Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

PULLING THE LEVER....So who am I going to vote for tomorrow? Answer: Barack Obama.

I've got some good reasons and some bad reasons for changing my mind. The good reasons include (a) the ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks, which has turned me off, (b) a growing sense that Obama's steadiness running his campaign under fire is a good sign of what he'd be like as president, and (c) some of the red state endorsements Obama has gotten recently, which speak well for his potential to produce strong coattails in November.

There are also some not-so-good reasons. I'm half embarrassed to admit that this stuff even affects me, but the fact is that the actions of both the candidates' supporters and detractors has had an impact. Watching Andrew Sullivan rant and rave on a daily basis about Hillary, for example, has had the perverse effect of keeping me on her side. I just hated the thought of fever swamp hatred like that influencing my party's nomination. Conversely, today's Paul Krugman column, which was yet another installment in his months-long anti-Obama jihad, had the opposite effect. I don't like Obama's mini-demagoguery of Hillary's healthcare plan either, but for chrissake, it's an election. A bit of hardball is to be expected and I can't for the life of me figure out what Obama has done to drive a sensible guy like Krugman over a cliff.

Anyway, I realize that this stuff shouldn't matter, but it's all part of the mix. And while I still like both candidates a lot (which is what's kept me on the fence for so long), I guess I finally decided that Bill Clinton was right: voting for Obama is a roll of the dice. I still don't know whether Obama is likely to be the Democratic Ronald Reagan (my hope) or the next Democratic Jimmy Carter (my fear), but I like his temperament, I like his judgment, I like his foreign policy, I like his obvious ability to inspire, and I think he's more likely to be RR than JC. I guess I'm willing to roll the dice.

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (442)

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Comments

Woohoo!!

Posted by: Lucy on February 4, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Golly. I guess that your post is anecdotal evidence that reflects the shift in the polls reported today.

Posted by: troglodyte on February 4, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Obama = Jimmy Carter

Posted by: none on February 4, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing about Obama -- I don't think voting for him is a "roll of the dice" any more. He's looking more and more presidential as the campaign goes on.

Posted by: mmy on February 4, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Same here. For much the same reasons

Go Obama!

Posted by: blatherskite on February 4, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you, Kevin. I've been a Hillary supporter forever and if she wins the nomination I'll support her in the general election 100% and with great enthusiasm.

But when I cast my primary vote on March 4, it will be for Barack Obama. Mostly for the reasons you cited, but plus one: Obama said at the last debate that we would not maintain those permanent bases in Iraq. Hillary has never mentioned them.

Posted by: marcia on February 4, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

So who am I going to vote for tomorrow? Answer: Barack Obama.

Great News!!! If I was in California I'd vote for him too. Billary's racism and Krugman's and Ezra's lies about Obama's health care plan have pushed many people over to Obama's side. Playing the race card is despicable even for the Clintons. America is ready for a uniter not a divider. We want someone who will govern this whole nation not just a part of it. We want someone who cares about America not a political manipulator who cries on command. We want someone who can attract people of all races and gender, not just someone who attracts white women. Morning is coming back to America again when Hillary loses and Obama trounces her in the mud and slime she created.

Posted by: Al on February 4, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Are you seriously equating Krugman's reasoned analysis of Obama's positions with the spewings coming from Andrew Sullivan??? Seriously?

Posted by: cv on February 4, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

That's definitely a risky vote-- if Inkblot reads your blog.

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 4, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think it was the Obama campaign's gathering of oppo-research on Krugman that gave him a bad taste in his mouth about Obama as a candidate. In terms of actual policy proposals, I think Clinton is better on points (she's done an excellent job of making proposals that if enacted will go a long way to helping ordinary Americans; but we all know that campaign proposals never make it out of the sausage machine that is Washington with any passing resemblance).

That said, I will be voting for Obama as well. HRC is my Senator and if elected will make a good president. But, taking everything into consideration... I believe Obama is the better choice.

Posted by: sdh on February 4, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

HRC is a roll of the dice too. Don't kid yourself that it's not.

Posted by: david in norcal on February 4, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Spoken like someone who doesn't have to worry about health insurance.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on February 4, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you, Kevin.

Clinton's reality, whether earned or unearned, is one of discord. The vision of a co-presidency with Bill pushed everyone over the cliff.

And with your choice I don't think you will have buyer's remorse.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 4, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, Hillary's fall is not about her competence or policies but the discomfort with Bill's continuing role.

Posted by: Cycledco on February 4, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, welcome to the dark side son.

Posted by: GOD on February 4, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know I was just thinking to myself "It still drives me crazy that a sensible liberal like Drum is still supporting Clinton, I just don't get it"

Way to go!

Posted by: DP on February 4, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you Kevin overall, but I fell into Obama's camp a lot earlier b/c of the Iraq issue. Overall, I think Stanley Fish's blog on NYTOnline basically lays out why I seriously believe HRC would have a harder fight and create negatives for her that would impede her ability to govern: the irrational dislike of her is a rallying cry.

Overall, there isn't much daylight policy wise. And Obama's steadiness in the campaign trail has really impressed me and has actually been far steadier than Clinton's imo who has so many more advantages.

Posted by: Rhoda on February 4, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Drum says Krugman has gone over a cliff. But Krugman cites evidence a mandate is necessary to the achievement of universal coverage, and Drum has nothing of substance to say in response.

Posted by: Lookingforareason on February 4, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yes we can!!! in CA-48!

Posted by: lina on February 4, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Not an easy decision, Kevin, but I obviously agree with your choice, and am encouraged by it. Hillary Clinton has the experience, but those extraordinary negatives are not appealing, not to mention the fact that she really does represent the same old direction of governance in this country (universal health care notwithstanding, her support of the Iraq invasion for political expediency, in my opinion, coupled with her support for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment confirmed it to me).

In addition, I have now lost respect for Bill Clinton. I was willing to consider his statements regarding the whole "fairy tale" and "kid" mess alone, and attribute that to misunderstandings by others, but when he made that stupid, childish, disappointing Jesse Jackson remark after South Carolina...well? Fuck him. As a President, he was brilliant, and head and shoulders above the rest (check out Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies"). But I don't want him to be in the White House ever again, his time is over and he is disgrace.

Like it or not, Barack Obama is the best option for Democrats to win against John McCain, and also inherit a political realignment in our party's favor for the time to come. I fear that a Hillary Clinton nomination will continue to prolong the machines on both sides that I want to sputter and die.

I mean, there is a reason that Barack Obama is getting all this traction, from all these corners. There is a reason that he is getting this unprecedented groundswell of support and enthusiasm, and it's not just for his speeches. It's pretty much a tsunami. So, to all the undecideds, if you must "hold your nose" and vote for Barack, take comfort in the fact that he's not the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's been a tough choice for me as well. What put me over the line into Obama's camp was McCain's resurgence as the Republican nominee. Why would Republicans, as nut-job as they've been for years, go with McCain who they don't like? The answer, as far as I can see, is to beat Hillary.

If they're that rabid that they'd actually compromise when they haven't in years, I hate to think what a Republican get-out-the-vote motivator Hillary would be as the nominee.

In addition, as you say, Obama has done well under the Clintons' attacks and, for all the talk of Hillary fighting strong against the Republicans in the general election, she's done a pretty lousy job with her and Bill's attacks, even hurting herself in South Carolina. If she's this klutzy in the primaries...?

Posted by: Brian In Atlanta on February 4, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

I knew there was a reason I liked you.

Posted by: Jim Pharo on February 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I am disappointed. You are not the caring and wise person I thought you were.

Posted by: emmarose on February 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

This morning over coffee I came to the same decision for tomorrow. "I'm voting for Obama," I announced. My husband smiled, "I decided the same thing at three this morning."

If Obama means what he says about activating the people - and as a community organizer, this must be central to him, then he could be the turning point we need to make a whole host of changes.

Posted by: Victoria on February 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I came down to this.
Obama is a catalyst for change in a broken system.
Hillary is an expert operator in a broken system.

Both are good traits, but in a country as broken as ours we need a fixer not an operator. This is why obama gathers a younger generation wanting to move past Vietnam era political battles while Hillary supporters want to keep fighting them - harder. Same as John Kerry. It is a loosing position and I am really looking forward to moving on.

Posted by: Chris on February 4, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Did you check with Richard Cohen before making up your mind on this, to see who he would be supporting? (If he was going to vote for a Democrat I mean.)

You musta been one of those "Reagan Democrats".

Posted by: Riesz Fischer on February 4, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK
I still don't know whether Obama is likely to be the Democratic Ronald Reagan (my hope)

You hope he is going to run an administration with no respect for the law, that produces horrible results, that is the basis for an enduring intra-party mythology that is completely detached from the reality of what his administration actually did which constrains policy choices for a generation or more into the future of the party and is instrumental in the party's decline as slavish devotion to the mythical policies of that idealized administration becomes ritualized in the politics of the party?

Or did you mean "Ronald Reagan" in some other sense?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Kevin, if you think that Krugman's column is "over the cliff", don't you think you should have an actual logical argument to demonstrate that? Are don't you really feel any obligation to defend such things?

Maybe the problem with Krugman is that he, unlike you, is actually reality-based. He reads and understands economics. He knows that universal health care without something essentially the same as mandates is an economic impossibility. He also realizes the simple political fact that if a candidate demonizes mandates as has Obama, then he will be completely incapable of fighting for them in the future.

Krugman makes an argument. People like you, who pretend to be reality based, have aboslutely nothing coherent and sensible to counter it with. Yet you go about your business as if it all doesn't matter because -- well I don't even knoow why. Yeah, I can see why someone like Krugman might lose his cool over that.

As Krugman argues, if Obama wins, we will have no universal health care under his Presidency. And we will have woolly-headed, irrational people like you to thank for it.

Don't imagine that Krugman won't stick around to remind you all of your brain-dead decision when Obama's health plan, if any, comes to its destined grief.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't missed reading a Krugman column since he started with the Times. Today I couldn't bring myself to clicking the op-ed, simply based on the title. What Obama campaigns on now will likely morph into many degrees of change before the country finally gets a decent health care plan. Krugman ought to understand this and just STFU for now. And I now love KD (Kraft Dinner) again.

Posted by: Dilbert on February 4, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

the ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks

Wasn't it Obama who jumped on the media bandwagon charging Bill Clinton with absurd racial bias? When he was really talking about Obama's Iraq policy?

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

>"Obama = Jimmy Carter"

IMHO:

Carter was far more a victim of conditions laid out by his predecessors (stagflation) than his own failings... and some very powerful groups were working hard to see him fail. In particular the right wing-military-industrial alliance.

In that sense, Obama may have the same problem.

Posted by: Buford on February 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Electability. That's all that matters in 2008. So follow the polls. But remember that many Americans are marvelous liars. What we should ask ourselves is: Which has the better chance of winning the White House in our racist and sexist culture, a black man or a white woman?

Posted by: buddy66 on February 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think either Obama or Hillary will win in November, and will win easily. My reasoning has to do with a hunger for change and hope for tomorrow. McCain's call for a hundred year war is totally out of touch with the electorate. This is a country craving a change in foreign policy. It is also a country craving hope for the future. McCain is not exactly a hope and change candidate.

My reason for voting for Obama has to do with my belief that the Clintons are part of the old. Obama represents the new. Although I don't believe anyone can really change Washington he can probably change some of its worst aspects. Its time to take a chance on change.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

After thinking for weeks that I would support HRC, I made a similar calculation over the weekend. I will caucus for Obama on Tuesday. Obama is strong in an area that Democratic candidates have been lacking in past election cycles: the ability to connect with people on a personal level and to inspire them to get involved in the political process. Its all about the narrative and Obama gets it.

Posted by: AK Liberal on February 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - If you read Krugman's blog as well as his op-ed column, and especially if you've read "Conscience of a Liberal," it should be clear why K keeps harping on Obama's lack of a mandate and using an argument against Clinton that will come back to haunt us when the Congress gets to the point of an actual plan.

K believes -- and I certainly agree, as I gather you do also -- that getting health insurance for all is going to be a titanic struggle. K wants Obama to start preparing now, or at least to not do anything now that undercuts the effort later.

And I don't think we need to put K on the couch to know why he's attacking Obama -- Krugman is a policy wonk, and he thinks the available data shows Obama -- and his free-market friendly economic advisers -- are wrong on the issue, not to mention politically naive as well.

Posted by: Bob Gaines on February 4, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Watching Andrew Sullivan rant and rave on a daily basis about Hillary, for example, has had the perverse effect of keeping me on her side.

Why does it have to be perverse? Don't you remember that there was a lot of bile spilled towards Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., just to offer a couple of examples?

As for Paul Krugman-- what makes you think he lost his mind? Why don't you think part of what's influencing him may be Barack Obama's electability?

If Barack gets the nomination, I hope he wins, but I would be surprised if he won the general. I predict this election will basically be like all other recent elections that haven't had any amazing reason to send people rushing to the polls: basically the same demographic groups that usually vote will vote, those people you try to get going and who swear to you they will won't (as usual), and the youth-vote for Obama that turned out to be only in Iowa will reveal itself to be only an Iowa thing, as it has been. The American public, voting in a total turnout a few percent greater than the 1980s and '90s elections, will come out about 47% for Barack if he is the nominee, and the rest will vote for the old, patriarchal looking war veteran white man.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I have to side with Krugman. Obama has too easily thrown around right-wing talking points in a Dem. primary. Leads one to believe that this is the way he will govern.

Posted by: bmf on February 4, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see "ugliness" actually coming out of the Clinton campaign itself -- as opposed to the spin on perfectly innocuous comments by opposition and media. Everyone will jump in and say, look at what Bill said about Barack and Jesse Jackson in South Carolina. I challenge everyone who has reacted to the excerpts they've seen printed to go and read the entire 15 or 20 minute interview, see how infinitesimal that quote was and the context in which it arose from the question asked, and then make the statement that "Bill was playing the race card." There is no plausible argument for that whatsoever.

So what are we left with in the way of "ugliness"? Hillary saying Martin Luther King needed a President (an effective one, she meant) to achieve the law that King fought for -- because the president has to sign the damned thing into law?

There's been a lot if incredibly stupid reactive stuff coming out in this campaign from someone pulling quotes out of context and blasting them throughout the news, especially about the Clintons, and some liberal bloggers are just as guilty as mainstream pundits

Posted by: urban legend on February 4, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why is everyone so worried about John McCain? Granted, he will be the Republican nominee, but his continued shining on the Republican side will push the conservative base away from his candidacy, that's just too bitter a pill.

Even if they decide to support McCain, they will do so realizing that he will not push their positions that much, if at all. They went nuts over Bush for the immigration thing, and to not raise a ruckus when McCain does it will be too tall an order. McCain's only real hope are the independents and some mod Dems, but Barack will have him sufficiently checked in that arena. Advantage: Dems.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Swan, enough already with your 'not ready for a black president' nonsense. Please, let us know when you think America might be ready for one. It's beginning to look like you're the one projecting....

Posted by: GOD on February 4, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

How can you compare substantive Krugman’s commenta to Andrew Sullivan rant

Posted by: tt on February 4, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Here are my 2 cents (whose worth is rapidly declining against 2 pence or 2 cents Canadian):

1. The vote for Obama over Clinton in the Dem Primary could be seen as a desire, even a desperate hope, that all the ugliness of the past, oh twelve years including the mess that Bill C. was responsible for, blow over magically and all is right with the ol' US of A. It may be wishful thinking on the part of Dem primary voters but given the marginal differences between the positions of the two candidates, can you blame them?
2. Whether accurate or not, the appearance is that Obama is more genteel and willing to bury the hatchet than Clinton. That, in my humble opinion, is what we call "appearing Presidential", i.e. being able to look and sound above the normal fray. Clinton somehow does not project that aura (or not enough of it) and that may be just an illusion created by the fact that Clinton talks about her strengths in policy details whereas Obama talks about hope and optimism. Reagan similarly seemed to have such an aura about him while having much less command over details than Obama. It may be irrational but the voters are not Vulcans, they use both heart and mind to choose their leaders!
3. The reason someone like Krugman is so strident in his criticism of Obama relative to Clinton may be that Krugman is a technocrat through and through. He has analyzed the positions of the two candidates and has reached an objective conclusion that one position is significantly better than the other. He also thinks Clinton is a more effective beltway fighter. And these two reasons should be sufficient to tip Clinton over Obama. But these are starkly pragmatic reasons in the driest sense of the term. If such reasons were enough every time, then the subject matter experts amongst our civil servants would be running government and our political leaders attending tea parties. Many a time a politician with a less than optimal policy has succeeded where a bureaucrat armed with a solid policy and unassailable facts could not. Why? Perhaps Krugman should research that?

-Cool Dude

Posted by: Cool Dude on February 4, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman has been given the gift of a huge platform for his undoubtedly sound opinions on the economy. What is he doing with it? He's squandering it on his bizarre, obsessive fear that Barack Obama will ruin the health of all Americans. Sheeesh, even if Krugman is correct on the quite arguable minutiae of health-care finance, let's not forget that legislating this is Congress's job. The sausauge-making that follows any president's proposal is going to grind it to bits. And the prospect of Hillary leading the charge on it makes me very, very afraid.

Posted by: lindsay on February 4, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to see someone, anyone, refute Krugman's claim at the end of his column:

If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here’s what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen.
Of course, all we can see instead are what amount to ad hominem arguments from the likes of Kevin, that he's gone "over the cliff", and so no one need actually answer the argument on its merits.

Funny, I remember a time when Krugman was called "over the cliff" by the Republicans, even though all he did was to look at the claims Bush was making in his campaign promises and realize that they could not possibly be true.

How proud Kevin must be to join that number.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean that you are pulling Inkblot out of the race?

Bummmer.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 4, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I like his temperament, I like his judgment, I like his foreign policy, I like his obvious ability to inspire, and I think he's more likely to be RR than JC.

Did I read that right? You think Obama is more likely to be "like Ronald Wilson Reagan" than he is "Jimmy Carter?"

Puh-leeze. Obama is going to surrender to the Iraqi insurgency and lead this country into a funk the likes of which we have never seen before. After he surrenders to our enemies and lets them come here to go to college, there probably won't be anything left of this country. You silly liberals won't be laughing when your beloved Macintosh computers are confiscated, will you? Well, who do you think President Obama is going to sell out first? You or the fat cats?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

With either candidate, we will win big in November. I'm going with Clinton because she has the experience and her solutions to our current problems are better. I don't believe the country's problems are due to a lack of bipartisanship. That is the way our government was designed to work. What we need is more democrats and either candidate will bring them to the polls this fall. Especially a Clinton/Obama ticket. I also think she would be a much better campaigner against McCain than Obama would. Already I hear McCain's stump speech reflect his "bipartisan solutions" to fix our country. What's Obama going to run on? I'll be more bipartisan than McCain, so trust me?

Posted by: w2 on February 4, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Also in California, I've known for a long time that I would vote for Obama, but my wife decided that way this weekend. She said she just couldn't forgive Hillary for voting to authorize the war in Iraq and more or less authorizing invading Iraq.

Posted by: anandine on February 4, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

It's funny, we both picked our candidates at the last minute because of Krugman. Although I went in the other direction. I'm gonna go for Clinton because of Universal Healthcare. I didn't realize it was really my biggest issue until recently. But it is. And I have to go with Krugman's analysis. Also, all the comments on all the blogs defending the recent Obama mailer have been pretty weak to the point of stammering.

Posted by: Todd on February 4, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Decided yesterday to vote for Obama. There were three major factors: the Clinton campaign's unnecessarily disparaging tone and Bill's interference some days ago, the prospect of four years in which it might be very difficult to tell whether to hold Bill or Hillary responsible for a particular decision or situation, and the faulty logic Hillary displays in calling her vote to support the Iraq invasion a mistake (only?) because of the incompetence of the president in its conduct.

Posted by: Monzie on February 4, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Shame on me for sending the absentee ballot too soon. I voted for Hillary, but she's going to have some serious problems:

1. Her Iraq vote
2. Garnishments to enforce health mandate
3. Bill
4. She can't win independents

Posted by: mikeel on February 4, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, do not be surprised if the same world that shunned the United States under Bush will surprisingly come to its aid under the Presidency of Barack Obama, should a pull-out precipitate chaos.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, I meant more or less authorized invading Iran.

Posted by: anandine on February 4, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

There's a good rebuttal of Krugman over on Kos right now.

Good call, Kevin, calling bs on Krugman and the Clinton antics.

FWIW, I'll be voting for Obama in the Global Primary tomorrow.

One reason why: 13,000 people in Boise showed up to hear him. 13,000. In Boise.

Posted by: KathyF on February 4, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sheeesh, even if Krugman is correct on the quite arguable minutiae of health-care finance, let's not forget that legislating this is Congress's job.

For Christ's sake, don't any of you people realize that mandates are NOT "minutia" -- that both in theory and empirically the evidence is overwhelming that they are necessary to get to universal health care if one starts with anything resembling Obama's plan, or Edwards plan, or Hillary's plan? There are no real alternatives here.

And no matter how Congress tries to slice and dice any health care plan, the only path that's going to get to universal health care is through mandates. If you put an insuperable political obstacle in that path -- as Obama has done by demonizing them, you just don't get universal health care.

The point is, how long would we have to wait to undo the political damage that Obama has done to the concept? It certainly is not going to happen under his Presidency. So when might we get universal health care? 8 years from now at earliest? 12 years? 20 years? How long will it take before we are so reduced by desperation to adopting mandates, or are sufficiently far away from the damage Obama has done, that we can achieve true universal health care?

And why on earth should any reality-based progressive vote for a man who is so happy to wreak such damage only so that he can win an election?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, didn't read all the comments so have no idea how people are reacting. I'm sure Obama supporters are cheering you and Clinton supporters are booing.

But I just wanted to say that it's impossible not to let emotions get in the way so I feel your embarrassment. Been there, done that.

Posted by: scruncher on February 4, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's not the next Jimmy Carter. To be the next Jimmy Carter, he'd have to be president.

I'd say he's the next Adlai Stevenson, a brilliant orator from Illinois who captivates all the kids and their professors, but loses.

How they score this game is states. For the life of me, I can't see any states Kerry lost that Obama can win. (I can see two Hillary can eke out, Arkansas and Florida.)

And the GOP imagineers haven't even gotten started on him yet. Maybe there will be a huge tidal wave of anti-Republican turnout. But probably not....

Posted by: Jethro on February 4, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

So. Demagoguery from Clinton = bad, demagoguery from Obama = good. Gotcha. Obama wants to bring the GOP into the Dems camp? Not. Gonna. Happen. Not with the current leadership anyway. We need someone who knows how to throw elbows and that's Hilary all the way. Let Obama take the Veep spot (I'd prefer Edwards, actually) and let him watch and learn from the sidelines while a pro kicks GOP ass up one side of the aisle and down the other. THEN he'll be ready for prime time. Until then, not so much.

Posted by: Strider on February 4, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, do not be surprised if the same world that shunned the United States under Bush will surprisingly come to its aid under the Presidency of Barack Obama, should a pull-out precipitate chaos.

You are ludicrous in your naivete, ma'am.

The world will line up with skewers and knives to carve us up.

Should a Democrat be elected President, I will buy two extra horses, invest in precious metals and guns, and acquaint myself with the use of stone age weapons and tools. I don't think the fuel will last very long, so no generators for me. I'll fill the cistern with clean water and settle in for a few years of slim pickings.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

OMG, Krugman needs to chill. You fix the mandate issue by instituting a Connector like they did in Massachusetts. It's the connector's job to define "affordability" and other policy details.

It's a solution that's gotten left and right on board. A mandate, but with an administrative body empowered to basically write exemptions to those mandates based on ever-changing real-world conditions. And, of course, to push for continuing change so that everyone ultimately ends up covered affordably.

And from a political perspective, you can easily get to a connector from either Obama's position or Hillary's, depending on which political angle you want to play up--shared responsibility or "no one will be forced to get what they can't afford." So, give me a break.

Posted by: anonymous on February 4, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Others also are thinking Obama through

History has a lot of 'inspirational' models from Dale Carnegie to Benito. I hear nothing in Obama-speak other than ghosted words read over the teleprompter, words that offer vague feel-good nostrums instead of real solutions to real problems of real people.

To equate Krugman to Sullivan is mind-boggling.

Concerning the so-called ugly campaign, the Obama campaign can say anything in this media environment and never be called on it. That will change in a nano-second when your man becomes the apparent winner.

Carter was far more a victim of conditions….than his own failings... ... …Buford at 1:07 PM
One event that hurt Carter immensely was the challenge of Ted Kennedy's run against him. It was a nasty campaign and soured the Democratic electorate which helped Reagan in a similar manner that Reagan's challenge to Ford hurt Ford.
…move past Vietnam era political battles…. Chris at 1:03 PM
Did you know that McCain is a Vietnam vet who is continually using his service as a campaign issue?
….there is a reason that Barack Obama is getting all this traction…. Boorringat 1:02 PM
Of course, as long as he can defeat Clinton, he is the darling of the media. Once selected, his record will make him a laughingstock when faced by McCain's gravitas and media support. When the likes of Chris Matthews and hundreds of others fill the media with their smears, Obama won't be able to get reelected to his seat in the senate. Posted by: Mike on February 4, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 - have you seen this?

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/04/krugman_wrong_on_obama_and_man/

Posted by: kenga on February 4, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have to correct myself. It was 14,169. In Boise. Idaho.

With thousands turned away.

I think he will far surpass Ronald Reagan in the ability to turn Rs into Ds.

Posted by: KathyF on February 4, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Should a Democrat be elected President, I will buy two extra horses, invest in precious metals and guns, and acquaint myself with the use of stone age weapons and tools. I don't think the fuel will last very long, so no generators for me. I'll fill the cistern with clean water and settle in for a few years of slim pickings.

And don't forget to cancel your ISP.

Posted by: latts on February 4, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the road you traveled to get there is less important than the destination you reached. I will be caucusing for Obama tomorrow because he represents a fresh start and a glimmer of hope. Hillary represents business as usual. That said, she is still several orders of magnitude better than any of the GOP candidates.

For those who worry about Obama's lack of experience, I would point out that it was people with a great deal of experience (i.e. Rumsfeld and Cheney to name two) who got us into the godawful mess we find ourselves in today. As long as Obama surrounds himself with wise, experienced people like Joe Biden, he will do just fine.

Thanks for making the right call, because I know that you are very widely read and equally widely respected. Go Obama!!!!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 4, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect O or H would have near similar impact on my bottom line which is to change our country's course to a more rational and liberal one. Issues being more or less equal, it comes down to personal preference on little things like personality. Either candidate will be 1,000% better than a Republican president.

H acts more hawkish but I strongly suspect that in action, an H presidency would not be more hawkish than an O presidency. Neither one would have gone to war with Iraq. No way. So I'd like it if H apologized for her AUMF vote but it doesn't matter at this point.

Recent Clinton campaign ugliness has turned me off, too, and like Kevin, has pushed me toward O.

I would not choose between them on the basis of health care because it is not going to happen anyway.

Personally, I consider Obama temperamentally cautious. He's extremely bright and brings a lot to the table but I think he's a born centrist. Nothing wrong with that just not what I prefer. I believe he would have voted for AUMF had he been in office (political suicide otherwise and O is very careful). I wonder if Hillary would actually have a more liberal effect which is ironic given the lefty blogosphere's bias toward O.

Funny, I like Michelle's personality more than O's.

I like that either candidate will make history as a "first." We can only expect so much though because the country has tough problems from poor economy to Iraq with Republicans waiting in the wings to gum the works, take credit, and lie shamelessly to manipulate an unsophisticated electorate.


Posted by: don'tknow on February 4, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic Ronald Reagan (my hope) or the next Democratic Jimmy Carter (my fear),... I like his foreign policy

Hoping a president Obama mines fields in Nicaragua, reinstitutes death squads in El Salvador (they still exist in Guatemala) and presses for a Star Wars missile defense system that will not work, would seem odd from a liberal. Fearing a president Obama will withdraw military aid and comfort from oppressive regimes like Egypt and Israel, would seem an odd emotion from a progressive. Liking a foreign policy not much different than president W. Bush's is not odd for a moderate, though. It is pretty much the same as Sen. Kerry's.

Change works as a campaign slogan, but many voters only want to change the party in power, not the power and how it is used.

I understand Mr. Drum's choice. Obama might be a leader who can motivate America to a new, better place. It seems to me, however, that the hope Obama seems to best communicate is preventing change that liberal social democrats want. Safe, feel good, symbolic change, without any disruption of business as usual, seems to be all that many Americans want.

I was planning on still voting for Kucincich, but last night was leaning towards Hillary. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

Political Animal note: I found a used CD by the Brojos yesterday for a dollar.

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I changed my mind last night to support Obama after several influencing factors:

1) I watched the commercials of H, O, McCain, and Romney nearly back to back during the Super Bowl and I liked Obama's the best by far.

2) Someone posted a comic here the other day by Tom Tomorrow that made me laugh and got me thinking:
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0751,tomorrow,78682,9.html
"Screw That! Do you want voters to think you are some kind of PEACENIK?" LOL

3) The post from Brad DeLong's website that was linked to here that talked about her personality during the healthcare blitz in 1993.

And it all came down to one conclusion that I reached: Hillary doesn't seem to want to LISTEN to other people and Obama seems to be a superior listener. I think that goes a long way to "getting things done" in my book. Also, I've got this sneaking feeling that BILL isn't exactly going to be on a spaceship to Alpha Centauri while Hillary is in office and his presence is bound to cause more problems than it can solve IMO.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 4, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Obama = Jimmy Carter + Harold Washington

Posted by: Bob on February 4, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK
"You are ludicrous in your naivete, ma'am.

The world will line up with skewers and knives to carve us up.

Should a Democrat be elected President, I will buy two extra horses, invest in precious metals and guns, and acquaint myself with the use of stone age weapons and tools. I don't think the fuel will last very long, so no generators for me. I'll fill the cistern with clean water and settle in for a few years of slim pickings."

Yeah, that was funny, and I'll take it. I knew walking in with that comment I was going to get criticized, but if you can still live to see the day, Norman, go ahead and mark my words, bro. With a War sword.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

As a participant in the online Democrats Abroad Primary (it started at midnight GMT+13), I can happily report that I pulled my virtual lever today for.... Obama!

I site many of the same reasons as Kevin for my decision, although I've been firmly in the Obama camp for some time. He simply has the right "package" of qualities which I believe will make him an outstanding President. Sure it's ultimately a crapshoot as with any candidate, but I am getting more and more convinced that he could really rise up to the meet the incredible expectations he has awakened.

I'm still quite the cynic, but during the last several weeks I've enjoyed opening myself to the possibility that things really might get better. God knows, the wounds of the last several years are so incredibly deep, but Obama is maybe just the person to begin to heal them.

Posted by: ami in deutschland on February 4, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

anonymous,

The Massachusetts plan has certainly NOT been a success, and mainly it has failed because mandates have not been enforced. Among other things, it certainly doesn't answer even the "coercion" issue -- if the "connector" decides that you must buy into a plan, because he/she claims that you can afford it, then you MUST by it, under some kind of "harsh" penalty, otherwise there's no compliance.

And that brings back Obama's famous Republican talking points about how evil it is to demand such penalties. In the end, there has to be an element of coercion in any scheme that pays for UHC. (What happens if you fail to make, say, even Medicare payments when you're self-employed? Try to tell the IRS you just "opted-out" because you thought it shouldn't be coercive).

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK
For Christ's sake, don't any of you people realize that mandates are NOT "minutia" -- that both in theory and empirically the evidence is overwhelming that they are necessary to get to universal health care if one starts with anything resembling Obama's plan, or Edwards plan, or Hillary's plan?

Well, no. Individual mandates are not only not necessary to get universal healthcare from a "subsidy and choice" plan, they aren't even all that helpful. What is necessary is a universal, direct-premium-free (tax-supported) baseline plan that people get if they don't buy their own alternative plan.

The point is, how long would we have to wait to undo the political damage that Obama has done to the concept?

I would guess less time than it would take to undo the damage done by any mandate-based plan; inserting a universal baseline plan is a small policy change to a "choice and subsidy" plan, but it would seem to me to be more likely that a mandatory plan would, when it failed to acheive practical universality, be more likely to produce the kind of revulsion that would lead to the whole approach being abandoned than would a non-mandatory plan, which would be far less likely to produce direct harms rather than merely failing to produce potential goods.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Re: "Driving Krugman off the cliff"

I guess this is the problem I have with people who are critical of Krugman's criticism of Obama: I just don't see his criticism as "driving off the cliff". His arguments with Obama's approach are tough. But I have never gotten the sense that Krugman is obsessed on this. And I certainly don't think he has gone "off the cliff".

In fact, the majority of criticism I have seen of Krugman has been of this "why is Krugman acting so crazy?" with very little substantive criticisms of Krugman's substantive points. There just seems to be a presumption that Krugman can't have a legitimate concern about Obama's approach. He must be crazy (or a secret Clinton supporter).

Posted by: Chris Andersen on February 4, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Chris:
This is why obama gathers a younger generation wanting to move past Vietnam era political battles while Hillary supporters want to keep fighting them - harder.

The question is, will Obama have the option to move past these battles? What if it turns out he has to fight them anyway and doesn't have what it takes to do so?

urban legend:
I don't see "ugliness" actually coming out of the Clinton campaign itself -- as opposed to the spin on perfectly innocuous comments by opposition and media.

On the nose.

Posted by: Swift Loris on February 4, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's a great choice.

For me, it's a simple calculus. McCain will EASILY beat Clinton. With Obama, the Democrats have a good chance.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 4, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman is one of those guys who is basically right all the time. He's been warning of ecomic problems for a little while, well, now it finally caught up to us. It's a little silly to trust him so consistently and then to go as far as saying his opinion on Obama is mad when you don't agree with Krugman. It's not as if Obama is far and away better than Hillary or as if there isn't a lot of evidence that Hillary is better.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so glad. I made my decision very early on that trading the WH back and forth between immediate family members was a bad idea for democracy. If HRC was such a great presidential candidate, then she should have run in 1992. As it is, I think she'll make a fantastic President of the Senate. The choice between Edwards and Obama was a lot tougher, but I finally decided to go with the one who I thought had a better chance of pushing his agenda through. It doesn't matter how laudable your goals if they never come to fruition.

Posted by: td on February 4, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, no. Individual mandates are not only not necessary to get universal healthcare from a "subsidy and choice" plan, they aren't even all that helpful. What is necessary is a universal, direct-premium-free (tax-supported) baseline plan that people get if they don't buy their own alternative plan.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. You're saying that people should get a plan they don't have to pay for if they don't choose to play for a plan. From any economic point of view, that's only worse, placing further burdens on taxpayers to pay for free riders.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK
The Massachusetts plan has certainly NOT been a success, and mainly it has failed because mandates have not been enforced.

Which is, fundamentally, the problem with subsidy-and-choice plans that try to reach universality through individual purchase mandates. You either have to spend money enforcing them against those form whom the subsidy portion of a subsidy-and-choice plan has failed to make healthcare affordable (driving up the cost but not really improving the success of the program), or you just ignore them and hope people react to them despite their hollowness.

A universal baseline alternative which can be replaced by a purchased (with means-tested subsidies available) plan is a much better approach, and a small modification to a subsidy-and-choice plan. It acheives universality by definition without the need for individual purchase mandates.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Does no one remember that Hillary sponsored the flag burning amendment to the Constitution? A rather big nail in her coffin for me.

Posted by: moe99 on February 4, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 wrote "For Christ's sake, don't any of you people realize that mandates are NOT "minutia" -- that both in theory and empirically the evidence is overwhelming that they are necessary to get to universal health care if one starts with anything resembling Obama's plan, or Edwards plan, or Hillary's plan? There are no real alternatives here."

Is there any historical data on how many details of large program proposals from candidates have survived beyond the primary stage to general elections to a presidential program and beyond? Are we splitting hairs about something that is destined for the trash can anyway? Not being cynical here, just curious.

-- C. Dude

Posted by: Cool Dude on February 4, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, vote for Obama if you like him. But let's not dismiss Krugman so easily.

I've read every one of his columns for the past 6-7 years and he's been right on the issues more than 95% of the time. My conclusion - universal health care is less likely under Obama than under Clinton.


But hey, Hillary was wrong about the Iraq war. So I do understand your reluctance to pull the lever for Hillary.

Posted by: ppk on February 4, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

It was my Rahm Emanuel post that persuaded you, wasn't it? C'mon, you can admit it.

Posted by: Brautigan on February 4, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Jethro wrote "For the life of me, I can't see any states Kerry lost that Obama can win."

I expect the Democratic candidate in 2008, whether Clinton or Obama, to pick up at least Florida, Iowa, New Mexico and Ohio, compared to John Kerry's result in 2004. And plausibly Obama has the better shot at Iowa.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 4, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to see someone, anyone, refute Krugman's claim at the end of his column:

    If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here’s what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen. Posted by: frankly0

Sorry to be so late with this, but here's a letter that 90 health policy experts have signed saying the differences between Obama's and Clinton's plans are not significant:

    The remarkably similar health plans proposed by Senators Clinton and Obama have the potential to reduce the number of uninsured Americans (citizens, permanent residents, and others lawfully present in the U.S.) to two percent or less of the population. Achieving this goal would require full implementation of these plans' subsidies and insurance market reforms, plus robust outreach efforts to get everyone to sign up for coverage. ...

    The inaccurate claim that an individual mandate alone would reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 15 million draws attention away from the challenges we must surmount to make good medical care available to all. These challenges include adequate public subsidies, insurance market reform, outreach to people at the margins of American life, and long-term control of medical costs. Individual mandates may have a role in health care reform, but there is risk of a specious "Mission Accomplished" moment. It is a time for rolling up our sleeves and addressing the hard work required to get everyone care.


Here's the link the rest of the diary at Dkos (which has the full body of the letter). It's an interesting read...

Posted by: cyntax on February 4, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

kenga,

I looked at the link and the problem with the suggestion is pretty obvious. If you wait until a free-rider finally chooses to sign up for insurance, and then try to impose a penalty on them commensurate with how long they stayed off a plan, then what you are encouraging is a situation in which a free rider could stay off a plan for decades, and then, once their health turns bad, demand that they pay an enormous penalty -- which they may very well be completely unable to afford -- to join up on a plan.

We don't do that with SS or Medicare, do we? We understand that the obligation must be met every single year of one's life. We don't allow people to jump onto Medicare late in one's life, when one begins to start to need it or understand that one will soon need it, because it's likely that the burden can't be met at that time. Yes, the state is essentially demanding that people behave responsibly throughout their lives so that they will not stick themselves or the taxpayers with burdens that are respectively overwhelming or unfair.

If you're going to have UHC, the only way to make it possible for people so that there are no free riders and so that the burdens in an individual's life are fairly distributed across that life, is to have something essentially identical to mandates, that force people to pay as they go.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Obama.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on February 4, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK
You're saying that people should get a plan they don't have to pay for if they don't choose to play for a plan.

Forgoing available subsidy for an individually-selected plan is paying.

From any economic point of view, that's only worse, placing further burdens on taxpayers to pay for free riders.

Who do you think is paying for the subsidies in a subsidy-and-choice situation like all the plans under discussion, and pays for the enforcement of the mandates in a subsidy-choice-and-individual-mandate plan? OTOH, there aren't any free riders: if people are paying income taxes, they aren't free riding in the public system, and if people are eligible for subsidies, they aren't free riding in the public system, since they are foregoing an individual purpose subsidy. With income-based subsidies and progressive income taxes, no one rides free.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

So, Kevin, let me get this straight. You have the opportunity to buck either Sullivan or Krugman, and you're bucking Krugman?

Wow.

PLEASE reconsider.

One thing about the "hardball" you mention: Obama's "hardball" demagoguing on healthcare makes it more difficult to enact UHC, by attacking what might be a necessary tool (mandates). Hillary's hardball has been more the general, bland "I've got more experience than he does" variety, which won't be very harmful if he wins the presidency.

Finally, one more point (if there's any chance you might change your mind): you've been one of the blogosphere's clearest voices on the need for universal healthcare, and the potential benefits of single payer. Well, as you may know, Hillary's (Edwards-style) plan allows people to vote with their feet for single payer if that's what they prefer. That's a BIG advantage over Obama's program.

I agree he inspires better than Hillary. But we've seen the disastrous results of not choosing the most qualified, best prepared, hardworking person. I'm going to vote for the nerdy chick with glasses -- the hypercompetitive, slightly bitchy one who always does her assignments, and who reminds teacher right before the bell rings that he's forgotten to assign homework. Yeah, the cool, hip kid might be funner to hang out with. But this isn't eleventh grade class president we're voting for.

Posted by: Jasper on February 4, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

This is just Kevin trying to make up for being one of the biggest cheerleaders IN FAVOR of invading Iraq. It haunts him.

Posted by: Pat on February 4, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Since you seem to be affected by candidate surrogate tactics, perhaps you should watch this mornings interview of Michelle Obama, stating she would have to think about supporting Clinton. Charming that one.

Posted by: Ann on February 4, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand how anyone can vote for Obama for president given his lack of experience. If he's qualified than any state senator is qualified!

I think people are voting for him because the Republicans were so effective in discrediting Bill & Hillary when he was president. They achieved their goal.

What about all of Obama's votes of present on controverisal issues? He gives a good speech but what has he actually accomplished?

Also, why is Hillary condemned for her corporate law experience when Obama's wife has the same experience? Someone in the family had to earn money! State legislators in Ill. and Governors of Arkansas just aren't well paid.

It's just too much like a high school election here - the cute guy wins. Forget the qualifications.

Mary Anne

Posted by: MaryAnne on February 4, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever else one may wish to conclude about mandates, I think there's one obvious thing that one can't get around: Obama has made using mandates impossible for himself. He has essentially removed that possibility from the toolbox of solutions he could employ. And insofar as any alternative solution resembles mandates, or some other form of "coercion", he's on record demonizing it. It will of course be true that opponents of reform will do everything in their power to use his own words against him, whatever measure of coercion he might actually choose.

And for what did Obama do this? To have a cheap political comeback.

Yeah, politics of hope, alright.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Two things.Kevin did you tak too much acid once in your life or something? Deciding who to vote for is laudable but making the compaison of Obama to Ronald Reaguns or Jimmy Carter is laughably naive and ignorant.

Second-Norman get used to it we're gonna have either Obama or Clinton as president. If you don't think the country is in pisspoor condition already then your living with your head in the sand.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 4, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

GOD at 12:57, I don't think the whole country isn't ready for a black president-- I think about 47% is ready. But I think the rest aren't. they might be ready for a black neighbor, a black co-worker, or even a black boyfriend for their daughter-- but when it comes to a black president, and it's just them alone with the lever in the voting booth, the answer is no.

If Barack is nominated, I hope every person we have who hasn't voted before, every hippy marijuana dealers' lazy girlfriend and every student who doesn't care about voting and every sedentary person who thinks their vote doesn't count makes the effort.

As for the head-to-head projections, it could be they are inaccurate because they are not taking into account properly the novelty of running female and black candidates as the nominee. It's an elementary fact you can learn in any American Politics undergrad course that blacks are not as politically active as whites in America. If those head-to-head polls versus McCain ask respondents whether they have voted before and how many times in order to determine whether they are likely voters, it could be they are underestimating Hillary's support and inflating Obama's. It could be that white women who have never voted before will be more willing to come out to vote for Hillary, but that blacks who haven't voted before will not be as likley to vote for the first time as the white women, even if it's for a black president. It's true that Barack had a slow start building up a lot of excitement among blacks, and it's probably because his image is a little more highbrow than, unfortunately, many in the black community are comfortable with. Jesse Jackson, for example, strikes a much more regular-guyish note. Also, the "likely voter" question may underestimate the number of white men who will come out to vote against Obama. They also may be more likely to vote for the first time, although they have not voted before, to vote against Obama than blacks would be to come out for the first time for him. And there are many more white men than there are blacks in America.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you're the one who drove off the cliff, not Krugman. Krugman's column today provides a cost analysis comparison between Hillary's and Barack's health plans. Professor Gruber who Krugman cites is a highly respected healthcare economist whom I had the privilege of attending one of his classes at MIT. Thus, Krugman's defense is factual based, while Sullivan's, Barack's campaign ad's, and yours are emotion-based and intellectually dishonest.

I am disappointed in you Kevin, I will no longer be reading your blog. This is why political hacks should remain in the political arena, and not deal with the real issues of our nation, because they ignore them anyway.

Posted by: Jonathan on February 4, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Still don't know what you're talking about.

You seem to envision that everybody can get a free, taxpayer supported plan if they want. Well, why wouldn't just about everybody choose that, unless it's a wretched plan? If it's a wretched plan, what kind of UHC is it? If it's not, how won't we bankrupt the system because everybody wants it for free?

Where, by "bankrupt the system", I mean add huge additional burdens in tax?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Carter is an intelligent man. One of his shortcomings as president was his focus on the "trees" rather than the "forest." There is a story of an aide finding him up late at night trying to read the budget. Mr. President, the budget is way too detailed for you to read the whole thing. You have to understand it at a more executive level. I don't see Mr. Obama as being overly obsessed with the details; if anything that would seem to apply more to Mrs. Clinton.

Another flaw of Jimmy Carter was that, at a time when America needed some inspiring leadership, he gave a "malaise" speech. In contrast, Mr. Obama might be expected to be Churchillian, or perhaps Reagan-like, in Kevin's terms, in terms of saying the things that lead America through dark times. I think Mrs. Clinton might be more effective hashing out deals with Congressional leaders, but perhaps Mr. Obama would be more like The Great Communicator™ with the public and the media.

Or not. Einstein was wrong when he said "God does not play dice ..."

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 4, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: A bit of hardball is to be expected and I can't for the life of me figure out what Obama has done to drive a sensible guy like Krugman over a cliff.

Kevin, I've read the article and every other article Krugman's written on the subject, plus some of his books, and, for the life of me, I do not see what you see in any of it that's unsensible. Krugman is eminently qualified to provide guidance on an issue that is vital to millions of Americans. To call well-reasoned, thoroughly researched treatises on policy a "jihad" is pure demagoguery. WTF? As Doc at the Radar Station said, I'm changed my mind at least 8 times since last Wednesday, but you appear to have lost yours?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK
If you're going to have UHC, the only way to make it possible for people so that there are no free riders and so that the burdens in an individual's life are fairly distributed across that life, is to have something essentially identical to mandates, that force people to pay as they go.

Individual purchase mandates won't work for that, because "mandates" aren't things you have to do, they are things you are punished if you choose not to do. The distinction is important.

The main potential for failure at universality in a subsidy-and-choice plan is that, for some people, the subsidies fail to make insurance actually affordable. Individual purchase mandates take the perspective that expending resources to impose additional costs on these people that the policy has failed will somehow get them into the system despite the failure of the subsidy to make insurance affordable. This is clearly ludicrous.

A universal baseline approach in a subsidy-and-choice system does not have this problem: it simply provides a default choice that cannot be unaffordable. It therefore acheives universality simply, makes any failures of the subsidy arrangement apparent without punishing those already failed by the system, and requires no separate enforcement machinery.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Second-Norman get used to it we're gonna have either Obama or Clinton as president. If you don't think the country is in pisspoor condition already then your living with your head in the sand.

Two words, my friend--National Security. No one is going to hand over the protection of the wives and daughters of America to someone who hasn't worn the uniform. It isn't going to happen. The only chance liberals have is to put Wesley Clark on a ticket and pray no one notices that Clark didn't engender a lot of respect for himself while in uniform.

Jesse Jackson, for example, strikes a much more regular-guyish note.

You are, without question, the stupidest person alive. Do you think with that brain or do you let one single pea fly around in your head, creating a dense echo that swells into a relentless humming sound that drowns out all sense and reason?

I mean--what the living hell under the Creator's sun is wrong with you? You are too stupid to be believed.

No wonder you can't get work as a barrister.

And there are many more white men than there are blacks in America.

Plus, you're full of nifty facts none of us already knew...

I weep at how stupid you are, boy. I just weep uncontrollably at what Rutgers has sent out into the world with a sheepskin and a resume.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Fascinating to read Kevin and the rest of you. If I was voting in a democratic primary, I also would vote for Obama.

The fascinating part is that Kevin and all you folks of good will seem to be making your choice on some combination of tactical and emotional reasons. Plus, Kevin's remarkable rationale that he hopes Obama will be Reagan rather than Carter.

I think below the surface there must be a realization that the Clintons really are not very good people, or at least not good people if it conflicts with their personal ambition and perhaps that Hillary is not a good person at all.

Posted by: brian on February 4, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that "a bit of hardball is to be expected." Thus I'm wondering why "Obama's mini-demagoguery" is understandable, while the Clinton camp's mini-demagoguery qualifies as "ugliness".
Would it be as ugly if Bill and Hillary were attacking John Edwards, or John McCain, rather than a Great Historic Figure with dark skin? I think not. And I think that Republican and Independants (and whatever foreign and domestic adversaries that Obama encounters should he become President) will be highly unlikely to embrace such PC nonsense.

Posted by: white cornerback on February 4, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

So McCain is putting out anti-Hillary fund-raising ads right now, and -- of all places -- in the Political Animal banner? Let's hope more McCain money is spent this way.

Posted by: JS on February 4, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo, Kevin. For me, it was Hillary's pandering and Bill's embarrassing insertion into her campaign. I also believe that Hillary ran on the Rove blueprint. She is a war enabler and I see this mess continuing under her. Finally, no health plan or serious legislation will pass if she is elected. I see some reverse coat tails. Time for the Hillary bots to switch off here.

Posted by: Sparko on February 4, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you!

Posted by: John on February 4, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're clearly a smart guy, but Krugman's a really smart guy who's record is better than yours. Comparing him with Andrew Sullivan is just ridiculous.

Posted by: Matilde on February 4, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK
You seem to envision that everybody can get a free, taxpayer supported plan if they want.

Well, except that its not "free", since you are foregoing a subsidy to a personally-selected plan.


Well, why wouldn't just about everybody choose that, unless it's a wretched plan?

Because there are many types of "good" plans, and some people may prefer different features. That's the whole principle of having a subsidy-and-choice plan instead of a single-payer plan in the first place.

If it's a wretched plan, what kind of UHC is it?

A better one that the US has now. Not, of course, that there is any reason it should be a "wretched plan".

If it's not, how won't we bankrupt the system because everybody wants it for free?

The same reason that a subsidy-and-choice system fails to bankrupt the system in any case: through tax increases.

Where, by "bankrupt the system", I mean add huge additional burdens in tax?

A subsidy-and-choice system already adds huge additional burdens in tax. There is no reason that a universal baseline added to such a system would cost substantially more in tax than any other subsidy-and-choice system that actually acheived universality through some other means [if it could] (assuming, of course, that "choice" of plans really is as important to consumers as the pushers of subsidy-and-choice over single-payer claim, and assuming again that the public system isn't far more efficient), and it will probably cost less and acheive more than a subsidy-and-choice-plus-individual-mandate plan, which will have all the costs of a vanilla subsidy and choice plan, and expend additional costs punishing the people that its subsidies fail.

Of course, in the case where the universal baseline does cost substantially more (i.e., where people prefer just accepting the public system to choosing a private system and/or where the public system simply outperforms the private systems so that, even if it had to be actively chosen, it would be preferred), it is because it is producing the greatest benefit to the public possible at the cost, and the tax cost is replacing spending that people would otherwise do in the private sector, so there is no reason to oppose it in those cases except an ideological opposition to government.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

In the mainstream media Krugman was one of the lone voices who stood up to the fear mongering of the Bush administration during the last 7 years. Even you Kevin, buckled a bit.

Yes Krugman is a bit of a prickly character. But I wonder if you have something against him because he is right so often.

Posted by: ppk on February 4, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

what white cornerback said.

Posted by: Bluegrass Poet on February 4, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Reading this makes me as happy as a Gore or Edwards endorsement would! In this entire crazy blogworld, I find that my thinking is most like Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall.

I am somewhat dismayed that so many people want to create a simplistic strawman argument about the "Democratic Reagan" concept that Kevin mentions. I remember laying out the same hyothesis to a conservative friend about a year ago - Obama's charisma and leadership ability could create a huge wave of popular support, despite being on a pure policy level, more liberal (as Reagan was more conservative) than a general electorate would usually tolerate.

None of us are saying Obama would be substantively like Reagan in any way. But if he could do for the progressive movement what Reagan did for the conservatives - that's true transcendance for you. And because Obama's progressive philosophy is ground in firmer ground than conservative BS, I wouldn't expect it to be eroded at all (let alone washed away) for at least a generation.

Hillary can't accomplish that. We'll just be praying for 50.1% in 2008 and to hold onto Congress in 2010. We won't be talking about a transcendent movement at all.

FWIW, I don't understand the whole "Church of Krugman" thing. He's just one voice of many among progressive writers - and yes, I do think he's gone off the rails re Obama, just like Jerome Armstrong.

Posted by: NC State Dem on February 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Glad you finally came around, Kevin. I was getting worried about you for a while.

I do think Sully is a bit of a broken record on Hillary sometimes, but he has pretty good reasons to back up his emotions.

Posted by: Everett Craven on February 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: the ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks

And another thing...the way some of you...you know who you are...swoon over every perceived racial insult makes me really wonder how this country ever made any progress at all towards equal rights. How could such hot house flowers have ever faced down hoses, dogs, sit-ins, stand-ins, marches, being called "nigger lovers", armed escorts for their school children, beatings, lynchings, murders? Many didn't live through it, but I did, so I can tell you with some authority, you defame a noble cause by tarring and feathering genuine civil rights heroes such as the Clintons. You're turning racism into the new McCarthyism. I lived through that too and I do not ever want to go back.

You, Kevin Drum, have inspired me to make up my mind. It's Hillary Clinton all the way! You go, Girl!

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Rather than continue to answer your arguments in detail, let me simply say this.

If the economics and politics of the sort of plan you had in mind worked out as wonderfully as you imagine, it would be the first plan out for every informed politician.

Yet not one of them has chosen it.

Why might that be?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

So when the clinton's do it, it's dirty tricks. When Obama does it, it's hardball politics. Interesting.

Posted by: Bluegrass Poet on February 4, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as your horse started to fall behind, you jumped on the new leader's back. What a fair weather fan you are!

Posted by: fembot on February 4, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yes Krugman is a bit of a prickly character. But I wonder if you have something against him because he is right so often.

Yes, he's only predicted 8 recessions that never happened:

Like Megan, I think "a recession seems likely-ish", but "Krugman predicts" is generally a good sign to bet the other way.
"[R]ight now it looks as if the economy is stalling..." — Paul Krugman, September 2002
"We have a sluggish economy, which is, for all practical purposes, in recession..." — Paul Krugman, May 2003
"An oil-driven recession does not look at all far-fetched." — Paul Krugman, May 2004
"[A] mild form of stagflation - rising inflation in an economy still well short of full employment - has already arrived." — Paul Krugman, April 2005
"If housing prices actually started falling, we'd be looking at [an economy pushed] right back into recession. That's why it's so ominous to see signs that America's housing market ... is approaching the final, feverish stages of a speculative bubble." — Paul Krugman, May 2005
"In fact, a growing number of economists are using the "R" word [i.e., "recession"] for 2006." - Paul Krugman, August 2005
"But based on what we know now, there’s an economic slowdown coming." - Paul Krugman, August 2006
"this kind of confusion about what’s going on is what typically happens when the economy is at a turning point, when an economic expansion is about to turn into a recession" - Paul Krugman, December 2006
"Right now, statistical models ... give roughly even odds that we’re about to experience a formal recession. ... [T]he odds are very good — maybe 2 to 1 — that 2007 will be a very tough year." - Paul Krugman, December 2006

When you're flailing about, trying to find someone to back up your argument, try not to pick the guy who's wrong 8 times in 6 years about one thing.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Obama might be expected to be Churchillian, or perhaps Reagan-like,...that lead America through dark times.

Reagan led America into dark times. We are still in them. Carter tried to lead America out of dark times, but Americans preferred the dark side. Rhetoric can mask reality, and Reagan was quite good at it, but I doubt Obama's rhetoric will be able to mask the W. Bush malaise. It is more than a vague feeling of discomfort. The W. Bush malaise is a cancer that no amount of feel good inspirational speeches or bipartisanship will cure.

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to generally agree with Kevin as I have come to pretty much the same place for somewhat different reasons. However, I have one HUGE problem with what he wrote: the Krugman comments and the implicit comparison with Andrew Sullivan.

However, I see that a lot of people have beat me to the punch. I would just urge you to re-think what you wrote about this. It was uncharacteristically glib and shallow. Krugman's argument is serious and substantive and should provide readers at least one reason to prefer Mrs. Clinton.

Posted by: Tom on February 4, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't see Mr. Obama as being overly obsessed with the details"

Talk about the understatement of the year!

Posted by: Pat on February 4, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bigger than the Shriver endorsement in CA...

It really is true I guess. The more people see of Obama, the more they realize there is a there there.

I wish Kevin was reading this far dowm, but I wonder if yesterday's rally had an influence on him?

Posted by: justmy2 on February 4, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK
Rather than continue to answer your arguments in detail

You never started to answer my arguments in detail, so how could you continue to do so in any case?

If the economics and politics of the sort of plan you had in mind worked out as wonderfully as you imagine, it would be the first plan out for every informed politician.

Um, where did I ever say the politics worked out well? Aside from the discussion (which isn't germane directly to the universal baseline idea except to how we might get there, and what might stop us from ever getting there) about the likely responses to the inevitable universality failures of the Obama plan vs. those of the Clinton plan and its likewise inevitable universality failures, I've been discussing policy, not politics, and your false claim that individual purchase mandates are the only way (or even a viable way) of acheiving universality. Politically, I'd say we won't get to a plan like I outline except as a means take to cover the universality gaps some subsidy-and-choice plan that doesn't include a universal baseline.

(Of course, beyond the false premise, the logic you use doesn't follow. It is simply a not-particularly-clever deployment of the argumentum ad populum fallacy. I say not-particularly-clever because, not only is it fallacious, but if taken seriously it would lead to the conclusion that the status quo must always be right, because if some other idea was better, well, everyone would already be doing it. Its particularly odd when its deployed as an argument against one policy change from someone supporting a different policy change.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

You have reinforced my good opinion of your blog. I'm glad that you are someone who can change his mind. Too many bloggers reveal a preference or and opinion and then spend all their time justifying it no matter how the situation or story changes. I don't like that in my president and I don't like in the blog I read.

Posted by: Ken on February 4, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I feel like saying something cheesy:

Thanks, Kevin

Posted by: lampwick on February 4, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's very odd. Of all the people who I thought would have made a decision based on the issues and not silly campaign minutiae, Kevin would have been at the top of the list. But all three of your main arguments have nothing to do with policy.

So much for universal health care. Maybe next decade.

Posted by: Steve on February 4, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Whatever else one may wish to conclude about mandates, I think there's one obvious thing that one can't get around: Obama has made using mandates impossible for himself. He has essentially removed that possibility from the toolbox of solutions he could employ."

But this is pure nonsense. We're speaking of American politics, where campaign arguments are purely ephemeral. If necessary, Obama's opposition to mandates will surely go down the same memory hole as Bill Clinton's opposition to Tsongas's deficit reduction plan, George W. Bush's demagoguery against nation-building, his father's opposition to Reagan's "voodoo economics", or pretty much the entire Contract With America.

Obama's opposition to mandates is probably a mistake, but it's laughable to claim that this has made it "IMPOSSIBLE" for him to eventually come around to the idea on the merits. He's clearly preferable to Clinton on foreign policy and he's light-years better on telecom and internet policy. His leadership skills, broadly speaking, leave hers in the dust.

This really should not be a difficult decision.

Posted by: AJL on February 4, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers at 2:10: Jesse Jackson, for example, strikes a much more regular-guyish note.

Cory Booker had the same problem getting elected mayor of Newark, NJ. He ran against a guy who was like every regular black guy's zany, full-of-himself uncle, and Booker held himself out as basically some redneck's sterotype of a northern white liberal-- vegetarian and everything. Booker couldn't win against the incumbent at first, even though everyone knew he was corrupt. Then the incumbent mysteriously decided not to run against Booker- running again- in the next election, and Booker finally was able to win because there was no opposition. He went on to appoint what was, for a liberal, basically an amazing goon-squad, including a cop to lead his police force who would do things like get into screaming fights with other cops in public, even to the point of drawing weapons. After that incident, Booker didn't demote the guy at all.

Kev, if you have any reason to think rotten stuff is going on in this campaign as it does with every one, you're right and expect it to effect what you see.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Watching Andrew Sullivan rant and rave on a daily basis about Hillary, for example, has had the perverse effect of keeping me on her side."

Me, too. Even though I have been pretty much in the Obama camp for months now, every time I read Andrew Sullivan I had to resist the urge to quit my job and volunteer full time for Hilary.

And as for Krugman: it's not that mandates are "minutiae." It's that winning an expansion of health care is a political battle more than it is a wonk battle. If Obama's going to pick an issue to on which to "triangulate", better health care than torture. Opposing mandates may be bad policy but does not involve war crimes. Being weaselly on torture (see your blog, October 10, 2007) is not only bad policy but quite literally does involve war crimes.

I'm voting Obama.

Posted by: Genevieve on February 4, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Swan at 2:42PM:

"...what?..."

Do you have a point, son? Did one of your professors hit you on the head with a lead pipe eight or nine times in a row, really fast?

That was, without a doubt, the most substance-free defense of your position ever witnessed. I really like how you got the details about how the African-American people behave, because it really does strike me as odd that a "liberal" would highlight these things on a "progressive blog" and then think they were making a point.

Hold on, I must weep some more.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it's embarrassing watching a man weep like that.

Meanwhile, Kev—political packaging aside—remind me what's so bad about Jimmy Carter and what's so good about the Gipper.

Posted by: Kenji on February 4, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's opposition to mandates is probably a mistake, but it's laughable to claim that this has made it "IMPOSSIBLE" for him to eventually come around to the idea on the merits.

Look, what you can't get around is that in the case of UHC, there will a determined opposition who will gladly use Obama's own words against him, in ads and God knows what else. None of the cases you present as "counter-examples" comes near the saliency and specificity that Obama's demonization of mandates has involved.

Do you really think that this inconsistency is just going to go away, when parties opposed to UHC will use every means at their disposal and huge corporate coffers to undermine it? Do you really imagine that they won't dredge up his ads to use against him? What could Obama possibly use as a cover for his flip-flopping on the issue?

God, are you naive. No wonder you love Obama.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I hope he wins and I'd take Jimmy Carter over that bumbling idiot Reagan any day.

Posted by: Kevin Kelly on February 4, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Obama camp hedges on supporting Clinton should she become the nominee.

Posted by: Mike on February 4, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Obama might be expected to be Churchillian, or perhaps Reagan-like,...that lead America through dark times.

Reagan led America into dark times. We are still in them. Carter tried to lead America out of dark times, but Americans preferred the dark side.

People here are confusing political prowess with political views. I disagreed with the vast majority of Reagan's policies, but I cannot deny his ability to galvanize American public opinion. Obama has a similar strength.

While I wish Obama was more progressive on health care, I can't look upon this as a one-issue campaign; that's as foolish as choosing a candidate simply for their stand on abortion. The 5-10% chance Hillary could get universal health care enacted, as opposed to the 0-1% in an Obama administration, isn't worth rehashing the divisiveness of the '90s. To ensure its future, the Democratic party needs to go in a different direction. I'd have preferred Edwards lead the way, but Obama can do it, too.

Posted by: Vincent on February 4, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Barack Obama is as good for the political standing for the progressive movement as Reagan was for the conservative movement.

If Obama's political life mirrors that of Carter, then we are in bad shape in 2010 and 2012. Nobody who knows anything re political history would dispute that.

It's very simple, people. Has nothing to do with the actual policies of either Reagan or Carter.

Posted by: NC State Dem on February 4, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh, typical Drum economism....

Krugman is over the edge. Krugman is SHRILL! Krugman has also been right many times you were not.

Similarly from Drum, any discussion, ANY discussion whatsoever of going back to the gold standard is pure crackpotism.

My guess is that Paul Krugman would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of a gold standard.

That's because he is secure in his views, in his knowledge, and in his penis size.

Posted by: jerry on February 4, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

What distresses me about UHC, is that I regard UHC as being good for citizens and being terrific for business in terms of helping our businesses compete with each other and compete with overseas business.

Of all the things we can do to help keep jobs in this country, and grow small businesses up, I regard UHC as the biggest step.

So Obama's UHC standpoint has me very much thinking of Hillary, and I am lean towards Obama only because I think he would be the best against McCain.

Posted by: jerry on February 4, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I see KD has embraced the bandwagon effect and cited a spurious and unsupported claim against Krugman and the many Clinton distortions by the media which Obama was happy to allow to go unchallenged (this despite the history of every Dem candidate in the last 25 years getting smeared by the media in the same way once they became the nominee) thereby showing his commitment to the politics of hope and honesty to be as phony as every other politician that has ever made such claims as his reasons/grounds for doing so. Did the Clintons play hardball? Yep, always said so here as I also pointed out Obama was playing equally hard and being as dishonest in his attack smears (LBJ and fairy tale being racist somehow in their eyes was what showed me their dishonesty and willingness to play the race card first, and it was the Obama camp that got caught with a memo about using that card not the Clintons, yet the Clintons get the blame, which shows just how much people are letting their perceptions to overwhelm reality, exactly what Krugman is complaining about regarding Obama) as Bill Clinton was regardng what Obama said about Reagan (which Clinton defenders he was, he added language while claiming it was what he said, that it was consistent with what Obama was saying doesn't change that fact for me, although I don't think it was as egregious as what Obama and his wife did with the fairy tale comment in that regard) while claiming to run a campaign above such tactics. Which of course his supporters here and elsewhere have swallowed whole.

Look, I really hope I am wrong about this if Obama gets the nomination, but I really think he is the weaker, not stronger candidate for the general. That his campaign and supporters think he has already withstood incredible attack politics from the Clintons when if anything the Clintons have been more retrained than I expected (I suspect so for two reasons, the message of hope being so attractive within the Dem primary so to go too negative plays into that meme, and that the MSM have shown a remarkable tendency to take attacks on his record and history as somehow racially tinged, which the Obama camp has been fine with not challenging despite his supposed postpartisan approach to politics, obviously because it helped him again acting just like a typical politician playing the same old politics) over the past month tells me he is far less vetted than his supporters believe. I also have seen him benefit from major media support (which many of his supporters seem to think will continue once he is the nominee even against McCain the media darling of the past 8 years as well as the history of the media always turning against the Dem nominee in the general) because of the clear anti-Clinton bias within many of the MSM as documented by MediaMatters and the Daily Howler for many years now working in his favour, at least for now, once she is eliminated I doubt that will last much beyond that point.

I will close with this last comment, I love how the Obama supporters love KD's judgment here when it agrees with them, while castigating Clinton over supporting the Iraq war given KD was one of the hawks for that war too. Judgment seems to depend more on which side you are on with too many Obama supporters for my tastes and less on hard fact, logic, and reason. I hope and pray you all are correct about Obama's ability to beat the system that has opposed the Dem candidate for decades now, I really do, but my own political instincts and reasoning skills tell me he is far weaker a candidate than is currently being perceived. We shall see.

Remember, my opposition to Obama is that I see him as the less likely to survive the election environment, not on policy grounds as between the two from my perspective there is no difference (since I have full healthcare thanks to my nation’s system I am not terribly interested in the nuts and bolts of your health care system) there, only in terms of how well I see them winning and to a lesser extent how well I see them being able to do what they say once in power. On that score I still see HRC as the superior candidate despite all her negatives/flaws as a candidate. Indeed, her flaws make her harder to smear, not easier, especially when Obama is running an ideals/morality campaign which means any dirt/mud (which thrives in your elections, especially general Presidential ones in my observations) shows up far more vividly and will have disproportionately more impact, especially in the independent/swing vote everyone is counting on Obama being ablr/probable to deliver.

I would ask one thing though of the Obama supporters here that disagree with me, if you are going to say I am deluded in my thinking/reasoning now I will be expecting an apology if what I predicted and how comes to pass in November. If I am proven wrong I will equally acknowledge my error/mistake in a full mea culpa apology at this site in the thread that announces his victory. Deal? Remember, my views are not shaped by any partisanship for either side within the Dem primary, and because of that my emotions are not the ones driving my examinations of each side in this. That my views are shaped by reasoning and logic and the history of Presidential elections over the 3 decades now. As long as it is a Dem President I will be happy with the result in Nov.

Posted by: Scotian on February 4, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who has worked in health-insurance reform for years, I offer this: anyone who votes for Hillary Clinton merely because they think that her insurance plan is not only better than Obama's but also has a prayer of a chance of being enacted is rolling the dice big-time. Neither of their approaches will be successful. As long as the insurance industry retains its seat at the table, nothing will change in a meaningful way. Truly. The only thing that would make a difference, of course, is single-payer. So to stake one's vote on a candidate who offers a plan that, sorry Paul Krugman, will never be enacted is naive in the extreme. Pick your candidate for their experience, their inspriration, their views on the war and the economy, but for God's sake people don't pick it because of their health insurance reform platforms. You are tilting at windmills.

Posted by: just a person on February 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

OMG, Obama is Carter!!!!! Never mind that Carter had little or no charisma. The point is: Obama won't be an effective President. Why? Because he is like Carter! QED.

The real question is: who is the best analog for the dry and technocratic Hillary? Stevenson? Dukakis? I'm thinking Tsongas, myself.

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 4, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

You are of course free to support whomever youm want, but I have to strongly disagree with your reasoning. I think Obama's campaign has succeeded in one important area: they've managed to paint both Bill and Hillary Clinton as racists, which I think is despicable slander, and an order of magnitude worse than accusing someone of liking Reagan. Obama has managed to seem so "calm" because he has plenty of surrogates pushing these themes for him. Obama had taken the position that only his campaign can talk about race, and only when it helps him. He stated last year that black voting would increase 30 percent if he was the nominee. That couldn't have anything to do with him being black, however, because Bill Clinton hadn't yet "told" us that Obama was black. Then Bob Kerrey is labeled a racist for saying Obama would be repected in the Muslim world because he has a Muslim name and atteneded a madrassas. Now here's Obama this weekend, saying that he would have more credibility in the Muslim world. Just tell us when it's OK to talk about these things, Barack.

His campaign has injected racial overtones into virtually every stateent from the Clinton campaign. I for one think the Clintons have done too much for the Democratic Party to be smeared like this. In Dem politics, accusing someone of racism is like calling them a child molester, yet Oabama's people have turned it into a parlor game.

I think Obama has shown a distressing tendency to escape accountability. He's getting an awful lot of mileage out of making an anti-war speech in a park, yet when he actually has to cast votes that matter, he's pretty slippery. I know some of the pro-choice people in Illinois (whom I assume have a history of working with Obama and thus aren't exactly neutral observers) have absolved him of responsibility for his "present" votes, dismissing them as a tactic. But read what they're saying; it's a tactic to avoid having a vote on his record he will have to answer to.

Obama's supporters are quick to dismiss any negatives about the guy. I'm really getting tired of his supporters explaining to me what he "really" meant. His statement that he didn't know how he would have voted on AUMF if he was in the Senate should put a big hole in one of his primary talking points. But instead, we're told he was only being "loyal" to the party's nominees. So I guess to Obama's folks, making a public statement and then saying later you actually meant the opposite is the "new politics." Because it's not at all possible that he was ambitious, and didn't want to do anything to jeopardize his keynote at the convention. No, because Obama isn't like mere mortals. He's only driven by pure thoughts.

And I'm especially tired of hearing him bash Hillary for the Kyl-Lieberman vote. 98 Senators showedd up to vote on that amendment, but somehow the vote was kept a secret from Obama. And he co-sponsored a bill containing identical language to Kyl-Lieberman. But I'm sure I'll hear how it's not really how it looks, and he's still pure of heart and mind.

All of the talk about bringing a new tone to Washington sounds great, but does anyone ever really think beyond the slogans? Obama's stance indicates that Democrats and Republicans are equally responsible for the viciousness of the last eight years. If you truly beleive the Republicans are primarily responsible for setting the tone, then what do you think Obama is going to do to change it? Is he so inspirational that suddenly Republican Senators are going to become pro-choice, or vote for liberal Supreme Court nominees? I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how exactly he's going to bring "change" to Washington.

As for Hillary's negatives, I really don't think the mass of independent and moderate Republican voters (the ones who might actually vote for a Dem) are sitting around seething with hatred for her, just waiting to refight the battles of the 90s. There is a cadre of professional Clinton haters who have made it their life's work to ruin both Bill and Hillary. Allowing them to dictate who the Democratic nominee is doesn't work for me. I refuse to let them win, and declare Hillary unelectable because of them. And if you don't think those same people will have plent to say about a black man with a Muslim name, just wait. They just haven't been paying that much attention to him yet.

Posted by: ChrisO on February 4, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian - I would ask one thing though of the Obama supporters here that disagree with me, if you are going to say I am deluded in my thinking/reasoning now I will be expecting an apology if what I predicted and how comes to pass in November. If I am proven wrong I will equally acknowledge my error/mistake in a full mea culpa apology at this site in the thread that announces his victory. Deal?

Deal...I have been thinking about this too. You have illuminated a key issue. When you take the moral high ground, there is much farther to fall.

That being said, after some long and hard thought, and Edwards dropping out, I am willing to take the chance. I simply have decided that fear of the unknown will not drive my decision. This may or may not turn out to be correct, but at this point, I have simply decided to choose the person that I think will make the best President.

His wife's speech last night didn't hurt either...

Posted by: justmy2 on February 4, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The logic behind Drum's change of heart: Kool-Aid.

There is no logic at all. It is Drum v. Drum. It is a non sequitur. It is kool-aid.

When Clinton does it, it's ugliness:


Drum: (a) the ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks, which has turned me off.

When Obama does it it is an election!


Drum:I don't like Obama's mini-demagoguery of Hillary's healthcare plan either, but for chrissake, it's an election.

Drum has drunk the kool-aid, which I am sure is spiked considering the hysteria over a condidate with a paper-thin resume...

Posted by: dcshungu on February 4, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obama will kick republican ass. Jeez, Hillary will even kick their ass.

Posted by: Kevin Kelly on February 4, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that you will be sorry for this late decision. You state that you have decided to go with Obama based on the Clinton negative campaigning. What are you talking about? It's Obama's camapaign that has run leaflets that say" be a Democrat for a day...to get rid of Hillary Clinton" marketed to Republicans in area's where they can afford to cross over in the primary. Look at the results in Iowa and North west Nevada. Also, Michele Obama stated this morning, she didn't know if she could support Hillary if she is the nominee...! Said it was " her tone.." Now can you believe it? If Bill or Hillary said that about Obama, you would all be having a cow..>!She said it on GMA this morning...Look it up! As far as I'm concerned, You are voting for a "George W. Bush" clone if you pull the Obama lever. You are "guessing" at what he will do, because you do not have any EVIDENCE of what he will do. He votes present of is absent instead of taking a stand. SOrry Kevin, I am disapointed in you!

Posted by: KAY KITTELSEN on February 4, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is just academic for me I already mailed in my ballot for Edwards, but what has consistently troubled me about Obama is that he uses so may of the right wing talking points social security etc. as well as strangely enough being the least liberal in general in all of his proposals.
Krugman makes sense and I don't see him as being anti Obama as much as simply pointing out facts. I'm sorry but I would if I could choose Hilary, not to say I wouldn't simply love to see a Hilary/Obama ticket. This is in spite of having gotten a call this morning from Scarlet Johannsen asking me to vote for Obama, if it weren't recorded it might have worked.

Posted by: Ted on February 4, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"God, are you naive."

An interesting comment coming from someone so petrified of Obama's quotes about mandates ending up in hypothetical Republican ads years down the road that he's evidently unaware Hillary Clinton has some personal history with health care reform. You think those old mock bureaucratic flowcharts might also turn up on the teevee again?

Good Christ, man. If I'm "naive", then you're a bloody idiot. They'll run nasty ads against universal health care no matter whom we nominate. It's going to take a strong and popular leader to overcome the attacks. I don't know if Obama can, but I sure like his odds better than Clinton's. She's already 0 for 1, and it was one of the ugliest failures of political leadership in recent memory.

Posted by: AJL on February 4, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

K[rugman] believes -- and I certainly agree, as I gather you [Kevin] do also -- that getting health insurance for all is going to be a titanic struggle. K wants Obama to start preparing now, or at least to not do anything now that undercuts the effort later.

So, tell me: where does HRC's assumption (i.e., political judgment) that the nation is not ready for single-payer fit into this "titanic struggle"? And how does that assumption compare to the assumption (i.e., political judgment) that Krugman is crucifying Obama for -- that mandates are not the answer?

IMHO, the assumption that "we are not ready for single-payer" does at least as much damage upfront to the likelihood of ever achieving universal health care as does a rejection of mandates. But I don't vilify HRC by saying that, if elected, she could never deliver single-payer.

These are proposals, for god's sake. Proposals whose details will change. Maybe she and Krugman are right, maybe mandates are required, but that doesn't mean that Obama, if elected, could never deliver universal coverage if the votes were there in Congress.

I am a fan of Krugman. But, as in the case of all such columnists, analysis must be separated from leaps of faith. His analysis may be right on, but his leap may go well beyond his data. Saying that Obama could never deliver universal health care goes so far beyond his data that it should be ignored as a guide to which candidate is the better one.

Posted by: Econobuzz on February 4, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Monzie: the faulty logic Hillary displays in calling her vote to support the Iraq invasion a mistake (only?) because of the incompetence of the president in its conduct

Something that is always lost in this kind of argument is the fact that a senator is elected to represent his constituency...first. Obviously, there are times when this presents a problem for that senator's core values or political self-interests. This might not be much of a problem for all you keyboard zealots out there with your purists points of view, but in the real world, on any piece of legislation, the senator has the following choices, to vote:

1. With his constituents, his values, and his interests;
2. With his constituents, his values, and against his interests;
3. With his constituents, against his values and his interests;
4. With his constituents, against his values, and with his interests;
5. Against his constituents, with his values and his interests;
6. Against his constituents, with his values, and against his interests;
7. Against his constituents, against his values, and with his interests;
8. Against his constituents, his values, and his interest;
9. Present (or abstain).

So unless, you're one of the senator's constituents, share his core values, and support his political viability, i.e. his interests, don't be so quick to jump to conclusions about what any particular votes says about the person, the person's logic, or the person's fitness to serve a larger constituency with a wider set of values.

Obama's present votes...Clinton's AUMF vote. They really are not as important as the policies they enunciate for the larger constituency with the wider set of values. JMHO

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Should a Democrat be elected President, I will buy two extra horses, invest in precious metals and guns, and acquaint myself with the use of stone age weapons and tools. I don't think the fuel will last very long, so no generators for me. I'll fill the cistern with clean water and settle in for a few years of slim pickings.

And don't forget to cancel your ISP."

LOL

Posted by: drosz on February 4, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Obama camp hedges on supporting Clinton should she become the nominee.

My prediction about Michelle Obama is that, if she becomes First Lady, she will come to be hated in a way even Hillary never knew.

The sense of entitlement and aggrievance in that woman is simply beyond belief. Heaven forfend that she or her husband might ever be criticized in a political campaign -- only racists do that, you know.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Then there's the fact that any blogger who wants to keep his netroots cred is going to have to surrender to the tide. At least until after the MSM's Kennedy meme has run its course.

Posted by: Perry on February 4, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama: the greatest progressive candidate or a Republican Fifth Column?

1. Obama wants so "fix" social security, so do the Repubs.
2. Obama thinks that Reagan was the greatest, so do all the Repubs.
3. Obama thinks that the Repubs had all the good ideas over the past 15 years, Newt Gingrich agrees.
4. Obama is against mandates, so do the Repubs.
5. Obama hates the UN, so do Gearge Bush and George Will.
6. Obama wants to be a uniter and not a divider, well, so did George Bush.

We report. You decide, Drum.

Posted by: dcshungu on February 4, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is just a victim of his demographics.

It will amaze me if Obama can win the Democratic primary by attacking from the right while running away from the party, rejecting UHC which was sacrosanct until at least Novemeber, and perhaps even losing the Democratic vote.

Posted by: the uninsured do not want healthcare on February 4, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Then there's the fact that any blogger who wants to keep his netroots cred is going to have to surrender to the tide. At least until after the MSM's Kennedy meme has run its course.

Can one of you wooly-headed idiots explain to me how Ted Kennedy's endorsement means anything in the real world? You would have thought that a sensible Obama would have said, "thanks, but no thanks, you corrupt, indecent and corpulent symbol of a by-gone age."

I think Obama would have been MORE popular to reject the endorsement of the Kennedy's by saying that their time had passed and their judgement meant nothing to him.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 4, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am disappointed in your choice Kevin.

But it is your right to make your own choice. Ignore the dissing.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 4, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

will be the first primary I vote in...and I've voted since 1972
obama has my support and voting for the next prez of America from Illinois is a real pleasure for me and my friends

Posted by: beachbum bob on February 4, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly O - We get it. You're a Hillarymaniac !

Desperate times...

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

KD,

I may have missed it but-- have you done your usual post asking whether any of the CA state propositions deserve a YES vote?

I have come down, as you have, as voting NO on every one of them unless there's a strong case not to. Thx

Posted by: lovedog on February 4, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Due respect Kevin, between you and Paul Krugman, I think you're the one who has gone over the cliff. However, I don't think you should commit suicide like the guy in "Falling Down".

Posted by: Jim G on February 4, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Mandates require an enforcement mechanism. Exactly what would that enforcement mechanism be? Wage garnishment? Using the IRS? Establishing another agency similar to the IRS for enforcement? What are the penalties for failure to comply? If anyone, including Krugman, thinks Americans want the type of bureaucracy that mandates would require, they are out of their minds. The opposition would look like Harry and Louise on steroids, and it would effectively kill health care reform and probably hand the Republicans the House and Senate in 2010, not to mention the Presidency in 2012. A single payer type system has a better shot.

Posted by: Jim on February 4, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said before, for an Orange County cat, Kevin sure came around sooner than I expected. Si se puede!!!

Posted by: carlos on February 4, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

To Kenji at 2:49

If you follow the link below, about halfway down the page on the right hand side there's a map.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_1984

That's the difference. Popularity, and therefore the ability to whether opposition and push your agenda forward. Often politics is trench warfare. But sometimes it's an old-fashioned cavalry charge, and that's when you can take up a lot of ground damn quick. But only if you've got the army behind you.

Posted by: Diablevert on February 4, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama wins the nomination, I wonder how many Democrats are going to be eager to defend Obama when he charges that Republicans are saying racist things about him, and it's based on the same kind of trumped up, carefully selected quotes that he's used in the past?

How are we going to support Obama, rather than criticize him? By conveniently losing all of our principles or rationality? By not recognizing the similarities between what Obama is claiming about the Republicans and what Obama's campaign claimed about the Clintons?

I'm sure that Obama and his supporters will expect us to have his back when that inevitable day would come, should he get the nomination. But I'll tell you this, if Obama trumps up shit the way he has in the past, he's on his own.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

brucds,

We get it! -- you have no argument, and so you snark instead!

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ha, nice one Kevin.

Shortstop and I have been going through much the same calculus over the past 2 weeks. Last week I voted absentee - for Obama.

Posted by: craigie on February 4, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Definite Hillary supporter here and I think the hysteria over Obama is just that, some sort of mass insanity. That said, does Kevin Drum's one vote mean Obama definitely wins? If so, please explain this to me. You all act as if the primaries are over. And, yes, comparing Krugman to Sullivan is nasty. Krugman deserves an apology.

Posted by: lrharned on February 4, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I have plenty of solid arguments - and I'm using them to good effect in my precinct. Won't waste my time with the tired retread Hillary shills who burden us with the same old crap on the blogs, over and over.

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Given the enormous stakes in Iraq, I believe that those of us who are involved in shaping our national security policies should do what we believe is right, not merely what is politically expedient," Obama proclaimed in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in late November 2005. "In sum, we have to focus, methodically and without partisanship, on those steps that will: one, stabilize Iraq, avoid all out civil war, and give the factions within Iraq the space they need to forge a political settlement; two, contain and ultimately extinguish the insurgency in Iraq; and three, bring our troops safely home."

"[Iran] is a genuine threat" to the United States and Israel, Obama later expressed at a forum sponsored by AIPAC on March 12, 2007 in Washington D.C. At the event Obama reiterated that he would not rule out the use of force in disarming Iran, a position he shares with rival Hillary Clinton.

Earlier that same month, on March 2 2007, Obama spoke at an AIPAC Policy Forum in Chicago, where he succinctly laid out his position on how he would deal with the Middle East, promising not to alter the U.S.'s lopsided relationship with Israel. "[W]e must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs," he said. "This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza."

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! People here think that the Obama campaign is playing the race card? I once again promise never to overestimate the intelligence of the American people nor some posters here.

Posted by: journalist on February 4, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

" some sort of mass insanity"

I have to say that the more I read this infantile, hysterical crap from Hillary shills, the more certain I am that they truly represent the zombies of the Democratic Party. The sooner we're done with them, the better. Time to move on...

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

That said, does Kevin Drum's one vote mean Obama definitely wins? If so, please explain this to me.

Personally, I could not give a big damn how Kevin votes. But I have to say, I find his gratuitous and totally unsupported attack on Krugman to be pretty revolting and just cheap.

Who would I rather have on my side, Krugman or Kevin? It's not hard for me to make that call.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

"If Obama wins the nomination, I wonder how many Democrats are going to be eager to defend Obama when he charges that Republicans are saying racist things about him, and it's based on the same kind of trumped up, carefully selected quotes that he's used in the past?"

LOL... Oh, probably the same number of people who do that today. Democrats, in general, are a fractious lot, and Democratic bloggers even more so.

Is this really the best you've got? Sheesh....

"How are we going to support Obama, rather than criticize him?"

Why are these mutually exclusive? You support him for the things you like and you criticize him for the things you don't. Why would you expect that to change if he takes the nomination? Or to be any different if Hillary takes it?

"By conveniently losing all of our principles or rationality?"

ROFL.... Oh, the irony.... I think I'll just let that comment stand.

"By not recognizing the similarities between what Obama is claiming about the Republicans and what Obama's campaign claimed about the Clintons?"

Personally, I'm inclined to wait until that actually happens.

"I'm sure that Obama and his supporters will expect us to have his back when that inevitable day would come, should he get the nomination."

To vote for him? Yes, given the alternative. To unquestionably support him and never criticize him? Of course not. Again, why should that be any different than it is today?

"But I'll tell you this, if Obama trumps up shit the way he has in the past, he's on his own."

Dear heart, you've made that abundantly clear. Give it a rest. You've really lost all sense of perspective and you're sound more and more like a whiny drama queen.

Posted by: PaulB on February 4, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,

Just your usual empty snarky shit, Dear heart.

Why don't you go back to fighting Republican trolls with your ancient fisking and your LOLs and ROTFLMAOs? Trolls are a bit more your speed.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

"I wonder how many Democrats are going to be eager to defend Obama when he charges that Republicans are saying racist things about him, and it's based on the same kind of trumped up, carefully selected quotes that he's used in the past?"

Give some concrete evidence of what you're talking about here, or shut the fuck up.

Sounding more like an idiot the more you spew...

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman on a Jihad?!?!

He is making the reasoned point that to keep insurance prices low, the risk needs to spread out to the entire population. Sen. Obama is promoting a system where people can opt out, which will keep insurance prices higher.

What is you problem with this? Sen. Obama is squishy on his details and Sen. Clinton is quite spcific.

Posted by: Kurt on February 4, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin rocks!

frankly0 is good for a chuckle.

Posted by: Chino Blanco on February 4, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Give some concrete evidence of what you're talking about here, or shut the fuck up.

--"fairy tale"

--MLK-LBJ

Does anybody believe that Obama won't get all aggrieved over stuff equally spurious coming from the Republicans? And what is a good Democrat going to do then? Criticize Obama, as our principles might demand?

I'm just so sure that the Obama sheep in the Democratic Party would be cool with that.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also voting for Obama tomorrow (and, by the way, voting NO on all the propositions except 93.) I actually agree with Paul Krugman that Clinton's healthcare proposal is better than Obama's (although Krugman seems to have decided to demonize Obama, for reasons that escape me.) But healthcare is not the only issue or difference. Ultimately, Clinton is too centrist, and too much of a Washington insider (using Mark Penn, for example) for me to expect much from her administration. And Obama recognizes, as Clinton does not seem to, the power that inspiring rhetoric from the bully pulpit can have in actually changing the direction of the country.

Posted by: Fred from Pescadero on February 4, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody believe that Obama won't get all aggrieved over stuff equally spurious coming from the Republicans? And what is a good Democrat going to do then? Criticize Obama, as our principles might demand?

Your principles demand that you criticize people when their description of the motivation and message of someone else's attacks on them isn't the same as your perception? Those are some odd principles. Though I guess it would go a long way toward explaining your behavior on this blog.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Krugman has made his reasoned point but many other well-informed economists and health-care reformers respectfully disagree with him. You can look it up, if you dare. And I think that the last thing Paul Krugman ultimately desires is for readers to accept his word as the last one on ANY topic.

Posted by: just a person on February 4, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Still waiting for some evidence of what Obama said accusing the Cliinton's of racism.


Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

They'll run nasty ads against universal health care no matter whom we nominate.

Good God. This has to be one of the stupidest arguments in all of politics.

Yes, of course they'll go on attack no matter what. But how effective will those attacks be? The effectiveness of an attack depends on what it can point to -- and just about the most potent weapon of all is to use a politicians clear, explicit words against him. Not every attack is equally effective, and not every attack is equally effective against all politicians. Is that too hard to understand?

Again, how naive can you be?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Still waiting for some evidence of what Obama said accusing the Cliinton's of racism.

Man, do I have to pull teeth here? Are you that ill-informed or dense?

Look at the Obama's SC campaign memo detailing quotes as trumped up examples of racism. Who the hell cares what exactly came out of Obama's own mouth, when his campaign does the dirty work?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm very pleased! Obama is the anti-Giuiliani, I think: the more you get to know him, the more you like him. Welcome to the Magical Unity Pony.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

This story ain't goin' away any time soon, folks:

The Guardian (February 4, 2008)
Obama-Rezko link may be scrutinized by Republicans -- "And if Obama becomes a presidential candidate, his relationship with Rezko is certain to be raked over by the Republicans, who will be ruthless in zeroing in on their challenger's weak points and poor past judgments."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 4, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Re Rezko: There is no there, there.

And re Bill Clinton and shady Kazakh deals, there is about 31.3 million theres, there.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html?ex=1359435600&en=23a4d96223965ebf&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously folks can vote for whoever they want, but I think Kevin that you are doing what so many do and that's deciding who you "like" and then trying to rationalize it.

Otherwise you wouldn't be buying into the BS meme about the "ugly Clinton tactics" being pushed by the MSM. Obama has used race every bit as much - probably more - than Clinton. Do you not recall Jesse Jackson, Jr., one of his co-chairs, going on morning television right after NH and talk about how Hillary never cried for Katrina victims. Or how about Obama's South Carolina memo that deliberately misconstrued Hillary's MLK remarks and Bill's "fairy tale" remarks. It's depressing to see what are supposed to be alternative voices hopping on the MSM narrative bandwagon.

Just as it's depressing to see supposed progressives totally write off Krugman's problems with Obama's healthcare plan. Healthcare is the most important domestic issue - more Americans will die from lack of healthcare than in Iraq, it's not even close. It's a drain on our wallets and our businesses. Yet, Obama not only has an inferior proposal, but has weakened the case against how his proposal will need to be improved for it to have any chance at working.

Posted by: SoCal Dem on February 4, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the GOP is playing with fire if they try to exploit the Rezko scandal in Chicago.

Tony Rezko was a consummate political player who often hedged his bets by playing both sides -he was recently linked to Illinois GOP operative Stuart Levine, who in a plea agreement negotiated with federal prosecutors, "admitted to scheming with Rezko and others to squeeze millions of dollars from firms seeking state business."

Pecuniary self-interest is inherently non-partisan.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 4, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Can we stop writing comments about "whether there is a there, there." This is emotional pandering. There is a lot more to talk about than whether Barack Obama is a capable person at all or has any brains at all or not- of course he does. Saying "there is a there, there" is just a snarky way to avoid thinking about things that are really worth thinking about in making this decision.

Obama supporters whould not be voting for him just because they can say, "Ha-ha!! There is a 'there,' 'there.' Gotcha!!!"

Using the phrase is just encouraging them to come down on his side without really examining whether this guy has what it takes in so many ways.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

That's supposed to be "should not" not "whould not."

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I seems to me that deep down Hillary is not a very nice person. I'd like a woman president, but not her. She gives me the creeps.

Posted by: ajp on February 4, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Wow...ha ha.

All of a sudden it got crazy after lunch.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK
Man, do I have to pull teeth here?

If you don't want to have to actually support your assertions, that's fine, but don't expect anyone to be convinced by you just because you make unsupported claims in an abusive manner, and when challenged dial up the abuse rather than substatiating your claims.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 4, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's depressing to see what are supposed to be alternative voices hopping on the MSM narrative bandwagon.

Yeah, and Josh Marshall is probably even more in the tank. Really, Kevin and Josh seem to think socially and not rationally. They just pick up on the narratives going around, and unthinkingly pronounce them fact. You get no more rational defense from them of their views than you do from the MSM pundits everyone despises so much.

So what is their point?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

"This story ain't goin' away any time soon, folks."

Oh, absolutely. I take your point. My question would be, you think there aren't weak points and poor past judgments for the R's to zero in on on Hilary's side? I mean, if it comes down to a "character issues," I think it'll play out like one of those infomercials you see for Greatest Hits collections....cue the Casey Kasem VO: "Do you remember....the White House Travel Office? Vince Foster? Whitewater? 47 of these great golden oldies--- And More!--- will be yours to cherish for Four More Years...."

Rezko's new, and one might succeed in putting a ding in Obama's halo with it, though nobody as yet seems to have come up with the goods. But with HC the R's have a rap sheet about a mile long, whose names they have to merely intone to revive all sorts of bad memories in the non-Clinton inclined voter. And then there's Bill's Adventuress in Khazakstan....

Posted by: diablevert on February 4, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Swan, I don't really go through the entire blogosphere detailing all of my reasons for supporting Obama on every comment thread. I kind of assume people want to waste their time on other things the intertubes have to offer, such as funny cats with poor grammar.
That doesn't mean they don't exist. What I was trying to say with my comment was that, the Rezko "scandal" is not much of a scandal. Whereas with the Clintons, if you are inclined to rake some mud, there is a lot of mud. For me, the idea that you can make a big-ass donation to the foundation of the president's husband and get an audience with the president or her former president husband's that will get you what you want, is frightening and is excellent fodder for R's to put in their cannon. Anyone care for ads revisiting the selling of the Lincoln bedroom? Did that clarify things any?

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome aboard and just in time! It's time to aim high.

Posted by: ikl on February 4, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't want to have to actually support your assertions, that's fine, but don't expect anyone to be convinced by you just because you make unsupported claims in an abusive manner, and when challenged dial up the abuse rather than substatiating your claims.

Excuse me, I take it as a given that people who post on this blog have made some minimal effort to stay abreast of certain facts. The infamous SC memo from the Obama campaign would be such a fact.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, are the only people qualified to run this country either Bushes or Clintons? It's time for someone new.

Posted by: ajp on February 4, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

And if I can just soapbox one more time before I go home, it has occurred to me (I read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, is what made me think of it), that it is probably very common for people to have an instinctual like or dislike of a political candidate, but not realize or acknowledge that instinct and instead come up with rationalizations for that feeling. What is interesting from Blink is that, more often than not, those instincts are correct. What is interesting from this comment thread is that, more often than not, Hillary supporters are assuming that it is only the Obama supporters doing this. They themselves, of course, have only the purest of motivations. I think that if you're going to conjecture about people's psychology, which is fun and could be accurate, you should at least concede that it may apply to yourself as well.

I concede it. I like Obama. Hillary leaves me cold. Possibly everything I think as far as substantive policy issues is just retrofitting to that liking. *shrug*

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

My sense is that the thing that Obama has done to drive Krugman off the cliff is that he has gotten the economics wrong on a # of key issues. Unlike most pundits, Krugman is truly by the economics & policy analysis.

Don't forget that Krugman's original forays into punditry were directed against the Strategic Free Traders, many of whom had gotten jobs in the Clinton administration, in the 1990s.

He's obsessed with getting the economics (and associated policies) right.

Posted by: Jeff on February 4, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody believe that Obama won't get all aggrieved over stuff equally spurious coming from the Republicans?

It wasn't Obama who was aggrieved by those comments. It was some African-Americans (like Donna Brazile & James Clyburn, among others) who took offense. Obama did make clear, though, that the "fairy tale" remark was factually inaccurate, as Obama's opposition to the war has been consistent. The same can't be said of either of the Clintons.

Posted by: junebug on February 4, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

People here insist on calling her Hillary while they call Obama Obama. It is a matter of respect.

1. There are two very famous Clintons.
2. She puts "Hillary" on her campaign signs. Only "Hillary". I don't think she'd mind.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I had supported Obama since last July, but after he praised Reagan whose policies and trickle down economic deregulation ideas I detest I changed my mind.

Posted by: leslie on February 4, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

JEN: "Re Rezko: There is no there, there."

Well, Jen, the swiftboaters' case against John Kerry was all beer foam and supposedly had no legs, either.

You really have no idea what you're talking about, and your dismissal is the equivalent of closing your eyes, clicking the heels of your ruby slippers together, and keep repeating, "There's no place like home." And further, odds are that you didn't even know who Tony Rezko was until a month ago, so you're really in no position to be so dismissive.

You best realize that in the world of GOP politics, things like the Rezko scandal don't have to make sense or even be logical to become real, or to get their good friends in the media to bite.

And reality will always bite the wilfully ignorant especially hard.

The Rezko case cuts to the heart of Chicago Democratic Party politics -- and just in case you forgot, Obama is a Chicago Democrat. It really won't take much for the GOP and their friends in the media to equate the two, even if Obama was no more than a tangential South Side minor cog in the Daley Machine's game.

So you best get ready for what's coming down the turnpike. If you choose to ignore it, then you're as big a damned fool as the Kerry people were in 2004, and the Dukakis people were back in 1988 -- and six months from now, I'm really not going to be in the mood to listen to you whine about how unfair the media's being to Obama.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 4, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see John "Keating Five" McCain try to win the election off Tony Rezko.

Posted by: jbryan on February 4, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

but so would Obama be hated

I think anyone who thinks Obama, or really anyone else until Gloria Steinem decides to run for president, is ever going to achieve HRC status with the Republican party is kind of delusional.

BTW, I feel exactly as you do, about how we're going to cry with regret for having missed an opportunity, except in reverse.

None of us know. We're ALL guessing. The important thing is to do the best you can, make the best choice you can after informing yourself and keeping your mind open and empirical. I respect anyone's decision once they have done that.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0: Hillary's "plan" for health care would fail because of Vince Foster. Guv'ment mandates. Secret airstrips. Bill's girl friend. And so on. She is a divisive and ineffective leader. I don't blame her for this. She has already failed once on health care and is now the bigges recipient of money from that shameful industry. She has, frankly 0 credibility left on that issue. Please stop your embarrassing assaults on the good posters here and recover your dignity. Obama is our best chance for real reform because he will be hugely popular with enormous coat tails. The insurance industry will be tough to defeat.

Posted by: Sparko on February 4, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I call him Barack Obama. I've never heard anyone call him Obama Obama.

Posted by: jerry on February 4, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I've been a Hillary supporter since her race began. Tomorrow I am caucusing in Denver for Obama. The one reason I changed my mind: electability.

Hillary brings out the worst in the Repubs. I'm not sure she would withstand the attack. Obama can bring in independents and even moderate Repubs. He will also be a sharp and welcome contrast to old man McCain.

I want a Dem in the White House. That's what I care most about.

Posted by: kim on February 4, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Donald, I didn't get nasty with you and bold your name like a humorless scold.

Hillary voters. What are you going to do.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Woohoo! After checking out what everyone has to say in the lead up to the big game, Kevin has decided to root for the Patriots in the Super Bowl!

Wait, what, that's not right... :-)

Posted by: Farmboy on February 4, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I've always seen Hillary as sort of the Mitt Romney of the Democratic side; that is, she cast important votes based on the fact that she was going to run for president some day. She felt that she had to show how tough she could be, so we got the Iraq war vote. She didn't want to give the flag wavers ammunition, so she supported the flag burning bill. This doesn't show her as either leadership material or even a Democratic insider -- 34 Senators had to bite the bullet and kill the flag burning act in order to protect freedom of expression from a Constitutional level attack. Hillary wasn't one of them.

With Obama we have a chance to break from the recent past; at the very least, his election will do wonders with the European people and possibly in Latin America (where our image couldn't be lower at the moment). Obama really could be the antithesis of the Bush years -- wouldn't it be nice to be able to trust our president once again? Hillary is just the mirror image of George W. I'm actually less forgiving of Obama's healthcare ad than Kevin, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed not only about Obama but about tomorrow.

On the other hand, if Hillary wins the nomination, I intend to make a lot of money selling bumper stickers that say "Hillary -- half a truth is better than none."

Posted by: Bob G on February 4, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, health care. Spoken like someone who doesn't have to worry about it. If OBAMA wants to change this country, he can change something basic like the fear of death from inadequate health care. I don't consider shaking hands with Republican's a change worth voting for.

Posted by: MsComent on February 4, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

You can't get around it--Hillary is SUPER divisive. Her negatives are really high. But a Republican friend of mine told me while we were watching the Super Bowl that he'll vote for Obama if he's nominated. That says something to me.

Posted by: ajp on February 4, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I must say, I am a lifelong democrat and past huge supporter of the Clinton's, especially Bill. I am voting for Obama. I was previously not a big fan of Andrew Sullivan's, but have always read him to keep up with what is going on on the right. I must tell you, I think he has been mostly spot on regarding Hillary, as sorry as that makes me to say....

Posted by: Christian Badali on February 4, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

"the infamous SC memo from the Obama campaign"

"infamous" to folks who would defend the demeaning and dishonest claims of the Clintons and their creepy surrogates like the execreble hack Mark Penn or their Best Black Billionaire Buddy R. Johnson at all costs. The memo documented some notorious statements made by the Clinton campaign. To suggest that the statements were racist, which Obama has specifically NOT done, would be wrong. But to suggest that they were dishonest and cynical attempts to manipulate the dynamics of race or had calculated racial overtones pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

calling all toasters: The real question is: who is the best analog for the dry and technocratic Hillary? Stevenson? Dukakis? I'm thinking Tsongas, myself.

But Tsongas was a liberal.

Posted by: anandine on February 4, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that decides me, too. Okay, it doesn't decide the question, but if Drum is pulling the Obama lever, that's a hell of a recommendation where I come from (my house)!
If Drum says Obama, I must give him my most serious consideration!
And I was leaning that way myself.

Posted by: Mooser on February 4, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I am voting for Clinton because their administration was the first EVER to use social science research in its decision making process. I believe that fundamental empiricism (reality based) is part of why they got so many things right."

Now THAT'S an example of "insanity." (Hillary didn't even read the NIE on Iraq before voting for the war.)

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think I first fell for Obama's charms when he attacked Clinton for "not being straight" with the American people about the "Social Security crisis". That's just what I've been waiting for all these past 7 long hellish years. A Democratic candidate who was going to make "the Social Security crisis" part of his agenda. hehehe

I was also so charmed by the nice things he had to say about the Republicans being the party of "ideas" for the past 10 or 15 years. Yessireebob. They've had ONE idea concerning Social Security for the past 65 years or so. THEY. DON'T. LIKE. IT. They would like to destroy it. Thanks for helping them out Senator Obama.

Posted by: mm on February 4, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jen,
You better go home. Donald is awake and it looks like he's going to have a good one today.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 4, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent. I'm rolling the dice too, and not afraid to admit that it's a bit of a gamble.

So I'm not the only one voting for Obama in spite of Andrew Sullivan's intensely annoying advocacy. Sometimes I feel the best argument against Obama is the quality and nature of his supporters' rhetoric.

Posted by: JPWolf on February 4, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting to see all the people who seem to think that Krugman is infallible. NO ECONOMIST IS INFALLIBLE. These are complicated empirical issues, and expert economic predictions go wrong all the time.

Krugman's not the only economist who has an informed opinion on this issue; he's just the only one with a NYT op-ed column that he can use for a bully pulpit. I like Krugman, but check out the letter referred to by another commenter above, in which 80 national health policy experts disagree with him on the economic effect of mandates: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harold-pollack/universal-coverage-and-t_b_84386.html. Krugman's free-rider argument, which Frankly0 recites uncritically, is one plausible hypothesis, but it's not the only way things could turn out.

Even if you're a single-issue voter on health-care reform, it's doubtful whether it makes sense to be a single-sub-issue voter on mandates.


Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0-
i've read this blog for a long time, but rarely ever comment. i've read for months you passionate criticisms of Obama. so now i'm wondering, what do you like about Clinton?
can you please explain, without referencing Obama, what the attributes you see in Sen Clinton that have led you to your position?

thanks
e1

Posted by: e1 on February 4, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Both candidates are good candidates.

Only one is married to a man who the GOP can and will spend unlimited money "against" in the genelec.

Only one will face the stiff headwind she'd face.

If she could govern in a vacuum, she might even get my vote. She's very, very smart, competent and hardworking. But she can't. She has to govern in the world we share with Rush Limbaugh, Tom Tancredo and the rest of the cretins. I want their power diminished, not increased.
And I want her to have a great job in the Obama Administration.

Fired up!

Posted by: Cazart on February 4, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think the smartest thing that the OBAMA campaign has done is keeping his wife in the background. How many photos of her have you seen? He has a look that can slid past a race issue.. She does not. Don't waste your time calling me a racist.. this is an observation that goes to the heart of something that calls itself a campaign based on TRUTH

Posted by: MsComment on February 4, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

a Republican friend of mine told me ...that he'll vote for Obama if he's nominated. That says something to me.

Obama is the choice of W. Bush Americans, is what it says to me. It must have been the nuke Pakistan policy.

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Leslie,

Obama didn't praise Reagan's policies. That's a Clinton Campaign talking point. Please check your facts.

MM,

You could stand some fact-checking, too. Let's try Factcheck.org: "He never said the 'Republican ideas' were good ones, and in fact he said, 'The Republican approach has played itself out.'" In context, it was clear he was simply stating the fact that the Republicans have been very good at coming up with policy proposals that favor their agenda and selling those proposals to the electorate. He wasn't saying he liked them.

On the issue of electability, I like Hillary and don't want to believe that she could lose to McCain in the general, but two things have me doubting. One, her mediocre numbers in head-to-head polls against McCain. Two, the way Obama is picking up steam against her coming into Super Tuesday. I haven't seen this analyzed anywhere (though it probably has been), but it seems to me that this confirms the theory that people have made up their minds about Hillary and that late deciders won't favor her. The dynamic in the general is going to be different because McCain is also something of a known quantity, but the media narrative about his being an unpredictable "maverick" gives him room to maneuver.

However, I was impressed with HRC in the last debate and wouldn't be surprised if she surprised some non-primary-voting undecideds if and when she's on a stage with McCain and they finally start paying attention.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I decided last week, after going back and forth, to vote for Obama. If Hillary wins the nomination, I will fully support and work for her.

But, I think the country needs a change; hopefully, a positive one. We need a new face to show the world. A face with out a smirk, a face with that grin.

So, I'm voting for Obama tomorrow in the NM caucuses, which, despite their name, is really an election, using secret ballots and all that.

Posted by: phoebes on February 4, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

diablevert: "'Do you remember....the White House Travel Office? Vince Foster? Whitewater? 47 of these great golden oldies--- And More!--- will be yours to cherish for Four More Years....'"

But those are old Clinton stories that have long since played themselves out. They've been investigated ad nauseum by practically everyone, so there's nothing new to be mined there, and the only people who still believe that stuff are true GOP loonies -- and why on earth would we deem to listen to them in making our own election decisions?

On the other hand, Rezko's trial is opening on February 25. It's all new material. That's the difference here, and Chicago Democrats in general -- and Illinois gov. Rod blagojevich in particular -- have good cause to be worried about how much this caged bird will sing.

As I said earlier, it really won't matter to the GOP that Barack Obama didn't break any laws. But at the same time, it's also eminently clear that Obama derived some pretty significant personal and political benefit from his relationship with Tony Rezko, and he has heretofore not exactly been forthright regarding the nature of that relationship. Rather, every one of his recent actions with regards to the scandal has occurred piecemeal and after-the-fact, always in response to each new revelation from the federal investigation.

Here are the facts: The Obama family would never have been able to buy that mansion on Chicago's south side without Tony Rezko's personal and financial intervention with the property owner, which is clearly not something that someone who's only supposed to be a "casual acquaintance" would do under normal circumstances. Further, Obama's campaign organization has thus far had to donate over $150,000 in Rezko-linked contributions to charity.

Make of that what you will, and believe me, there is plenty for the media to make out of that, and they'll do so at a time and place of their choosing, unless the candidate diffuses the issue.

When your candidate's entire campaign is premised as being above the normal fray of everyday politics, and when the candidate himself is being sold as the man on the white horse, such dirt is always going to show up far more readily on his mount than on others.

I'm clearly playing the devil's advocate here. If Obama is to be our candidate, it's important that we Democrats get out in front of this issue, and not wait until the GOP has so totally misconstrued the Rezko scandal into the shape of a Bavarian pretzel, and undermines the current popular support for Obama's candidacy.

But unfortunately, we can't do so until the candidate himself finally owns up to his relationship with his political mentor. It doesn't help any of us to see these things drip out bit by bit. If Obama could be forthright about his past drug use, then he could do likewise with Rezko and finally put it behind him.

My attitude is this: So what if Obama knew Tony Rezko? Most people on this blog are smart people -- ex-liberal and Al excepted -- and they realize that one doesn't get very far in Chicago politics without knowing the consummate operatives like Tony Rezko.

But if Barack Obama continues to channel Sgt. Schultz at each new revelation about Rezko's history and conduct, mark my words, at the very least he'll be easily painted by the mainstream media as either completely disingenuous or totally naive, and the blooms will fall off this guy's rose bush really fast.

Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 4, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

My registered Republican grandmother said she would vote for Obama over McCain.

Posted by: Nate on February 4, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

To the poster above who thinks that Michelle Obama looks too "black": thank you for making me feel sick to my stomach. The more things change in this country, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: just a person on February 4, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

MScomment,

I disagree. First of all, I don't think racists are particularly threatened by black women. They're much more threatened by black men. Second, I have seen Michelle Obama speak, and can say anecdotally that she is a very smart, authentic, articulate person who connected well with the audience. I think she would play well on Oprah (if she hasn't been on already).

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Good choice Kevin. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Posted by: Manfred on February 4, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I've been on the fence for a long time, precisely because I think they are both terrific candidates. That said, I'm voting for Hillary. I really want to prefer Obama, but I keep coming back to the same thing. It's not electability. It's not experience. It's the fact that whenever the two candidates have appeared on the same stage, Hillary has been more impressive. Not to a dominant degree, but substantially so.

Whether debates are a reasonable forum for determining political qualifications is a good question, but it's the one I value.

Again, both are terrific candidates, I think either one will win the general election and that they would end up governing in a fairly similar manner. But Obama is more impressive in the abstract, and I'm unimpressed with the hope and change memes.

Posted by: Sean on February 4, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

This tetamonial for Obama was in a MoveOn email received today:

"Out here in Texas, one of the reddest states in the country, I see my conservative neighbors and friends showing a positive interest in Barack. They like him. They are ready to be swayed. And I see my Democratic friends and family members getting excited like never before...With Barack as our candidate, I am convinced that we can win in a landslide in 2008 and usher in a new era of progressive politics. So, I'm writing to my friends to encourage them to get out to vote for Barack on Tuesday, February 5th. I hope you'll consider voting for him.—Asani C."

I have two problems with W. Bush Republicans, and especially W. Bush Texans, support for Sen. Obama. I do not want to belong to any coalition of voters that includes W. Bush Americans. But more important then my bigotry, if Barack should win and a substantial part of his constituency is W. Bush Americans, then very little will be accomplished in his first term as president. Obama will have to moderate everything he does to keep these voters in his camp for his 2012 reelection.

That is the problem with Obama's embracing of Reaganites and independents. Obama will have to keep them happy in order win reelection. Obama, like most other Democrats, will reach out to my opposition and ignore me so he can win another election. I have serious doubts that will create an era of progressive politics.

Posted by: Brojo on February 4, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Et tu Brute?

Posted by: wilder on February 4, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

I used to think only Republicans could be dumb enough to fall for the media hyping of a mediocrity. But Obama has proven the gullible nerds of the left are just as susceptible as the gullible oafs on the right to the media's turning of a self-centered, arrogant, vain, preachy, unaccomplished little man into a political superstar. Just as the right wanted to believe that George W was something more than he was because they were infatuated and persuaded by some false religious fervor. The left wants to belive Obama is something more than he is.

Democracy has really failed when people (just like Kevin) choose leaders superficially like they were contestants on Survivor or American Idol and not on merit and demonstrated experience and character.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 4, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

With Edwards out of the race, I would have thrown my vote over to Obama...Of course, living in Michigan, I didn't get that option.

Now; Why I'd pick Obama Over Clinton If I Had the Opportunity:

I don't like Clinton as much as I do Obama...Here's one reason:

The Democratic National Committee late last year ruled that Florida and Michigan delegates' votes won't count at the nominating convention...Both Clinton and Obama, as well as John Edwards, also pledged not to campaign in the states before their primaries.
But on Friday, in statements released by her campaign and the Florida Democratic Party, the U.S. senator from New York said she will ask all her delegates - from the primaries that she wins - to "support seating" the delegations from Florida and Michigan.

Whether or not you agree with the DNC's move - I do not - the candidates made an agreement to support the DNC's decision not to seat delegates. Only Clinton seemed to want to renege when it would be to her advantage.

And another:

Do you remember the billionaire Robert Johnson, the guy who brought up Barack Obama's drug use at a Clinton rally on Sunday? Do you remember how he called anyone who accused him of saying what he said "irresponsible and incorrect"? Do you remember how Hillary Clinton said at Tuesday's debate that Johnson had admitted his comments were "out of bounds" even though he had not?
Well, today Johnson finally did what Clinton said he had already done. He sent a letter to Obama.

And there's other Clinton supporters, such as Bill Shaheen and Bob Kerry, who have shown a willingness to eat their own in support of their preferred candidate.

There's probably more, but this will do.

I mean, on the issues, Clinton's okay; her Iraq AUMF vote doesn't bother me too much...lots of good people got suckered in by the Bush Administration's lies. But the way that she has allowed her campaign to operate (yes, I realize that the Obama campaign isn't flawless, thanks in advance for pointing it out) has turned me off...I question that Clinton will follow through on her policy initiatives when the going gets tough. I haven't that seen as much with Obama.

Plus, Clinton's voice bothers me. I know that's irrational, but it just does.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 4, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

How's it feel to be casting a primary vote that will actually matter?

Posted by: swio on February 4, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK
Obama didn't praise Reagan's policies. That's a Clinton Campaign talking point. Please check your facts. You could stand some fact-checking, too. Let's try Factcheck.org: "He never said the 'Republican ideas' were good ones…The Fabulous Mr. Toad at 5:45 PM

Facts:
Obama on Reagan: (following in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal:)

"I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what's different are the times...I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
He could have said of Reaganism:
· “Ronald Reagan ran on a platform of thinly veiled racism.”
· “Ronald Reagan ushered in an era that demonized the poor and venerated jingoistic, authoritarian power.”
· “Ronald Reagan created the illusion of small government, while actually replacing services for the neediest with ’welfare’ for the wealthiest and best-connected.”
· “Ronald Reagan represented a disastrous ’triumph’ of image over substance.”
· “Ronald Reagan brought or returned to power the corrupt, incompetent cronies whose fingerprints are all over our shredded Constitution.”
· “Ronald Reagan” ran on a campaign of national security and then proceeded to illegally sell arms to our sworn enemy.”
Obama on the party of ideas:
"I think it is fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the presidential candidates, and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it. That's not really going to solve our energy problems."

Over the last 10, 15 years which would be 7 years Bush, 8 years Clinton, in other words, the period in which Republicans were talking up their Contract With America. Note, he never said that those were bad ideas, discredited ideas, or ideas which failed.

It's not Clinton campaign spin, it's his actual words.

Posted by: Mike on February 4, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama is the choice of W. Bush Americans, is what it says to me. It must have been the nuke Pakistan policy."

Many of the Clintonoids here are really completely nuts...those of us for Obama get constantly accused of emotional hysterics, but these folks truly take the cake for over-the-top, dishonest claptrap. Disgusting. When you get crap like the stuff Erica Jong serially writes pro-Hillary, Roseanne Barr's crackpot spew, the desperation of Junior Schlesinger Jr. at HuffPo or New York NOW's disreputable assault on Ted Kennedy, something's obviously gone badly awry deep in the collective psyche of the Clinton camp. The sooner the Democrats are rid of this baggage, the better.

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Congratulations Kevin and welcome to the Orange line.
http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Dem-Pres-Primary.php

For those worried about Obama's appeal to Republicans, I found this illustrative (op-ed from the Nation, can't get a whole lot more American progressive than them)
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080218/hayes

Christopher Hayes sez:
Obama makes a distinction between bad-faith, implacable enemies (lobbyists, entrenched interests, "operatives") and good-faith ideological opponents (Republicans, independents and conservatives of good conscience). He wants to court the latter and use their support to vanquish the former. This may be improbable, but it crucially allows former Republicans (Obama Republicans?) to cross over without guilt or self-loathing. They are not asked to renounce, only to join.

I expound:
The Republican party is on its way to being an irrelevant vestige of a less enlightened age. Don't think of them as Evil Bush Voters, although they may have been. Think of them as potential allies in the effort to strangle this party, as it were, in the bathtub.

After all, no one says the Reagan Democrats made Reagan less Republican.

Posted by: Twinkarma on February 4, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mike - Bill Clinton uttered "The era of Big Government is over" in his 1996 State of the Union address a full fifteen years after Reagan was elected. The pitiful bastard was still swimming in Reagan's wake and couldn't do a damned thing about it except try to cloak his tepid-liberal agenda in Reaganesque talking points. Bill Clinton is Exhibit A for Obama's point that Reagan had changed the political context and conversation and Clinton couldn't. In fact the "tough on Crime" and "end welfare as we know it" stuff was all Clintonism - which was crapped out DLC "liberalism" adjusting to Reagan's terms of debate. Obama was making a point that anyone with an IQ above proverbial room temperature should be able to understand and that the Clintons, of all people, should recognize as proof of their political weakness and boxed-in defensive approach to liberalism.

God, this desoerate dimwit crap emanating from the Hillaryoids is depressing...

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I used to think only Republicans could be dumb enough to fall for the media hyping of a mediocrity. But Obama has proven the gullible nerds of the left are just as susceptible as the gullible oafs on the right to the media's turning of a self-centered, arrogant, vain, preachy, unaccomplished little man into a political superstar.

This is an excellent illustration of a very good reason to vote for Obama: the insufferable superiority and sense of entitlement of Hillary voters.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

I see so many Republican talking points vomited by Obamabots that their opposition to Sen. Clinton (and all allegiance to Democratic candidates and values) seem indistinguishable from that of Republicans. For the record, Sen. Obama would probably make a fine President, and certainly better than anything the Republicans could come up with. So would Sen. Clinton. What I find disturbing are the false memes parroted by the Obama campaign and its supporters. E.g.,

1. "The Clintons are running for a co-presidency." Who says? They don't. Are the Obamas running for a co-presidency? Not there either. This is a Republican talking point designed to capitalize on sexism towards women (from both men and women). Does it have to be a co-presidency because her spouse is a man? Is there any evidence that it is on offer, aside from mindless assertion?

2. "The Clintons injected race into the debate before the South Carolina primary". Another stupid and uninformed opinion. Obama surrogates and their helpers in the MSM (who cannot stop voicing their support for a McCain-Obama race) tirelessly flogged the story that Sen. Clinton was trying to divide the party by race and appeal to white voters before the SC primary. Except, of course, the Clintons are long-time, experienced Democratic politicians, who know that support from African-American voters is crucial in both primaries and the general election. Both are very smart and would have done nothing to alienate the AA community before (or after) SC. Sen. Obama's big hope in SC was to take a massive AA voter share and create a big win, largely based on racial voting lines, that could be trumpeted by the MSM already predisposed to support his candidacy. In addition, Sen. Obama was inoculated against any criticism because each and every valid point (experience? doing rather than talking? accomplishments? hypocrisy on Iraq votes?) has been turned by his surrogates into so-called code-worded racial attacks. Sen. Clinton had absolutely nothing to gain by injecting race into the race, while Sen. Obama has the nomination itself to gain by doing so. This effort has been wildly successful for Sen. Obama, who now has a monolithic AA voting block, and a lot of confused people who swallow the lie that it was the Clinton campaign that injected race into the primaries. The lies regarding Bill Clinton in this regard have made it virtually impossible for him to open his mouth without some AA politician piling on and unjustly accusing him of racism. Who benefited?

3. "All emotion expressed by Obama is true- all emotion expressed by Clinton is false". The lie speaks for itself.

4. "Corporate media supports Clinton" Nothing could be further from the truth. MSM coverage of Sen. Clinton has been savage and savagely unfair. Sen. Obama has had to endure nothing worse than a lovefest. Go back and read major media outlet coverage for the last month. It couldn't be more apparent that the media is heavily invested in a McCain-Obama race and will do or say anything to achieve that result. The media's historic hatred for all things Clinton is in full-throated roar.

5. "Obama will draw Republican and independent voters." Not that the polls notice in matchups with Sen. McCain.

6. "Obama can unite Congress and get things done for the American people". Unlikely. In case no one has noticed Republican office-holders hate their Democratic counterparts and spend a good deal of time undermining, marginalizing, and attempting to destroy any elected Democratic President (see Carter and Clinton). Unless Republican ranks in the Congress are thinned to the point where they cannot impede progress, no Democrat will be able to pass rational progressive legislation on a regular basis. People accuse the Clintons of triangulation, but it hasn't escaped my notice that Sen. Obama has adopted a lot of Republican rhetoric in the campaign, which doesn't bode well for anything except peace through capitulation.

7. "Obama should be elected because he didn't vote to go to war with Iraq, while Clinton did". Of course, this is the easiest thing in the world to say as Sen. Obama never had the choice to make, since he wasn't in the Senate at the time. Many Democrats made the same choice as Sen. Clinton did. (FWIW I had a conversation with my Democratic senator several years after the vote. He stated that the individual briefings that each Senator got were a toxic stew of every Freeper fantasy (my words not his) about imminent Iraqi attacks on American soil.) Saying after the fact that he would not have voted for something is facile at best and an invalid comparison at worst.

As I know what will result, let's get it over with- I'm not white, am a proud two-time Jesse Jackson voter, and yes, unlike the Obamabots, I will enthusiastically support whoever the Democratic nominee is (I would chew off my own paw before using it to cast my vote for the lunatic fringe candidates put forth in the Republican race).


Posted by: solar on February 4, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

I agree with brucds about Bill Clinton being Exhibit A for the validity of Obama's comments about Reagan and about the Thugs being the party of ideas for a long stretch. I would add that Obama COULD have said a whole host of true negative things about Reagan, but there were 43 good reasons not to. That being the number of states Reagan won in 1980 by pulling Independents and Democrats in under the Republican tent. Obama is trying to win some of those people back; how would it help to speak ill of the dead?

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

I hope that either Obama or Hillary win in November.

I have grave doubts that it will happen.

Posted by: gregor on February 4, 2008 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

The pros and cons for each of the 4 frontrunners is pretty clear and it's pretty clear that none is really a very strong choice for president.

Seems to me though the Republican blogs admit this, but that the Democratic blogs actually pretend to be enthusiastic about their chosen candidates.

Posted by: Perry on February 4, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

It sure is depressing since Edwards got out...

But Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Drum and Paul Volcker????

I'm voting Hillary!

Posted by: Mike in SLO on February 4, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hold on, I must weep some more.

Once again, Norman, you have me spraying liquids...this time a find Pinot Noir...from my nose. It's unseemly of you sir to impose such indignities on a lady who always holds her mouth right.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

pretend to be enthusiastic about their chosen candidates

Democratic turnout to SC primary, 2008: 530,000
Republican turnout to SC primary, 2008: 445,000

Democratic turnout to SC primary, 2004: 290,000
Republican turnout to SC primary, 2000: 565,000

They're gooooooooooooood pretenders.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Permanent resident, so can't vote. But what alarms me in Kevin's post and much of the Obamadolatory above is how similar it is to what got Bush elected: the politics of feel good. Bush is just so much nicer than that wonky, cold Gore; Obama is just so much more inspirational than wonky, cold Hillary. I don't pretend to tell my US friends how to vote, but PLEASE: don't do it on the basis of emotion! Look where it you got the last time.

Posted by: jim on February 4, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm in Ohio, so I don't get to vote until next month. I will be voting for Hillary. I don't know what I'll do if Obama gets the nomination; I'll have to think about it.

Posted by: Susan on February 4, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

1. Does it have to be a co-presidency because her spouse is a man?

No, people suspect it's likely to be a co-presidency because her spouse is an ex-president who left office with 70% approval ratings. It also probably doesn't help that HRC is touting her years as first lady as "experience."

2. the Clintons are long-time, experienced Democratic politicians, who know that support from African-American voters is crucial in both primaries and the general election. Both are very smart and would have done nothing to alienate the AA community before (or after) SC.

So the African-American voters who felt they heard race-coded language from Clinton surrogates are just "stupid and uninformed?" I agree with you that some of these comments -- Andrew Cuomo's, for instance -- were blown out of proportion by people's hypersensitivity on this issue, but to refer to this as a tactic of the Obama campaign while denying that there was any tactical use of race on the Clinton campaign's part just shows your sympathies. It doesn't show that the people who disagree with you are stupid and uninformed.

3. "All emotion expressed by Obama is true- all emotion expressed by Clinton is false". The lie speaks for itself.

Yes it does. Haven't heard anyone say that, but when they do, I'll be sure to call bullshit.

4. "Corporate media supports Clinton" Nothing could be further from the truth. MSM coverage of Sen. Clinton has been savage and savagely unfair.

This is a matter of perception, but I'll agree that Obama has more newspaper endorsements.

5. "Obama will draw Republican and independent voters." Not that the polls notice in matchups with Sen. McCain.

Actually, the latest CNN poll shows Obama beating McCain in the general by a wider margin than Hillary. The NPR poll shows McCain over both HRC and Obama, but Obama closer (and both within MOE). Late deciders tend to break in favor of the less-known candidate.

6. "Obama can unite Congress and get things done for the American people". Unlikely.

The relevant question here is whether Clinton is more likely to do so. A lot depends on the candidate's coattails in the house and senate elections. I think Obama would have better coattails precisely because he is an inspiring candidate. He also appears to be better at raising money in the primary campaign, though he's had less time to build a donor base. Finally, to carry your burden of persuasion on this one you need to address Hillary's famous divisiveness. I've never understood it myself, but lots of people really don't like her.

7. "Obama should be elected because he didn't vote to go to war with Iraq, while Clinton did". Of course, this is the easiest thing in the world to say as Sen. Obama never had the choice to make, since he wasn't in the Senate at the time.

No, but he was quite vocal about this issue when he was running for Senate. That's called taking a position. It's not as if he was just commenting on a blog.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

>6. "Obama can unite Congress and get things done for the American people".

After he's president he'll have to start taking stands on things just like everybody else.

You'll understand this some day after you turn 22.

Posted by: Perry on February 4, 2008 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Perry:

I've noticed the same thing, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: the Republican candidates all suck so badly that even Republican bloggers can't deny it, while the Democratic candidates are actually smart, well-spoken, thoughtful, serious people who are capable of holding their political coalition together without warmongering, hatemongering, or professing the belief that the earth is six thousand years old.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

"...unaccomplished little man.."
Sheeit, if he's unaccomplished I might as well just give up.

This is kinda wierd:
ttp://www.republicansforobama.org/

Posted by: survivin in Tejas on February 4, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Perry, to be clear, I was responding to your comment at 6:50, not your comment at 7:15. As to your comment at 7:15, it is not clear to me whether you are responding to solar, who made the original comment, or to me. If to me, I'm not going to turn 22 again, and even when I was 21, I wouldn't have thought you could win an argument with vacuous and uninformed insults.

If you want to know what Obama's positions are, I suggest you check his website. It's pretty informative.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama would have been MORE popular to reject the endorsement of the Kennedy's by saying that their time had passed and their judgement meant nothing to him.

Ah, but don't you see gentle Norman, Obama will resurrect the Kennedy dynasty from those upstarts, usurpers, dynastic wannabes, the Clintons.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mandates require an enforcement mechanism. Exactly what would that enforcement mechanism be? Wage garnishment? Using the IRS? Establishing another agency similar to the IRS for enforcement?

You know the entire frigging civilized world figured this out years ago. Are we Americans that stupid?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jen..."This is an excellent illustration of a very good reason to vote for Obama: the insufferable superiority and sense of entitlement of Hillary voters."

Actually, that's what I've been seeing from the Obama supporters and I'm not alone.

So Jen...what do you Obama supporters want to do about this? Shall we make a blood pact that neither of us will vote for the other candidate if ours doesn't win? How's that sound?

The candidates are almost indentical on the issues. There's no reason either of us should sit this election out to elect McCain.

Posted by: Steve-O on February 4, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon: You know the entire frigging civilized world figured this out years ago. Are we Americans that stupid?

Toad: Apparently so. However, I think when people ask stuff like this, they're usually not saying there's no answer, but just complaining that HRC isn't being forthcoming about her answer. Which is pretty fair, I think.

Steve-O: The candidates are almost indentical on the issues. There's no reason either of us should sit this election out to elect McCain.

Toad: Damn straight.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: months-long anti-Obama jihad

I'm amazed that I have read comments all the way down to 4:17 so far and no one, except me, has remarked on the insanity and stupidity and flat out demagoguery of this. Have you no decency, Sir? You are not fit to shine the shoes of Paul Krugman.

Jihad!? And pious Saint Kevin gets all in a lather over every twisted, spun and fabricated racial insult that lands on the Clintons' threshold? Has the world gone mad?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Fred from Pescadero: Krugman seems to have decided to demonize Obama

Please insert some quotations from Krugman to support this or go back and work on your reading comprehension skills.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I am commenter #275-something. All I have to say is "Thanks, Kevin." Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime politician, and that's hard for people to figure. He's redefining the game. For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling hopeful for America.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 4, 2008 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

just a person: And I think that the last thing Paul Krugman ultimately desires is for readers to accept his word as the last one on ANY topic.

Here we go again...reading minds. Would that I had that skill...most especially with minds far better than mine.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

She cried again today.

Posted by: ajp on February 4, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon at 7:48 and 7:54, has Krugman ever published a column in which he gave a positive analysis of Obama's position on any economic issue? I read Krugman pretty regularly, but I haven't seen one, and I've seen a number of negative columns on Obama from him. Maybe it's not fair to call that demonizing, but it does look a bit one-sided.

And what's with the "not fit to shine his shoes" remark? Was it snark? Maybe that's it; I'm missing the snark. If you were serious, well, I just think that's a bit strong. We don't have to fellate the guy just because he's a smart progressive economist.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon, they're star struck. At least their hearts' are in the right place. Seems understandable, but I still see irony in this so called "reallity based" community...

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was leaning towards Obama, too, when I saw Michelle Obama say, "I'd have to think about that." when asked if she would support Hillary if she got the nomination.

Here we go again with the Democratic circular firing squad...that sealed the deal for me against Obama.

Posted by: CR on February 4, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

ajp: Plus, are the only people qualified to run this country either Bushes or Clintons?

You know, this has a ring to it but the only reason it does is because we don't have a history of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Gore. It's a specious and meaningless argument. If you had any aptitude for logical thought, you would see that.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Mary: Are you all really so stupid?

I think we are. This is a sad day.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

So Jen...what do you Obama supporters want to do about this? Shall we make a blood pact that neither of us will vote for the other candidate if ours doesn't win? How's that sound?

I'm not sure how you took a comment that Hillary supporters are insufferable and turned that into a suggestion that I wouldn't vote for her in the general. I will. I will do it sadly, and I will not campaign, make calls, or in any other way contribute to her campaign, and I will probably chuck my TV out the window, but I will do it.

Just a few days ago, I read a comment on another blog, saying it was time to end Obama's "vanity campaign". That is another example of the kind of "we are entitled to this nomination and you are an interloper, with your young people and your people who are actually excited about voting rather than people who sound like Patty and Selma Bouvier".

But it takes some weird mental gymnastics to conclude that I'm going to gang up on her in the general.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

I guess you're right, Sharon, about that argument. And I regret the subsequent "crying" comment. I guess it would be more accurate to say that she made a small joke about tearing up. I'm getting nervous about tomorrow, I guess.

The bottom line, for me, is that I don't count her years as First Lady as helpful experience, and I don't like the decisions she's made as senator. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Posted by: ajp on February 4, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Mary: Are you all really so stupid?

I think we are. This is a sad day.

...And the fates have brought me another prescient example...

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm voting for Obama because Bill Clinton was a disgrace and I don't want him in the White House sexually harassing whomever catches his fancy.

And funny, that never occurs to feminists as a good reason to vote against Hillary.

Posted by: jvoe on February 4, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

jbryan: I'd love to see John "Keating Five" McCain try to win the election off Tony Rezko.

Just open a bag of Cheetos and a Bud Lite and put up your feet and watch.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

CR,

That comment by Michelle Obama could have two (probably more) explanations other than the "Democratic circular firing squad." First, she could have been being cautious. Put me on a national stage for the first time because my spouse is running for President and I'd probably try to be cautious in what I said. Second, she could be reserving judgment depending on how nasty the campaign gets. He is her spouse, after all.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I can,t believe that you are that easily persuaded. I would think that you, of all people, would not get caught up in the idolistic, flavor of the moment, fervor that seems to be folowing Obama. His followers and most certainly the media are playing him up as the second coming of JFK. RFK was the second coming. Obama, like Kerry, is a stuffed shirt. He speaks well but lacks substance. Change for change's sake is not reason enough to promote a young, inexperienced well spoken idealist. W came into office based upon the desire for "change". Look where that got us. With Hillary we know what we are getting, and what we are geting is tested and true. Forget Bill's personality, and get down to the hard facts of what this nation needs...universal heath care, a sensible approach to ending our presence in Iraq (end the war and bring 'em home, but don't leave the Iraqi people fighting to get on the last fleeing U. S. 'copter out of Baghdad. Leave them with something to work with.) Create U. S. jobs and tighten the budget. This is no time for wisful thinking. Take that (wishfull thinking) approach and McCain will be sworn in January 2009.

Get your head back on right, Kevin, and let you readers know you have.

Posted by: Ed on February 4, 2008 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ed,

Maybe this is petty, and I'm usually not one to criticize spelling, but how exactly did you manage to misspell "wishful" two different ways in two consecutive sentences? It really detracts from your effort to imply that the people who disagree with you just aren't being smart.

All the best,

Toad's Editorial Service

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 4, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

jen: Well, Donald, I didn't get nasty with you and bold your name like a humorless scold.

Donald is never nasty and never humorless and never a scold. I reserve the role of scold to myself. Since the moderator won't moderate, I'm the presumptuous one who's assumed the thankless task of breaking up spats between testerone-poisoned adolescents on this site.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think you misunderstand Krugman. I don't believe he is against Obama, he just sees that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get universal health care and cement progressivism in our system, and he is afraid Obama will blow it.

Posted by: Lee Hartmann on February 4, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Did you read what Donald wrote?

You really have no idea what you're talking about

So you best get ready for what's coming down the turnpike. If you choose to ignore it, then you're as big a damned fool as the Kerry people were in 2004, and the Dukakis people were back in 1988 -- and six months from now, I'm really not going to be in the mood to listen to you whine about how unfair the media's being to Obama.

If that's not humorless scolding, combined with the condescending bolding of my name like he's talking to a damned idiot, I don't know what is. By the by, I didn't see him respond to the Bill Clinton/Kazakhstan thing.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, that was scolding, but you needed to hear it...

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I see irony in your misspelling "reality-based community" wrong, Elmo.

Also, I see irony in a Hillary supporter telling me I am not ready for the Republican slime machine. You think I "needed to hear" that there is a Republican slime machine?

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mary: Are you all really so stupid?

Yup.

What I find interesting reading this thread is seeing which way people I've read for 3/4 years fall... and that those whose comments I've most enjoyed are tending in the same direction (ie. not with Swan).

To reopen the whole healthcare brouhaha... the healthcare worker commenting above is right. Any plan that brings the insurance companies to the table is a non-starter which makes all the plans non-starters. But I'm with cmdicely. OB's plan is less of a non-starter than the others...I can't think of anything more offputting than being told I have to buy something I can't afford (frankly0, go, go take a look at how other countries do this, please).

Brojo, OB is not appealing at the level of policy to the W Bush Texans as you call them but at the level of self-image... and it was self-image, not policy, that had them pulling the lever for W earlier. I think it great that OB can appeal to them like this. I've noted the same with a few of my Republican friends. And also have a number of Democratic friends who continue to be highly skeptical of Obama but me, I hear the poetry.

Posted by: snicker-snack (confidently stupid) on February 4, 2008 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

regarding universal healthcare -

Krugman may be right about the importance of mandates, what he doesn't take in to account, is that Hillary will have a very hard time selling universal healthcare. She tried once before - right?

So, though her five-point plan may be more thorough ( at the moment ) ... I don't believe she'll be able to implement her ideas.

I feel that Obama can actually get us a universal health plan.

The plan should be marketed to business - THE way to help Ford and GM be competitive is to move toward universal health coverage.

I like the description of Hillary as an expert operator in a broken system. I feel that she'll reinvigorate the GOP and will have to face a GOP congress in 2 years.

So Hillary will grant short-term gains ...
but Obama - can actually build a new broader coalition.

A commenter wrote disparagingly - "you must be one of those Reagan Democrats" ...

I would think the Democratic party would want them back ... no?

Posted by: jackifus on February 4, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Ugh...virtual kick to my own pants for putting "misspelling....wrong". I had written "spelling....wrong" and came back later and added the mis- thinking I was correcting myself.
The dangers of having children who distract you from the important work of blog-commenting.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

OB...BO I didn't think I was dyslexic...

Posted by: snicker-snack (with red face) on February 4, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Damn Jen, I could give two shits about my pronunciation or spelling. Criticism sucks, sure, but don't act like you Obama supporters have been saints here.

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

What about the fact that Obama's a great speaker too? He has my vote.

Posted by: Psyberian on February 4, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK
...Second, she could be reserving judgment depending on how nasty the campaign gets. He is her spouse, after all.

No, he is a viable candidate for the presidency. She represents that candidacy, and the democratic party as well. She doesn't have the luxury of being "the spouse" in public when asked about issues relating to the election.

It's not about nastiness, it's not about hurt feelings. If she can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. But the last thing we need is for democrats to start playing, "If I can't win I'm taking the ball and going home."

She made the choice, presumably, to be in this thing. Well get used to the rough and tumble. This isn't a game, and if democrats aren't united, we could get four more years of republicans, and I don't think the country would survive that.

If you are not willing to support the democratic nominee, whoever that is, you don't belong in the democratic party primaries. That's how it works.

Posted by: CR on February 4, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't usually call people out on their spelling, but the combination of 1) it being ironic, and 2) you took a swipe at me first, made it hard to resist. I am one stubborn girl.

I don't care about "criticism", which it wasn't, and I appreciate good argument, which it wasn't, either. What I objected to was being talked to like I am an idiot. Like I needed to be told there exists a smear machine.

I do not speak for "you Obama supporters" and I didn't claim anyone was a saint. But I appreciate yours, and others' attempts to take things that I did not say (e.g. that I won't vote for HRC in the primary) and mount valiant defenses.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing how many people here know exactly who is electable and who is not, and how precise health plans will work out in practice -- never mind what Congress might have to say about them.

I confess to ignorance about most of these things. I don't know who is more likely to beat McCain. I don't know which health plan is more likely to fly (though I do believe that, whereas Krugman is talking about the economics, Obama is looking more at the politics, and what Republicans can do with the word "mandates" in a campaign).

And I don't necessarily think Swan is wrong -- he is talking from his immediate experience, and so does everyone else. (My experience differs from his -- but it's a big country, and most people may not live in environments like mine).

So, since I don't consider myself an expert at any of these things, I'm voting for Obama because I instinctively feel that he will be better for the country. If Hillary is nominated, I'll vote for Hillary in November.

And all the intramural nastiness in these threads is very sad. Some people are not satisfied to reach a belief they feel comfortable with, or even to argue passionately for it. They feel the need to call those who disagree "idiots" -- and worse. That's not very liberal, IMO, as I have said before. How sad that it has to be like this.

Posted by: JS on February 4, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Just your usual empty snarky shit, Dear heart."

ROFL.... Given the post I was responding to, dear, not to mention your other posts on this thread, you're hardly one to talk. Not one bit of real data; just endless "endless empty snarky shit." Like I said, give it a rest.

"Why don't you go back to fighting Republican trolls with your ancient fisking and your LOLs and ROTFLMAOs?"

ROFL.... Dear heart, I'm opposed to morons of all stripes. Get a grip and post something worth responding to and I'll stop mocking you and start taking you seriously. On the subject of Obama, where you clearly are unhinged, I'm not holding my breath. You have realized that I'm far from the only person who has noticed this unhealthy obsession of yours, right?

"Trolls are a bit more your speed."

And you honestly think that what you are doing is not trolling? The mind boggles at your level of self-delusion.

Posted by: PaulB on February 4, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Bob G: his election will do wonders with the European people and possibly in Latin America

How sure are you about that? From the posts here from Canadians, they seem to be underwhelmed and resigned to Americans, once again, displaying all the analytical skills of sheep.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't know who is more likely to beat McCain"

Nobody does, of course, which is why the debate is so tedious. And the posts on the topic are mostly pretty silly, since I can come up with any number of reasons why both Clinton and Obama are "unelectable".

In any case, the Democratic candidate is almost certainly going to have some pretty positive factors in their favor come November, which makes me think this whole "electability" thing is moot.

Posted by: PaulB on February 4, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't usually call people out on their spelling, but the combination of 1) it being ironic, and 2) you took a swipe at me first, made it hard to resist. I am one stubborn girl.

You get bonus points for that.

Jen, the hysteria is what is freaky. Fine, you don't speak for everyone here, but you are being a little hysterical.

Tomorrow is not the end of this and we all know it. Save a little...

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

brojo,

I'm beginning to believe (and respect) Alexander Cockburn less and less as time goes on. He wrote an article in Counterpunch a few months back in which he said that Gore was just a tool of the nuclear power lobby. And he believes that global warming is nothing other than a conspiracy of the nuclear power industry. I'm afraid he's off my reading list.

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

From the posts here from Canadians

snicker-snack = canadian
Scotian = canadian

not sure what other Canadians are on this thread... from these two data points see no discernable trend.

Posted by: snicker-snack (blind perhaps?) on February 4, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

you are being a little hysterical

How am I being hysterical? I thought I was just being stubborn and annoying.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta I'm beginning to believe (and respect) Alexander Cockburn less and less as time goes on...

That may be so... Still, he wrote one of my favorite double punches of all time "Ah, Wellington, New Zealand... a town so sleepy that even the Canadians I met there seemed somewhat interesting."

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 4, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

The unpredictability of what people actually do when they get in the voting both is often discussed. Here's one such theoretical to consider: What if many young white southerners, no where near as strongly biased against 'the coloreds' as their parents, decide to vote for the future and not the past? Come back, little dixiecrat! Wouldn't it be nice?

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on February 4, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, Krugman on his blog makes the following observation:

By my count, 3 of my last 10 columns have criticized Barack Obama.
7 of Frank Rich’s 10 last columns, and 6 of Maureen Dowd’s last 10 columns, have criticized Hillary Clinton.
But, of course, that’s different: Hillary is eeevil, and deserves it.

Of course, which columns set Kevin over the cliff?

Because he's such a fair-minded man, of course. Not, of course, because he buys into media narratives without even noticing it.

Ever wonder why it took Kevin and Josh Marshall so very, very long to back out of supporting the Iraq War? How about the idea that they fall into media narratives without even being aware that's what they're doing?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 4, 2008 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Toad: Republicans have been very good at coming up with policy proposals that favor their agenda and selling those proposals to the electorate

Oy! Republicans have been very good at revising the English dictionary. Smog = clear skys. Logging = healthy forests. Liberal = fascist. Shall I go on?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Can't you write in John Edwards' name?????

Posted by: Mazurka on February 4, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

I like you Jen. If Obama wins, that's fine with me. I will be there fighting by your side. But you better be ready for that fight, because it is coming. And it will undoubtedly test the essence of everyone's patients and respectability.

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, Donald at 5:57, a sane human voice in a wilderness of rabid howling wolves. Thank you. I needed that.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

If you are not willing to support the democratic nominee, whoever that is, you don't belong in the democratic party primaries. That's how it works.

Jen...CJ said it very well. In your opinion, what's the best way to get this word out to Obama supporters?

Posted by: Steve-O on February 4, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

What do you think Obama meant by this part of his quote?

". You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the presidential candidates, and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it. That's not really going to solve our energy problems."

Let me give you a hint. Obama is not supporting Reagan trickle-down economics. Why you have a problem understanding what Obama is saying in this quote is beyond me. Maybe you weren't old enough in 1980 to have a real memory of what Carter's term was like. (and I love Carter, btw). Hostages were being held in Iran, there had been a failed mission to rescue them, lines at gas stations were LONG because of dwindling supply, etc., etc. It was a discouraging time. Then along comes this guy from California, someone we all knew from Westerns, with a big smile and tons of optimism. The American people in general fell in love with him. He had captured their imaginiations. Even many who wouldn't benefit from his policies liked him. Obama is saying that now is the same kind of time, and he is right. After 8 years of the Bush fiasco, the country is ready for change. And Obama hopes to provide the new ideas that will lead to progressive change. That's all he's saying.

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush at 6:27. Did Clinton promise not to campaign before the primary in Florida and not to fight to seat her Florida delegates? Or did she simply promise not to campaign before the primary (a promise she kept, BTW)?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

If you are not willing to support the democratic nominee, whoever that is, you don't belong in the democratic party primaries. That's how it works.

Whose rule is that? That's not my rule. I believe in voting. If you want to vote and are eligible to vote, you should vote for who you want to vote for, in the primary and in the general. If Lieberman were still a Dem and were in this thing, you're telling me if I went out and voted for Other Democrat over Lieberman I would have to vote for Lieberman in the general because "that's how it works?"

Also, somehow I think your message of "you must support HRC even though you got really excited about Obama and are very disappointed now" will not go quite as viral as Obama's campaign. You can try, though. Make a video and all.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mary: We will not be a nation that respects diversity while women are treated like second-class citizens, no matter how many African American men are elected to high office. Hillary is as much a symbol of progress and Obama is.

I'd feel more comfortable with Hillary as a genuine "symbol of progress" if she had come up politically like Geraldine Ferraro, that is, reaching office on her own, not because of name recognition thanks to a politically powerful husband. And I'd feel the same way about Michelle Obama if she sought office.

Posted by: Vincent on February 4, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Toad,
Sorry about that. The mind gets ahead of the fingers. Stupidity, if that's how you're reading it, or for that matter accepting it, doesn't enter into the picture. Common sense does.

Responding to your follow up on my comments, it sounds to me that you fallin league with people whose focus is on the length of Bill Clinton's socks during a TV interview or whether or not Hillary is capable of crossing her legs, a la Rush Limbaugh.

Do you have an intelligent response to my concerns or do you have other, in your own words, "petty" comments? I would really appreciate it if you would reflect your thoughts in a sound persuasive manner as to why I should change my mind about HRC without coming across as being small.

Thanks for your attention to my spelling.

Ed

Posted by: Ed on February 4, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

In answer to your question, Sharon, Hillary agreed to abide by the DNC's decision to strip Florida of its delegates, before she didn't.

http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=01&year=2008&base_name=clinton_tries_to_reinstate_mic

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'd feel more comfortable with Hillary as a genuine "symbol of progress" if she had come up politically like Geraldine Ferraro, that is, reaching office on her own, not because of name recognition thanks to a politically powerful husband. And I'd feel the same way about Michelle Obama if she sought office.

Wow, that was shallow. Get laid much?

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

MM,

You could stand some fact-checking, too. Let's try Factcheck.org: "He never said the 'Republican ideas' were good ones, and in fact he said, 'The Republican approach has played itself out.'" In context, it was clear he was simply stating the fact that the Republicans have been very good at coming up with policy proposals that favor their agenda and selling those proposals to the electorate. He wasn't saying he liked them.

That's really cute. Here you have your candidate going to a conservative newspaper and waxing poetic about Republicans, "I think it is fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense they were challenging conventional wisdom.". Everybody who saw what he said saw it for what it was, a compliment. Joe Scarborough, that well known champion of progressive causes, couldn't say enough complimentary things about Obama for saying "nice" things about Republicans. Then when he gets challenged to explain his comments by Clinton, he squirms away from what he said by shrugging his shoulders and saying, "I never said I agreed with them". No, and he never said that he disagreed with any of them either.

Social Security. Just what the hell is his problem?


BACON (10/27/07): Sen. Barack Obama yesterday slammed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for "ducking the issue" of ensuring the solvency of Social Security and signaled that he will take a more aggressive approach to the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

At an event in Des Moines, Obama (D-Ill.) characterized Clinton's approach to addressing the issues as "You should hedge, dodge and spin, but at all costs, don't answer."


OBAMA (9/23/07): My personal view is that lifting the cap is much preferable than the other options that are available. But what’s critical is to recognize that there is a potential problem.

As I travel around Iowa and New Hampshire I meet young people who don’t think Social Security is going to be there for them. They don’t believe it’s going to be there for them.


Nice. Newt or Bush or Tim Russert couldn’t have said it better. (I’ll bet Tim Russert got a boner when Obama spoke those words.) I haven’t been waiting these past hellish 7 years for a Democratic candidate to talk like that.

Senator Obama, when you're talking to these young people, maybe you should educate them and explain why they believe such garbage, and how they've been deceived about this issue by an army of conservative dissemblers WHO WANT TO DESTROY SOCIAL SECURITY and a corrupt enabling press.
No, he'd rather attack Clinton using Republican talking points.

It's useless. People are projecting onto Obama whatever they want to see in him. I'm not looking for a Messiah.

Posted by: mm on February 4, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jen:

Whose rule is that? That's not my rule. I believe in voting. If you want to vote and are eligible to vote, you should vote for who you want to vote for, in the primary and in the general. If Lieberman were still a Dem and were in this thing, you're telling me if I went out and voted for Other Democrat over Lieberman I would have to vote for Lieberman in the general because "that's how it works?"

Maybe you missed the earlier comments, but I wasn't talking about voters, I was talking about candidates.

I believe what you believe about voters, and if Lieberman was the candidate, I doubt I could vote for him.

The question wasn't about who M. Obama would vote for, it's about whether she would support (and work for) HRC's candidacy if she won the nomination.

If you are one of the two remaining candidates, there shouldn't be any question about whether you would work for whoever wins. Otherwise, run as an independent.

The point is to elect a democrat. Period. We don't have the luxury to risk anything else.

Yes, it's been tough out there, and the Clinton's have played hardball more than I would like. But if she didn't know that was going to happen going in, she was naive. And as one commenter mentioned, this is not the first time this kind of thing has come out of the Obama campaign.

Posted by: CR on February 4, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ronald Reagan was a stupid, immoral conservative who started a long slow downhill slide for this country. Why is Kevin drinking the conservative Kool-aid about Reagan? His comment is as stupid as Obama'a comment two weeks ago about the great "trajectory" that Reagan started us on. That comment alone by Obama is why I can't vote for him and pray that people come to their senses that he has feet of clay.

Posted by: Bob C on February 4, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bob C: Huh?

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 4, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

mm,

"OBAMA (9/23/07): My personal view is that lifting the cap is much preferable than the other options that are available. But what’s critical is to recognize that there is a potential problem.

As I travel around Iowa and New Hampshire I meet young people who don’t think Social Security is going to be there for them. They don’t believe it’s going to be there for them."

What problem do you have with the first paragraph? There is a 'potential' problem. The best solution is to raise the cap.

Second paragraph. Young people (let's assume in their teens and twenties don't believe SS will be there for them. OK. Under current law they'll be able to draw SS at age 66. Let's take 20 as their current age. They'll be 66 in 2054, 9 years after the date 2045 at which Dems say SS will 'potentially' run into problems. So their fears are real and Obama's raising the SS cap to secure SS beyond 2045 is totally logical.

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

YOU GUYS, CAN’T YOU ALL SEE THAT KEVIN’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE WILL VOTE OBAMA TOMORROW IS NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT. IT’S A RHETORICAL DEVICE TO PROMOTE DISCUSSION.
How do I know? Answer: His stated reasons for making the announced choice are the giveaway. We all know that our fearless leader is man of reasoned thinking, painstaking analysis and thoughtful contemplation. He would never make his choice for the Presidency of the United States, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the most powerful nation in the world, and presumptive Leader of the Free World upon the flimsy rationale and feeble grounds he states for his choice. To wit, (as lawyers like to say):
1. If Kevin is to be believed, the key factor that has pushed to pushed him to vote for Obama tomorrow is that he is pissed at Krugman’s Column. That’s supremely childish. (Just as it would have been childish to vote for Hillary because he is pissed at Andrew Sullivan.) And, Kevin is not childish.

2. “The ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks has turned me off.” Oh, come on! Rejecting Hillary as the best candidate for that reason is not only a childishly petulant reaction, it is an unreasonable and an unfair reaction. And, Kevin is a fair man and reasonable man. Moreover, it is not believable that Kevin shocked by Hillary’s “hardball” campaigning. After all, the Obama camp and its supporters have had more than its share of ugliness – calling Hillary “bitch” or “hag” or worse is common place among Obama supporters, Obama and his camp have viciously misconstrued and misrepresented Hillary’s position and words, Obama has publicly mocked and snubbed Hillary, etc. etc.

3. “Obama's steadiness running his campaign under fire is a good sign of what he'd be like as president.” This is an obviously false conclusion; it’s dumb reasoning. And, Kevin is not a dumb man. Running a political campaign and heading the trust that is the administrative branch of the government of the United States are two entirely different things. (And, that’s not to say that Obama has run his campaign all that well. I think there is evidence of many mistakes, and the story isn’t over yet.) In fact, we have no real clue of what Obama administrative style or decision making process is.

4. “Some of the red state endorsements Obama has gotten recently speak well for his potential to produce strong coattails in November.” This is careless reasoning. And Kevin is not a careless-thinking man. This conclusion is not supported by the evidence. Obama runs on the force of his personality, and by all accounts, seeks to win by attracting independents and Republicans. Even if those segments were attracted to Obama personally, they are likely to split their vote when it comes to seating members of Congress. In fact, by all that is evident, Hillary would have much, much longer coattails. She looks to the traditional Democratic base for her support, and those that vote for her are far more likely than Obama supporters to vote for other Democrats.

I could go on with this exercise through Kevin’s other stated grounds . . . but, this post is getting too long . . . I’ve made my point, I think.

Posted by: Erika S on February 4, 2008 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Toad, while must people's nom d'screen are simple identifiers, yours is spot on. Toads can't read either.

"Does it have to be a co-presidency because her spouse is a man?

No, people suspect it's likely to be a co-presidency because her spouse is an ex-president who left office with 70% approval ratings. It also probably doesn't help that HRC is touting her years as first lady as "experience.""

Nothing you have said indicates a co-presidency is more or less possible or even planned. Per your non-sequitur, the very fact her husband is an ex-president disqualifies her for the job. It's a simple slur with no foundation in reality, put forth by simpletons. Also, for the record, sexism, pure and simple.

2. the Clintons are long-time, experienced Democratic politicians, who know that support from African-American voters is crucial in both primaries and the general election. Both are very smart and would have done nothing to alienate the AA community before (or after) SC.

So the African-American voters who felt they heard race-coded language from Clinton surrogates are just "stupid and uninformed?""

No, you are stupid and uninformed (as in deliberately misreading what I said). When Obama's campaign blew their dog whistles, the predictable (and desired) result was racial voting solidarity. Interpreting each and every statement, (positive or negative), as a racial slur was and is dishonest and it was done to dupe voters into believing that the Clintons were mounting some sort of suicidal racial attack. Typing slowly, so you can follow, the Clintons had no advantage in racial polarization. Obama, before SC, did.

"I agree with you that some of these comments -- Andrew Cuomo's, for instance -- were blown out of proportion by people's hypersensitivity on this issue, but to refer to this as a tactic of the Obama campaign while denying that there was any tactical use of race on the Clinton campaign's part just shows your sympathies. It doesn't show that the people who disagree with you are stupid and uninformed."

Again, you haven't been paying attention. Parsing every word in the English language into a racial insult is rank dishonesty. It's campaigning on the basis of race. It is naked appeal to race. This was done by which campaign? Care to guess?

3. "All emotion expressed by Obama is true- all emotion expressed by Clinton is false". The lie speaks for itself.

Yes it does. Haven't heard anyone say that, but when they do, I'll be sure to call bullshit."

Look upthread and downthread for examples of this opinion. I know it would be fruitless to invite you to explore the wider world but that canard is prevalent even here in this thread.

4. "Corporate media supports Clinton" Nothing could be further from the truth. MSM coverage of Sen. Clinton has been savage and savagely unfair.

This is a matter of perception, but I'll agree that Obama has more newspaper endorsements."

Endorsements be damned. All the Republican also-rans and every Democrat but Obama can truthfully say that the so-called news media is campaigning for their opponents.

5. "Obama will draw Republican and independent voters." Not that the polls notice in matchups with Sen. McCain.

Actually, the latest CNN poll shows Obama beating McCain in the general by a wider margin than Hillary. The NPR poll shows McCain over both HRC and Obama, but Obama closer (and both within MOE). Late deciders tend to break in favor of the less-known candidate."

Not the point, although polls are pickem at this point. The point is the polls do not show Obama pulling in independents and Republicans as his supporters claim.

6. "Obama can unite Congress and get things done for the American people". Unlikely.

The relevant question here is whether Clinton is more likely to do so. A lot depends on the candidate's coattails in the house and senate elections. I think Obama would have better coattails precisely because he is an inspiring candidate. He also appears to be better at raising money in the primary campaign, though he's had less time to build a donor base. Finally, to carry your burden of persuasion on this one you need to address Hillary's famous divisiveness. I've never understood it myself, but lots of people really don't like her."

Obama has shown zero ability as a legislator to move legislation. His most blind supporters simply overlook the fact that Republicans view Democratic Presidents as improper. Ignorance of the Republican modus operandi (obstruct, obstruct, obstruct) doesn't mean it will go away if we think happy thoughts.


7. "Obama should be elected because he didn't vote to go to war with Iraq, while Clinton did". Of course, this is the easiest thing in the world to say as Sen. Obama never had the choice to make, since he wasn't in the Senate at the time.

No, but he was quite vocal about this issue when he was running for Senate. That's called taking a position. It's not as if he was just commenting on a blog."

Taking a position, as Obama often fails to realize and do, is exercising your vote to represent your constituents' views and interests. Voting to fund the war, bragging about an opinion on a vote he could not make (exactly like commenting on a blog) and dodging another vote that 98% of his peers managed to make is not taking any position, it's shirking the responsibility to do so.

Posted by: solar on February 4, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

but, this post is getting too long . . .

Yep

I’ve made my point

Nope

(and just a by the by, how many different names do you post under Erika S?)

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 4, 2008 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Solar at 6:43, that is the most brilliant, thorough analysis I've read so far. Who are you? Why aren't you running this blog? Better yet, why aren't you running for President?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Erika S, if Kev punk'd me, that would be a honor...

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack,

There you are! Yes, Cockburn does have a way with words! Very funny...

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Solar, would you mind if I quote your post in full on another site? It's so strong. It needs to get around.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

...you're telling me if I went out and voted for Other Democrat over Lieberman I would have to vote for Lieberman in the general because "that's how it works?"

No Jen...that's a nonsensical rationalization you've thrown together where I'm supposed to accept that Lieberman's views could get him to 50% in the dem primary. It's a bit silly, isn;t it? Why not use Hitler?

What "Obama Babies" (ie those BO supporters that say they may not support the dem nominee because of some problem with Clinton even tho they support the same policies) are saying is "If my guy doesn't win, don't expect anything from me." That's the reaction of a child.

It's good to see you say you will vote for her if she wins the nomination If Obama wins, I will will support him, campaign and give.

It's the policies...not the person.

Posted by: Steve-O on February 4, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

It needs to get around.

Yes, the lack of critical thinking skills (and well sheer dumnitube) it displays reminds one of Erika S and the rest of her team of sockpuppets. Sockpuppet away, Jose.

nepeta: yeah, I always have enjoyed Cockburn even when I've disagreed with him - unlike some of the more pedantic, leaden writing in the commentary here.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 4, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, which tends to get clouded by the Clintinoids, Michelle Obama hesitated when asked if she would WORK for Hillary Clinton. She was unequivocal in committing support for whoever is nominated. Frankly, if I were Michelle Obama I might hesitate to go out on the road for Hillary Clinton as well - she's put enough out there with all of the pressure on her family already. She's not a senator or an ex-President, holding some key symbolic role in the Democratic party. Barack and Hillary have both been unequivocal in pushing to beat the GOP in '08 no matter what. Although, frankly I don't trust the Clintons on this given their overweening sense of entitlement to another crack at keeping the Democratic Party a tepid, DLC-oriented operation and entombing any chance for significant political realignment (a la Reagan, incidentally.)

Posted by: brucds on February 4, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

mary: After Obama's terms in office, we will look back and cry at the missed opportunity Clinton gave us, because we will still be in Iraq, global warming will be worse, we'll have suffered a recession deepening into depression, and Obama was only a placeholder because despite good intentions he didn't know what to do about anything (or have the will or the markers to call in to achieve larger steps)...Are you all really so stupid?

I look forward to revisiting this nasty bit of crystal ball gazing in four years.

Posted by: Lucy on February 4, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

I am commenter #275-something. All I have to say is "Thanks, Kevin." Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime politician, and that's hard for people to figure. He's redefining the game. For the first time in a long time, I'm feeling hopeful for America.

PTate in MN, My sentiments exactly.

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

It's the policies...not the person.

Um. in politics it's quite plainly both. And often more of the latter than the former. That is the lay of the world whatever pony you might wish for, whatever insults you might throw.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK


About Krugman: Here's a hypothesis. There's a distinct possibility that both Obama's social security position and his health care position reflect the imprint of the University of Chicago. Obama's top economic advisor, I am told, is a University of Chicago business school professor. If Obama really has bought in to Chicago school thinking -- or has surrounded himself with a cadre of top domestic policy advisors who think that way -- it's no surprise that Krugman's up in arms. He thinks this stuff matters enormously, that the Chicago worldview is fundamentally and pervasively wrong, and that Chicago School thinking is the ideological center of right wing policy in America.

Posted by: gregkeating on February 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

"I look forward to revisiting this nasty bit of crystal ball gazing in four years."

Lucy, Sheesh, me too. Very strange...

Posted by: nepeta on February 4, 2008 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's initial vote for the war and the subsequent votes supporting it sank her for me. I won't vote for her if she is the Democratic candidate, but I won't vote for a Republican either. Hillary is untrustworthy and saddled with Bill, and McCain or Romney is dangerous. If I can't vote for Obama, I'll sit out the election.

Posted by: Perry on February 4, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, Obama drew a crowd of 16,000+ today in Hartford, Connecticut.

But they must be all really so stupid.

Posted by: Lucy on February 4, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

No Jen...that's a nonsensical rationalization you've thrown together where I'm supposed to accept that Lieberman's views could get him to 50% in the dem primary. It's a bit silly, isn;t it? Why not use Hitler?

Going Godwin so soon?

No, it isn't. It is an application of the rule that you provided, the rule being you "have" to vote for the nominee if you're going to vote in the primary. If it doesn't apply to other hypothetical nominees, then it isn't a rule, just something you're seeking to enforce in this case.
Joe Lieberman was, until fairly recently, a Democrat. Hitler, the Doughy Pantload's protestations to the contrary, was not. If you don't like that example, use another one. Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, whoever you like, I don't care.
I would categorize that position as party over person. And for some people, that may be what they want to do. And for others, not so much. Democracy.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

He's redefining the game...

Yeah, that's a bold statement. How many centuries of politics do you intend to change in one election?

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin...“The ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks has turned me off.”

Really? I'm finding the Obama campaign at least equally ugly. The more I see of his campaign, the less I like him. He will soon find out his passive-aggressive racial card strategery doesn't play well outside of 'the friendly confines' of the Democratic party.

Posted by: JJ on February 4, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Just pulled the lever for Obama.

Call me stupid if it makes you feel better.

In any case, since your candidate already has so many "markers to call in" ... I guess I can safely assume that she doesn't really need my puny little vote anyway.

Posted by: Chino Blanco on February 4, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jen, again, please read up-thread. The "rule" I argued was that if you were in the primaries as a democrat, you need to be willing to work for whoever wins. I don't give a rat's ass who the Obama's vote for. I do expect that if they don't win the nomination, they will work for HRC. And that was what M. Obama had to "think about."

If you aren't willing to do that, you should be running as an independent.

Does anyone give a rat's ass what I think about this? Probably not!

Posted by: CR on February 4, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Call me stupid if it makes you feel better.

I call you American...stupid...

Posted by: elmo on February 4, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Toad: Maybe this is petty, and I'm usually not one to criticize spelling, but how exactly did you manage to misspell "wishful" two different ways in two consecutive sentences? It really detracts from your effort to imply that the people who disagree with you just aren't being smart.

Yes, it is petty, and no, a spelling error or many spelling errors do not detract from anyones argument or indicate anything about their smartness.

This reminds me of a poem by Miller Williams which goes something like this:

Because he was a pretty good piano player
I showed him my poem.
I waited while he read it slowly.
Then he looked up and asked,
Isn't this spelled with two t's?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Jen...CJ said it very well. In your opinion, what's the best way to get this word out to Obama supporters?

This is what I was asked, directly, and this is what I responded to.

So, to respond to you:
I do believe candidates should support the winning candidate. I do not believe they have an obligation to "work" for them if they do not choose to. Frankly, I would be a little concerned if Obama won and Bill decided to go out and work for him.

Posted by: Jen on February 4, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jen..."I would categorize that position as party over person."

No. I'm putting policy over person which you seem to be unable to do.

Posted by: Steve-O on February 4, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon people, not voting, out of spite or protest,equates to voting for the opposition party. I would think that in the event that our candidate does not advance to the final round, that we have a plan B and would vote in the November elections for B. Leave the emotions out of the picture, treat this like a business and vote with your head, or hellooo President McCain. If Hillary doesn't advance, I'm certainly voting for Barack.

Posted by: EL on February 4, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Kevin,

I think you are comparing Sen. Obama to the wrong recent presidents. What we don't know about Obama is if he would be John F. Kennedy or George W. Bush. In other words, will he be able to make decisions that, for the most part, have a sense of direction and calm about them and manage his subordinates and cabinet members, like Kennedy, or will he prove to be frightened and overawed by the job of President and pushed around by those he is supposed to direct and guide? As you say, it's a crap shoot; there is no way of knowing. After eight years of Bush, I am not willing to make an even money bet that his personal failings that have destroyed so much will reappear in another form. I vote Hillary.

Posted by: nick l-d. on February 4, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

JS: And all the intramural nastiness in these threads is very sad. Some people are not satisfied to reach a belief they feel comfortable with, or even to argue passionately for it. They feel the need to call those who disagree "idiots" -- and worse. That's not very liberal, IMO, as I have said before. How sad that it has to be like this.

Bingo! Looks like someone besides me is ready to say, "Be nice or leave." Thanks.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

On rereading Kevin’s opener, I must add a postscript to what I said above.

Kevin says: “I like his (Obama’s) temperament, I like his judgment, I like his foreign policy”

We have little evidence upon which to judge Obama’s general temperament. We know so little of him. Yes, he can be very restrained and gentlemanly, pulling out a lady’s chair, etc. But, he can also be a petulant child, i.e., the by now famous snub at the State of the Union Address, or be sneeringly testy as in his, “you’re likeable enough, Hillary” sneer.
Nor is there much evidence of what Obama’s “judgment” is really like. His judgment has not been on public display enough, yet. I know he “was against the Iraq war from the beginning.” (So, was I, and so was most of the rest of the world’s citizens.) That’s not sufficient to determine that he indeed posses general good judgment, superior say, to Hillary’s, or, to establish his claim that his early “good judgment” on the Iraq war question should gain him the Presidency. As a matter of fact, we know he has publicly confessed to two or three incidents of bad judgment in his life. (I need not repeat them here; they are by now well-known) So, who knows . . .?
We also know very, very little about what Obama’s foreign policy stance would be. And, what we do know is not always comforting . . . At least not to me. Did he not once say that he would “invade Pakistan” if knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding out there, and Musharif was unwilling or unable to get him? Hmmm!.

Posted by: Erika S on February 4, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Napeta: I'm beginning to believe (and respect) Alexander Cockburn less and less as time goes on. He wrote an article in Counterpunch a few months back in which he said that Gore was just a tool of the nuclear power lobby. And he believes that global warming is nothing other than a conspiracy of the nuclear power industry. I'm afraid he's off my reading list.

Dammit, Napeta, are we twins separated at birth? I've become disillusioned with Cockburn for the same reasons. He's starting to strike me as more a committed contrarian than anything else.

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jen: How am I being hysterical? I thought I was just being stubborn and annoying.

Great line. Can I use it?

Posted by: Sharon on February 4, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

The American people in general fell in love with him. He had captured their imaginiations. Even many who wouldn't benefit from his policies liked him. Obama is saying that now is the same kind of time, and he is right. After 8 years of the Bush fiasco, the country is ready for change. And Obama hopes to provide the new ideas that will lead to progressive change. That's all he's saying.

Well said, and...for a blessed relief...without all the fawning and magical thinking and emotionalism and self-delusion. Who opened the window and let the fresh air in? Napeta, that's who.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

In answer to your question, Sharon, Hillary agreed to abide by the DNC's decision to strip Florida of its delegates, before she didn't.

Thanks for the heads up, Jen.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

"From the posts here from Canadians

snicker-snack = canadian
Scotian = canadian

not sure what other Canadians are on this thread... from these two data points see no discernable trend." Posted by: snicker-snack (blind perhaps?) on February 4, 2008 at 9:37 PM

Yes, I was going to ask about this too, especially since from what I've seen snicker-snack is clearly for Obama while I am the one that is concerned/worried about Obama's readiness and ability to win. I have no idea how anyone could get any sort of "pattern" based on two data points to begin with, let alone when they are nowhere near each other. Seems like more than a little bit of wishful thinking IMHO.

Posted by: Scotian on February 5, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Erika S, that was flipping brilliant! Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears, I come to bury Ceasar not to praise him.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with you, EL.

Leave the emotions out of the picture, treat this like a business and vote with your head, or hellooo President McCain. If Hillary doesn't advance, I'm certainly voting for Barack.

I'm a Clinton supporter too but I'll support Obama fully if he's the nominee. Big time. What's with these Obama Babies? 'It's either my guy or I'll hold my breath till we all turn blue.'

Posted by: Steve-O on February 5, 2008 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Obama draws big crowds?

More than 300,000 "boomers" went to Woodstock in the rain.

Posted by: Jethro on February 5, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

OK, by this point a "comments" section has typically devolved into silly, obscure internecine bickering, but there are still enough posts related to the original post that I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Kevin, since I first discovered you on "Calpundit," you've always been one of my bookmarks (now tabs) for your smart, evenhanded blogging. I was also a fan because I was living in DC at the time and I could show you off to my stuffy inside-the-beltway friends as a politically savvy cat from Southern California, where I grew up.

I have to admit, though, that I felt your trademark fairness was straying into advocacy when it came to Clinton. I jumped onto the Obama bandwagon a long time ago not because of his brilliant oratory, but because of an interview I heard several month ago in which he discussed his foreign policy ideas, particularly with respect to Israel and Palestine. Marty Peretz writes about this in the latest New Republic, but I was deeply impressed by Obama's understanding of the conflict and by his frank willingness to criticize all parties regardless of any potential political fallout he might face.

It would be gratuitous of me to launch into an anti-Hillary diatribe. Suffice it to say that I'm heartened that someone I've long respected has decided, as I have, that Barack's our guy.

Posted by: Casey on February 5, 2008 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Napeta and Lucy, I think Mary was using what information she has managed to gather to try to figure out what the future would look like. That's what we're all doing. That's what we all do every time we vote. You're being harsh and unfair because the future Mary sees is not the one you and Lucy see.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon @ 2:09 I've changed my mind... but you (Kevin) appear to have lost yours?

Sharon @ 3:42 ...all you keyboard zealots out there with your purist points of view

Sharon @ 7:48 And pious Saint Kevin gets all in a lather over every twisted, spun and fabricated racial insult that lands on the Clintons' threshold? Has the world gone mad?

Sharon @ 7:54 go back and work on your reading comprehension skills.

Sharon @ 9:57 ...a sane human voice in a wilderness of rabid howling wolves.

Sharon @ 11:46 Bingo! Looks like someone besides me is ready to say, "Be nice or leave." Thanks

And thank you, Sharon, for the apparent change of heart you exhibit with this last post.

(I can only speak for myself, but I find the way you try to set yourself up as some kind of gatekeeper for the comment section extremely, extremely tiresome. Would that you would take your own advice or at least learn not to comment when you have nought to add; and if you learn this lesson maybe you could teach Swan as well - then I'd really be punching the air - though both of you would then be taking away one of my reasons for posting)

and Scotian, thanks for backing me in agreeing that we disagree. By the way, it's been good to see you back here after your time away.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, Obama drew a crowd of 16,000+ today in Hartford, Connecticut.

Lucy, do you recall the headline in the UK paper the day after the 2004 election? How can 54 Million People Be So Dumb

Never underestimate the number of stupid people there are. (For the record, I'm not saying people who support Obama are stupid.)

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

EL: Incidentally, Obama drew a crowd of 16,000+ today in Hartford, Connecticut

Abso-fucking-lutely! And I'll contribute to his campaign and stuff envelopes for him too. Get a grip, folks. Nothing and I mean nothing should energize the Democrats so much as the prospect of 4 more years of Republican rule. And it should be a tsunami that will sweep away the Republicans and any further oh-so-gutless conjecture about which good Democrat energizes Republicans more. Fuck the Republicans! Fuck them in every orifice!

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

"In answer to your question, Sharon, Hillary agreed to abide by the DNC's decision to strip Florida of its delegates, before she didn't." (at 12:09)

That answer is not quite correct, Sharon. Hillary agreed not to CAMPAIGN in Florida, and she did not. The the decision to strip Florida of its delegates was not hers to make. Only the DNC has the power to make that decision. Her agreement or disagreement with the decision is utterly irrelevant. -- But the DNC, like a judge in a court case, can reconsider its previous decision upon due application and a showing that reconsideration would be fair and and equitable under the circumstances. Reconsideration of the DNC decision is being sought (I believe the grounds for reconsideration are that the individual voters of Florida are being disinfranchised through no fault of their own if their votes don't count), and Hillary supports reconsideration of the DNC decision stripping Florida and Michigan of its delegates

Posted by: Erika S on February 5, 2008 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Meant that comment re issue of working for whatever candidate gets the nomination. Sheesh! I do get worked up. Been working with profane Marines too long.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you Erica. You're a peach. That was my understanding too but I was too lazy to look it up.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon: You're being harsh and unfair because the future Mary sees is not the one you and Lucy see.

...or it could be because Mary = Sharon = Erika S.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Snicker-snack: I'll be the first to admit I stray from the ideal of fairness and civility, but I do make a conscious effort to keep it civil. I apologize for boring you.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

There is no question that Hillary's vote for the Iraq war is a serious strike against her. But to be perfectly fair, it's unreasonable to think that Obama would have voted any differently. The vote in the Senate was 98-0. Do people seriously think that a potential presidential candidate operating in the climate of 2002-03 would have made it 97-1? The people who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning were a significant but largely unseen minority, and they were ignored or marginalized by anyone in the mainstream. It was only when marginal politicians came out against the war and found themselves with unexpectedly large and devoted constituencies (esp. Dean) that Democratic Congressmen and Senators began to reconsider their positions. After 2004, any Democratic politician with national aspirations was going to be against the war as a matter of course, but it was (lamentably) not a possibility in 2002-3. A collective example of political cowardice? No question. But the reality is that the only reason Obama didn't vote for the war is because he wasn't a US Senator at the time. Period.

Anyway, I'm still undecided heading into tomorrow, although I'm leaning ever so slightly in Hillary's direction. One way or the other, I'm impressed by the Democratic field, and frankly baffled by the hostility that has sprung up between Hillary and Obama supporters. When you consider the similarity of the platforms, it really does lend credence to the notion that people approach their politics as if they were picking a sports team. It's just not a productive way to go about things.

Posted by: Sean on February 5, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

"After Obama's terms in office, we will look back and cry at the missed opportunity Clinton gave us, because we will still be in Iraq, global warming will be worse, we'll have suffered a recession deepening into depression, and Obama was only a placeholder because despite good intentions he didn't know what to do about anything (or have the will or the markers to call in to achieve larger steps)."

Sharon,

I have no problem with Mary's comments in support of Hillary at the beginning of her comment. I do have a problem with her extreme criticism of Obama and her vision of a completely failed presidency evidenced by the above quote. Even though I prefer Obama over Clinton, I would never envision a disaster of the proportions mentioned above for a Clinton presidency.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

FIRST!

"The vote in the Senate was 98-0."

Sean...

and which vote would that have been please???

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

it's unreasonable to think that Obama would have voted any differently. The vote in the Senate was 98-0.

It was 77-23. 21 Democrats voted against, 29 for.

Granted, there is no way of knowing how Obama would have voted had he been a Senator.

But we do know how Hillary voted. And we do know what Obama said at the time. If this isn't enough information for some, so be it.

Posted by: JS on February 5, 2008 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

FIRST!

The only reason you beat me was that I had typed "nepeta will probably beat me to this" and then erased it...

Don't stop reading Cockburn. Or Kristol, or Krauthammer. It's good to know what the extremes are saying.

Posted by: JS on February 5, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

"and Scotian, thanks for backing me in agreeing that we disagree. By the way, it's been good to see you back here after your time away." Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 12:43 AM

Hey, the facts are what they are, and I try to deal with facts first, as you should remember about me. I may be wrong about something but it isn't because I made up my own facts for it, but because I drew the wrong conclusions and/or inferences from them. It is too easy for people to treat what they believe is the case/true and treat it as proven fact, something I try to watch out for in my own work, especially when it comes to asserting the motives of others and I find that tendency very disturbing, especially when it gets as out of control as I have seen it in the blogosphere in the past several weeks between the Obama and Clinton camps. Mainly the Obama camp, but that is as much because they are the greater number online than anything else I should add. As to my being back here, well you know the "joy"/neccessity/importance of having to keep an eye on the Harper government, that has preoccupied my blogging time for the past couple of years, but I still stopped by and lurked. I just thought that by the time I started commenting on this that some concerns I have be raised and made known to people. So I have done so, no doubt to the annoyance of some and gratitude of others and the indifference of the rest...:)

However, I have to ask, do you have any basis for the insinuation for claiming that Mary/Sharon/Erika S is the same person sockpuppeting, and if so what would that evidence be please? I certainly hope it is more than they all appear to be supporting Clinton, otherwise you are making a fairly serious accusation/insinuation without sufficient basis IMHO (I ask because I know I could easily have missed something, it is a serious question). I've been hit with that one in the past and I know how much I resent it when done purely on the basis of similar positions on matters between me and these other people I am supposedly sockpuppeting, although thankfully my longwinded style tends to be really hard to duplicate let alone miss as is the way I combine words/concepts using the "/" between them makes that one fairly easy for me to argue against when it happens.

Posted by: Scotian on February 5, 2008 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is an astonishing post coming from someone who has always been one of the more level-headed and reality-based of the top lefty bloggers. The lunatic ravings of Conservative Movement crank Andrew Sullivan (a man who cynically helped destroy the prospects for universal health insurance in the early 90's, who accused liberals of constituting a terrorist fifth column after 9/11, and for whom there is somehow a serious choice to be made between Barack Obama and, of all people, goldbug segregationist Ron Paul) are somehow comparable in effect to the tightly-reasoned, entirely policy-oriented criticisms of first-rate economist and leading progressive champion Paul Krugman?

Say it ain't so, Calpundit. For your long-time fans here in SoCal, please, say it ain't so.

Posted by: Amileoj on February 5, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

"Hillary supports reconsideration of the DNC decision stripping Florida and Michigan of its delegates" - Erika S

And the reason for Hillary's support for reconsideration is just incidental to the fact that she won more delegates in MI and FL?

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
I visit your site two, maybe three times a day. Josh Marshall about the same. Today I have visited your site about 80 times, ever since you switched candidates. Judging from the number of comments generated in the last 24 hours, I would think that your employer will urge you to switch party affiliations in November. Congratulations on the increased traffic.

Tell us on Tuesday night who you really voted for.

Posted by: EL on February 5, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta,

My apologies, I was incorrectly referencing the 2002 Authorization to use military force against terrorists (aka Afghanistan) as opposed to the Iraq resolution. I'll stick with the basic premise of the post, though. I just don't think a no vote was a position that was politically viable for a potential presidential candidate at that point and time.

Posted by: Sean on February 5, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Scotian: I have no idea how anyone could get any sort of "pattern" based on two data points to begin with, let alone when they are nowhere near each other. Seems like more than a little bit of wishful thinking IMHO.

Scotian, a girl can hope can't she? But I wasn't really trying to make a scientific claim. It was just a throw away observation. The point I clumsily tried to make is I cannot really tell whether or not Obama would be more favorable to Europe and the international community than would Clinton. Have there been any international polls?

I had always gotten the impression the Clintons are both widely admired in Europe. I don't know about Canada.

Obviously with Snicker-snack being rabidly pro-Obama and your being neutral, a sampling of your 2 data points would produce a result slightly in favor of Obama. But, as you say, that's hardly a wide sample. What is your sense of how Canadians feel generally? Do you have any sense of how Europeans feel?

I'm pretty new to PA and don't know any of you as well as you know each other. I didn't realize that Snicker-snack is a Canadian. I wouldn't have guessed given her heavy investment in Clinton v. Obama.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Don't stop reading Cockburn. Or Kristol, or Krauthammer."

JS,

I know, I'll keep reading Cockburn. You take Kristol and Krauthammer, OK? (grin)

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

" I just don't think a no vote was a position that was politically viable for a potential presidential candidate at that point and time."

Sean,

Sorry for my 'cute' question in response to your error. My bad. But look at your quote above and think about it, because I've given a great deal of thought to it over the years. Is the goal of becoming President of the US justification enough to allow a war to be waged, knowing that American men and women will be killed, even a number as few as 50 or 10 or 1? Personal political ambition, it seems to me, can never justify this vote. Ends can never justify means.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

Napeta: I have no problem with Mary's comments in support of Hillary at the beginning of her comment. I do have a problem with her extreme criticism of Obama and her vision of a completely failed presidency evidenced by the above quote. Even though I prefer Obama over Clinton, I would never envision a disaster of the proportions mentioned above for a Clinton presidency.

We've lived in a climate of fear for so many years it's hard not to think like that when another uniter-not-divider comes on stage promising change. I yearn with all my heart for change, but I'm jumpy. Something like battered wife syndrome, I guess. To me, Clinton seems the safer choice. I wish I had you clarity. I don't.

Also, my economic situation is extremely shaky. If we have a deep recession with high inflation, I and my family will sink like a stone. At least the Clintons have demonstrated a pragmatic ability to manage the economy. Also healthcare is a very real and pressing issue for me. I have to go with Krugman over Kevin Drum on this issue.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

two words...BIG MISTAKE

Posted by: stephanie on February 5, 2008 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Scotian: Mary/Sharon/Erika S is the same person sockpuppeting, and if so what would that evidence be please? I certainly hope it is more than they all appear to be supporting Clinton, otherwise you are making a fairly serious accusation/insinuation without sufficient basis IMHO

Amazing! I'm so new here this went right over my head. I had no clue what Snicker-snack was trying to get at. I assure you I am a 61 year old woman living in New Orleans after being away in Houston having lost my house in Katrina. I moved back for a job with the Marines, which I was just informed last week will end 2/22. As there is almost no steady work here in IT (I am a software engineer) and my daughter is in grad school in Albuquerque, I have decided to pack up my tent for the 4th time in 2 years and move to New Mexico where I hope to meet and marry Bill Richardson. But that may be hard as I will be leaving a husband in Baton Rouge. Slowly, we're trying to put our family back together. So I really hope you'll all pardon me if I go for the candidate most likely to get us out of the fucking ditch. A hard-working mule who will pull the whole day long, as one sensible woman put it so succintly on another site.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon,

My 'clarity' is becoming shakier by the second. Basically I'm going on instinct together with what facts are known. I'm pretty sure I know what a Clinton presidency would be like, and it wouldn't be horrible or even bad, but I'm willing to trust my instinct that Obama will be able to offer progressive change and make a bigger difference. At the worst I can only see that an Obama presidency might turn out very much like a Clinton presidency. My family is also in an economically shaky position and healthcare is one of our major expenses so I'm very much interested in this issue too. I'm not very swift at economic issues but I've read about the dot-com bubble, which eventually burst, being at least part of the reason for the good economy of the Clinton years, not to mention the beginning of globalization in the nineties which has played havoc with the economy in the new century. But I'll leave that to the economists to sort out.
Anyway, tomorrow's the big day for me here in NY. I'd better get some sleep.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

However, I have to ask, do you have any basis for the insinuation for claiming that...the same person (is) sockpuppeting

Yes, it is a serious claim and one not to be made flippantly. It is of course only a suspicion but one that has been growing for the last month. Similarities in reasoning and writing style... a number of little quirks they have in common... that they always seem to appear on threads together.... and that they always arrive propitiously to support one or the other's points - and that there have been perhaps others...caricatures of opposing views (for example extreme cases of misogyny) that seem to pop up magically when they need to be pointed to. I feel I can almost do a countdown.. 10, 9, 8.... presto!... I have tried to approach this delicately with hints here and there but... I have only on a few occassions pointed out sockpuppetry before and have to date been correct. I hope I am wrong this time.

Snicker-snack being rabidly pro-Obama

For the record my preferences ran this way:
1. Dodd 2. Richardson 3. Edwards 4. Obama 5. Clinton 6. Kucinich (though policy-wise I like him) 7. Biden 8. Gravel

I guess perception is everything.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon, if I am wrong in linking you to Erika S. / Mary... my apologies. It is good to be wrong about this.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nepata re 2:22am post:

The problem with that worst case scenario that you describe being like what happened to Bill Clinton is the position America is in now versus when he came to power. Back then your economy was fundamentally still reasonably stable (not in a good place at the time but not facing the kinds of institutional/structural failings that we see happening now as the S&L crisis/bailout was only one sector really in trouble institutionally, that is not the case now, indeed the last time I think your economy was in such serious trouble in that regard was back in 1929), your position in the global power structure was unchallenged and at the time unchallengeable, something it is not now. If your situation was not so dire in these areas I would be all for recommending the chance on Obama for the reasons so many have chosen to support him, but in good conscience under these circumstances what you need is someone that gets the details, has a long proven record as both a fighter and a plugger/mule in work habit/history and clearly has a strong working understanding of the minutia of governing, and on that score HRC cleans Obama's clock.

The dot-com bubble being responsible for the economic good times has some truth to it but less than has been attributed to it, and if I recall correctly much of what caused that to happen didn't originate from the executive branch but the legislative, as in GOP. Obama's main fault with me as a candidate aside from the concerns I have made regarding lack of sufficient vetting IMHO and so on is that his resume in actually getting hard legislation passed and implemented is so thin, let alone any history of grasping economic issues himself (as opposed to his advisors) with any real comprehension at a time when the economic aspect of the crisis America faces is so severe.

Sharon:

Obama is getting much the same consideration up here in the online community as he does in the US, and too often the Clintons have been trashed for things they are reported to have said/done which when I looked into them they had not. Obama is seen by many of the male bloggers as the obvious choice, but a lot of the women bloggers I have seen see the same as what I have seen from female bloggers in the USA regarding the horrible sexist treatment Clinton gets and are annoyed with their Canadian male counterparts for brushing that aside also like many American female bloggers appear to be feeling about their male counterparts. In my home city with people I have chitchatted with this about I have seen a preference to Clinton, but I live in a city with strong military roots so things like experience carry a fair amount of weight, especially given the precipice America is hanging over the edge of. This is especially true given we have troops dangerously stretched and unsupported by American power/resources in Afghanistan thanks to the idiotic foreign policy of GWB and a steady hand that understands international nuances as clearly as Clinton does over Obama would be much more comforting to many military families around here. His Pakistan comments and the reaction there got quite a lot of notice locally I found and none of it positive. Remember though, I am talking about people I meet on the bus and in coffee shops willing to chat, hardly anything that can be granted any value beyond anecdotal.

I think also I must point out that many Canadian political bloggers do not appreciate the nuances of your political system, which is understandable since yours is a far more complex structure than ours with different fundamental imperatives. I get it in no small part from growing up in a political family with roots on both sides of the border plus taking an active interest in learning the details of how both your democratically elected republic works versus our representative democratic Parliamentary system. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and what works one way in one does not automatically do the same in the other, and this is where I think a lot of my fellow Canadian political bloggers get tripped up on (no snicker-snack I am not including you in this as I would hope you would know) and miss a lot of what goes on underneath the surface. Especially when they rely so heavily on the American media to provide the information give the incredible biases within that media against Dems in general and especially in particular where anyone named Clinton is concerned.

On that note good night, it is just after 4am where I live and I am getting rather tired. It will be very interesting to watch the results coming in and I will be very interested in the demographic breakdowns, I am especially curious to see whether the women's vote was significantly underrepresented and how the Latino vote works out too.

Posted by: Scotian on February 5, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack, you are wrong and I accept your apology and thank you for it.

My misfire about the Canadian thing might suggest to you that you examine why 3 women who don't know each other in the least...I'm only just beginning to grasp who all the guests are at the private party I've crashed and I'm very poor at names...might have such similar points of view. Coincidence? Shared idiocy?

I did not want to address the following very hurtful comment you made but I will.

(I can only speak for myself, but I find the way you try to set yourself up as some kind of gatekeeper for the comment section extremely, extremely tiresome. Would that you would take your own advice or at least learn not to comment when you have nought to add; and if you learn this lesson maybe you could teach Swan as well - then I'd really be punching the air - though both of you would then be taking away one of my reasons for posting)

I fully realized when I started down that path many of you would think me a common scold and a presumptuous party crasher. But I'm trying to learn something here. And every time the nastiness starts, the learning stops and the defensiveness begins. The substance is what I'm after and a few laughs and a chance to participate in a good conversation. Most parties fall pretty flat when the drunks start hitting each other. Most conversations end when people start screaming and calling each other names. I've commented on numerous blogs, but the level of incivility here is striking...especially among people who claim to share so many of the same values. As I've said more than a few times now I wish the moderator would actually moderate.

And if you really look at all the snippets of my comments you assembled upthread to make your case that my pen is filled with as much acid as the 4 or 5 committed bullies to whom I refer, I think you'll agree you are far off the mark.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Good night, sweet Scotian. Please come back tomorrow and help me sort it out some more. I feel such a sense of dread. I fear we are heading for another Great Depression. My parents and grandparents were severely scarred their whole lives. I'm so afraid so much potential will die aborning. I've never ever felt this afraid in my whole life. 911 pales. Folks, read The Grapes of Wrath. Please. And please don't bash me for being emotional. I am emotional. I'm terrified.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

What I think, Sharon, is that I have posted far too much on this thread - and so have you. I don't mean to be hurtful but I hope that point gets across. This is not to say don't comment but that a thread is a kind of communal thing that noone should be monopolizing (this of course just my opinion). I am wrong about you being part of the sockpuppetry - this does not mean I don't think there has been no sockpuppetry over the past month including one particularly vile post. Let's leave it there. I wish you the best in your family situation.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 5, 2008 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

For years, I have listened to the boys of the progressive blogs put down the "kewl kidz" in the MSM for group think and pack mentality but now, I believe that is exactly what they are doing. Backing the inspiring but inexperienced young black man versus the competent middle-aged woman is the hip thing to do for the bloggers and they are all jumping on the bandwagon because they can't stand to be left out of the party.

Posted by: Vicki Williams on February 5, 2008 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Conversely, today's Paul Krugman column, which was yet another installment in his months-long anti-Obama jihad, had the opposite effect. I don't like Obama's mini-demagoguery of Hillary's healthcare plan either, but for chrissake, it's an election."

Excuse me pls, but isn't Obama's core message "Change!"? And now you're saing hee, his campaign is just doing business as usual? How can you vote for a candidate that, by your own reasoning, is a hypocrite???

Also, pls note that Krugman really went to all efoorts to explain why Obama moving the goalposts on healthcare insurance is desastrous for implementing an actually working policy later. The point is, Obama wil be held acountable for his "no mandate" promises. This will make it so much harder, almost impossible, for the Dems to implement obligatory healthcare insurance, which is clearly the better idea. Krugman explained all this, and more, providing facts to support his view. That you still don't understand his reasoning is beyond me.

There may be more reasons to vote for Obama than for Clinton, ok, everyone will do his own evaluation, but his stances on health care (and social security) are really hurting the party. If you would say, his position on the Iraq deployment tops everything else, this would be a serious reason, but ignorantly dismissing Krugmans righteous criticism as a "jihad" is really a very low point. Hey, why don't you simply admit you made up your decision in your guts, just as you did in the Iraq question, and stop smearing reasonably arguing voices who point out real, and important, differences between the candidates?
:-/

Posted by: Gray on February 5, 2008 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm remiss in not reading all 400 postings, but it seems to me patently obvious that, even though Clinton may have the better health plan, she will be visited by such hatred by the other side that that health plan may well become derailed, anyway. In other words, she has, imho, much less chance of actually getting substantive reform passed than does Obama.

As someone said somewhere, she'd make a great policy advisor, but she doesn't have the vision or greatness that we need in a president in these times. She's part of the fray, not above it.

I'd vote for her in the primaries, but it would be with much less enthusiasm.

Posted by: joanbeach4 on February 5, 2008 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon: You're being harsh and unfair because the future Mary sees is not the one you and Lucy see.

I do not need a translation service, thank you.

Posted by: Lucy on February 5, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

"in good conscience under these circumstances what you need is someone that gets the details, has a long proven record as both a fighter and a plugger/mule in work habit/history and clearly has a strong working understanding of the minutia of governing, and on that score HRC cleans Obama's clock."

Presumably because when she was considering her vote for Bush to go to war she didn't even bother to read the National Intelligence Estimates...

Posted by: brucds on February 5, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

What is it exactly that you are accusing me of by your “sockpuppetry” smear? (your posts at 1:07 AM and at 2:39 AM responding to a post by Scotian at 1:32, and you again at 2:45 AM and at 3:44 AM.) Apparently you conclude that Sharon, a commenter named Mary, and I are one and the same person, or are co-conspirators working in concert, posting “vile” (your word) comments on Kevin’s blog. Even after Scotian cautioned you and Sharon told you that you were wrong -- that we are three different ladies who don’t know each other – you persist and exacerbate the defamation by writing: “I am wrong about you [Sharon] being part of the sockpuppetry - this does not mean I don't think there has been no sockpuppetry over the past month including one particularly vile post.” Exactly what, when and where is this “vile” post that you are accusing me of having written or otherwise being responsible for?
For your information, I am a semi-retired attorney, born in Vienna, Austria more than 60 years ago, now living in Southern California. I have never met either Sharon or Mary. I know Sharon solely through her posts here and, in fact, have never even read Mary’s posts before just now when I searched them out. As is my practice to do, In writing posts to this blog, I take care to voice my opinions in a manner that is always civil and courteous.

Posted by: Erika S on February 5, 2008 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

She's part of the fray, not above it.

Obama is not above any damn fray, and obviously, neither are his supporters here. That's good, hope you guys have the same spunk come the general...

Posted by: elmo on February 5, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

"The good reasons include (a) the ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks, which has turned me off, (b) a growing sense that Obama's steadiness running his campaign under fire is a good sign of what he'd be like as president, and (c) some of the red state endorsements Obama has gotten recently, which speak well for his potential to produce strong coattails in November"

a) You're very impressionable, more than I would have thought
b) What fire? The entire major media is a relentless Obama cheering section.
c) This is a primary.

Strangely, Kevin's "good reasons" all strike me as baseless. But, hey, to each his own.

Posted by: david on February 5, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

That's good, hope you guys have the same spunk come the general...

Moderator, this filthy fellow needs to go. I'm tired of people talking about sp@nk! and all of those things. This used to be a family oriented blog for professionals and now, I am afraid, the quality has all but dissipated.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on February 5, 2008 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is ranting, Krugman is providing proper parenting to a young developing candidate who has headed in some wrong directions, especially with healthcare. Remember, Krugman's most significant point is that wealth disparity creates partisanship, and only dealing with this disparity allows bipartisanship. Obama thinks you can hold hands with Republicans and reason with them. Ask Bill Clinton about reasoning with Delay.

Posted by: geodahir on February 5, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry to exceed the maximum number of posts alloted each of us, but I just have to ask, "Norman, will you marry me?"

And you're so rich. That's most helpful. Plus, I could be your Eliza Doolittle...without the bad teeth.

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me it Obama vs Clinton comes down to idealism vs cynicism.

If you are idealistic you believe in a huge transformation. "One person can change the world." If you are a cynic you will take incremental change, thinking that if you reach too far you will get nothing.

It is interesting that many cynics started as idealists.

Still, hope springs eternal, and in the words of little Sally "In a musical like this where a little girl can have so many lines anything can happen."

Posted by: Tripp on February 5, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I am so disappointed. That you would think that Dems need an RR of their own rather than the FDR we clearly need, shows jsut how out of touch you have become. It's a sad sad day when any dem can want RR. I hope your endorsement carries no weight. If you want Arnold Swartzenagger as your future Obama is your man. I'd actually like some real government.

Sad Kevin. And then you actually equated Sullivan with Krugman. Where is your head? Sullivan is a hack, Krugman teaches at PRINCETON. Hello.

Reconsiderw what you are saying here.

Posted by: patience on February 5, 2008 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Well, this is interesting. In Florida, I voted for Clinton for some of the same reasons Kevin voted for Obama. My response to Kevin’s reasons:

The ugliness coming out of the Clinton camp over the past couple of weeks, which has turned me off.
I thought the ugliness meme was 80 percent creation by the media and 20 percent political correctness gone awry among certain democratic leaning voters. My perception is that Bill Clinton is light years ahead of, say, Ted Kennedy when it comes to recognizing racial putdowns. He correctly saw that the Obama campaign panicked after New Hampshire and openly played the race card to win big in South Carolina (note Jesse Jackson Jr. statement the morning after the New Hampshire Primary). It may not have played well for Bill Clinton to say so, but he was right. The South Carolina vote was along racial lines, as usual. There was nothing either Clinton could do about it. I remember how the Kennedy clan used to have some the same misconceptions about Jimmy Carter. I like the Kennedy’s, but they aren’t perfect.

a growing sense that Obama's steadiness running his campaign under fire is a good sign of what he'd be like as president.
Again, I thought he and his campaign panicked after New Hampshire. They immediately accused Hillary of not caring about Hurricane Katrina victims, saying that African Americans in South Carolina should take note. They exhibited paranoia by pushing the Bradley effect meme without sufficient evidence and by pushing and inflating alleged racial slights that upon examination do not hold up.
some of the red state endorsements Obama has gotten recently, which speak well for his potential to produce strong coattails in November.
I can’t speak for states like Missouri, but some of the red state endorsements won’t mean much. Take my man Bennie Thompson in Mississippi. Good guy, but Mississippi will definitely vote republican in the general election, as will South Carolina. Besides, endorsements are thin reeds top prop up your reasoning.
Krugman jihad.
Glad you are half embarrassed and secure enough to share your feelings. To me, Krugman’s well-reasoned argument citing recent respected scholarship is not a jihad. After all, you started out agreeing with Krugman and wondering why Obama was overreacting.

I also disagree with your concluding comments on Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Reagan was very divisive, I think people forget that. Conservatives have expended huge efforts to rehab his image and accomplishments, but all I see is huge debt for me and my descendents, chaos in the federal government, rampant corruption. On the other hand, Carter and Clinton submitted a string of responsible budgets that have withstood the test of time. Carter’s legacy includes a tradition of supporting human rights, the possibility of successful peace treaties in the Middle East, not overreacting to bogeymen (a measured response to the Iranian hostage situation). I’ll take those budgets and those legacies any day as opposed to a partially successful campaign of historical revisionism.

Posted by: jackohearts on February 5, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"The problem with that worst case scenario that you describe being like what happened to Bill Clinton is the position America is in now versus when he came to power"

Scotian,

Sorry, you misunderstood me. I meant the worst case scenario with Obama's presidency would be that his administration would end up like a Hillary Clinton administration. I think he's right that much of the change that needs to take place is with 'mindset,' which will in itself lead to the sorts of policy changes that will solve some of the longstanding problems, including the economic ones. If one goes about trying to solve problems while keeping the status quo in defense posture, corporate hegemony, etc., then I don't see more than quick fixes to problems that should be viewed in larger contexts.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

How can such thoughtful people be so easily swayed by fancy oratory and rhetoric?

Obama has done what exactly? ever?

Don't be swayed by speech making.

Stop reading such hatefilled blogs like Sullivan's, it's a waste of your time and energy.

The real world is out there, people, after you go home after the speeches.

Posted by: * on February 5, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

It would be much better if the Democratic nominee wins a huge victory without relying on the support of Reaganites and independents. A liberal mandate will change the country much more than the centrist mandate that Barack seeks.

Clintonoids
Hillaryoids
Obamadolatory
Baracknits

Posted by: Brojo on February 5, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK
….Barack Obama…..I've got some good reasons and some bad reasons for changing my mind…. Obama's steadiness running his campaign under fire is a good sign of what he'd be like as president…. ….what Obama has done to drive a sensible guy like Krugman over a cliff.…. Obama is likely to be the Democratic Ronald Reagan (my hope) or the next Democratic Jimmy Carter (my fear)….
Using your criteria, logically one would reach the opposite conclusion. To vote to 'roll the dice' at a time when our Constitution itself is under attack is foolhardy. To hope for a Democratic Ronald Reagan is to prefer demagoguery and a hands off presidency instead of an involved president like Carter. If you 'fear' a president who is deeply concerned with policy and its implementation, you are taking a bizarre position.

You think that Krugman is off the rails for pointing out policy consequences and compare him to a rabid, foaming-at-mount Clinton hater then come down on the side of the Tory slut. That is beyond bizarre, it's just as irrational as Sullivan.

If you paid attention to the media for the past 15 years, you would know that your so-called 'ugliness' is their creation. It's the same of story of fake trumped up scandals, and the same Gore lies and misstatements that your media elites use to promote their political agenda. Your claim that Obama is 'steady' under fire is only tenable if you ignore his response to Rezko questions which mimic Bush's response to Ken Lay.

Obama's record is scant and what there is of it is not encouraging.

Obama has had two major bills in the Senate. One forbids sitdown meals with lobbyists, but even a political doofus like Charlie Gibson of ABC noted that it did nothing about standup gatherings. It may in fact revive the elegant Roman custom of dining couches in convivium in the manner of Trimalchio's feast..

His other bill, the one on reporting nuclear leaks was a complete cave to nuclear industry

…When residents in Illinois voiced outrage two years ago upon learning that the Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants, the state’s freshman senator, Barack Obama, took up their cause.
Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.”
“I just did that last year,” he said, to murmurs of approval.
A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks…

If you want to roll the dice, go to Vegas; if you want to explain your vote, try harder.

Posted by: Mike on February 5, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK
….. we do know how Hillary voted. .....JS at 1:26 AM ....justification enough to allow a war to be waged…. Ends can never justify means. nepeta at 1:57 AM |
Voting to fund said war is also assuming responsibility for it.


Posted by: Mike on February 5, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, I referenced the Cockburn article because it was the fist time I had heard of Nadhmi Auchi. Obama supporters are better off learning his name from Cockburn rather than from a NY Times hack.

Posted by: Brojo on February 5, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know if this thread is dead yet, but for those who are tempted to believe Krugman when he says that only 3 out of his last 10 columns have been critical of Obama:

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/02/paul-krugman-cant-count.php

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 5, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman has long been my favorite Times columnist, but when he flat-out says that Obama as our nominee would doom the chance for universal health care, he insults my intelligence. I could list a bunch of reasons why he's wrong, but I need to get over to my local elementary scool to vote now. One small reason I'm voting for Barack is to stick it to Krugman.

Posted by: tc on February 5, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

/turns snark off

Good luck to Barack Obama, and to the rest of the posters here, whomever they vote for.

/turns snark on

meh.

Posted by: Boorring on February 5, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

i'm in iowa, and was a biden precinct captain who ultimately caucused with obama when we failed to achieve viability. i feel like a parent sending his child off to college: we prepared him well, and now we can just sit back and hope for the best. we [in iowa] made the best and correct choice, and i remain very proud of our causcus process and its outcome.

regarding health insurance: you must remember that the candidate statements only represent "proposals" and the final outcome, what is ultimately enacted by congress, will in all liklihood look very little like any of the proposals being bandied about now on the campaign trail. they certainly shouldn't form the basis of who one should or should not support.

now go vote for my child obama.

Posted by: the mostly reverend on February 5, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

You take away the bogus Itaq War vote and Obama offers little else except rhetoric. He's riding an emotional wave like Reagan, Swartzinegger and other celebrities. None of those worked out to anyone's benefit and neither will he.

Posted by: fillphil on February 5, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

brojo,

I googled Auchi. I don't know what the implication is in reference to Obama, although I see there are a lot of 'conspiracy story'-type articles there concerning Auchi, the same kind you can find for George Soros. But the wiki article on him is laudatory, his having received many awards worldwide for his philanthropy, including his Coat of Arms from Queen Elizabeth in 2004. This isn't to say he's a good guy, but just that any attempt to stick Obama with any unsavory connections might not prove possible given Auchi's public record. I'll look for the Cockburn piece and see what he has to say.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"It's just too much like a high school election here - the cute guy wins. Forget the qualifications." - Mary Anne

Actually, if that were true, then Edwards would have done better - he's much cuter than Obama.
:-)

Posted by: CatLover on February 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama offers little else except rhetoric.

That's exactly what they said about JFK in 1960.

And what does Hillary offer that Obama does not? Her years as first lady? Obama has served in both federal and state legislatures, which makes his experience broader.

And if the Iraq war is the defining event of the Bush presidency, and what has turned the people against the Republicans, how can the Democrats exploit this fact with a candidate that supported it?

Posted by: JS on February 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why did the Democrats nominate the pro-war Kerry as their presidential candidate four years ago if they were the anti-war party?

I watched Obama's Boston rally last night. Seeing Kerry stump for Obama has nearly persuaded me to vote for Clinton. Unfortunately, Clinton is a Kerry, except she has a legitimate reason for being a powder puff.

Posted by: Brojo on February 5, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

This thread is obscenely long. Has there ever been a longer one on PA?

I've been analyzing my on wild bi-polar swings on Obama v. Clinton (does it show?) and I've noted one thing: when I'm up I swing Obama's way, when I'm down I swing Clinton's. My job just blew away so it's obvious where I am right now. So, yes, Obama is spot on with the hope thing and Clinton is spot on with the experience thing...in terms of seducing this single voter at least. We'll just have to wait to see where the country is in November to know whether we're doing the right thing in February.

BTW, it's Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I'm going to go find Norman Jacobs and have some fun. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Posted by: Sharon on February 5, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

"However, I don't think you should commit suicide like the guy in "Falling Down"."

Awwww, now you've gone and ruined the movie for people who haven't seen it!

Posted by: CatLover on February 5, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Auchi is a business associate of Rezko. Auchi has ties to both Saddam and the Baath Party of Iraq. Cockburn is warning the mainstream media will connect Obama to Saddam through Rezko's relationship with Auchi.

Posted by: Brojo on February 5, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: "Cockburn is warning the mainstream media will connect Obama to Saddam through Rezko's relationship with Auchi."

Amen.

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
-- Sir Winston Churchill

The Obamalytes ought to consider the inherent wisdom of Churchill's remark, instead of continuing to engage in wishful thinking.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 5, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I have read almost all comments on this thread....
and I have come to a conclusion... I will vote for Hillary

Posted by: MsComment on February 5, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Guys make sure you check out the article "The Intoxication of Inspiration" on the blogzine SAVAGE POLITICS (not related to Mike Savage) at www.savagepolitics.com. It is awesome......everyone should read it before voting.

Posted by: Elsy on February 5, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think this article pretty much sums up my prime rationale for my hesitation over big, brave Barack Obama:

San Francisco Chronicle (February 5, 2008)
Obama Snub still Rankles Mayor Newsom -- Seeing Mayor Gavin Newsom on the national stage with former president Bill Clinton on Monday night is a reminder of how political winds can change. On the eve of the biggest night of the presidential primaries, Newsom shared the spotlight during a town hall meeting staged and broadcast on cable TV and satellite radio by the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign. But just four years ago, current Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is said to have declined to have his picture taken in San Francisco with Newsom, who was then at the center of a national uproar over his decision to allow same-sex marriage in San Francisco. "I gave a fundraiser, at his (Obama's) request at the Waterfront restaurant," said former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, adding that Obama was reluctant to be seen appearing in San Francisco altogether, much less side by side with the gay-marriage mayor. "And he said to me, he would really appreciate it if he didn't get his photo taken with my mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 5, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards people, note this shot from Obama

...Some political moments are so bizarre that you have to believe they actually are sincere.
One such moment came this weekend, when Barack Obama mocked John Edwards in a speech.
Obama had done it before, but that was before Edwards suspended his campaign last Wednesday.
….In a humorous riff, Obama mentioned a debate in which Tim Russert had asked him, “What’s your biggest weakness?”
Obama went on: “Well, I’m always losing paper. And so I have to have somebody around me to help me file things and keep my desk clean.”
Obama then said Russert had asked Edwards the same question.
“And he says, ‘Well, I am just so passionate about helping poor people,’” Obama said dryly.…..
For the record, this is what Edwards actually told Russert his biggest weakness was: “I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me.”...

Another shot from Obama

it's worth saying that Obama is simply lying here:
OBAMA: …[I] mean, if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating that everybody buy a house. the reason they don't have a house is they don't have the money.
Housing isn't like health insurance. A mandate is only a part of Clinton's larger solution, which also includes deep subsidies and limiting out of pocket costs to a percentage of income. As Paul Krugman says, "There are no excuses this time. You can’t say that it’s the work of some staffer. This is unscrupulous demagoguery from the candidate himself."….
You know, there was a time, when Obama would begin his health care talks by saying, "step one, we cover everyone." This was a lie, and I and others attacked him for it, and he eventually changed his rhetoric to better reflect his policy. At least back then, though, he recognized the importance of covering everyone.....

Candidates are like actors on a stage. The job of voters is to discern the personality behind the persona.

Posted by: Mike on February 5, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
I have read almost all comments on this thread.... MsComment at 4:14 PM
That would make you a glutton for punishment or a martyr because not many could.
…. Has there ever been a longer one on PA?….My job just blew away….Sharon at 2:55 PM
Sorry to hear about the job because I'm well acquainted with the experience. Yes, there used to be longer threads when there was no censorship. I think this nonsense of censoring is counterproductive. One used to be able to learn a lot by researching points made by opponents; now, aside from the family feud currently underway, it's becoming an echo chamber.


Posted by: Mike on February 5, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good NYTimes op-ed by Frank Rich about Obama and JFK.

Kennedy was judged “an ambitious but superficial playboy” by his liberal peers, according to his biographer Robert Dallek. “He never said a word of importance in the Senate, and he never did a thing,” in the authoritative estimation of the Senate’s master, Lyndon Johnson...

How did the fairy-tale prince from Camelot vanquish a field of heavyweights led by the longtime liberal warrior Hubert Humphrey? It wasn’t ideas. It certainly wasn’t experience. It wasn’t even the charisma... Mr. Goodwin summed it up this way: “He had to touch the secret fears and ambivalent longings of the American heart, divine and speak to the desires of a swiftly changing nation — his message grounded on his own intuition of some vague and spreading desire for national renewal.”

...what has often been forgotten is that Mr. Obama’s weaknesses resemble Kennedy’s at least as much as his strengths. But to compensate for those shortcomings, he gets an extra benefit that J. F. K. lacked in 1960. There’s nothing vague about the public’s desire for national renewal in 2008..


Posted by: JS on February 5, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

As for negatives, yes, Rezko is a potential problem. But Hillary has problems too, including Refco, or how she turned $1,000 into $100,000 the first time she tried commodities trading:

A close examination of her individual trades underscores Blair's pivotal role. It also shows that Robert L. "Red" Bone, who ran the Springdale, Ark., office of Ray E. Friedman and Co. (Refco), allowed Clinton to initiate and maintain many trading positions – besides the first – when she did not have enough money in her account to cover them.

Why would Bone do so? Bone could not be reached for comment, but Blair said he thought he knew why. "I was a very good customer," he said, noting he paid Bone $800,000 in commissions over the years...

Blair, who at the time was outside counsel to Tyson Foods Inc., Arkansas' largest employer, says he was advising Clinton out of friendship, not to seek political gain for his state-regulated client. At the time of many of the trades, Bill Clinton was governor.

Hillary Clinton has said she made all the trading decisions herself and has tried to play down Blair's role. But she acknowledged in April, three weeks after her trades were first disclosed, that Blair actually placed most of the trades.

...the exchange charged Bone and Refco with violations of its record keeping and margin requirement rules. Bone was suspended for three years; Refco paid a $250,000 fine, then the largest in the exchange's history.

...Melamed said it was "impossible" to determine the exact cause for the discrepancies between the Merc computer record of Clinton's trades and the trading records she received from Refco, which the White House released earlier.

If the Republicans can swiftboat Kerry on his Vietnam service, they can swiftboat a ham sandwich. It's pontless to pick candidates on their potential swiftboating vulnerabilities. Rather, the Dems should prepare with a rapid reaction team to confront any swiftboating swiftly and effectively. And by the way, McCain is not without problems -- he has the Keating 5.

Posted by: JS on February 5, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats can swiftboat Dean...

Posted by: Brojo on February 5, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Auchi has ties to both Saddam and the Baath Party of Iraq."

As does the CIA. As does the US in the 1980's.

Posted by: nepeta on February 5, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

What makes you think that Obama will be any different? All I hear is that he is for change but I haven't heard what that change is. Also, as a teacher I think his ideas on education are terrible and I think that he will continue testing our kids. He has done very little to speak out against NCLB. He isn't for change and I think he isn't even a hard core liberal. Why would dems support a candidate that doesn't support democratic values?

Posted by: ENS on February 6, 2008 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

"(c) some of the red state endorsements Obama has gotten recently, which speak well for his potential to produce strong coattails in November."

That would be Arizona's Gov. Napolitano. But, no, Clinton handily won Arizona. Maybe you mean Missouri Sen. McCaskill and former Sen. Carnahan. But, no, Clinton split the vote there. Oh well. Don't let mere facts deter you.

Remember, grasshopper, "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Posted by: WylieD on February 7, 2008 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

When the NY Times headlines a story about Auchi, Saddam and Obama, they will not reference the CIA, Haliburton, etc. and all the others who profited from Saddam's regime.

Posted by: Brojo on February 8, 2008 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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