by: DJ on January 28, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

If Clinton doesn't talk to the press, she is somehow avoiding the issues, afraid to talk, et al, but when Obama does it, it's refreshing and a new type of campaigning?

Actually, given how much the press hates her and the number of lies they've spread about her in the past 15+ years, I think it's smart of her to avoid them as much as possible.

You seem to be confusing the posters here with the press, who are the ones lauding Obama's aloofness but deploring Hillary's.

Out of curiosity, how many Hillary supporters here will refuse to vote for Obama if he wins the nomination?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 28, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Only someone as mentally ill as Rogers would be unaware that Bush is, in fact, terrified of horses.

Yes, but everyone knows that Bush is afraid specifically of Arabians, and for good reason, sir. The breed of horse called "Arabian" actually comes from Saudi Arabia, in case you were not aware, and this is where the 9/11 terrorists hatched their schemes. It is also the place where, in secret Madrassas, they train specially bred Arabian horses to explode near unsuspecting American politicians. They contain proximity fuses and wireless devices to accomplish this feat--it is widely known.

Of course "you" and "widely known facts" have never really gotten introduced, have they?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

DJ,

Norman, not the Norman from 2004 btw, is engaging in high satire. Bush as a competent cowboy? C'mon. That's the stuff of opera.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 28, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

I might also add that it was Bush's fear of Arabian horses that led him to dismiss Mr. Michael Brown, a gentleman who had done yeoman's work with the small problem in New Orleans a couple of years back.

Bush had every reason to feel continued confidence in his man Brownie, but he wisely decided he couldn't take a chance where Arabian horses were concerned. That is putting national security above personal considerations, something liberals with their group hugs and obsession with "self esteem" know nothing about.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK
Sen. Obama stays aloof from everyone....Brojo at 11:57 AM
I've noticed that his smile evaporates in an instant when he turns away from the camera.
....Bush was an authentic cowboy who could ride a horse and manage a large ranch. ...The problem with Rudy is that he never talked about his time spent fighting crime. ,,,,..ab- Norman Rogers at 12:19 PM
Bush fills the back half of a horse costume adequately, but real ranching and riding are figments of your imagination. It was too bad for Benito Giuliani that his crime-fighting didn't extend to his buddies Kerik and that boy-lovin' priest whatshisname Monsignor Alan Placa
present votes are an accepted tactic in Illinois politics..... Lucy at 12:32 PM
Sure, when it's politically expedient to avoid taking a tough stand.
....there are no Republicans working for the Washington Post.....ab-Norman Rogers at 12:44 PM
You are more dyslexic than most nutjobs: There are no democrats working at the Post. It has become a neo-con paper that supports Bush warmongering . Posted by: Mike on January 28, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don’t know Obama. I have never read his books. I have never seen a speech. I don’t have cable TV. I am one of those old geezers (that his supporters seem to disdain) who still reads newspapers every day.

If Obama doesn’t talk to reporters, how will people like me get to know him?

Posted by: emmarose on January 28, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Out of curiosity, how many Hillary supporters here will refuse to vote for Obama if he wins the nomination?

Me! Me!

Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah.

Suck eggs, liberals. Suck them dry and roll them under your hope chest.

Norman, not the Norman from 2004 btw, is engaging in high satire.

No, but thank you for perpetuating this myth that I can sneak past the moderators on a heavily moderated blog. It makes me look even more sinister than I really am. Plus, I cannot use the term "Kevin Dumbo" or I will be moderated, so that probably throws you off.

I am the same as I ever was, and am thoroughly enjoying how liberals are ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory simply because they can't let go of the fact that Bill and Hillary Clinton are powermad crazy evil people who haven't had sex with each other in, well, let's see...how old is Chelsea again?

You're confusing me with someone who cares what liberals think. I say whatever I want because I simply have no regard for you people anymore. You are bugs, and I'm the windshield, and I am cleaned of your guts and debris regularly by a caring and devoted owner.

If Obama doesn’t talk to reporters, how will people like me get to know him?

Perhaps you'll bump shopping carts with him at the Piggly Wiggly. When you do, try not to laugh at the melons he has in his cart.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is pretty good in interviews on TV, so I don't think that this strategy is a cover up for him not being good without a prepared statement.

Posted by: ikl on January 28, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

You sure fooled me, Norman.

Loved the bugs/windshield/guts-and-debris-cleaning devoted owner. Great material, whoever you are.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 28, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

According to Obama and the press (at the moment)

Rezko is a nonissue and mentioning it is a personal attack on Obama.
Whitewater, on the contrary, was worth spending 100,000,000 to investigate because the Clinton's lost their 10,000 investment. Oh, yes, and Clinton making 100,000 on the futures market once is evidence of bribery and political payoffs.

Obama’s attacks are always fair and merited. Any suggestion otherwise is racist as is any attack on him, his record, his policy or his statements. Any attempt to counter his attacks with a response is a vile racist below-the-belt smear.

Discussions of experience and youth are racist personal attacks.
Discussion of experience, competence and issue understanding is irrelevant because what really matters are calls for togetherness and bipartisanship.

Any revisiting of Obama statements or past votes is subject to an explanation by Obama of what he meant to say or do.
Any Clinton restatement is hypocrisy and flop-flipping of the most egregious sort.

....You're confusing me with someone who cares....ab-Norman Rogers at 1:38 PM

No one would confuse you with a sentient being.

Posted by: Mike on January 28, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Mike--
Sucks to have to justify the dirty campaign, don't it?

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 28, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the press corps loves him, but I guess he's just not that into them.

Posted by: craigie on January 28, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

From my friend Gayle, who was a high school classmate of Obama's at Punahou School (1977-79)in Honolulu, HI:

"The Barry Obama I knew was a friendly guy, but guarded, and it's clearly not his nature to do warm and fuzzy. I'd suggest that you all get used to it, and just accept him for what he is."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

I see what you're saying about Kyl-Lieberman but I don't think Obama's interested in getting the US embroiled in another "dumb war".

When you do, try not to laugh at the melons he has in his cart.

Mercy! That one was worthy of the original Norman.

Posted by: Lucy on January 28, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh I know, I know! Is that you, Pale Rider?

Posted by: Lucy on January 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

You know, what really irritates me is that it is fine to be critical of all things Clinton but dare to be so of Obama and watch out! For a nation that supposedly values free political speech above all else I find this repeated attempts to shut down dissent where Obama alone is concerned to be more than a little telling.

As to the topic of the post, I agree with the observation that it seems a little weird that a media bubble around Bush is bad; a media bubble around Obama is good. However, Zathras on January 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM also makes a very good observation about the reality of message management in the modern political campaign, the question is will this sort of detachment come back to bite Obama down the road when the media starts to tear him down (as they always do to all Dem candidates for President once chosen, as well as to any candidate they have built up in such glowing terms as Obama if only so they can point to it to repair their credibility after all the Obama swooning documented from the press show they are "impartial" observers after all) if/when he becomes the nominee. My criticism of the Obama candidacy here at this blog have been centered on the role of the media and GOP smear machine to do exactly this, and for that I have been trashed repeatedly. While I hope I am wrong in what I am saying here at this blog about this and what I see as Obama's weaknesses, I learned a long time ago that hope is a poor substitute for hard evidence, and the hard evidence of the media bias against all Dems has been far too extensively documented for me to think that Obama is suddenly going to transcend it as easily as some of his supporters clearly think he will. It is because of these weaknesses that I see him as the most vulnerable candidate, what am I supposed to do ignore that and just be "inspired"?

I also have made clear repeatedly that I don't see all of the Obama attacks on the Clintons as being without merit and vice versa. I have made clear that what bothers me is that I see Obama being given a much softer coverage of the various hardball moves they have made while giving massive play to anything the Clintons do that can be so portrayed/spun. What happens when he tries that approach against the GOP candidate and he is called on it instead of how it has worked against the Clintons since the Clintons are easy targets for him with a media that clearly has major issues/biases against the Clintons?

It is important to consider these questions and not get caught up in the "inspiration" and hope while they still are testable by the Dem party against their candidate and not after it is too late, so I raise them. I am going to continue to do so as well, until it is not something I see being a major threat or the nominee has been determined. Until then though for those that find my tomes too annoying/nonsensical, skip over them, your minds are already made up anyway and this comment is not intended for you, it is intended for those that wonder whether they are wrong to be seeing things this way and are worried that there is insufficient examination because the vast bulk of his supporters (not all though) jump all over anyone daring to raise such questions. You think I am full of it, fine, I really don't care, I call them as I see them and this is how I see things at this time. I unlike some people do not jump on bandwagons for the sake of jumping on but I will if/when I am convinced it can get to where it must go successfully and not break down in mid transit based on my own assessment and not what others keep telling me.

Just because I think the Clintons are being given a bad rap does not mean I want them to win the primary at all/any costs, and quite frankly I rather find any suggestion of such more than a little offensive. What I see is a clear uneven playing field between the two which helps Obama a great deal against a Clinton, but how competitive will he be when it is level or worse tilted against him and why is that such an unreasonable concern/question to be pointing to?

PS: For those that find me too lengthy a comentator this is how I have always written my thoughts, here and elsewhere. I know I am a long winded tedious type of commentator, but we all must be true to who and what we are and for better/worse this is how I am. Either deal with it or shut up about it, frankly I find comments about format and length to illustrate the inability of the one making such comments to come back with anything better.

Posted by: Scotian on January 28, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

For those that find me too lengthy a comentator this is how I have always written my thoughts, here and elsewhere.

You and me both, girlfriend. I can't shake the notion that some people don't appreciate me. I get messages all the time from friends who appreciate my work and enjoy watching me stick it to liberal trolls.

I know I am a long winded tedious type of commentator, but we all must be true to who and what we are and for better/worse this is how I am. Either deal with it or shut up about it, frankly I find comments about format and length to illustrate the inability of the one making such comments to come back with anything better.

This is where I am somewhat more talented than yourself. I can be succinct and abrupt where you tend to go on and on. I learned years ago to slash the words that don't work and eliminate passivity, where possible. Biting little sentences that make ones point are better than anything long-winded. Eloquence is fine, but only when it drives a stake through the heart of your enemy. Your writing is adequate, let me say that, up front. It's too bad you're wrong about everything. I could use a man like you.

Oh I know, I know! Is that you, Pale Rider?

One would have to laugh at the idea of that whiny cunt having a go at trying to do anything funny.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

A Multitude of Words obscures the Sense.

Posted by: Benjamin Franklin on January 28, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Now wait a minute, Mike. The Clintons and their supporters have been pounding the hell out of Obama going on a month now. Any attempt to defend is met with straw men, dishonesty, mischaracterizations, and the "you're too young to know real politics" arrogance thing. Or similar diatribes like what you posted. Attempts to defend Clinton meet with mischaracterizations and personal hits as well. I see some of what you say, but let's get real, this crap comes from both sides.

Posted by: drosz on January 28, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is like our Crazy-Ass Uncle who we have to remind of reality every now and again.

Uncle Kevin, the answer is right there in Kurtz's piece: "...(not having a 24/7 Spin Center), Obama aides say, is by design.
The Clinton camp, says David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, "is hyperbolic about it. What we don't do is spend six hours a day trying to persuade you guys that red is green or up is down. . . . Their own spin was 'We are the biggest, baddest street gang on the block.'
"We can't be pacifists and cede the battlefield," Axelrod says, but "what's powering this campaign is a rejection of tactical politics.""

See, a rejection of tactical politics requires a campaign to...well...reject tactical politics!

It is utterly unsurprising to WaMo readers that Crazy Uncle Kevin is surprised by this. Somebody see if he needs a warm blankie.

Posted by: cazart on January 28, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator! Moderator!

If I can't call him "Kevin Dumbo" then why is cazart allowed to call him "Crazy-Ass Uncle Kevin?"

This is patently unjust and I demand moderation! I demand it!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 28, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Quote: "The press' naked contempt of Hillary Clinton is one of the least professional episodes in political coverage that I can remember."

True enough. But another thing I've been noticing recently is a mild strain running through the lefty blogosphere of "I will not be impressed by Senator Obama." It's mostly low-key, a snip here, a snipe there, but oddly persistent. Digby was among the first to be offended by Obama's "party of ideas" comment, Josh Marshall has commented on Obama's "arrogance" (which I found surprising, as arrogance isn't something I generally associate with Obama -- is it the arrogance of running without more experience?), and Kevin, well, Kevin seems generally snippy about Obama anyway.

Is this really a strain or just a collection of comments? And if a strain, is it in reaction to the press' treatment of Hillary Clinton? Are lefty bloggers too sophisticated to be moved by something that arouses this much inspired feeling? Is it something else?

Couldn't say, really. But I find it interesting.

Posted by: LynnDee on January 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

You're right, LynnDee, and my theory is that cool liberal bloggers do not wish to be perceived as susceptible to a charismatic leader.

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

The funny thing about Obama is that he seems very introspective, a strange thing in a charismatic leader. His memoir is beautifully written, well thought through. He's not an emoter, like Edwards, or a wonk, like Clinton, but somehow makes people around him feel joy and think. It's his effect on us that's of most interest to me.

Posted by: Susan on January 28, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, you should have left this thread after the exploding Arabian horse riff.

Now that was comedy gold! :-)

After that, not so much.

Posted by: Whammer on January 28, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

You're right, LynnDee, and my theory is that cool liberal bloggers do not wish to be perceived as susceptible to a charismatic leader.--Lucy

Yes, thank you. Have thought this, but it was only percolating.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 28, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I get messages all the time from friends who appreciate my work and enjoy watching me stick it to liberal trolls.

Please, you fucking dork. The only thing you're "sticking it to" is that sheep you keep for just such an occasion. The only thing funny about you is that you think you are funny.

Posted by: elmo on January 28, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK
....Sucks to have to justify the dirty campaign, don't it?.... calling all toasters at 2:07 PM
You don't know what a dirty campaign is, because the Clinton campaign is not one. You could check out Obama's propensity of misleading statements if you would like examples that strike close to home.

... Sen. Obama Speech In Florence, SC Contains Clear Falsehood About Hillary (01/25/08)
Sen. Obama Speech In Clemson, SC Misrepresents His Health Care Plan (01/25/08)
Fact Check: New Ad Misrepresents Sen. Obama's Stimulus Plan, Falsely Suggests It Contains Incentives For Small Business (01/25/08)
Sen. Obama Speech In North Charleston, SC Contains Two Clear Falsehoods About Hillary (01/24/08)
Sen. Obama Speech In Beaufort, SC Contains Two Clear Falsehoods About Hillary (01/24/08)...

But like St. McCain, Obama is given a free pass for all the smears that come from him and his campaign surrogates.

....The Clintons and their supporters have been pounding the hell out of Obama going on a month now....drosz at 3:48 PM

Really? Examining his record is pounding the hell out of him? Parsing his comments is not permitted? Actually most of the crap, if not all the crap, has been the endless recitation of RNC Clinton smears from you 'bamabots who whining that every criticism is an unfair or a racist attack.
.... cool liberal bloggers do not wish to be perceived as susceptible to a charismatic leader.--LucyYes, thank you,....paxr55 at 4:51 PM

Poor babies: so much sizzle, so little steak, so few sales. We'll see how fast Obama crashes when he becomes the target of the Republican slime machine. He'll last as long as a champaign bubble.

Posted by: Mike on January 28, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does Obama not realize that the press is building him up now, and will be savaging him later?

He's not McCain. McCain talks to the press every day, and that's partly why they continue to love him.

Posted by: amberglow on January 28, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately I do not keep track of all the articles I read about the candidates. The google is too full of Obama articles to find any quickly now.

The Black Commentator is where I first read a critique of Obama's clearly mainstream foreign and military policies.

I cannot remember where I read about his telling little old African American women to forget about welfare.

Sen. Obama would greatly decrease the perception of arrogance if he would stop the finger wagging. He probably wags it a lot, but I notice it when he is making policy pronouncements that disagree with my views. When it comes to policy opinions, Sen. Obama is not Professor Obama.

Posted by: Brojo on January 28, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why is this so surprising?

Obama and his supporters are very much the mirror image of Bush and his supporters . . . the same rules of political orthodoxy and leader veneration apply and the press has eaten it up, which allows the Obama campaign to keep him away from ad lib opportunities which he's shown he doesn't handle well, as in the debates, and avoids the stammering replies that will be his hallmark as sure as Bushspeak has been the hallmark of the current president.

Obama would be a bubble president just like Bush and his administration will be run with the same type of politics-as-religion ferocity that Bush's Regency U supporters have brought to the current administration - he'll just do it from a far left perspective instead of a far right one.

Posted by: TexModDem on January 28, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Have not seen so much spin in progressive circles in some time. I am frankly tired of it. Obama is a tremendous candidate, and will do very well--his handling of the press has been masterful.

I will not support any further presidential dynasties in my lifetime.

Posted by: Sparko on January 28, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Now wait a minute, Mike. The Clintons and their supporters have been pounding the hell out of Obama going on a month now. Any attempt to defend is met with straw men, dishonesty, mischaracterizations, and the "you're too young to know real politics" arrogance thing. Or similar diatribes like what you posted. Attempts to defend Clinton meet with mischaracterizations and personal hits as well. I see some of what you say, but let's get real, this crap comes from both sides." Posted by: drosz on January 28, 2008 at 3:48 PM

This is a significant part of what I have been trying to get across all along here, both sides (and I would say this of the campaigns as well as the online supporters) are playing equally rough when it comes to playing hardball politics but only one side is getting constantly smeared for it while the other side is getting the image of being above all that. My concern is what happens when Obama no longer gets this cover from the clearly hostile to the Clintons MSM/MCM coverage which has saturated this primary, especially in the past several weeks? My concern is why do the Obama supporters not recognize that while this tool may well help them get the nomination by not standing up to the double standards now he cannot claim he is being unfairly picked on later when the media inevitably starts tearing him down as they do to all Dem candidates for President once selected with the same tactics/tools currently being used against HRC. My concern is why the Obama campaign has been willing to let the media use the race card so extensively against the Clintons in their favour when it is clearly bogus (I'm sorry, but I have seen very few things I could say had a reasonable basis to be called appeals to racism, shuck and jive maybe and that idiot who runs BET and his clumsy shot at Obama's "youthful indiscretion" as possible. The vast majority of what has been branded as the Clintons playing the race care has been truncated quoting, context revision, and downright assumption based solely on what the hearer wants to believe as opposed to a decent basis to do so.

Meanwhile the sexist/misogynistic elements in the criticisms of the HRC campaign are manifest and everywhere and appear to evoke far less outrage from people, why is that I wonder? There are far more naked appeals to sexism than racism, yet it is the racist appeals that are perceived that evoke all the outrage, well me I look at racism and sexism as being equally offensive characteristics equally deserving to be called out when it shows up. So why does it appear to me that sexism is far less denounced in this campaign than racism is even though it is equally historic to have a viable woman running for President as a Black man?

Too many Obama supporters are not seeing their own double standard here, and this shows a disturbing inconsistency in terms of equality beliefs. Now, how many people here can honestly say that there has been a roughly equal concern for perceived sexist language and "code words/dog whistles" as there have been about racist perceived ones? I know why in the media, they want to dump the Clintons because of their own personal feelings, what I wonder about are those claiming to be liberals/progressives that are allowing themselves to have selective blindness to offensive sexist behaviour while being so intense about scrutinizing anything for racism, are they willing to even consider that they are allowing their partisanship and their "inspiration" for Obama blind themselves to this because it works to their advantage?

I remember the first black woman (Shirley Chisholm) to try to run for President made the point that the sexism was far worse and more intense/pervasive than the racism, and I don't see much of a change since then. Indeed, arguably it is worse because people are masking a lot of it in their supposed rational concerns about a Clinton Presidency being behind their intense emotions and not something darker like sexism. I said from the outset I didn't see the point in jumping on the bash HRC/WJC bandwagon because it is being done to death but the Obama side has not been getting equally hard scrutiny and since that was where I saw the greatest weakness of all the Dem candidates running that was where my focus was going to go. I also think the sexism is getting too much of a pass while the racism angle is getting way too much overplay in general and I tend to want to root for the underdog in such situations, especially when I see repeated examples of playing "the race card" by calling something racially motivated just because you think you can make it sound that way, especially when taken out of context and/or truncated which has happened repeatedly to the Clintons via the media which the Obama supporters then take as factual and run around railing about.

The Clintons have their own negatives and faults, and WJC does need to dial back the anger because he is getting sloppy in his word choice, but the image I have seen the Obama camp portray of them is little better than what I see from the media, and from what is supposed to be the politician of honesty, post-partisanship and change from the old negative politics I expect better than that, at least if it is for real. If it is a comfortable mask though then this sort of thing fits perfectly, and Obama would hardly be the first candidate to do exactly that with such a message. I agree he has the gifted voice, but his strength there is in speeches, not debates, not Q&As from what I've seen from him. I am not convinced he can speechify his way to the WH, especially once the media becomes hostile to him as it will inevitably become no matter how inspiring he is. To be honest I also find the constant gushing over him by GOP strategists the last few weeks another red flag, I have a hard time seeing political operatives like these being so supportive of a candidate they see as the best chance of defeating their side in the general. Call me crazy for that POV, I don't care, but I think they are more afraid of HRC than anyone precisely because no matter how hard they have tried they have not been able to send either Clinton off to oblivion, instead the Clintons have won every election they went in against the GOP noise machine, even though it clearly has taken a major toll on them and allowed far too many people that should know better to think many of the GOP frames are true, or at least mostly true.

Posted by: Scotian on January 28, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile the sexist/misogynistic elements in the criticisms of the HRC campaign are manifest and everywhere and appear to evoke far less outrage from people, why is that I wonder?

You may need to expand your blog reading: the sexism of the Clinton coverage has been a big topic for weeks on the feminist blogs, including Feministing and Shakesville.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 28, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Your point about not having a good relationship with the press is most important.

A good portion of the reason Bush is seen as "personable" and jocular - and well-intended ... certainly not a torturer ... is that he coddled the press during his campaigns... and plays their game with anonymous sources.

If Obama or HRC doesn't have a good relationship with the press - it can make for a difficult election year - AND - can make it difficult for them to steer their agendum once in office.

There is always an unconscious frame presented around stories - you'd like for that frame to be helpful to a progressive agenda.

Posted by: jackifus on January 28, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

For a nation that supposedly values free political speech above all else I find this repeated attempts to shut down dissent where Obama alone is concerned to be more than a little telling.

Nice strawperson.

Or should that be moisturechallengedgrassperson.

Gimme' a break. There is no shortage of criticism of Obama out there. Just read this friggin' blog for empirical evidence.

Fact: Hillary is the presumptive frontrunner based on polls
Opinion: Her campaign team, including Bill were thrown off their game by Obama's surprising performance in a few of the early primaries. They couldn't help but react in the same way that fans react when a highly favored team loses a supposedly "easy" game.

Fact: Bill Clinton made a comment about Jesse Jackson winning SC too.
Opinion: This comment is not "racist" per se, it's just using an obvious demographic truth (Obama won SC largely because of AA turnout) to sow doubts about his overall marketability nationwide. I wonder how the Clinton camp would react to Obama's wife making a comment like "Hillary's biggest support comes from old people and women with no college education."

Hillary's team is not losing. They've just had a few fumbles and interceptions. You know how emotional fans get when that happens. Obama's fans are equally guilty. If the bad plays continue, then I expect supporters of both camps to lay the blame on the referees (the press, a sexist culture, a racist culture, the DLC, blah blah blah) and, of course, talk about how the other team was clearly inferior and undeserving of the win.

There is no analysis here. Only storytelling and myth making.

Hillary is The Patriots. Obama is the NY Giants.

Can we talk about the Superbowl now? Pleaaaaaase?

Posted by: lobbygow on January 28, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: "Absolutely not, sir! Absolutely not! I can't, for the life of me, figure out what liberals see in Obama. He's going to surrender to the terrorists and raise taxes--goodbye prosperity, hello Taliban at the shopping mall with suicide belts and the bur'qaa for every woman 7-107."

Two words, Norman: Use Metamucil.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

lobbygow: "Hillary is The Patriots. Obama is the NY Giants."

Does that also mean that Hillary is giving 12 points?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

"You may need to expand your blog reading: the sexism of the Clinton coverage has been a big topic for weeks on the feminist blogs, including Feministing and Shakesville." Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 28, 2008 at 6:48 PM

Oh, I know it is there, I should have been more explicit in stating that the lack is in the MSM and the broader general topic political online community. I'm sorry if I left any impression that there was none out there, but let's face it outside of the openly feminist community it seems to be a near invisible topic and certainly not given anywhere near the same sort of consideration/examination as that whenever someone cries "racist/racism". That was my point, sorry about that. The problem though with it being mainly in that community is that it is easy to marginalize as being inherently biased for such as opposed to the supposedly neutral MSM, and it is those MSM arenas that the real damage is being done with this in my view.

Indeed, I just got off the phone with my mid 60s mother and I asked her whether she watched last Saturday's coverage and the amount of anger she had in her voice about the naked sexism being glossed over while any hint of race was being hyper focused on really was something else. It seems too much like if the criticism is not in the main information sources most people get is it really there at all sort of thing. I apologize for any slighting I did to such fine places as Shakesville and Feministing, no such slight was intended.

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

Oh, look! ,b>Guess who had just his bond revoked, pending his trial in Chicago federal court for influence peddling, for having received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Lebanon?

You wouldn't think he'd actually have been, like, planning to flee the country to avoid prosecution or having to answer questions -- would you?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 28, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

HOW MANY HILLARY SUPPORTERS WILL SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR OBAMA IF HE IS THE NOMINEE?

ALL OF THEM. And so will all of us Edwards supporters.

The only campaign refusing to do this is the Obama campaign and his venomous supporters, and he is the only candidate saying others may not be able to get his supporters if he does not win the nomination.

Grow up, Obamabots. I hope to hell your candidate is not fomenting this incredibly destructive attitude.

Posted by: sallywally on January 28, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

The only campaign refusing to do this is the Obama campaign and his venomous supporters, and he is the only candidate saying others may not be able to get his supporters if he does not win the nomination.

I'm an Obama supporter, and I've been shocked to discover over the last several weeks what the Clintons are capable of doing to win. And mind you, I say this not just as an Obama supporter, but as a longtime supporter and fan of the Clintons. So for me, the last few weeks have felt like a personal betrayal of what I thought were principles the Clintons believed in too. Apparently not. Anyway, I would suggest to you that you give Obama supporters time to get past all that.

That said, I do believe that a little time is all it will take. I find that, whenever a few days go by without one of the Clintons taking a cheap shot or injecting race into the campaign, my sorrow at what they've done begins to abate. And if a few days is all it takes, then obviously, the time between determination of our nominee and the general election should be more than enough to ensure that yes, even Obama supporters will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee.

And consider this: Maybe the reason Hillary supporters can so easily consider voting for Obama if he's the nominee is that he isn't playing dirty.

Posted by: LynnDee on January 28, 2008 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

sallywally:

Grow up, Obamabots. I hope to hell your candidate is not fomenting this incredibly destructive attitude.

Of course he is. Don't you have a "secret message from Barak" decoder ring?*

Sheeess.

*You can get one in a box of Captain Crunch with Obama Berries

Posted by: Keith G on January 28, 2008 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, a bit like Bush. It seems to work, look, the Clintons talk to them and the press and blogs twist, gyrate, bend and mutate into some perverted end result. Every two bit lap tap journalist now has become a great pundit of the racial divide. Wonder how many send their kids to public schools? Wonder how many black bloggers are in the liberal blogging mainstream (LBM)? Well, we cannot ask, cause they are hiding.

The petty dictator from the Chicago mob, gives you just enough to treat you like mushrooms: keep you in the dark and feed you mushrooms while he is in the back rooms selling the our future to the coal companies, ethanol, hating on low income communities, but my gosh, the upper class white boys feel good about themselves. The fat Senators can still get away with doing nothing. How is that different than the Bush phenomenon?

Nothing changes and nothing will change with iBama, but man, it will look cool while our democracy gets sold to the highest bidder. Yeah, team. Awesome. Dude.....(guys talk)

Posted by: iDontchange on January 28, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

"And consider this: Maybe the reason Hillary supporters can so easily consider voting for Obama if he's the nominee is that he isn't playing dirty." Posted by: LynnDee on January 28, 2008 at 9:47 PM

Or maybe they are committed Democratic voters that see and understand that especially in this election any Dem is far superior to any of the GOPers no matter what your differences with them are, while Obama's are not so committed Dems. That is at least as plausible and given the demographics of each candidate in the primaries and caucuses to date a more plausible than yours I would argue. That Obama doesn't believe he has the "transcendence" and/or unifying ability to bring them along with him (while having more than enough to win the general, curious that) perhaps because he doesn't think he can be as willing/able to wholeheartedly support the Clinton candidacy as he would expect from the Clintons to be doing with her supporters were he the winning candidate for the good of the party and country.

It is not like Obama hasn't been pissing off Dem core voters with things he has been saying the past few weeks you know while appealing to independents/soft Republican voters, which when you are still in the early voting period of the DEMOCRATIC primaries seems a little divisive and yet the Clinton people appear willing to hold their noses against the insults they clearly perceive Obama and his campaign delivering to their side AND their party on a regular basis whether you happen to agree with that perception or not because they see any GOP President as far Far FAR worse no matter how much they may dislike the winner of the primaries. Apparently the same cannot be said of some of Obama's supporters by the sounds of it, and to my mind anyone that after the last 8 years cannot tell just how important it is to remove the GOP from the Executive branch to clean up the disaster Bushco has made of it as well as the USSC control in the balance clearly is unable/unwilling (unable can be easily lack of time/resources to spare because of real life priorities as those exposed to reality/fact and unwilling to accept it) to see just how screwed up America is across the board IMHO and because of that fail to recognize this urgency/imperative.

Posted by: Scotian on January 28, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Or maybe they are committed Democratic voters that see and understand that especially in this election any Dem is far superior to any of the GOPers no matter what your differences with them are, while Obama's are not so committed Dems.

The problem with this explanation is that Obama supporters are also committed Democratic voters who, until the last couple weeks, were also ready to vote for whoever the nominee was. So that's not the problem. The problem is that it simply takes time to get past the Clintons' dirty campaigning.

Now. Here's a challenge to Hillary supporters: If you all are as interested as you say you are in a Democratic President no matter who the nominee is, you'll give Obama supporters a chance to get past the Clinton betrayal.

Posted by: LynnDee on January 28, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently the same cannot be said of some of Obama's supporters by the sounds of it, etc.

So what? There are always people who say they will vote third-party or sit out the election or what have you if they object to the nominee. That is their privilege. I'll bet most Obama supporters from the Democratic party will vote for Hillary in November is she wins the nom. I have said as much, and so have many others on this board.

and to my mind anyone that after the last 8 years, etc.

You really do read selectively, don't you. And by the way, your 6:40 was 13 inches long, not counting the blurb from drosz. Yes, I measured. The gist:

Obama supporters have a double standard on racism and sexism and don't grasp the terribleness of right-wing character assassins, and the media will grow disenchanted with Obama and start drawing the long knives.

Thank you for your interest in our country. Where did you say you were from again?

Posted by: Lucy on January 28, 2008 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

LynnDee: "Maybe the reason Hillary supporters can so easily consider voting for Obama if he's the nominee is that he isn't playing dirty."

Annd maybe the reason Obama supporters can so easily back their own candidate is that, deep down in their politically pure souls, they don't believe he goes to the bathroom ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 29, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Annd maybe the reason Obama supporters can so easily back their own candidate is that, deep down in their politically pure souls, they don't believe he goes to the bathroom ...

You know, it's funny. The more Hillary supporters try to make the point that they're the "grownups" who know how to hold their fire for the general election, the more I'm convinced otherwise.

But never mind. This is all just blog stuff anyway.

Posted by: LynnDee on January 29, 2008 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Breaking......

Obama is composed largely of confectioner's sugar
mixed with Paul Simon's DNA.

Posted by: pretty, sugary and brittle on January 29, 2008 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

Obama supporters have a double standard on racism and sexism and don't grasp the terribleness of right-wing character assassins

Please. What awful elements of Obama's character will right-wingers drag up that HRC and her supporters haven't already? Yes, Republican attacks will be more sophisticated and coordinated than the unfocused, schizophrenic, husband-and-wife shambles we have seen so far, but they will be all the same talking points. They'll just know when not to leave fingerprints.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 29, 2008 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

"How dare I argue that case, with examples and evidence, in the midst of a campaign! It's crazed, deranged behavior, I tell you!"

Dear heart, if and when you ever provide real "examples and evidence," we'll be right here. Sadly, you have been wholly unable to do so, as this thread attests. Your hatred of Obama is, in fact, irrational.

Posted by: PaulB on January 29, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Scotian, we are oblivious to the right's dastardly plan to cast Obama as a black nationlist Manchurian candidate who will auction off our children to al Qaeda from his ill-gotten mansion on the south side of Chicago.

Yes, Scotian, we are oblivious to the wickedness of the Bush administration and the degradation of the United States and seek only to work out our white liberal guilt at the expense of our country and the world by crying racism on cue.

Yes, Scotian, we are all so stupid that we've latched on to a cult of personality instead of doing the right thing by rolling out the red carpet for the Hillary juggernaut and conceding dynastic control of the executive branch.

Thank you for your insights, and please pass the Ecstacy.

Posted by: Lucy on January 29, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Oh no. Just read that Obama is for illegal aliens getting drivers licenses. Ack.

That is a non-starter here in CA. where illegals have closed hospitals, jammed up emergency rooms, gotten free college tuitions at expense of legal Americans, and have ruined the school systems (who can blame the poor scores of schools trying to educate the Mexican underclass. No other country in the world would take on this "obligation".)

I knew it was too good to be true. Damn!

Well that settles it, I'm for Edwards for sure now.

Posted by: Clem on January 29, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Dear heart, if and when you ever provide real 'examples and evidence,' we'll be right here."

By the way, frankly0, your one and only point on this thread got completely demolished, so what did you do? You went into full attack mode. At least you didn't vainly try to defend a really silly and indefensible point; that much you get credit for. But to pretend that you have provided any kind of genuine "examples and evidence" is remarkably self-delusional.

Posted by: PaulB on January 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

committed Democratic voters

America's real problem is the electorate has an extremely limited view of their options. The choice is not between Democrats and Republicans, the choice is between militaristic entrenched corporate wealth or liberal social democracy. Voting Democratic or Republican is a vote for the militarists. Until the electorate expands their consciousness and political horizons, nothing will change.

illegals have closed

Hispanic immigrants had nothing to do with the closing of the minds of the children of European immigrants.

Posted by: Brojo on January 29, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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