Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 31, 2008

MANO A MANO.... The final debate for the two remaining Democratic presidential candidates is about to get underway in Los Angeles, but before the event begins, David Kurtz points out to a tidbit that I found amazing.

CNN just reporting that tickets to tonight's L.A. debate between Hillary and Obama are going for upwards of $1,000 apiece.

Now, I like to think that there's more interest in the presidential campaign this year than in previous cycles, and I'm delighted by the excitement surrounding the Democratic field.

But I never thought I'd see the day in which people paid in upwards of $1,000 to see a political debate, which is going to be televised anyway.

All of a sudden, I guess it's cool to be a political junkie. I knew if I waited long enough....

Steve Benen 7:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (89)

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Comments

Hell of a choice isn,t it

Posted by: tom on January 31, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

I've got goose bumps...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

$1000.00 -

It is L.A. after all. There is a rather large group out there who would drop that on a dinner for two and not skip a beat. I'm sure in LA LA Land this is a ticket to see and be seen.

Posted by: Keith G on January 31, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Obama starts with fluff, Clinton starts with issues...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Now I see why...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Doctors will have to give up golf

Posted by: Bagger Vance on January 31, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

The podiums are very close. This puts Hillary at a disadvantage. The Iron Chef glare requires about 10 feet of physical distance.

Not sure I would have done earrings AND the necklace.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 31, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see why people feel the need to get on here and act super dramatic about one candidate or the other. It's clear that on most issues, these two candidates are pretty close, and for most democrats, these two candidates are both acceptable. By all means, carefully pick your favorite, but don't try to scare everybody into thinking that either candidate is horrible.

Seems to me like all the complaining just makes you look like you don't understand what's going on here.

Posted by: doug on January 31, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Steve,

It's only become cool to be a political junkie with money to burn. Just being a regular political junkie still hasn't become cool.

What do you expect in a capitalist society driven by Puritan values that say if you are a good person, God rewards you with wealth, so by definition, poor people are not good people?

Welcome to 21st century America with the conservatives in charge.

Posted by: Rick B on January 31, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wolf wants to know if "increase transparency in government" is a "swipe" against Clinton?

Posted by: blah on January 31, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

But I never thought I'd see the day in which people paid in upwards of $4,000 to see a SPORTING EVENT, which is going to be televised anyway.

FTFY.

Posted by: anonymous on January 31, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's likely because the future of the country is at stake. Maybe people are depserate for change, not trying to follow a wave.

Posted by: paradox on January 31, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama keeps peeping on Clintons notes...


Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Question 1. How the were the tickets distributed in the first place?
Question 2. Who's selling them at 1K a pop?

Seems to me that for an enterprising political campaign, "scalping" some debate tickets would be a surefire, untraceable cash means of having wealthy donors go past the $2300 individual contribution limit.

Posted by: JMG on January 31, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

After two issues (healthcare and immigration) this judge has Clinton 2, Obama 0.

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

I like Hillary, but mainly I'm glad to see that CNN seems to have learned a bit of a lesson from all of the criticism the press has gotten. Substantive questions, and giving the candidates time to respond. To be partisan for a minte, I think this plays against Obama because he tends to ramble.

Posted by: ChrisO on January 31, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ohhhhh, that was a good Romney crack Obama...

Clinton 2, Obama 1

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

elmo, it is amazing to me that you don't have your own cable commentary show. Maybe the Home Shopping Network has a slot available.

Posted by: Bob on January 31, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, that last segment was a draw. Clinton had some good specific points, but Obama's following speech made me forget them...

Still, Clinton 2, Obama 1

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton hits a home run with the "taking another Clinton to clean up after a Bush" crack!!!

Clinton 3, Obama 1

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

elmo, it is amazing to me that you don't have your own cable commentary show. Maybe the Home Shopping Network has a slot available.

They fired me...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Keep going elmo. This is better than watching.

Posted by: JS on January 31, 2008 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

elmo, are we watching the same event?

To me it's candidates 12, Wolf zero. Screw the horse race, ditch Wolf, let the candidates talk issues.

The difference between tonight and last night is the difference between grownups and children. I am really proud of both of them.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Wolf says that something Barack said was a swipe at Hillary. Hillary says "really?" Barack denies swiping at Hillary. Hillary and Obama both slap down Wolf.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

corpus juris: "Hillary and Obama both slap down Wolf."

It would have been way cool if Obama pinned Wolf's arms from behind, Hillary kicked him in the crotch, and then both of them laughed while the Bearded One writhes in agony.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obama takes the Iraq war(two pts awarded for this issue)...

Clinton 3, Obama 3

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Wolf keeps trying to pick a fight. Neither is interested in fighting. They are both clearly and professional laying out their disagreements without being disagreeable. This is going to be a really tough choice. A good choice, but a tough choice.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think both Clinton and Obama supporters can agree -- The Bearded One is a pretentious fucking clown.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think that both candidates did very well. And Senator Obama is black.

Posted by: President Bill Clinton on January 31, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Nice touch at the end, with Obama, up on his feet first, pulling out Hillary's chair. She hesitates but eventually relents and accepts the gallant gesture.

Posted by: paxr55 on January 31, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Just thinking...

A Clinton/Obama admin would be good, but what about the other way around?

I think no. But an Obama admin with an attorney General Clinton?

I gotta tell ya, the first I really like, But the second makes me cream my pants...

That said, I'm most likely am voting for Hillary in my primary on Mar. 4th.

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think that both candidates did very well. And Senator Obama is black.

Posted by: President Bill Clinton

As is Jesse Jackson.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 31, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wow Hillary was great!

Obama was good to. I didn't like his pitch on censoring the internet, but he was good.

Obviously the dem base wants a Hillary/Obama ticket much more than the candidates do at this point.

I know that's what I want to see. I didn't like Obama's evasiveness on that.

Posted by: patience on January 31, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think both Clinton and Obama supporters can agree -- The Bearded One is a pretentious fucking clown.
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii


Not just pretentious but also pernicious. He was so obviously instructed to stir it up. Wonder what the debate would have been like with Olberman instead...

Posted by: cyntax on January 31, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously the dem base wants a Hillary/Obama ticket much more than the candidates do at this point.

BULLSHIT! Speak for yourself, please.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 31, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

I like Jesse Jackson.

Posted by: B on January 31, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote:

All of a sudden, I guess it's cool to be a political junkie. I knew if I waited long enough....

What, you haven't been getting the bennies all along?

Posted by: Swan on January 31, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who's got an entourage?

Luddite Republicans must be pretty pissed at that $1,000 ticket: "Grrrr, watching people run and chase a ball is much more important!!"

Posted by: Swan on January 31, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Both candidates did well but Clinton still didn't change my opinon on her AUMF vote. This is her weak spot. I thought Obama did much better on the immigration issue and I would only support mandates on health insurance if generous subsidies were made available to those who would have trouble paying for it. An aside: looks to me like Clinton is more and more co-opting Obama's 'change' message and making it her own.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

I bet the contrast between the Retardican's debate last night and the Democratic debate tonight keep historians busy for like...10 minutes.

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama was good to. I didn't like his pitch on censoring the internet.."

patience, I didn't hear Obama make a pitch for censoring the internet. He wants to see parents have stronger control over their children's internet browsing through more advanced technology.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax: "Wonder what the debate would have been like with Olberman instead..."

You can get a good idea right now, as Mr. Olbermann leads an adult-oriented analysis and discussion that's truly worthy of the debate.

And what's better -- no Tweety.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Trust a Republican to be more pissed off that people are paying $1,000 to see Clinton and Obama debate than they are pissed off that American troops are trying to kill themselves in very large numbers this year, and that coalition casualties in Iraq are beginning to rise again this month and last month.

Posted by: Swan on January 31, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think Hillary and Barack's differences of opinion on most topics amount to distinctions without a difference. It's like watching twins argue about who likes what. The race from here forward is about personalities, and from where I sit, I'll take his...

Besides, we cannot allow McCain to have his Hundred Years War and I believe Obama can beat McCain - Hillary cannot.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 31, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is surging -- with $32 million banked in January -- and only a few points now separate them nationally and in California. HRC had to stop his momentum. She didn't -- on any issue.

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

The Iraq thing was problematic. Hillary should have dismantled the whole Irag vote thing a long time ago and disarmed the Obama. She should have just said "it was a tough call. There was conflicting information." Period.

When confronted by Barack's stupid bravado she should just have said way back in the beginning "you weren't there. you're Monday morning quarterbacking when you didn't have any skin in the game and you don't know. It's easy to claim to be all knowing and all seeing and always right after the fact especially when you haven't faced the same challenges."

She let it fester and let him gain traction. Obama had a measley two cards in his deck - the race card and his phony bravado about the Iraq war and she let him play both.

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

nepeta: "I didn't hear Obama make a pitch for censoring the internet."

Neither did I. While I didn't necessarily agree with his answer, I nevertheless appreciate the fact that he spoke first and foremost as a concerned parent.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's antiwar speech was given in 2002. No Monday morning quarterbacking involved at all.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Swan: "Trust a Republican to be more pissed off that people are paying $1,000 to see Clinton and Obama debate ..."

That Republican would be positively apoplectic if he knew what my mother got for scalping her tickets ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

For that price they should box.

Where there's money there's influence.

Posted by: Luther on January 31, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously the dem base wants a Hillary/Obama ticket much more than the candidates do at this point.

Since when have Hollywood movie stars become "the dem base"?

They both did well. The house was Hillary's, it seemed to me. Expectations for Obama's debate performances are lower than for Hillary's, so it was a very good night for Obama. I thought the format didn't suit Hillary as well as some of the previous debates, because although she's very commanding at first, the longer she talks the less compelling she becomes. She was good, though, and even charming.

To my consternation I was late and missed much of the health care debate. I don't get why elmo gave the immigration point to Hillary. Hillary won on experience (although should she really take the credit for SCHIP?), but Obama was best on Iraq and foreign policy. Nice response on the VP bait as well.

I think both Clinton and Obama supporters can agree -- The Bearded One is a pretentious fucking clown.

Not just pretentious but also pernicious. He was so obviously instructed to stir it up.

Yes, what a jerk. But a good night for Democrats.

Posted by: Lucy on January 31, 2008 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

I woke up for the children+TV question. Great softball question to pare with "How will you control your Husband?" I'm curious. . . were there other aggressive questions in the debate directly attributed to the other team's oppo group? Weird.

Good transition though. Debates over. Time to switch the narrative back to Bill Clinton.

Posted by: B on January 31, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

'his phony bravado about the Iraq war...'

Chrissy, What was 'phony' about Obama's bravado about the Iraq war? Quite honestly, I have a bit of bravado myself at having made the right call on Iraqi WMD back in 2002. A good friend of mine asked me in a belittling tone "How do YOU know that Iraq doesn't have WMD?" I told her I wasn't 100% sure but close to 99% sure. All it took was a few months of very serious internet research coupled with a 100% distrust of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Feith, etc., etc. and witnessing numerous 'fraudulent testimony' in the hearings Congress held on the subject.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

JMM on MSNBC

Posted by: B on January 31, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get why elmo gave the immigration point to Hillary.

I thought Obama babbled and lacked specifics, more fluff than stuff...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, so what? I was against the war from beginning as well. Commenting and pissing off people all over the place. BFD. There were probably also tens of thousands of lower level state officials and legislators like Obama against the war. But like Obama many have serious flaws and lack of experience and credentials and maturity that make them very very badly prepared for high office.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 31, 2008 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy, OK, so you didn't mean that Obama showed 'phony' bravado. My memory of that time in the run-up to war was that almost no one spoke out forcefully against it. Exceptions on the national level: Kennedy, Byrd and Gore. I wasn't aware of Obama's speech at that time. Still I value learning of Obama's opposition to the war at a time when anti-war people were ignored by the media and greatly marginalized in general.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Nice touch at the end, with Obama, up on his feet first, pulling out Hillary's chair. She hesitates but eventually relents and accepts the gallant gesture." Posted by: paxr55 on January 31, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Maybe, maybe not. The problem with this is that chivalry tends to have different meanings for men and women. Men tend to see it as being respectful, but I know a lot of women who will read it as condescending and a sign that someone sees women in the same way as when such chivalry was the norm where men were men and women were adoring of them. Now, understand something here, I am *NOT* saying that was his intention, indeed I think it was meant to be polite, but he may have left himself open here, especially given the perceived sexism from his side towards her over the last few weeks. So I would be careful about assuming that helped or will automatically be seen as classy outside of his supporters. It may well, I don't know, but I can easily see how it could be taken otherwise, which would be a real shame given the clear effort both put into trying to not only to prevent putting accelerant on the fire but actually dampen it down.

General:

Now, as to the debate itself, this was a very good one. Obama came off far better in this debate than any of the prior ones I have seen him in. He showed a better command of the issues as opposed to the message of hope and he needed that. I think though he was a little too obvious/clumsy in several shots/swipes at Clinton while she was better at turning the focus towards stressing herself and not tearing at Obama, and that may also end up costing Obama slightly, and in a race tightening where he needs to catch up even slightly can be a problem.

Clinton was on her game and very steady, a but flat at times but not often I'd say. She did her best with the Iraq AUMF question, and to be fair to her the argument she presented is one that is reasonable and consistent with the facts of the situation when the decision was made. I always thought she made the wrong decision from the moment she made it (I also openly opposed this war from the outset too, does that make my judgment as good as Obama's?) but given the situation domestically (and I know a lot of Dems do not want to hear it) that the timing was shortly after the *first* 9/11/01 attacks, she represented the only State attacked directly (since DC is a ward of the federal government is why I say that) and whatever else the problem of Hussein was that not only was there cause to worry he had chem/bio weapons (nukes was always a scam, indeed it was when they went to the nuclear card that I knew there was something seriously wrong becaue I knew the IAEA had never released a report claiming Saddam was as close as 6 mos from a nuclear weapon as I tended to follow the IAEA reports on nuclear proliferation throughout the 90s despite Bush/Blair saying so at Camp David Sept 7 02), when a President lies about nukes, especially to a demorestic audience still very much on edge from the 9/11/01 attacks then something really stinks), it was that he unlike most even of dictators had shown he would use them even on his own population as well as the Iranians. It is easy to look back and say it was obvious to anyone where Bushco was going and therefore she was a fool to vote the way she did, I don't agree. I think she was wrong, but I don't think it shows anywhere near as bad judgment as some would have it represent.

Overall though I think it was close to even between them, although one could probably argue one or the other won by a slight margin depending on one's perspective/preference of candidate. The real winner from this debate I'd say was the Democratic Party which showed that it had two finalists that even when there has clearly been recent bad blood between them can show far more compatibility than what we saw last night from the GOP debate between McCain and Romney. I also think this debate will help blunt some of the more partisan supporters of both sides from refusing to vote if the other person wins in the general for the Dem candidate and that is a good thing too.

What really did offend me though were the questions coming from Politico.com and how charged some of them were, like the one from the AA woman on immigration. I also noticed a clear one-sidedness in the kinds of questions being posed from that poltico.com source to each candidate with Clinton repeatedly getting the ones that could most easily trip up a candidate and I think it speaks very well for her that she not only didn't bungle any of them (there is a difference between bungling and being adequate which is where I would rate her low end on that subset of questions) she actually managed to turn a couple of them to her advantage. I thought she did very well with the AA immigration answer in both substance AND in dialing down the racial tinge that was clearly within the question. That may also help to give her some edge because it showed her taking really divisive questions and doing very well at neutralizing them for the most part (the one exception was the Bill question, I think that was a case of barely adequate)

Overall, this was a good night for the Democratic Party and increases it’s chanced of victory in the Fall whichever candidate wins, and for me that is what counts most.

Posted by: Scotian on January 31, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Still got my protest sign from the Iraq War: "Asses of Weasels" Pretty good artwork on it too.

Right on the War. Right on the way I put the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder.

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

Ah elmo, Hillary's immigration answer was an attempt to cause race riots and divide the colored people. Get with the program.

Posted by: B on January 31, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

I thought she did very well with the AA immigration answer in both substance AND in dialing down the racial tinge that was clearly within the question.

It was exactly the opposite: she dialed UP the racial tinge; Obama dialed it down.

Posted by: Econobuzz on January 31, 2008 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, Scotian! Despite slight differences between us on 'scoring' the debate, I'm also very happy that there was almost no acrimony and bodes well for November.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

scotian, Yes, I'm sure many of us noticed Obama and his 'gentlemanly' gesture at the end of the debate. Funny, not only did I see it as a gender issue but also as an 'age' issue.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, it's one thing to oppose a war from the safety of the ultra liberal chi-chi-poo-poo Chicago liberal elite neighborhood of Obama's. It's another to oppose it from where I stood in an ultra conservative area (where I lived). It's another thing to oppose it in the US Senate when the press and the right wing opposition is going to take your job and accuse you of being unpatriotic and the experts are telling you conflicting stories.

To say oppositon to the war from the safety of a liberal bastion with no consequences is the same as other circumstances is naive.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 31, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy, 21 Democrats in the senate did manage the courage to vote against the AUMF (29 voted for) so it wasn't that impossible a feat. And New York is not exactly a bastion of conservatism either.

Posted by: JS on January 31, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy,

Clinton would not have stood alone in an antiwar position. She would have joined the 19 other Dems, really the liberal left of the Senate. My only guess is that she was 'hedging' her bets for a presidential run. No other explanation that I can see.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

I am by no means defending Hillary's vote. But I am saying that there is no comparison to Mr. Bigstuff's big mouth from liberal Chicagoville and a vote in the Senate.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 31, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Plenty of Democrats with safe seats voted for the war. Especially those who ended up running for President (Dodd, Edwards, Clinton, Kerry, and probably more).

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 31, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ah elmo, Hillary's immigration answer was an attempt to eliminate race and divide the racist people. Get with the program.

I couldn't agree more...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

JS, The 'nay' votes for the AUMF included 19 Dems, 1 Ind (?) and 1 Republican (Jack Reed, RI) (!) Darn, I can't remember who the Independent was. Help? Anyway, just pointing out that the anti-AUMF wasn't even all Dems. Bravo to Reed.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta, I was ready to concede on this, but a last minute wikipedia check shows 21 Dems, 1 Ind, 1 Rep (total 23 against).

Posted by: JS on January 31, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Great! 23 is even better than 21. And how soon we forget...the Independent was Jeffords.

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

My heros from 2002. Nay votes on the AUMF:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Chafee (R-RI)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Graham (D-FL)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wyden (D-OR)

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I look at that list and a tear comes to my eyes. Damn I wish Wellstone was still here...

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo, yes, what a loss...

Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

and...duh!...the RI R Senator was Chafee, not Reed.

Posted by: nepeta on February 1, 2008 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

"scotian, Yes, I'm sure many of us noticed Obama and his 'gentlemanly' gesture at the end of the debate. Funny, not only did I see it as a gender issue but also as an 'age' issue." Posted by: nepeta on January 31, 2008 at 11:09 PM

Nepata:

I didn't want to go there this evening, I know enough people here already think I am shilling for HRC and I thought if I threw my perceptions on the age thing it wouldn't help. We may see this a bit differently, my problem with what he did was that such manners are not terribly consistent with someone of his generation to make it an automatic/natural/subconscious move. So this was a deliberate decision and while I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt on motive it could also be seen as evidence he was playing male dominance games with the woman. That also was factored in to why I did not agree that it was clearly "classy" and a positive for Obama without any other reasonable/plausible explanation, let alone a dark one.

Btw, thanks for the kind words at 11:05pm, while I suspect you and I would overall differ on who we saw as the winner of this debate (my wife on the other hand thinks HRC was way ahead of Obama when we discussed it at the end of the debate, she felt his body language especially in the first half was stiff and still leaking some hostility towards HRC, and she found his tendency to not look at her when speaking uncomfortable and felt dismissive to her and when he put his arm around the back of her chair in the middle of the debate as a really offensive/condescending move, she tends to be a bit more definite in her opinions than I am, I live in a much less certain world than she does in some respects) at least we are in the same general range if perhaps the opposite sides of the median. I am pleased to know I can manage to write something that gets a favourable read from someone who has not been pleased with my comments recently. Ironically enough though I simply called it as I saw it tonight, same as I have been doing all along.

I may be long winded, tedious and tendentious but I don't do false outrage/anger and I don't target someone unless I feel there is a need for it, in this case as much as I like Obama I simply think he is too thin in too many respects to manage it, even with the favourable headwinds currently at his back especially because the media has given him a pass on things they crucify the Clintons for. What happens when it is his turn which I am certain he will have to face once he knocked out the Clintons, I don't trust the US MSM at all in this regard, not after watching the 90s, the war on Gore, the Kerry Swiftboating (which cost McCain what little respect I had left for him, for someone that talks about military honour meaning so much to him he proved his partisanship and ambitions mattered more in his refusal to properly call out the GWB team for it, especially when this was a rare example of Rove leaving a direct fingerprint to the campaign thanks to the SBVfT lawyer being on one of the elect Bush committees until it was revealed, military honour is not an empty concept to me and my heritage). I think Obama has also shown that he doesn't handle being on the losing side that well/easily, and one thing I do tend to think is a good thing for someone taking over such a powerful/important position is that they have suffered at least one significant/major defeat in their adult life and then rebounded from it, it proves resiliency (emotional and in this case political), something I have yet to see Obama demonstrate from what I've seen of him and his history.

Still though that doesn't change he did very well for himself, I am just not sure he did enough to manage to tip the balance enough for next Tuesday. I can't shake the feeling there is a bit of a backlash building out there against the war on HRC in the media, the nasty sexism in much of it, and the Obama camp's apparant willing to ride it to victory instead of calling it out for the nasty partisanship it is. Just look at that latest from Jake Tapper as one of the more obvious examples of the MSM using its position to blatantly take a Clinton statement out of context and reinterprete their comments into something completely different from its original meaning. Believe me, I am going to be watching the demographic breakdowns of Super Tuesday very carefully.

Posted by: Scotian on February 1, 2008 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy,
I can tell you probably never make it out of your "Conservative" area. Hyde Park may be "liberal" but I wouldn't call the neighborhood "elite".

Either way, someone who wants to be president should have the guts to make the right call no matter how they will be portrayed. Look at Feingold after being the one person who voted no on the Patriot Act. He explained his position and was proven right

Posted by: Mike from Chicago on February 1, 2008 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

With regard to Chrissy's sophomoric junk I offer shortstop's refutation of frankly0 from the other day:

Yes, you keep saying that, doggedly ignoring that Obama was clearly planning a Senate run at the time. Is it going to be your ludicrous assertion that his position was a completely safe one to take in a state which is not composed merely of "liberal districts"; which is overall less blue than New York (where HRC, by your argument, would have been even safer coming out against the war); and which at that time and even in 2004 contained plenty of Republicans, independents and some Dems who still supported the war?

I'm confident Chrissy will dispassionately process this information and revisit her assumptions about Mr. Bigstuff's big mouth from liberal Chicagoville.

Posted by: Lucy on February 1, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry to be a geek, but why "mano a mano"? I would understand a "faccia a faccia", but "mano a mano" in Italian means something like "little by little"...

Posted by: noone on February 1, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

paxr55,

Nice touch at the end, with Obama, up on his feet first, pulling out Hillary's chair. She hesitates but eventually relents and accepts the gallant gesture.

The thing is that he originally planned to do this at the beginning of the debate just as she was sitting down so she'd plop on the floor, but someone told him the debate tone was changed. He brilliantly changed the move to the end and it went from cruel to gallant/condescending. Human rituals can be so interesting.

Posted by: Tripp on February 1, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

noone,

Um, "mano a mano" is Spanish for "hand to hand." It is a commonly used expression.

Posted by: Tripp on February 1, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

It's also best known among liberal political geeks as what Smirky McScrewup said when he came home drunk in Kennebunkport, was remonstrated with by George Herbert Walker Bush and then challenged his dad to a fight.

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK
Funny, not only did I see it as a gender issue but also as an 'age' issue.

Scotian, nepeta, let me throw another angle at you - I'm not saying it's the case, but worth thinking about. Wait, let me state categorically that I am convinced it's not the case, and that Sen. Obama would under no circumstances kowtow to it.

Gender issue, age issue.
How about the issue of a black man knowing his proper position - i.e. one of servility?

This may stir up a manure-storm, for which I apologize, but it's an historical fact that for a significant portion of US history, black men were subordinate to white women, regardless of the relative status of women to men generally.

Posted by: kenga on February 1, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp - LOL!

shortstop, are we certain that GWB's Spanish and/or mental acuity(*cough* sobriety *cough*) is such that he didn't mean "man to man"?

Posted by: kenga on February 1, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

It's also best known among liberal political geeks as what Smirky McScrewup

I am loathe to disagree with you but isn't "Smirky McScrewup" his born-again name? I'm pretty sure his name when he confronted his father was "Tipsy McStagger."

Let me see - in college it was "Cokie McFreemoney" and in high school it was "Biff" so yeah, when he called Poppy out it was "Tipsy McStagger."

Posted by: Tripp on February 1, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

kenga,

No, I don't want to go there either because the 'black servility' image is so remote as to be meaningless and anyway, would be the last thing Obama would want to express. As I said earlier, his polite gesture didn't offend me in the least. I simply 'noticed' it because I'm sensitized to such gestures from a feminist POV. I'd be curious to know if it was an unconscious gesture on Obama's part or 'planned.' I would guess unconscious but then I might be naive since I don't have a horde of political operatives around me advising me on my every move.

Posted by: nepeta on February 1, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop, are we certain that GWB's Spanish and/or mental acuity(*cough* sobriety *cough*) is such that he didn't mean "man to man"?

Not only are we not certain, kenga; we can feel reasonably sure that "man to man" is what he thought he was saying as, swaying gently, he turned those narrowed pig eyes and winning smirk onto his pop.

And Tripp, you are, of course, correct about the chronology of McNicknames.

Posted by: shortstop on February 1, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian, do you really think that when Hillary voted against the Levin amendment and for the war authorization vote she was being reasonable and consistent with the facts of the situation when the decision was made or was she simply not interested in fnding evidence that may have been contrary to her presidential ambitions which she chose above standing up to Mr. Bush and the rush to war in Iraq.

Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafeee who voted aginst the amendment doesn't rationlize the ' war enabling Democrats' so easily as you do;

The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were," writes Chafee. "They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom" (probably over a million).

"Instead of talking tough or meekly raising one's hand to support the tough talk, it is far more muscular, I think, to find out what is really happening in the world and have a debate about what we really need to accomplish," writes Chafee. "That is the hard work of governing, but it was swept aside once the fear, the war rhetoric and the political conniving took over."


Posted by: Steve Crickmore on February 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta,
I agree. I only mentioned it because whilst reading between your and Scotian's comments, the realization that the imagery could cut yet another way hit me upside the head.

I'm curious too, whether it was unconscious or planned, as well as why. I mean, I'd like to live in a world where people are just nice and/or polite to each other for the sake of living in that kind of world. Which would, I guess, straddle the line between unconscious and planned - unconscious because you just do it, and planned because that's how you actualize your world-view.
Not so curious that I'll obsess over it, but if I see/hear/read something further which illuminates it, I'll pay attention to the implications.

Posted by: kenga on February 1, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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