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Tilting at Windmills

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February 7, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

OBAMA AND THE PRESS....If you've been waiting for the inevitable press backlash against Barack Obama, this piece from Jake Tapper might be a harbinger:

Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she's "getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama's supporters....Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, "Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign."

....Joe Klein, writing at Time, notes "something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism" he sees in Obama's Super Tuesday speech....The always interesting James Wolcott writes that "(p)erhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign."

When I wrote my Monday post about voting for Obama I got several jokey emails from friends lamenting that I'd finally joined the cult ("Now you'll have to buy a Mac and start blogging about The Wire...."). And it's undeniable that there really is a movement fervor surrounding the Obama campaign — something that even the press has gotten caught up in. Eventually, however, especially among jaded reporters who are (a) looking for a new angle and (b) a little more aware than most that Obama's actual political career has been good but not world-changing, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more stories along this line.

Not saying it's fair. Just saying that it's out there and might get a little more attention now that it's obvious we have a few more months to go in this race. Newton's Third Law isn't just about physics, after all.

Kevin Drum 11:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (333)

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Comments

Is "Jack" a form of "Jake"?

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 7, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Heaven help us if people actually like the candidate they support.

A lot of the appeal of Obama does have something to do with the person he's running against.

Posted by: Quinn on February 7, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

So Obama is a cult, unlike say, The Entire Republican Party

Posted by: Boronx on February 7, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

'Bout time some folks take a deep breath and start looking at Obama more seriously.

Posted by: Teresa on February 7, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I am glad that the press has caught on to this. Yes we can may serve as a good rallying point for a football team but hardly qualifies as a platform for a national campaign for the leadership of the free world.

Whenever I have heard Obama talk, I am moved by what he says, but the feeling passes away quickly after a rest stop.

If Hillary was of a different gender, or had a different last name, she would have wrapped up the nomination a long time ago. The misogynistic tendencies of Americans are apparently more powerful than the racial ones.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

....If you've been waiting for the inevitable press backlash against Barack Obama, this piece from Jack Tapper might be a harbinger...

I read that as Jack Tripper.

But back to the point of the post: this kind of stuff is cyclical. And if BO gets the nod, we'll come back to the "He's a commie-nazi-islamofacist-jim jonesian-messiah-complexeist."

...or something like that. The Village is awfully set in their ways.

Posted by: Zap Rowsdower on February 7, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Jake Tapper: The Holy Season of Lent is upon us. Can Obama worshippers try to give up their Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities for a few weeks?

Well let's see, today on the internets we've enjoyed commentator Erica S.'s non-comparison of the Obama "movement" to Nazism, and now Jake Tapper's charming allusion to Charles Manson.

Step right up, cheap shots!

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

In another view from Joseph Wilson regarding foreign policy experience

The Real Hillary I Know
...During my tenure as Senior Director for African Affairs in the Clinton Administration, I had the responsibility for helping to plan and execute President Clinton's historic trip to that continent. It was a trip that forever changed the way American administrations think about Africa. I spent eleven days with President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton traveling to six countries and meeting with leaders from many more. She was a full participant in all of our activities and a key adviser--and for good reason. Hillary had previously traveled to Africa, leading a prominent U.S. delegation to several countries. On her return she was instrumental in persuading the president that he should invest that most precious of presidential assets--time--in his own trip. People who are now senior advisers to Senator Obama were involved in both of those trips. So it is mystifying to me that they have allowed themselves to "forget" the key role Hillary played in such a major shift in approach to that part of the world and have participated in a negative campaign tactic on the part of the Obama campaign to demean her significant contributions to foreign policy of which they are well aware.....

As usual with Wilson's commentary, the entire article is worth a read.

Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's a wholesale repudiation of the fear-based cynicism that fuels the sickening machine of politics as usual. F*ck that shit, I don't care if you call me a cultist. I'm inspired, but my eyes are wide open. I haven't completely lost my marbles. I'm participating actively in the political process for the first time in my life. If the too-cool-to-care political press can't be bothered to recognize a movement in the making and want to make an elaborate show of out-blase-ing one another, so be it. How tragically predictable.

Posted by: MrsAnthrope on February 7, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Uh Huh. Don't these reporter realize that leading the Obama crowd is another bunch of reporters? Maybe they're finally turning around and saying 'hey...'

Posted by: Tom Stewart on February 7, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

This is insulting to many of us who support him after thoughtful reflection. I see the guy for what he is, not as some messiah. Could it be that enthusiasm for the political process has been missing for so long that pundits don't know what to make of it?

Posted by: RollaMO on February 7, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Jake Tapper nor Joe Klein is worth paying any attention to.

Posted by: AJ on February 7, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary had different last name, pretty sure she would have done worse than Dodd, Biden, or Richardson. Her name got her the default front runner status - status that's been eroding since Iowa.

Posted by: MS on February 7, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx: So Obama is a cult, unlike say, The Entire Republican Party.

On the contrary, Obama is a cult, like say, The Entire Republican Party.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

I will say it again: if Hillary gets the nomination, McCAi will be the next President.

So the rightwing press has found a way to attack Obama without appaering racist: so what? That does't mean we have to panci an nominate an unelectable candidate.

The party that gets the independent vote wins. Obama has demonstrated beyond doubt that he can and Hillary has demostrated that she can't.

The R party won't stay ome if Hillary is our candidate.

Obama's strategy--to win by overwhelming with new voters and young energetic voters--is a winning strategy for the general election. Clinont's only stgregnth--the support of older Deomcrats who vote Deomcrat no matter what--won't help her.

The media hate Hillary and has pushed slime about her for over a decade. No matter how strong she may be she has never been able to either stop or overcome this. Obama will be slimed, of course, but he deals with it better. he cut off Faux, for example.

So the press has found a way to needle him: so what.

The real problem for us Deomcrats is the people who keep insisting on supporting Hillary. They are the ones who, through their blind faith and hopeful rationalizations, are working to screw up what could be a brilliant political opportunintiy for us.

Posted by: wonkie on February 7, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I hate Tapper, but think there's something to what he says.

I, for example, am willing to accept that my 14 year old neice loves Sen. Obama, and truly beleives he will change Washington simply with the force of his considerable charisma and his moving speeches. She's 14. She thinks he's different and exciting and handsome. I suppose he is. I also think he's a good man. But, frankly, her views of Obama are not unlike her views of Justin Timberlake, who was last summer's fascination. I admire her idealism and want to promote it. I'm not running it down. But it has a certain "tiger beat" magazine feel to it.

Having said that, I have worked in Washington my entire life. There is no question in my mind how it works. And when ADULTS express the same beliefs as my 14 year old neice about the political system and how it works, and the ability of one person to change the game with his personality, it's entirely different. I do not think it is "cyncial" to point out that no moving speech is going to change the machine here and someone who thinks so is out to lunch.

I'm tired of Bush. I want my country back. But sometimes I think I'm almost as tired of so-called adult Democrats who engage in magical thinking about what we face.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

@gregor

Um, 70% of the people in california who cited gender as important voted for HC.

Seems like HC's support is predicated on her gender. If "Hillary was of a different gender" she would have gone the way of her DLC pal Bill Richardson long ago. Her gender is the only thing keeping her in this race.

Posted by: Adam on February 7, 2008 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Jake Tapper nor Joe Klein is worth paying any attention to.

I'll drink to that.

Posted by: DaveWoo on February 7, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: If Hillary was of a different gender ... she would have wrapped up the nomination a long time ago. The misogynistic tendencies of Americans are apparently more powerful than the racial ones.

And your evidence for this is what??? Or is it just truth by assertion.

Apparently, amongst those who cling to the desperation of identity politics, the only choice in the Democratic primaries is between being a misogynist and a bigot. Hmmm, which do I want to be ...

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Newton's third law is indeed only about physics.

Posted by: Jay Ackroyd on February 7, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

If we're going to gab about something this dumb, the only interesting question is, will press coverage calling the Obama movement a cult weaken it or stengthen it?

We all like to call journalists idiots, but we're also swayed by their opinions.

Posted by: Mark Gilbert on February 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I hadn't started waiting for it yet, because I figured the, uh, "backlash," as you call it, wouldn't come until the Dem nomination process was over, if Barack was the winner. Could be the MSM scum are starting to think Barack has it locked up. In light of your earlier post on Hillary's increasing popularity, it may turn out to be a single fig-leaf, and we won't see too much else significant along these lines so long as Hillary remains a threat to Obama.

Posted by: Swan on February 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama supporter. I've been a supporter of both Clintons for a long long time. I don't think there is a "cult" around Obama, and those that say that are simply cynical old dinosaurs afraid to face the truth that the old world of politics is dying. Joe Klein's article was laughable. Obama hasn't found an issue to distinguish himself? How about the only candidate in either party who was RIGHT about the war from DAY ONE? That alone should put him in the White House.

I've seen the clips from 2002 and 2003 interviews with Obama and he predicts with uncanny accuracy EXACTLY what happened every step of the way. he warned anyone who would listen, unfortunately no one was listening to him then. What else does he need to do to prove his "substance"? The Iraq War is obviously the biggest blunder and the biggest political issue of our lifetime and he's the only one who got the answer right from the start.

So, to the pundits out there that marginalize Obama as a so-called "messiah-figure" are no better than the racists who say he's the "black candidate" in order to marginalize his support. Just because his supporters actually think he's a good man and not simply "the lesser of two evils" they need to understand that he's the first candidate in the lifetime of anyone under 40 who has the ability to inspire people to go and vote rather than frighten people into voting...

Bush/Clinton... Clinton/Dole... Gore/Bush... Bush/Kerry...

That's it. That's my political choice history. Is there any wonder that young people are energized to vote for Obama? The Boomers have very nearly destroyed the planet with their greed and short sightedness and if they care at all about what kind of world their grandkids are going to inherit then they need to step aside and let the new grown ups have a shot at the wheel. God knows they've screwed it all up enough.

Don't trust anyone over 40.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx, we aren't suppose to be Republicans, remember?

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Jay Ackroyd: Newton's third law is indeed only about physics.

Nah, Newton's third law was that even after the Restoration you still couldn't get a pizza on Sundays.

Later on historians edited his original statements.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

There is a strategic point to be made here. Obama has managed to capture attention and enthusiasm with his great oratorial skills -- he does have a unique ability to motivate people. But he needs to be careful not to settle for that. People's attention needs to be kept. Right about now is time to start mixing it up -- adding real substantive policy points to his speeches. This can be done two ways (a) incorporating it into the stump speech or (b) keeping the stump but adding in a new sort of appearance/speech where he shows off the ability to be a bit wonky. He'll never beat Hillary at her own game, but he has got to show he has some of that game too. She'll never beat him at his game either, but she is starting to show she has some of that game.

Posted by: lisainvan on February 7, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

"the old world of politics is dying."

Uh, just in case anyone was looking for an example of the phenomenon I describe in my post above, here's a textbook one.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk, while Obama was correct about the war in Iraq it shouldn't be the only milestone we use for judging his ability to lead the country. I was also correct about the Iraq war, as were many others, I assure you though, I'm not capable of running this country.

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say it's good that this is happening now rather than later, assuming he's the nominee. Even if the press loves certain candidates, like McCain and Obama, it's bound to bring them back down to earth through different types of negative stories. But if he's leveled off now, as opposed to August, he won't give McCain and opening, and his momentum will be stronger.

Posted by: Brian on February 7, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I sorta agree. The Obama crowd can be "Beatles-esque", but whatever. Just comes with the territory when you have a charismatic candidate.

Posted by: Boorring on February 7, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: The misogynistic tendencies of Americans are apparently more powerful than the racial ones.

Nope. They're just more out in the open. Even the rightwing blowhards who regularly refer to Hillary as "a girl" or claim she's getting votes because she has breasts won't mention Obama's race. But they'll mention that his middle name is Hussein, which is almost as scary to their audience.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing new about the cult charge. Clinton partisans have been slinging that mud against Obama for months now all over the blogosphere. It is their favorite charge.

It is also insulting.

It is also stupid.

Of all the dumb reasons to knock a candidate I've got to think this is the dumbest one I've ever heard.

Do Democrats want to win in 2008? Or not?

Obama's supporters like him too much? OMFG!!!! Get the smelling salts and vote for McCain!

Posted by: Curt M on February 7, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's the "Britney Effect". Looks pretty but no depth.

Posted by: fillphil on February 7, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's not surprising coming from Tapper. After all, this is the dumbfuck who couldn't grasp was Bill Clinton was saying about the economy a few weeks ago. The guy is a GOP plant, pure and simple.

HOWEVER, I do agree that some of the Obama folks do get a bit ... well ... excited about their candidate. Almost to the point of idol worship. And that is just a wee bit creepy.

HOWEVER, I don't really blame them. The guy's exciting as all hell, and is getting folks involved in politics who would not otherwise be that politically active.

I'll worry about their cult status when they all begin to wear the same shoes and try to talk to me about the mothership.

Posted by: Mark D on February 7, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like rather transparent Clinton spin, no?

How hard is it to beat the establishment candidate in a nomination race? Close to impossible, unless that person implodes (see Hart, G. 1988). Really, has an insurgent ever beaten a well-known, well-funded insider? Not since the modern primary model began. Reagan came close against Ford in 1976, and in the same year Carter struck early to sweep away better known candidates in a relatively open field. Similar for Dukakis in 1988 and Clinton in 1992. But beating a known quantity who is also a good campaigner is brutal. You can't do it without a passionate following. The idea that highly educated middle class white men who heart Obama and southern black voters vould be a "cult" is literally insane.

Posted by: RMcD on February 7, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Having said that, I have worked in Washington my entire life. There is no question in my mind how it works.

You must be old because Washington hasn't "worked" since th 40s.

And when ADULTS express the same beliefs as my 14 year old neice about the political system and how it works, and the ability of one person to change the game with his personality, it's entirely different.

I'd say that speaks highly for your 14 year old niece. The young sometimes pick up on STARKLY OBVIOUS TRUTHS that the old don't because they have a shorter frame of reference and aren't hindered by years of habit and indoctrination.

Tell me why 1 man fighting for GOOD (whether it's Obama or not) can't change our country when 1 man doing BAD has completely changed our country in 7 years time? Maybe your niece has learned something from the Bush Admin. that you haven't.. it only takes 1 man (with some well placed advisors and appointees) and the will and the whole country can be changed practically overnight.

I do not think it is "cyncial" to point out that no moving speech is going to change the machine here and someone who thinks so is out to lunch.

You must've been out to lunch since 2001. I think it's not only cynical, but completely blind to look at the state of this country now compared to 2000 and then say 1 President can't change things that much.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary was of a different gender, or had a different last name, she would have wrapped up the nomination a long time ago.

No, if Hillary was a man named Clinton with her foreign policy errors, she wouldn't have lasted this long with those who are supporting her.

Posted by: LogopolisMike on February 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that can't help but impress anyone who pays attention to the demographics of the Obama vote is how out of kilter it is with his supposed message.

He inspires hope in the privileged and scepticism in the downtrodden.

Isn't that supposed to be the other way around?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Obama crowd can be "Beatles-esque", but whatever. Just comes with the territory when you have a charismatic candidate.

Agreed. God forbid we have a candidate who gets people excited and involved in the political process.

It would be much better if we had a dry, policy-wonkish candidate who ran on nothing more than an established resume. Just ask President Mondale, President Dukakis, President Gore, and President Kerry.

Posted by: TR on February 7, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

sorry "NOT named Clinton"

Posted by: LogopolisMike on February 7, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I do not believe Obama can change Washington by force of charisma or through his oratorical skills.

I do believe that events are coming which will force change upon Washington. I would much rather have a Democrat at the helm (and Obama in particular) when this occurs.

Posted by: uri on February 7, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Romney apparently "suspending" campaign this afternoon.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 7, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Having said that, I have worked in Washington my entire life. There is no question in my mind how it works. And when ADULTS express the same beliefs as my 14 year old neice about the political system and how it works, and the ability of one person to change the game with his personality, it's entirely different. I do not think it is "cyncial" to point out that no moving speech is going to change the machine here and someone who thinks so is out to lunch.

This really misses the point behind the Obama movement. The reason people are excited is not because they think Obama has this magical power to transform the system on his own. It's because we believe he will give more power to the American people to effect change. The movement is not about him, but us. We get excited when we hear about his plan to make cabinet meetings not only open to the public to watch via the web, but also participate in the meetings. We get excited when we hear about both his record and plans to reduce the power of lobbyists and special interests that prevent the will of the people from being heard. We get excited because his ability to bring people from all walks of life will make it more likely to build a public consensus around a progressive agenda that will put political pressure on congress to enact such agenda.

This is why he says "we are the change we've been waiting for." It's not "we" my campaign. It's "we" the people. That is why he focuses so much on lofty rhetoric. Because he is using this campaign to empower people to participate in the political process. Not just to get him elected, but to help people believe that they have the ability to transform the system, even if he didn't get elected.

If he can empower more people to actively participate in the political process, he will have accomplished one of his main goals, whether he wins or not.

Posted by: Jeff on February 7, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,
I like O's stance on the war but call me cynical, I think it likely that if O had been office, he would have voted for AUMF because at that time the country was reeling from 9/11 and rational thought was rare in the national discourse. (I think he would have hated to vote for it but political suicide not to.) O subsequently voted to fund the war. O strikes me as cautious and centrist. He is very bright and charismatic but on the issues not so different H.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama backer, but starry-eyed idealism has nothing to do with it. It all boils down to electability for me.

Hillary has no chance of winning over large swaths of voters -- for mostly irrational reasons, yes, but it's a fact. And if McCain is the nominee, the myth of his "maverick" and "straight talk" image is going to draw those independents in. But Obama can widen the Democratic base and make strong appeals to independents.

Plus, if Obama's the nominee, McCain would have to play defense by shoring up his base in the red states; but if it's Hillary, the mouthbreathers who hate her will vote for McCain in lockstep.

Yes, I know the Republican slime machine will come after him just as they've gone after Hillary. But he's shown some spine in pushing back. Faux News lied about him and he responded by boycotting them entirely. Faux lied about Hillary, and she smiled and asked for a debate there. Please.

Posted by: Hunter on February 7, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton is the new hip black friend. Obama is so last week. Feel the Cl'urge.

Posted by: B on February 7, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I like O's stance on the war but call me cynical, I think it likely that if O had been office, he would have voted for AUMF because at that time the country was reeling from 9/11 and rational thought was rare in the national discourse.

Well, when he was running for office in that time he didn't "change his mind" to suit the polls. In fact he marched in an anti-war rally that his opponents reveled in throwing back in his face. Call me "naive" but I think his "theoretical" vote would match ever word the man has said since 2002. I have no reason to think otherwise.

When did he "subsequently vote for the war"? He skipped the Iran vote (which IMO IS ammo for calling him cautious and centrist, but at least he didn't vote FOR it like some others in the race.)

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

If "Hillary was of a different gender" she would have gone the way of her DLC pal Bill Richardson long ago.

Well, she had a famous spouse too, and Richardson didn't.

Posted by: David in NY on February 7, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: The young sometimes pick up on STARKLY OBVIOUS TRUTHS that the old don't because they have a shorter frame of reference and aren't hindered by years of habit and indoctrination.

That's true. On the downside their "shorter frame of reference" means their hype detectors don't work as well.

Ah, the enthusiasm of youth ... and their naivety.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, heatherk, I may be spitaballing here, but I suspect some might disagree with your interesting idea that our country hasn't done anything "since the 40s." (Including, I suspect, your candidate, Senator Obama.)

The good news, of course, is which oen of us has a more accurate understanding of how the government works me, you, or my 14 year old neice) need not be debated. We get to see it play out in real life! What say we make a date to meet here again in, oh, say, Febraury of 2010? I would suspect Senator Dreamy's charisma will have had ample time to change things by then. Whaddya say? What day should I look for you on this board?

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Now that is an interesting thought Kevin, and something you should blog about.

Why is it the Republican Party is hoping [I mean seriously, they're salivating at the thought of it] that Hillary is the preferred candidate to run against?
I don't understand that angle.
To me, the Republicans should accept the fact that they're out, O-U-f'ing-T, OUT!

Am I missing something here?

Posted by: sheerahkahn on February 7, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Romney is out of the race.

Posted by: Robert on February 7, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is great for Obama. Seems to me the Democratic electorate is determined to support the candidate it feels sorry for, because they're being beaten up by the punditry, so Obama will doubtless enjoy a surge any minute now.

Posted by: David in NY on February 7, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what "fair" has to do with the press. But I'm also not sure what is unfair about examining Obama closely. We'd better hope they do it now, and vigorously BEFORE the primary.

Posted by: jerry on February 7, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The young sometimes pick up on STARKLY OBVIOUS TRUTHS that the old don't because they have a shorter frame of reference and aren't hindered by years of habit and indoctrination.

Alternative explanation: while "the old" may see many of their senses fail as time passes, one sense that has grows only more acute is the ability to detect the smell of bullshit.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Someone explain this to me:

If Bush can completely change the inherit nature of this democracy in 7 years, why is it "starry eyed idealism" to think someone working in the opposite direction couldn't change things as much for the better?

Is simply thinking it's possible for this country to regain it's identity as a power for good in the world being "too idealistic"? Has Bush really permanently destroyed that possibility for America? If so, then maybe we should all just give up.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, even Canada once had Trudeaumania. It's not yet Obamania, and won't ever be, because girls can't get through security to kiss him like they did Trudeau.

Posted by: Bob M on February 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I've felt this way about Obama for some time. Re what one other person said, it's kind of like Chinese food: A delightful, intriguing and tasty blend that passes through you quickly, perhaps.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Alternative explanation: while "the old" may see many of their senses fail as time passes, one sense that has grows only more acute is the ability to detect the smell of bullshit.

What was your point? That the generation that's given us such great leaders as Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush can detect bullshit? Call me unimpressed.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, lemme add that Tapper's blog was hilarious.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 7, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: If Hillary was of a different gender ... she would have wrapped up the nomination a long time ago. The misogynistic tendencies of Americans are apparently more powerful than the racial ones.

If a man had set back the cause of health care reform by fifteen years, and had supported neo-con foreign policy with votes and praise right up until he started campaigning, and had a wife who with a reputation for sleeping around (with the potential for losing the election for him if a single bit of evidence of new extra-marital activity came out), he'd have never made it through the first primary.


Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

There are a certain percentage of Obama supporters who are in love with being in love, rather than anything specific about the candidate's policies. So I do tend to roll my eyes when we see the chirpy "You are just afraid of CHANGE" or "you just don't get that he MOVES MY GENERATION" posts here and elsewhere.

It's not the majority by any means, there's lots of people who can converse more sensibly about policy differences, negatives, appeals to different voting populations, but the fluffy bunny portion of his appeal is a negative for me, because the moment the Swiftboat slime machine grinds into action, those are the people that are going to peel off, because it'll harsh their buzz.

Posted by: tavella on February 7, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Obama acts increasingly like he thinks he's the Second Coming -- and, to me, that's even scarier than Bush's apparent belief that he's God's chosen.

Obama's supporters ARE increasingly acting like a scary, intolerant, absolutist cult. I hope enough grownups start waking up to what's going on before it all goes too far down one of those historical black holes.

Posted by: K on February 7, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: If Bush can completely change the inherit nature of this democracy in 7 years, why is it "starry eyed idealism" to think someone working in the opposite direction couldn't change things as much for the better?

No, but it's hoping against hope to think that someone will do that simply because they give pretty speeches.

Certainly there are valid arguments why Obama is a better candidate than Clinton. Personally I'm about equally unimpressed by either of them - they're both Republican Lite. To get starry eyed about the one who gives pretty speeches though is embarrassing for an adult.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's not the majority by any means, there's lots of people who can converse more sensibly about policy differences, negatives, appeals to different voting populations, but the fluffy bunny portion of his appeal is a negative for me, because the moment the Swiftboat slime machine grinds into action, those are the people that are going to peel off, because it'll harsh their buzz.

So the lack of "swiftboat slime" at the moment is because the Clinton's don't play as nasty as the Republicans? Where's one of you old guy's with really honed "bullshit" detectors? I may need a call on that one. I'm just a wee 27 year old girl with but one college degree.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is great for Obama. Seems to me the Democratic electorate is determined to support the candidate it feels sorry for, because they're being beaten up by the punditry, so Obama will doubtless enjoy a surge any minute now.

I think that's an excellent point. Look at the dynamic that gave us Kerry as a candiate, and that gave us Gore (the Old Gore, sadly, not the New Gore) as a candidate. People are drawn to Hillary because deep down they know that there are so many ways she could lose the election for them. Not to mention the good chance that Bill hasn't kept it in his pants for the last eight years and could create a pre-election scandal that would sink her chances overnight.

I think they also feel safe knowing that if Hillary is elected, they will still have very good chances of feeling sorry for themselves when it turns out that Hillary's votes and rhetoric in support of neo-con foreign policy were a better insight into her own views than the slightly different and evasive things she's been saying for the past few months. And just imagine the recriminations if she manages to set back health care reform by another fifteen years!

It's the only possible explanation. The democratic electorate has a deep-seated desire to wallow in self-pity, and is determined to pick candidates who will enable them.

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

No, but it's hoping against hope to think that someone will do that simply because they give pretty speeches.

If not Obama, then who? Hillary is as much a part of the problems in Washington as anyone. The status quo suits her fine. A Republican? Certainly not. So who? Shouldn't we be choosing a President that at least has the potential to change things for the better? I don't understand this, "Obama can't possibly do what he says, so I'm going to vote for people who aren't even going to try and do it."

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Romney to suspend his campaign

Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: I'm just a wee 27 year old girl

See what happens when you get starry eyed about Obama? If you were a Clinton supporter you'd be a 27 year old woman.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Well if you base you decision on who is more capable of being Swift Boated, you underestimate the capacity of the Slime Machine to work over time on any Democratic contender, no matter how pure or virginal he or she is.

In any case, I don't think Obama is any more capable of fighting the mudslingers than Mrs. Clinton.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats on the degree. It's not in history, or math, apparently. The idea that our nation hasn't done anything since the 40's is a jawdropping argument for someone supporting Sen. Obama's candidacy to make. And, heatherk, just so you know, the same "generation" did not give us Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

When I wrote my Monday post about voting for Obama I got several jokey emails from friends lamenting that I'd finally joined the cult ("Now you'll have to buy a Mac and start blogging about The Wire....").

My god, you're Matt Yglesias. Hipster doofuses unite!

Posted by: srn on February 7, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

See what happens when you get starry eyed about Obama? If you were a Clinton supporter you'd be a 27 year old woman.

Someone's "sarcasm" detector isn't as good as their "bullshit" detector... I'm not "wee" either.


Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's supporters ARE increasingly acting like a scary, intolerant, absolutist cult.

Really? Any evidence of that?

I'm an Edwards voter trying to decide between them, but judging from the comments sections here, it looks like all the scary, intolerant, absolutist cult members here are spreading the party line for Hillary.

Posted by: Wes on February 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who is impressed with both candidates and who was undecided right up until Super Tuesday, I have to admit that my discomfort with some of what I saw coming from Obama's supporters played into my ultimate decision to vote for Hillary. (It wasn't the deciding factor- their debate performances were; but it played a part.) Aside from my natural distaste for collective movements in general, there are two things that have struck me over and over. The first is the large gap between the Obama that is described by his enthusiastic supporters and the one I see when I turn on the television. The second is the gap I see between the enthusiasm for both candidates that seems prevalent in the Democratic party and the largely monolithic (and somewhat adversarial) pro-Obama positions I see struck on most of the left wing political blogs, by the bloggers themselves and especially in the comments field. It makes me think of Orwell's disgust at the left wing intellectuals during the Spanish Civil War, when the same crowd that had looked down their noses at the jingoism and nationalism of the first world war immediately "rushed into the mental slums of 1915." My favored candidate-Al Gore-was never in the race, and I was able to watch the primary campaign without being blinkered by having settled into advocacy for one particular candidate. It seems obvious to me that both Obama and Hillary were excellent candidates; it has seemingly been obvious to the voting public at large, who are churning out in huge numbers and voting for them at a roughly 50-50 clip, and who are insisting that they would be fine with either candidate; and then I hop online to sites that I visited regularly throughout the last eight years and the whole tenor and tone is, as I said, monolithic and confrontational all out of keeping with either the real differences in the quality of the candidates or with their policy differences. It's like a bunch of people getting really, really strident over New Coke.

So I can see where the backlash would come from, and while I did my best to not allow it to influence my voting choice (as I said, I would be thrilled to support either candidate), I suspect it was at least a small factor.

Posted by: Sean on February 7, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: If not Obama, then who?

As I said, there are valid arguments for Obama. I call him the crap shoot candidate - who knows, maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe that's the way to bet.

What amuses me though is great enthusiasm for someone who has mediocre qualifications, is horribly weak on specifics, and who's biggest appeal seems to be a vague message of hope.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,

Your criticisms of the abilities and insights and decisions of your elders might be a bit more impressive if you and your generation had any record whatever of getting things right yourselves. What you'd do that should inspire our respect? Fall in love with Britney? Go gaga over the Olsen twins?

In fact, you're as green as your guy Obama.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bob M, great call with the comparison to Trudeaumania. Very interesting.

Posted by: GOD on February 7, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Although the supporters of Obama on this site seem to be reasoned voters (for the most part) many examples of cult-like idolatry can be found on other, more Democratic leaning sites such as Daily Kos. There the cultish fervor and vehement denunciation of any contrary opinion is readily apparent.

This is a cult of personality and there is no doubt in my mind that many Obama supporters are caught up in it. It reminds me of nothing so much as the Bush cultists- the Leader can do nothing wrong; everything the Leader does or says is genius and gospel; and anyone who opposes (or even does not wholeheartedly support) the Leader is a traitor and hates America. Sound familar? It should, because that is exactly the kind of language that many Obama supporters use now towards fellow Democrats.

This is one of the three things that make me uncomfortable with the Obama campaign, if not with the candidate himself. The second is his adoption of Republican talking points on a number of issues. The third is his campaign's and surrogates' response to any criticism-"You're only saying that because he's black and you're racist" (for the record, if you can demonize the Clintons as racists, as the Obama campaign successfully did, then any white American, regardless of their beliefs or accomplishments, can be tarred with that brush).

I looked at the Super Tuesday results with wonder, because it shocked me that Sen. Clinton did so well. While I believe that this may be the high water mark for her campaign, the ability of many voters to resist the multi-pronged attacks against her was little short of amazing. To date, Sen. Clinton has been opposed not just by Sen. Obama, but by all the other Democratic candidates, by all the Republican candidates, and the vast majority of the mainstram media, which has churned out buckets of vile, personal attacks free of charge to her opponents. MSNBC, CNN, and Fox have four hours nightly of programs which, for the last year, might as well have been renamed "Defeat Hillary". Print coverage is equally awful, as the MSM provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of what amount to political advertisements or attacks, all aimed at organizing an Obama-McCain election.

The Villagers will reliably attack any Democratic nominee for President. Their job, as many of them see it now, is to destroy Hillary Clinton first (as Clinton hatred runs wide and deep amongst the cool kids). Once that is accomplished they will inevitably set their sights on Sen. Obama. We are seeing a preview of that now with some small attacks on the quality of Obama's support, and another attempt (documented by the incomparable Somerby) to feminize Sen. Obama.

Sen. Obama stated that his campaign thus far has shown he can take a punch. Sadly, he has taken no punches yet. Any criticism of his record, or lack thereof, has been blunted or eliminated by bogus cries of racism. These accusations of racism only play with the Democratic electorate, and won't garner the same politically correct genuflections in the other 60% of the voters in the general election (in point of fact, many Republican voters implore thier chosen politicians to be more racist, not less). The MSM and the Republican Party will fall on Sen. Obama like a ton of bricks. Nothing in the primary campaign can be said to assure us that he is ready for that and it remains to be seen if he is.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Pat: And, heatherk, just so you know, the same "generation" did not give us Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush.

Aw, don't you know, Pat, you ancient, that anything before 1980 is the Bronze Age?

I don't mind the idea of Obama as a candidate. I deeply resent the notion that my generation is supposed to go away and shut up.

And don't kid yourself. The Clintons might seem to be playing rough with Obama but compared to what the Rethugs can do it's like they're attacking him with cotton swabs.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats on the degree. It's not in history, or math, apparently. The idea that our nation hasn't done anything since the 40's is a jawdropping argument for someone supporting Sen. Obama's candidacy to make. And, heatherk, just so you know, the same "generation" did not give us Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush.

As a matter of fact my degree is in Biology. Can you get a degree in History? That seems a bit "soft" for bestowing higher levels of learning. Anyway... I didn't say "our nation hasn't done anything since the 40s" so pick up your jaw, hun. What I said was "Washington hasn't worked since the 40s." And I stand by that. WWII was about the last time Washington was united enough to actually do things to change the world. Since then it's been petty bickering and "scoring points" for "our side" which is obviously the environment you're accustomed to, but it doesn't mean that's the ONLY way Washington should or can work.

Just so you know... The elections I cited are the ones the so called "baby boomers" have voted in. I will concede that the Nixon/Ford/Carter era was probably a hold out of even older dinosaurs, and you guys were probably bullied and suckered into voting for them the same way I've been bullied into voting for the establishment Democrats over the years. However, everything from Reagan onward is squarely at the "boomers" feet. It's obvious to all of us under 40s that you guys suck at choosing leaders.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

So the lack of "swiftboat slime" at the moment is because the Clinton's don't play as nasty as the Republicans? Where's one of you old guy's with really honed "bullshit" detectors? I may need a call on that one. I'm just a wee 27 year old girl with but one college degree.

If you think what's been going down between Clinton and Obama is anything *like* what will be thrown at Obama by Republican 427s, you are so naive it's hard to believe you can breathe.

They turned a multiply decorated Vietnam vet who freaking leapt into the bush to chase down a viet cong who was shooting up his men and boat into a coward. By the time they are done with Obama, he'll be Rezko's personal bagboy.

This isn't a reason to vote *against* him, mind you, it'd happen to any Democratic candidate, but anyone who thinks that the sheathed-claw swiping that has been going on intra-Democratically is anywhere NEAR equivalent is either dumb or just started paying attention to politics.

Posted by: tavella on February 7, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK
…. Look at the dynamic that gave us Kerry as a candiate, and that gave us Gore (the Old Gore, sadly….bobb at 12:57 PM
It is always entertaining to read the maundering of mind readers who can say so glibly what people really think. Kerry won the nomination rather handily because he was seen as a winner who was inoculated against patriotism attacks. Unfortunately, he failed to counter the Swiftboaters. There is no new or old Al Gore: he is the same man, won the popular vote despite the universal media attacks and lies about him, his record and his life. The fact that you buy into that crap is not in your favor.

Clinton is regarded as a winner because the right has been thrashing her for 15 years and she is still strong. Obama is new to the national scene and has shown no ability to respond to the smear&fear attacks that await him.

….Hillary is as much a part of the problems in Washington as anyone. The status quo suits her fine…. heatherk at 12:57 PM
That's is not in accord with evidence. The Obama is also a senator. The status quo is an obstructionist radical Republican Party and a criminal president. No one, aside from Republicans, is pleased with this situation. Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Help me out here. Since Obama's a a man of great conviction, why did he vote for funding the war? Why not stand up before his colleagues and the nation and urge them and us to defund the Iraq war and then cast a no vote for funding? Obama didn't do anything so crass as make a calculated political decision did he? I mean that's what people like Clinton do, right?

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,
I'm referring to O's subsequent war funding approvals. His rational, courageous stance against the war is tarnished by his willingness to authorize funds for the war (he had to fund otherwise Republican talking points would say he failed to "support the troops.") His cautious statements regarding withdrawal frustrate me. I really like Edwards' straight apology and commitment to withdraw from Iraq soonest.
Based on the issues and reality of being President in difficult times, I suspect O and H would be very similar. I prefer O because 1)no race-baiting a la Bill 2)no flag burning amendment support a la H 3)no Fox debate a la H. Even though I think it is just for show to appeal to independents, I don't like that H expresses more hawkish sentiments. I don't judge them on their health care stances because I don't think much will happen in that arena anyway.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: heatherk, Your criticisms of the abilities and insights and decisions of your elders might be a bit more impressive if you and your generation had any record whatever of getting things right yourselves.

You tell her frankly0! We boomers have got to stick together - we have numbers on our side. Don't let those whipper snappers get all uppity.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

There is definitely a cult of personality around Obama.

There is of course also a cult of personality around Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for her, it's a cult of hatred, and it was deliberately and expensively created by the right-wing extremist propaganda machine starting in 1992. The Right Wing Cult of Clinton Hatred is a quite visible influence even on some Democrats today.

And of course on the Republican side there are worshipful cults of personality around Ronald Reagan, and around George W. Bush (although that one is fading).

Many Americans at heart want a King, someone who embodies the nation, a leader, a protector, a moral exemplar, someone to worship if he's a "good King" and hate if he's a "bad King".

Sorry, folks, we don't have kings or queens in this country. The President is just a civil servant, with a job to do.

As far as I can tell, either Obama or Clinton can likely do the job equally as well as the other.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

And don't kid yourself. The Clintons might seem to be playing rough with Obama but compared to what the Rethugs can do it's like they're attacking him with cotton swabs.

Fox attacked Obama with false smears, and he cut them off at the knees. No interviews, no debates, no nothing. Bill O'Reilly tried to corner him for an interview, and got his ass handed over to the Secret Service.

Fox attacked Hillary with false smears and more, and she's asked them to host a debate.

I'll take the former approach, thank you. Obama has the ability to push back with grace.

Posted by: TR on February 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Fear of the young peoples?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on February 7, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary is as much a part of the problems in Washington as anyone."

An exhibit of cultish mindset might well be an Obama's supporter's failure to acknowledge (or perhaps even be aware of) the fact that Mr. Obama is a sitting United States Senator.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Your criticisms of the abilities and insights and decisions of your elders might be a bit more impressive if you and your generation had any record whatever of getting things right yourselves. What you'd do that should inspire our respect? Fall in love with Britney? Go gaga over the Olsen twins? In fact, you're as green as your guy Obama.

In the words of Kermit: "It's not easy being green..." I thought Nader was the green candidate anyway?

First of all, I'm 27 not 15. Britney? Olsen Twins? Really? That's what you think 27 year olds are into? As far as I can tell Britney and the Olsen's are only entertainment for the middle aged women who buy tabloids. Your wife probably knows more about them than I ever will.

Additionally, you ever wonder why it's the guy who's getting the "young vote" that everyone slaps their head over later and says, "Damnit! We should've nominated HIM!" Case in point: Howard Dean.

Dean would've won in 2004, but you "establishment" democrats scuttled the movement over something as silly as a yell of enthusiasm, and the exact same arguments made over Hillary's "experience and substance" were made about Kerry, and look where that got us.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Quote: "If Hillary was of a different gender, or had a different last name, she would have wrapped up the nomination a long time ago. The misogynistic tendencies of Americans are apparently more powerful than the racial ones."

Because misogyny is the only reason Obama might win the nomination rather than Hillary?

Nothing cultish or rabid there!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary is as much a part of the problems in Washington as anyone."

An exhibit of cultish mindset might well be an Obama's supporter's failure to acknowledge (or perhaps even be aware of) the fact that Mr. Obama is a sitting United States Senator.

Garshhh. I thawt he wuz on that Survivor show.

Yes, Obama is a US Senator. Congratulations. I think you should get an honorary Poli Sci degree from Pat's Unversity of History.

So your argument is Obama's experience and activism in Washington is equal to Hillary's? Funny, she's been saying just the opposite.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

If there is a cult of personality around CObama, then there is one around Clinont, too. She has a lot of support from Demcratic women in my ge group (boomer) who simply identify with her--project themsleves on to her.

Of coures Secular is right--there is also a rightwing hate cult focused on her.

But the the bottom line remains: who get we actually get inot office?

Posted by: wonkie on February 7, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK
…..Obama's strategy--to win by overwhelming with new voters and young energetic voters--is a winning strategy for the general election…..wonkie at 12:06 PM
Except that it isn't. The majority of voters are mature voters and the most youthful demographic is the one with the lowest voting percentage.
….seems like HC's support is predicated on her gender….Adam at 12:08 PM
Why not check the California exit polls? Which ONE of these three issues is the most important facing the country? Category % Total Clinton Edwards Obama The economy 46 55 4 39 The war in Iraq 32 44 4 51 Health care 19 61 5 33

Which ONE of these four candidate qualities mattered most in deciding how you voted today?
Category % Total Clinton Edwards Obama
Can bring about needed change 48 34 3 62
Cares about people like me 14 54 9 35
Has the right experience 24 89 4 6
Has the best chance to win in November 10 55 4 40

Gender? Nope.

Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

You have to be a parody. Someone supporting an African American Senator and (credible) presidential candidate, saying that Washington has not done anything in the post-war period can't be anything but comedy. Not to mention making that comment while flaunting your degree, which I'm guessing you may have gotten some financial assistance to aquire.

By the way, wee heatherk, my age is under 40, too. My IQ is not.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's a standard MSM presidential primary campaign story line, Kevin:

o) A front-runner is anointed
o) An "underdog" gets lots of press
o) The "underdog" has a win or two
o) The press jumps on the "underdog" like a pack of wild hyenas on a downed zebra

Sometimes the "underdog" is able to survive and go on (Bill Clinton), sometimes the "underdog" folds under the pressure (Gary Hart), sometimes he or she simply self-destructs (Dean).

In this, the longest friggin' campaign ever, the press needs to recycle their story lines a few times. So now Obama is the "underdog" ripe for a takedown. So be it; we'll see if he survives. Hillary already had her rounds in the MSM blender and came out okay. Huckabee was the "underdog" prior to Iowa, and then was written off after New Hampshire (not torn down; just plain ignored) until he shoved it down the press' throats on Uber Tuesday. McCain is a godsend for these folks; he's an underdog and frontrunner story all by himself, *plus* they get to talk about him as being the harbinger of doom for the GOP.

Plus ca meme, c'est le meme chose.

Posted by: Douglas Moran on February 7, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

You have to be a parody. Someone supporting an African American Senator and (credible) presidential candidate, saying that Washington has not done anything in the post-war period can't be anything but comedy. Not to mention making that comment while flaunting your degree, which I'm guessing you may have gotten some financial assistance to aquire.

So, Strom Thurmond fought hard for civil rights in the 60s? Washington and the FBI worked closely with Dr. King to help along the cause?

Things got done DESPITE Washington. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back that it took African Americans another 100 years after the Civil War to actually get equal rights. Yay Washington for working! Wooo Hooo! We're number 1! We Did It!

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I enjoy Gospel meetings for the emotions they elicit, but I do not like the people who use them to manipulate people for their personal aggrandizement. Sen. Obama gives a great speech and has the ability to energize crowds with his oratory skills. Still, when he starts wagging his finger, which I notice he does less frequently, and invoking idealistic calls for change without specifics, I become skeptical about what this man will actually accomplish if he should become president.

My cynical self thinks his administration would be very corrupt, he is a Chicago pol afterall, but far less corrupt than W. Bush's. He would be a huge improvement over our current president, but if he is not the unifying leader his followers consider him to be and considered ineffectual like Jimmy Carter, he will create a backlash that will reopen the political door for Republicans in 2016.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I didn't need financial assistance... for various reasons that would certainly be seen as "flaunting" if I mention them now! What's that got to do with it anyway?

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama supporter and even I agree with this.
Hilbot has been getting royally screwed by the press. And what everyone but the press has figured out is - Americans are nothing if not media-savvy, and they do NOT like being told what to do. By anyone.

Posted by: Cazart on February 7, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, the fact that the press is starting to wonder and turn on Obama leaves me cold. I am a Hillary supporter. Talk to me when his press gets as bad as hers.

Second of all, I respect Obama but I really think many of his supporters are history challenged. People fought hard in the 60's through the 90's for progressive ideals. These were not wasted battles nor were they an indication of anything more than the bitter partisan battles that have consumed the US for hundreds of years. Better people than Clinton or Obama in the ranks of our founding fathers had to fight through the same partisanship we see today. The idea that Obama, or anyone, can end that 250 years of history, or make Republicans who have no intention of supporting progressive policies join him in his crusade is just naive.

I know lots of Republicans and not a single one of them is even tempted by Obama. To the contrary they view him as ultra liberal. They may think he makes nice speeches, but they dont agree with any of his policies.

I have the strong feeling that Obama may be too much like JFK for his own good. JFK, as beloved as he is, and while a rhetorical genius, failed to get much legislation through Congress. As a president measured by legislative success, he was not. I get the feeling that in 4 years we will be saying the same thing about Obama. Great rhetorical skills, and no achievements to show for it.

For you boomer haters: how can you support a candidate of hope while indicting an entire generation? We boomers fought tough battles and have the scars to show for it. You want to just waive your hand and say we were all idiots? Great way to unify the country. Its pretty funny as a liberal boomer I get tarred with Reagan and George HW Bush. McGovern wasnt my cup of tea but he had some of the same cult following and wrecked the Democratic party for decades. Some boomers thought Gene McCarthy was the next coming, and all we got out of that debacle was Richard Nixon instead of Hubert Humphrey. What you all fail to realize is the boomers were split too into the partisan sides that have dominated our country since its founding, just like my parents were and their parents before that. You too will get there, after you get a hefty dose of reality. And since your unity campaign apparently does not involve or want boomers I will happily go my separate way thank you. You all think you are so new, when you are just McGovern and McCarthy all over again.

Of course all of that's just my opinion and I could, and hope to be, wrong. Good luck to Obama and Clinton, because we need a Dem president. And lets hope the supporters of Mr. Unity will find a way to campaign for their man without indicting an entire generation or more in the process.

Posted by: Jammer on February 7, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: I will concede that the Nixon/Ford/Carter era was probably a hold out of even older dinosaurs ...

Now, now young lady. With a degree in biology you know perfectly well that even boomers are mammals.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nicely put Jammer.

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Pat: Being a condescending prick is not going to win anyone over to your point of view.

Posted by: TR on February 7, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: Your criticisms of the abilities and insights and decisions of your elders might be a bit more impressive if you and your generation had any record whatever of getting things right yourselves. What you'd do that should inspire our respect?

For one thing, they haven't screwed up the planet, unlike the "elders." That inspires major respect from me.

Posted by: lifelongdemturninggreen on February 7, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

That's certainly true. But I'm not trying to win someone over to my point of view.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: So, Strom Thurmond fought hard for civil rights in the 60s? Washington and the FBI worked closely with Dr. King to help along the cause?

Uh, no, actually they didn't.

Things got done DESPITE Washington.

And presumably despite the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Civil Rights Act of 1960, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Rights Act of 1968, 24th Amendment, 26th Amendment, integration of the Armed Forces by executive order, the Brown v. Board of Education decision and its enforcement, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that Obama, or anyone, can end that 250 years of history, or make Republicans who have no intention of supporting progressive policies join him in his crusade is just naive.

Let's put that through the way back machine to the year 2000 and change the names:

The idea that Bush, or anyone, can end that 250 years of history, or make Demcrats who have no intention of supporting conservative policies join him in his crusade is just naive.

What was Hillary's (and many other Democratic leader's) vote on the Iraq War again? Who is the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee supporting for President right now?

I don't think it's the "idealists" who are being naive about what a single President can do. I think it's the "cynics" who are being blind to the possibilities.

I do admit to a grudge against the Boomers. That's my cross to bear. I look at the environment, the Corporate ownership of America, the state of the American Education system and I ask myself, "What the hell were these people thinking?"

I understand that you boomers were and are split along partisan lines. I get that, and I get that you guys HATE the ones on the other side and vice versa. Do you get that my generation is trying desperately NOT TO BE YOU? That's what Obama supporters mean when they say the old politics are dying... Hillary is a huge divisive force in America. I'll certainly vote for her if she's nominated just as I voted for Kerry and Gore. However, I sure would like to be able to vote for someone that at least has a shot at healing this country. No Republican is gonna do it, they're on the verge of splitting into 2 parties on their own. Hillary can't do it, whether it's her own fault or not, she is not a uniter by any stretch.

I want to be able to tell someone who I voted for without having to follow it up with rationalizations. I've never been able to do that.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I am sitting in Washington DC as I type this, and I can personally attest to the fact that the "old" politics is not "dying." As a matter of fact heatherk, it hasn't even had a sick day since 1789.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Without the boomers, the US would still be in Vietnam. The boomers fought and died there, but they did not conscript and order themselves there. That was done by the Greatest Generation, also known as the most obedient generation.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, for a lot of people congratulating yourselves on your astute bullshit detectors, you're kind of missing the obvious. Is it a coincidence that stuff like this starts appearing in the media about two days after everybody was talking about how the Democrats were really satisfied with either one of their candidates winning? Especially when it's pushed by the moronic Jake Tapper?

Divide and conquer, people. The Republicans know that their only chance is to make the Democratic race so ugly that all those masses of voters who have been turning out are instead turned off. So now Obama is a cult leader who reminds Washington of Charles Manson. Does anyone really think this is the case? Of course not, but it makes good copy if the Dems are fighting with each other -- and it does the Republicans' work for them.

Posted by: sophronia on February 7, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

As a retiree, I have a lot of time to visit the blogs and read a lot of comments. To me Obama supporters seem to be all over the comment sections. I wonder if that is not part of the campaign strategy. I must say that they do tend to be rather vitriolic in the way they comment. Rather immature and certainly intent on trashing Hillary. One would think that liberal blogs would attract voters who should be proud of these two fine candidates but that doesn't seem to be the case. If, in fact they are Obama supporters, it's disheartning. I guess some people forget the real task ahead.

Posted by: fillphil on February 7, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I agree, for a lot of (not all) Obama supporters, there's a sort of cultish flavor to their support and enthusiasm that's unsettling. The fact that they were booing Clinton at Obama rallies (as Kevin blogged about) kind of speaks to that for me. It's like anyone who opposes their guy is evil. I also think this is why a lot of Obama supporters were/are nauseatingly eager to believe that Bill and Hillary were racists.

What Obama says is beautiful as far as uniting people. But it does have a scary side to it, the cultish side, that reminds me of the sanctity of unity during the Bush era and the supposed treachery of those who didn't step in line.

Posted by: DanM on February 7, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,

If you're willing to blame my generation even for the fame of Britney and the Olsen twins, what can I say?

Can your generation take responsibility for nothing in your lives?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think it's silly to run away from a candidate simply because he's charismatic and inspires strong loyalty among his supporters. If we do that, every candidate we've got will be a weakly supported dullard, and that will lose us elections.

Yes, we do need to keep our head about ourselves. But I think, given the fact that McCain is likely to be the leading candidate on the Republicans side, we need a candidate that people, and not just Democrats can get strongly behind. We need somebody, who unlike McCain, can actually say what most of his constituents are thinking with some kind of spontaneity.

The last thing we need to do is become risk-averse all over again. Risk aversion is how the Republicans took this country; the Democrats became ever more unsure of themselves, ever more unsure about rocking the boat and cleaning things up, and by the 90's, the corruption inspired a backlash that put the GOP in power. Then we spent years out of power, begging for the scraps from their table. Could we for once just take a chance? If Obama turns out to be more hat than cattle, we could at least do what the Republicans failed to do, and elect somebody better the next time. Like FDR said three-quarters of a century ago, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. People are attracted to Obama because of his boldness and his willingness to state in hard terms what most Americans are thinking, without worrying about what names the party just kicked out of power is going to call him.

Can we nominate a real candidate for once, somebody who has brains, heart, and guts?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on February 7, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: I do admit to a grudge against the Boomers.

Have you noticed that Obama is a boomer?

I look at the environment

Yes, it was so much better before we passed all those environmental laws in the 1960's and 1970's. You could trust air that you could see, rivers caught on fire, and you could wipe out all the endangered species you wanted to!

the Corporate ownership of America

It was so much better in our grandparent's day. You know, the Gilded Age.

the American Education system

You mean the one that's produced more Nobel Laureates than any other country in the world?

Do you get that my generation is trying desperately NOT TO BE YOU?

Yes, I've noticed the idealism and political activism of today's youth. Unlike say, the Civil Rights Era, the opposition to the Vietnam War, or the Environmental Movement of the 1960's and 1970's.

I want to be able to tell someone who I voted for without having to follow it up with rationalizations.

Good luck with that. Often it gets nasty when you find out how full of shit they were about their campaign promises. But Obama is different - since he rarely says anything specific it'll be hard to say he didn't do it.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I love how our country's narrative is driven by the bored.

We get exactly the leaders we deserve.

And the press should be lucky that their jobs are based on degrees from Northeastern schools and bj's and not elections, or they would be flipping burgers, which is what they deserve.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I want to be able to tell someone who I voted for without having to follow it up with rationalizations. I've never been able to do that.

I look forward to your support of the Social Equality Party.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

You should start blogging about The Wire, because it is the best show on television - maybe the best ever!


Posted by: Ben on February 7, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

You should start blogging about The Wire, because it is the best show on television - maybe the best ever!


Posted by: Ben on February 7, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,
as a 41 year old, your 1:43pm post helps me understand the perspective of younger supporters of O.
The question in my mind is how to judge O as a symbol of change vs an actual agent of change. His positions seem so moderate to me I don't see him as an agent of change but maybe as a symbol he can activate and motivate people to a point where actual change can occur? I find O temperamentally cautious. A deep thinker who is not particularly progressive or bold. When I hear him speak, I hear great judgement in his tone but then I look at his actual stance on the issues and they are not really too different from H.
I'm excited that an O or H Administration would be staffed by competent and intelligent advisors unlike Bush who cannot stand to be challenged.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Which generation is obediently killing Iraqis for president W. Bush?

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"What I said was "Washington hasn't worked since the 40s." And I stand by that. WWII was about the last time Washington was united enough to actually do things to change the world."

With one fell swoop, someone who admittedly (and obviously) has a shaky grasp on American history sweeps aside 1)the Civil Rights Act and movement 2)the reconstruction of Europe 3) the resistance to and ultimate defeat of expansionist Communism (dictatorships by any other name) 4) the space program 5) the rise of the economy to preemininence in the world 6) Medicare and the expansion of Social Security 7) codifying in law the rights of the disabled 8) creation of veteran's benefits 9) the Food Stamps Act 10) and far too many other things about which you are unaware or simply take for granted. Only a colossal dunce could dismiss the progressive strides the nation has taken over the last 60 years (yes, much of which was accomplished by "dinosaurs" in Washington) without baring their ignorance for all to see. I take this as proof of the failure of public education.

"Yes, Obama is a US Senator. Congratulations. I think you should get an honorary Poli Sci degree from Pat's Unversity of History."

You can read the words, but the meaning escapes you. You argued that Sen. Clinton was part of the problem in Washington while simultaneously stating that a sitting Senator from the same party was not. I pointed out, in a nice way, that this was- what's the word?- stupid. BTW, my doctorate is in Political Science, so I'll eschew the honorary degree.

"So your argument is Obama's experience and activism in Washington is equal to Hillary's? Funny, she's been saying just the opposite."

Perhaps I overstated your ability to read. I said no such thing.


"By the way, wee heatherk, my age is under 40, too. My IQ is not."

Pat said it better, with fewer words. He might have added that it is just as cretinous to trumpet your superioity to other people on the basis of age as it is to claim the inferiority of others because of the amount of light reflected by their skin.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Heather you should reads alex's post above. We progressives of the past generations would have loved to give our children everything their hearts desire. Unfortunately, we could only move the ball so far up the field, maybe you can take it over the line, maybe not. We did what we could and yes we made compromises, may you never have to. But we gave you all that we could, now it's your turn. What we progressive boomers don't like is your lack of acknowledgment of those things we did get, if you want to see some examples, just look at the color and gender of those on the dem ticket. Your grandparents would never have conceived this as possible, ever. So, instead of scorn and disdain for us, perhaps a simple thank you might be in order.

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I enjoy a good argument as much as anyone, but everyone should read and re-read what
sophronia at 1:50 PM wrote:

in part: it makes good copy if the Dems are fighting with each other -- and it does the Republicans' work for them

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

From my perspective, whenever a series of reporters all start coming out with similar phraseology within a few hours of each other, you better start moving back up the food chain and looking for a set of faxed GOP talking points. Often it first appears via Drudge or FAUX News.

Posted by: dweb on February 7, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Radix: So, instead of scorn and disdain for us, perhaps a simple thank you might be in order.

I'll settle for not being told to shut up and drop dead. But then, I'm easy.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

don'tknow: The question in my mind is how to judge O

We gotta elect this guy! "The Big O". Every day I see a funnier moniker for this guy. Hillary is just downright dull.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should give heatherk today's "Norman Rogers Award".

Posted by: optical weenie on February 7, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

optical: I think we should give heatherk today's "Norman Rogers Award".

I respectfully disagree. Norman is fun.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

No, if Hillary was a man not named Clinton with her foreign policy errors, she wouldn't have lasted this long with those who are supporting her.

Unless that name were Kerry, in which case Obama would have forgiven those errors and supported him anyway.

Posted by: Dawn on February 7, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

So... the baby boomers made the world a better place in the 60s and 70s with the Civil Rights Act and opposition to the Vietnam war and even environmentalism. Y'all rose up and stood wing-tip toe to sandal wearing toe with the "Greatest Generation" and changed the world!

...yet those same people are telling my generation we're too idealistic and it's impossible and our support for a candidate is merely celebrity fascination and we should all grow up and choose the establishment candidate. You say no one can change the world. Suddenly my young and inexperienced bullshit detector goes off! It's an alarm that sounds something like this:

Yes! We! Can!

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Jake Tapper rips Democratic candidate" is serious dog-bites-man country.

Jammer: speaking as someone in Obama's general age group (late boomer), we're just kinda sick of all the generational self-regard, now entering its fifth decade. Nothing personal.

Posted by: Hyde on February 7, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

But we gave you all that we could, now it's your turn.

That reads like it is from Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Soon...

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

But we gave you all that we could, now it's your turn.

Well... we're trying but you won't let go of the baton.

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

heather......yet those same people are telling my generation we're too idealistic and it's impossible and our support for a candidate is merely celebrity fascination and we should all grow up and choose the establishment candidate.

Not saying that at all. Vote for the candidate that you think is best but should your candidate not win, will you support the winning candidate that espouses, basically, the same policies as your candidate?

Posted by: StevO on February 7, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"yet those same people are telling my generation we're too idealistic"

I'm not saying you are too idealistic. I personally don't think it's possible to be "too idealistic." I'm saying your comments suggest you are not very smart.

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I stopped liking Obama the moment I realized his "politics of hope" is based on the politics of cynicism. It betrays a lack of faith in government that I just do not share, and I'm bewildered that a substantial slice of the Democratic electorate would be seduced by it. The fact is, our government is great; our politics are great; the system is not broken. OBVIOUSLY the last eight years have been tragic in so many ways; and administrations past were often less than ideal. But when has the world ever conformed to an ideal? The reality is, we have serious problems to face as a country. The less Obama speaks to those problems, and the more he stirs our souls towards some vague and trivial "change," the less I think he has any idea what job he is applying for.

Posted by: Illumina on February 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: yet those same people are telling my generation we're too idealistic and it's impossible

No, they (or at least I) am saying that it's not as easy as going starry eyed because a candidate gives pretty speeches.

we should all grow up and choose the establishment candidate

I, and as far as I can tell, most other people here said no such thing. I was merely lampooning your excessive hope for a boomer candidate who's done little to distinguish himself. His "non-Establishment" image is just an image. He doesn't even make much in the way of specific promises unless cornered by the opposition. And when he does make promises, they're generally to the right of Hillary.

BTW, I'm no great Hillary fan. But trying to find any great distinctions between her policies and Obama's is a difficult task.

You say no one can change the world.

No, I just said that there's little strong argument that Obama is any great hope for that.

Yes! We! Can!

Ok, well, good luck with that (and the leaning-to-the-right boomer candidate that you're pinning your hopes on).

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying you are too idealistic. I personally don't think it's possible to be "too idealistic." I'm saying your comments suggest you are not very smart.

Oh, I'm sorry, and I thought you were being rude. Glad to see we're all coming together as a party now!

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

A community organizer does not a president make.

Posted by: Illumina on February 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

On who is a "Boomer": The "Baby Boom" is supposedly made up of all those folks coming back from WWII and having kids. That's fine. But saying it goes from '46 to '64 is silly. Some statistician noticed a bulge in the population curve not accounted for by immigration, counted a standard deviation to each side of the high point and said, "Look! A generation!" But anyone born on the edges of either side knows how silly the designation is.

Look: my Mom, born in '43, has a *lot* more in common with the Boomers (and considers Hillary one of her own) than me, born in '63. Does Obama, who was in short pants in '68, really have anything in common with the folks who went to Woodstock and rioted in Chicago in '68? Don't be silly.

Obama is only a "Boomer" if you accept the completely arbitrary and silly definition of '46-'64. Culturally, he's not a Boomer, and trying to view him through that lens is absurd.

Posted by: Douglas Moran on February 7, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Suddenly my young and inexperienced bullshit detector goes off! It's an alarm that sounds something like this:

Yes! We! Can!

I'm truly impressed by how the most inane, trite, and vacuous of bromides can send your soul into an swoon.

Is this something out of the Little Engine That Could?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize. I actually mean "uninformed" rather than "not smart." You may well be quite smart. But your comments do show a sometimes striking ignorance of several events in American history that most people consider common knowledge. The civil rights movement, for example.

Not knowing things isn't a crime. I, for example, know very little about biology, your stated area of study. But I would probably be less of a dick in my comments to you if you didn't couple your striking lack of knowledge with such strident attacks on wide swaths of people and their motives based on their age. Ignorance and arrogance isn't a pretty combination.

I would only add that I find it supremely ironic that many of the historic events you clearly known little about (the civil rights movement, the surge for social change in the 70s and 80's) are critically important influences in the life and career of VERY CANDIDATE YOU ARE SUPPORTING. Funny, huh?

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

You say no one can change the world.

People have been changing the world since the Magna Carta. It's a long, and interminably slow process, but every generation makes its contribution. And it's not a friggin' relay race. We all do what we can until we drop dead.

It's the attempts to change the world all at once, and bring about Utopia in one generation, that lead to trouble.

heatherk, you sneered Can you get a degree in History? That seems a bit "soft" but if you don't study history, if you don't know where we've been how can you know where we're going, or where we want to go?

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: TR

Fox attacked Obama with false smears, and he cut them off at the knees. No interviews, no debates, no nothing. Bill O'Reilly tried to corner him for an interview, and got his ass handed over to the Secret Service.

Fox attacked Hillary with false smears and more, and she's asked them to host a debate.

I'll take the former approach, thank you. Obama has the ability to push back with grace.


This is really amusing. I suppose you think MSNBC is fair and balanced, right? Tim Russert, Brian Williams, and Chris Matthews have done more to destroy Democratic candidates, Gore, Kerry and now Hillary then anything I've seen on Fox, and Clinton hasn't backed down from debates that they've moderated. You like them now because they're helping your guy. MSNBC/NBC/GE might as well hang up Obama banners as a backdrop. But just wait until the general election. They're not friends of progressives.

Posted by: mm on February 7, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

GREAT TAPPER ARTICLE. Now lets see if the media will do its job and show the lack of substance behind the overhyped Obama. In truth he is nothing but an average state senator who moved on and had an unimpressive record in the U.S. Senate including on his so -call signature issue the war in Iraq. Indeed, except for one sppech he made at an anti-war rally in 2002 he can't point to ONE thing he actually did on this issue except continue to vote to fund the war. He is clearly about nothing but self-promotion and his own self- interests.

The people who fall for this bunk are clearly trying to fill an emptiness in their life. Let them go join Amway and not mess up our country with this pretender.


Posted by: joeMcd on February 7, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Hey frankly, i was wondering where you ran off to. still pushing the same tired rhetoric i see?

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I like Obama's attitude and his message of hope is very uplifting. I also like Hillary and her knowledge, policy proposals and her track record of effecting change. I would support either against McCain in the general, but I would prefer Hillary because I think she knows what needs to change and she knows what she'll be up against to facilitate those changes. I believe that Barack is more interested in changing the process. I'm not sure what he wants to change it into though. I would rather see specific problems addressed immediately.

Posted by: bruced on February 7, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

choose the establishment candidate

The most establishment person in the US has endorsed Sen. Obama. Her name is Oprah.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who both supports obama, and recognizes that hillary is a great candidate lemme try to explain something to the rabid obama haters. In the process i'm going to have to generalize a bit.

You all seem to have latched onto obama's image as a slick salesman kind of guy. I think you're basically right - he is. Where you're wrong is that you seem to think that everone who supports him is blindly 'falling for it'. I think that many of his supporters actually recognize his political delivery for what it is and we like it. The reason is that it gives us confidence that he call explain or deliver or 'sell' liberal policies. It's not a cult of personality, it's enthusiam based on the idea that we can establish a strong majority and direction. See, we know that obama and hillary are mostly right when it comes to the "science" of their policies, it's just a matter of how you make those changes come about. Hillary can make stuff happen, i have no doubt, but i think obama can do it in a way that's better over the long term.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

JoeMcd, it's funny you know. You say Obama has an unimpressive record in the senate....yet since he's been there, his voting record is virtually identical to Hillary's....so I guess her record is equally unimpressive, right?

Except, well, she was on the wrong side of the Iraq War vote, which has to make her record worse than Obama's....doesn't it?

But what do I know, apparently I'm part of a cult now. And here I just thought I was just supporting the candidate with the most upside. Nope, the obvious conclusion is that I've been brainwashed and can no longer think clearly....

I hope the Clinton people realize how insulting they are being....

For the longest time I have been willing to close ranks and support Clinton if she was the nominee. But if she and her allies continue down this path, all bets may be off.

Posted by: Dan on February 7, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Arggg.. you fools... stop choosing who to vote for based on broad characterizations of their supporters! If hillary is good, and her supporters are idiots - That's fine, don't worry it doesn't make you an idiot too (In fact, you might say that she has broad appeal!).

Really think that through.. it's very silly. If obama supporters are cultists, it doesn't make you one too.. you can go ahead and vote for him if you like him better.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, no! Clinton supporters stop posting. We are in danger of losing Dan's vote!

Posted by: Pat on February 7, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

all this Obama talk of hope & change makes me miss Edwards. Edwards' dropping out was a big moment for the Republican machine. Edwards was a fighter who recognized that sometimes people cannot be negotiated with (he refused to debate on Fox). He was ready to fight for progressive ideals while simultaneously having strong appeal to traditional white voters to win the General against McCain. Obama wanting to reach across the aisle to people who won't reciprocate does nothing for me. I want someone who's mad and wants to fight back. OTOH, I have to admit to myself that an Edward's progressive Presidency was always unrealistic. What Obama has to offer is same as what Hillary has to offer: intelligent and competent mainstream Democratic governance. Either of the remaining two candidates will provide a safe and restrained antidote to the Bush years while we pull the economy up and extricate ourselves from Iraq.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is just downright dull.

Hey, now you're getting it. Don't worry; there is a special room reserved on the O-train for you slow learners.

Posted by: Soma on February 7, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The reason is that it gives us confidence that he call explain or deliver or 'sell' liberal policies. It's not a cult of personality, it's enthusiam based on the idea that we can establish a strong majority and direction.

Why then does that man leave the people in America who might actually need some sense of optimism, the working class, so completely underwhelmed? Why do they vote instead for Hillary, with relatively few exceptions? Why is it the privileged, who are so very comfortable, thank you, who act as if the message of "hope" is so important to them? They don't have enough BMWs, or HDTVs? Their McMansions critically require 6 instead of 5 bathrooms? What is it in their absurdly entitled lives that just isn't quite enough for them, so that the message of hope resonates so powerfully in their souls?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

General election: Clinton's "ethnic" base is 51% (women); Obama's is 13% (blacks).

Obama is a "me" campaigner; Hillary is a "we" candidate.

Obama is VERY impressed with his "accomplishments" anhd derogatory of Sen clinton's 35 yerars of same.

Obama: experience in getrting things done is useless.

Electability: Sen Clinton ran opposed by Republicans twice ans won her two senate terms, her vicories largely resulting from REPUBLICAN VOTERS as well as a solid Dem core.

Obama wone one senatorial election IN WHICH HE HAD NO OPPONENT!! No oppoonent= clown Republican getting into the race late AND with no org in Illinois. That is hardly bona fides as to electability.

Take heed: the big states of Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will be voting for Hillary!

Latinos--who are the rising constituancy within the Dem party AND in the uSA are consistently in her corner. They represent a GIANT advantage for Dems in the future. Obama does NOT inspire them!

Obama is the darling of the "intellectual" class of Dems--LOVE THOSE SPEECHES, but like Chinese food, you get feeling empty an hour later--when you've had time to think.; Hillary represents the bread and butter Dems who fight to keep their heads above water....kinda like the poor and disadvantaged that Edwards speaks about.

They know that if you like oratory, you listen to Obama; if you want to get things done, you VOTE for Hillary!

After Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas vote for Hillary, the people's wisdom will have prevailed!!

Posted by: Art D. on February 7, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0, I've made every attempt to be charitable to your views, and you've done nothing but bait and insult me. The argument that you're presenting here is a attack on obama based on his supporters, and it's clearly fallacious. I'm not going to address it.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know, one of the dumber statement Obama has uttered in recent days is the claim that he can get all the votes Hillary got, but she can't get all the votes he'll get.

Funny how quick the guy and his campaign forgot about the Reagan Democrats. How many Reagan Democrats vote for Obama? Maybe just about zero? Don't you think they'll be ripe for the picking of a candidate like McCain?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would only add that I find it supremely ironic that many of the historic events you clearly known little about (the civil rights movement, the surge for social change in the 70s and 80's) are critically important influences in the life and career of VERY CANDIDATE YOU ARE SUPPORTING. Funny, huh?

All I've said is that I didn't give WASHINGTON credit for the social changes in the 60s and 70s. If you do, then maybe you need to study your history a little better. From my poor "uninformed" perspective, the movements you speak of where typically a fight AGAINST a broken Washington full of racists like Strom Thurmond.

That's my whole point. Washington hasn't worked for the good of the people in a long time, only the good of Washington. Any movements that caused real change were fought tooth and nail every step of the way by the Beltway establishment and if you think otherwise then you sir are the uninformed one.

But that's okay, keep giving credit to Lyndon B. Johnson for the Civil Rights Act instead of the foot soldiers who marched and sacrificed... wonder where you learned that bit of rhetoric?

Posted by: heatherk on February 7, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,

Tell me why 1 man fighting for GOOD (whether it's Obama or not) can't change our country when 1 man doing BAD has completely changed our country in 7 years time?

I rally hate bursting people's bubbles. I really do. But since you asked consider the following.

There is a saying that it takes skill to build a barn but any jackass can tear one down.

Add that to the fact that we have run out of materials for the barn and you will see that while the jackass can still ruin the barn, the skilled person cannot actually build one either.

Put another way, the politicians are not the problem, and any amount of wishful thinking or magical thinking will change that fact.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

All this criticism of Mr. Obama simply must STOP! NOW!

He is Our One True Hope.

Posted by: ObamaFollower on February 7, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

doug,

Get over yourself.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree that some of Obama supporters can be out of hand. And they don't always do a good job in describing their candidate's stands on various issues, but to say that Obama is a lightweight would be an inaccurate description. His foreign policy stands are more progressive than Hillary Clinton's. He also proposes a program to close the digital divide. Many of his approaches to poverty have a better understanding how poor urban communities are impacted by it. His economic stimulus package was praised for its seriousness and simplicity. When I hear people say that they don't know what he stands for. I have a hard time taking them seriously because they can go to his website and check his policy stands.

As for Obama not being able to attract the white and hispanic working class (I say that because he has no problem attracting blacks many of whom are working class) is a serious problem because they are important in winning the general election. I am not sure if he can overcome it, but given that he has done better than I expected, may be he can. I thought Hillary was going to have it wrapped up by Feb. 5, so I have to give him props for that.

Posted by: MGJ on February 7, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Obama and Hillary have the ability to govern our country well compared to the current occupant of the WH, so comparisons of their relative experience don't matter to me. I don't buy that Obama wants to be an agent of change or that he would somehow transform how things get done in Wash D.C. but his thoughtfulness would be a welcome change. Either candidate is a shining, shining star compared to Mad Dog McCain "Iraq Forever," never mind the woefully inadequate Bush.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

From Pat:
Oh, no! Clinton supporters stop posting. We are in danger of losing Dan's vote!

Yeah, why worry about alienating Democratic voters, right? Oh wait, Clinton needs them in the general election doesn't she....oops.

It's that type of arrogance coming from the Clinton camp that makes me (AND OTHERS) not want to support her. I gave money to Kerry, even though I wasn't a big fan, I'm giving money to Obama, but you think I'll give money to Clinton if she wins the nomination by insulting Obama supporters all along the way? Hell no. And do you think I'm the only Obama supporter that feels that way? Hell no.

Good luck with that strategy.

Posted by: Dan on February 7, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk,

That's my whole point. Washington hasn't worked for the good of the people in a long time, only the good of Washington.

No. Sorry. Washington has never worked for the good of the people. Washington has always worked for the good of the people in power.

You do understand that, for example, Social Security was put in place by those in power only to stop something even "worse" from happening - socialism. (sorry to swear)

Social security is now being taken away, again for the good of those in power.

Rail all you want against Hillary but you are barking up the wrong tree.

How do those in power keep the peasants from revolting? Set them against each other, provide them a scapegoat, give them bread (Walmart) and circuses (Nascar).

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

heatherk: keep giving credit to Lyndon B. Johnson for the Civil Rights Act instead of the foot soldiers who marched and sacrificed

A government that responds to the demands of the people is not broken. OTOH, if you want "leadership" instead of representative government, there are still plenty of countries that have it.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

so after literally decades of hearing pundits bemoan the lack of inspiring politicians, one finally comes along and if people respond it's a "cult." Yeah, I guess that's why Jake Tapper is so enamored of process politicians and the mechanic of politics. Oh wait, he's too lazy to follow that kind of politics either.

why oh why does the press have to be so stupid. And why do blogger like Drum have to be stupid enough to uncritically repost their garbage.

Posted by: ddr on February 7, 2008 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Given Obama's complete inability to get votes from the non-African-America working class and poor, I wonder how Edwards might ever envision supporting him over Hillary.

I spent a few minutes the yesterday looking over the electoral map of Massachusetts, where I live, which displayed the results, town by town, in the Democratic primary. Outside of Boston (a special case because of its large African-American population), every single town that went for Obama was your classic latte-sipping elite suburb. It was pretty astonishing to see the perfect regularity. The more working class a town, the more decisively it went toward Hillary instead.

If the only voters who buy your message of "hope" are the last people on earth to need hope, what does that say about the sincerity of your message?

Obama isn't comforting the afflicted, or afflicting the comfortable. He's comforting the comfortable.

What a guy!

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

good point, I am recalling my frustration with Kerry's blandness and sense of fair play. Obama and Hillary have personality in spades and I don't have to worry this time around about our candidate allowing dishonest Republican talking points to pass unchallenged.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

ddr,

why oh why does the press have to be so stupid. And why do blogger like Drum have to be stupid enough to uncritically repost their garbage.

That's capitalism for you - the answer is the profit motive.

Their purpose is to keep you watching the ads all day long if they can.

Any other questions?

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0,

I take your point, but you probably shouldn't throw away the African American group.

From you post, the Massachusetts voters buying Obama's message of hope are the comfortable and the African Americans.

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I've felt the same way about Obama for a long time. I'll vote for him if he's the candidate, but the non-specificity of alot of what he has to say has irked me for some time. When he speaks, I often feel like I'm in church rather than watching an administrator of Government. I was reading James Wolcott today and he nailed my feelings exactly:

"...Perhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria. I can picture President Hillary in the White House dealing with a recalcitrant Republican faction; I can't picture President Obama in the same role because his summons to history and call to hope seems to transcend legislative maneuvers and horse-trading; his charisma is on a more ethereal plane, and I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification...."

Also, the conventional wisdom that's been accepted that HRC will NEVER beat McCain is whack. I don't care what some poll says 9 months before an election. On Tuesday, she won a slim majority of the popular vote over Obama nationwide, and received millions more votes than McCain did. So did Obama for that matter.

She beat Obama handily in a strong majority of Dem states. I mean it's cool that Obama won in North Dakota, Utah, South Carolina and Alaska, but so what? I doubt he or HRC will take any of these states in the General.

Notice, He lost by a considerable margin of the popular vote among Dem voters when looking at the strong Dem states. He may be able to run stronger in March due to finances, and that may get him over the hump. Who knows?

Honestly, I think whoever gets the Dem nod, wins in November.

Posted by: Chris on February 7, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"All I've said is that I didn't give WASHINGTON credit for the social changes in the 60s and 70s."

Nope, you said "Washington hasn't worked since the 40s". Even though it's feckless blather, the blatherer at least should be able to keep up with their own drivel.

"From my poor "uninformed" perspective, the movements you speak of where typically a fight AGAINST a broken Washington full of racists like Strom Thurmond."

Public displays of ignorance are never pretty. Thurmond essentially left the Democratic Party in 1964 over the passage of the Civil Rights Act and support by two Democratic Presidents for civil rights. He and his like-minded southern Democrats mostly converted to the Republican Party, which to this day remains the party opposed to all sorts of individual rights. But you don't know any of this, and somehow think Strom Thurmond was representative of the "Establishment" of his time. That particular vote was 73-27, and the Establishment kicked Thurmond and the others of his ilk to the curb. But you don't know this, so it isn't worth knowing.

"But that's okay, keep giving credit to Lyndon B. Johnson for the Civil Rights Act instead of the foot soldiers who marched and sacrificed... wonder where you learned that bit of rhetoric?"

No one but you seems to have such a deficient view of history. No one has downplayed the efforts of the civil rights activists who fought for equality- this is just part of the spin of the Obama campaign to paint the Clintons as racists. There is no "instead of". But it is an historical fact that there would have been no Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 except for the efforts of LBJ. Take it or leave it (or better yet, buy a book, read about it, and then argue with facts rather than Magic Pony vacuousness).

Millions of Americans have fought and many have even died for the progressive ideals and betterment of America (our democracy being the most progressive ideal of them all). No one politician and no group by accident of date of birth has a monopoly on the long struggle to make ourselves a better people and nation. Those who claim that only their party, only their candidate, only their generation, only their color, only their class, or only their religion are true Americans and know what's best for our country are delusional and have been rejected, en masse, over and over again in our country's history.

Supporting one candidate should not mean the rabid tearing down of another from your own party. Especially if that rabidity is couched in statements that display a stunning ignorance of your own nation's history and the history of progressive politics in America.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK
Given Obama's complete inability to get votes from the non-African-America working class and poor, I wonder how Edwards might ever envision supporting him over Hillary.

Maybe because Edwards is likely to be concerned with who he believes will do better at actually addressing the issues of those groups rather than who currently has the most support in those groups.

Its hardly unknown to most liberals that the Right has tried very hard—and very successfully—for many years to sell the idea that problems of the working class that in fact stem from the pro-wealth policies of the Right instead stem from either the bad acts or policies meant to support particular minorities, whether African Americans, Hispanic immigrants, or whoever. And a natural consequence of their success in selling these ideas is that working class Whites or Hispanics are likely to blame part of their condition, particularly when the economic pain is biting hard, on African Americans, African Americans in the working class to blame it on Hispanics. And its natural for those beliefs to have an influence on voting behavior in those groups.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary won the big states but I must add that doesn't mean a whole a lot. For months, she was ahead of him by as much as 30% so I am not surprised that she won the states. Moreover, Kerry and Gore beat Bush in those same states and still lost the election. I personally think that a Clinton/Obama team would be excellent because in many respects they compliment each other and there's a lot more agreement between them than many care to admit.

Posted by: MGJ on February 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK
If the only voters who buy your message of "hope" are the last people on earth to need hope, what does that say about the sincerity of your message?

Nothing. Aside from the false premise, the popularity of a message has no necessary connection to it sincerity. But that's an impressive combination of false premise (that Obama's message is only being supported by the well-off), a variation of argumentum ad populum (arguing that Obama's message must be insincere because it is unpopular), and argumentum ad hominem (arguing, implicitly, that Obama's position should be rejected because he is insincere).

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The working class vote that Hillary gets is a reflection of at least the following:

(1) current economic uncertainty,
(2) the fact that Bill was Prez during economic good times,
(3) the fact that mandated Health Insurance is more attractive to folks who are predisposed to view the free market as screwing them,
etc.

The argument Obama needs to make is that at least some of the woes of the working class are due to treaties that the Clintons pushed without any redeeming safeguards or constraints that would have afforded some level of protection to the American worker, and that Bill truly never worked at building a real liberal majority, and that Hillary botched a great opportunity to offer them Health Care primarily due to her dictatorial and secretive nature, And that Hillary will lose the Independent vote needed in 2008 for a big victory.

FranklyO can try to paint Obama as some panderer to the latte sipping class. Well the latte sipping class that I belong to works damn hard to keep America competitive in the few areas where America still has a chance to compete. And Obama has worked damn hard and brilliantly to be where he is today, mainly in latte sipping downtrodden parts of Chicago.

Obama is better suited both in policy terms and temperament to effect the changes needed to address the real concerns of the working class. The Clintons are better at pardoning world class screwers of the working class.

FranklyO also needs to know that Hillary Clinton isn't Hugo Chavez. Or well, maybe she is, for the purposes of getting elected, and FranklyO is her Goebbels.

Posted by: Manfred on February 7, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

ddr: so after literally decades of hearing pundits bemoan the lack of inspiring politicians, one finally comes along and if people respond it's a "cult."

I don't know about you, but for literally decades I've been doing everything I can to disregard most pundits.

Those the folks who, by and large, warn us of the evils of UHC, claim that "serious" politicians want to tinker with Social Security (while ignoring far larger and more pressing problems), failed to notice the housing bubble until it burst, worshiped Alan Greenspan, and told us that "free trade" would benefit us all.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Bob M, great call with the comparison to Trudeaumania. Very interesting." Posted by: GOD on February 7, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Actually, no it isn't. I have discussed this very point with family that were there for Trudeaumania and were in their 20s to 30s at the time of Trudeaumania's appearance in 1968. While Trudeau was a newcomer to the national scene by the same amount of time Obama has he was recruited straight into cabinet and gained far more experience in actual governing including as Justice Minister in 1967 when sodomy laws were struck down and being gay was no longer a criminal offence when I believe he made his famous quote about the State having no place in the bedrooms of the nation before he became the leader and the elected PM than Obama has ever shown. I would compare Trudeaumania with Kennedy fever with JFK far more than Obama.

In fact I personally having met Trudeau when I was growing up (as I believe I've mentioned before I was raised in a political family and had access at high levels from early on which is where much of my political education came from about how politicians really work in private versus what they show in public) find little (and what there is is on the superficial levels IMHO) comparison between Trudeau mania and Obamamania. Trudeau inspired not just by his language and his fresh style but also by having specific goals he wanted to take the country in, in his case his main desire was always to get the Constitution out of British hands, repatriate to Canada and add a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which after 15 years from when he became Liberal leader he finally managed, after several attempts in the 70s. He wrote about the Just Society, talking not so much about him (unlike Obama's book) but about the society he wanted to create, and that combined substance with his style, whereas Obama appears to be more style than anything else. So I have to disagree with the idea that there is any strong comparison between Trudeaumania and Obamamania, as do those in my family with whom I have discussed this.

heatherk:

Your understanding of American history is atrocious, your disrespect for those that came before you and fought the fights that allow you to have a vote, have the chance to have a career outside the home and to get equal (well, nearer to equal than it used to be although not there yet) pay for equal work, have legal control over your body regarding abortion, etc does not make you look at all good. To be blunt you sound like an ignorant stuck up pretentious twit who thinks that because she has had it easy those whining boomers must be exaggerating how bad/hard things were and that fighting for these progressive ends was a waste of time and effort because it isn’t as far along as you would prefer. The arrogance dripping from your every word in here is remarkable, and I say this not primarily because you are an Obama supporter but because you are grossly ignorant of your own nation's history and proud of it! Solar in particular has shown just how deluded you are in this respect IMHO so I am not going to bother adding to that excellent work.

There is a reason there is a tired cliché about how those that do not learn their history are doomed to repeat it, and you appear to be the poster child for why that is a truism. Your idealism for Obama sounds very much like what I remember hearing before Clinton got in in 1992, Carter in 1976, and far from being able to move things Carter got nowhere and Clinton had a hostile Congress for the last six years of his Presidency, something which was NOT (contrary to the Obama flyer put out this week asserting/arguing otherwise) mainly his fault (I'd say not at all except he did use the Dems to get his economic package through before the Congress changed hands and that package was used by the GOP to paint the usual tax and spend liberals meme) but that of a tired and corrupt scandal ridden Democratically controlled Congress. Ever hear the names Dan Rostenkowski, Speaker Foley, and the post office scandal? If not then you have yet again shown your complete lack of understanding of the political history/reality/context of your nation and while that does not take away your right to an opinion it does show how worthless it is. You can have your own opinion but not your own facts, but you have been claiming your own facts throughout this thread.

I mean really, it looks like I have forgotten more about American political history than you know, and I'm bloody Canadian! You do your candidate a disservice with your comments here, and you show yourself to be incredibly pretentious and arrogant without the substance to back any of it up with. Arrogance is one thing when there is clear competence/expertise to back it up with, it may be annoying but at least there is some basis in reality for it, but yours is that of an empty suit deserving of no respect whatsoever.

General:

I must say I find this heatherk person to be really a waste of time to respond to, she clearly is ignorant of her own nation’s history, including recent history, worse she revels in her ignorance of history with her snide comment about a history degree, and she shows her own condescension with every comment she has made in this thread. On the other hand these traits certainly go a long way to explaining why she at least is clearly one of those sucked into the cult of personality around Obama, unlike many of his supporters here at PA. Given that ignorance she revels in it is no wonder she is so easily flimflammed by purty words and the rhetoric of hope without specificity/substance/proven experience and competence behind it.

In closing I've been making this point about there being a large cult of personality surrounding Obama for some time, especially in the online community. One thing though I have not stressed and in fairness should have is that the cult type supporters/followers here of Obama are far less the percentage of Obama cultish supporters than I have seen on almost every other progressive blog, which was one of the reasons I was willing to start talking critically regarding Obama's chances to win in the general here, I saw more Obama supporters that actually had more reason that simply buying into the inspiration/charisma effect of Obama for the basis of their support of him. That is not to say there aren't a few of his supporters here at PA that I definitely think are in the cult of personality, but this blog does have one of the best records from my observations over the past 6 weeks on that front and I should have noted that sooner for the record, so I do so now.

Posted by: Scotian on February 7, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

MGJ, I'm promoting the exact same thing - Clinton/Obama, and in that sense it may be actually better if HRC wins. That's coming from an Obama supporter. Actually it would be very, very hard for Clinton and the DNC not to have Obama on the ticket, so I'm fairly confident it will happen.

OTOH, Obama might pull it off. Which would be fine by me, sipping my latte and watching the working class shine my shoes, while being comforted by soaring rhetoric.

Posted by: Manfred on February 7, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

The notion that Hillary will NEVER beat McCain is, of course, whack. However, the notion that she will have a much harder time beating him, if she can beat him at all, is not whack. And the assessment of her weakness is not based on one poll months ago. It's based in part on the averages of sixty polls posted on Real Clear Politics every couple of weeks that show McCain consistantly beating her. It is also based on the media's bias against her, and the media's love of McCain and comparative fairness to Obama. It is also based on her inability to get new voters or independents as compared to the appeal McCain has to get independents and Obama's ability to bring people in by the boatloads that were not previously Democrats. Lastly, it is based on the reality that, strong though she may be, she has never been able to fight off the slime machine and is actively disliked by almost half of the voters. That right there means it's pretty darn self-indulgent to pick her as the candidate.

Our goal is not to pick the candidate YOU want. Nor is it to please me by picking my preference. The goal is to please us all by getting a Democrat into office. And that means we should go for the one mostly likely to win, not the one who will have to beat the odds.

Posted by: wonkie on February 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

He lost by a considerable margin of the popular vote among Dem voters when looking at the strong Dem states.

Obama won Connecticut, a "strong Dem state".

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Principles-Wonkie-Principles! This ain't no football game. If the voters in this Country can't
see the advantage of Hillary over McCain we really have slipped off the edge. Repubs have lost all credibility.

Posted by: fillphil on February 7, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

if Hillary ends up our nominee vs McCain, I am encouraged that during this primary season, voters have displayed the ability to change their stereotyped views of Hillary. Of course stripping away the right wing's demonized stereotypes of Hillary will do no good if a voter harbors latent sexism anyway.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Their purpose is to keep you watching the ads all day long if they can.

Oprah leads the nation in keeping the people trained as consumers. She endorses Glade, Chevy and Obama.

Connecticut reelected Sen. Lieberman in 2006. It is a backstabbing, stupid Dem state.

Neither Barack nor Hillary will accept the VP nomination.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote:

Maybe because Edwards is likely to be concerned with who he believes will do better at actually addressing the issues of those groups rather than who currently has the most support in those groups.

cmdicely, you crack me up. Aren't politicians supposed to care about their constituency? Obama is sounding more and more like Mao by the day, and his supporters, the Red Guards.

Posted by: Jonathan on February 7, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Connecticut reelected Sen. Lieberman in 2006. It is a backstabbing, stupid Dem state.

Nice. Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Lieberman, who ran as an Independent; the Democratic candidate for the Senate was Ned Lamont.

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

"If the voters in this Country can't
see the advantage of Hillary over McCain we really have slipped off the edge."

yep, it is sort out of our hands. we still have the same electorate that re-elected Bush in '04. Simply stunning! Knee-jerk Republican talking points appeal to the instinctual, fear-driven, black & white categorizing parts of ourselves. I think any honest Republican who values fiscal restraint & national security must recognize that the current Republican party offers no advantage. Obama and Hillary have to make their case by attracting independents/Republican voters without repelling at the same time. Tricky.

Come the General Election, I'll be marking my ballot for the Democratic nominee and I just hope the grown-up gets elected.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
…. Hillary Clinton isn't Hugo Chavez. Or well, maybe she is, for the purposes of getting elected….. Manfred at 4:52PM
Since Chavez is actually sending subsidized heating oil to Americans while Bush is not, your snide remark is even sillier
watching the working class shine my shoes, while being comforted by soaring rhetoric. Manfred at 5:10 PM
There's nothing like platitudes for enhancing the smugness of the economic elite.

...So up comes this new guy, talks a lot about hope. All the big phonies talked about it, too, but this guy seemed for real.
For one thing, when the war started, he had actually said that it wasn’t such a hot idea.....
He had already gotten into the Senate and, well, then he kept voting to spend billions of dollars to keep the war going....The people in the new guy’s party are mostly halfway sane, but some of them went absolutely nuts about new guy. I mean nuts, like total madman stuff. Talking about him like he’s the second coming. I’m not so sure there was a first coming, so this seemed like a little much.....Then I see this thing he printed up, where he says “I felt that I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will.” He says he was “called by” Jesus Christ himself to become President....

Obama won Connecticut, a "strong Dem state".Lucy at 5:16 PM
So did Joe Lieberman, so maybe it's not as strong as you may think. Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

@Scotian

"but that of a tired and corrupt scandal ridden Democratically controlled Congress"

Like the tired and corrupt candidate you seem to prefer. I'll see you a Dan Rostenkowski and raise you a Marc Rich and a Norman Hsu.

You also seem unable to comprehend the link between the hostile congress of the late 90's and the inability of Big Bill to keep his pecker in his pants. His incontinence cost the democratic party control over the political agenda and the presidency in 2000.

The Clintons are not good people. People (and parties) that associate with them are inevitably tainted.

Posted by: Adam on February 7, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, I know you're a practiced cherry picker, so here's my 5:36 again:

Republicans voted overwhelmingly for Lieberman, who ran as an Independent; the Democratic candidate for the Senate was Ned Lamont.

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Adam: His incontinence cost the democratic party

If Al Gore lost because of Clinton pissing in his trousers (look up incontinence) or even because of Clinton's sexual misconduct, we have the government we deserve.

Fortunately, Al Gore won.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, you crack me up. Aren't politicians supposed to care about their constituency?

Caring about people is not the same thing as agreeing with them about who will do the most to promote their interests.

You seem to take the point of view that, for example, if most of the poor believed that immigration is the source of the economic woes, that any politician who actually cares about the poor should make ending immigration their number 1 priority irrespective of whether this common perception is correct. I simply can't agree with that view. Judgement is a big part of what elected officials are elected for.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton can be nasty. Who else remembers how he attacked any woman who claimed to have slept with him? A complete a****** whose philandering cost Gore the Presidency.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Nice ad hominem. Keep trying.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

@thersites

No. Perhaps you should look up incontinence.

http://www.dictionary.net/incontinence

Incapacity to hold; hence, incapacity to hold back or restrain; the quality or state of being incontinent; want of continence; failure to restrain the passions or appetites; indulgence of lust; lewdness.

Posted by: adam on February 7, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton sleaze machine just doesn't stop, does it? That's why Hillary is losing ground - people are sick and tired of all of this hatred, viciousness, and divisiveness. They're sick of it from the political establishment - whether it be the GOP, the Clintons who helped pioneer it, or their followers.

It's patronizing. It's insulting. It smacks of the worst kind of elitism, as though only Clinton followers are sane, they are the only adults, they are the only ones capable of reason, the only ones whose opinions count. And yes, there's a subtle implication of racism, as per Bill's comments about South Carolina, if it weren't for the African-American vote, Obama wouldn't even be competitive. Funny, the Clintons have been comfortable not only relying on the African-American vote in the past, but also hiding behind the African-American community when they needed cover (e.g. Bill moving his offices to Harlem).

So sick and tired of the Clintons and their do-anything, say-anything politics. Sorry, but the ends don't always justify the means, especially when the means involve smearing your fellow Democrats, dividing people by race and gender, and acting like the nomination was their birthright.

This is as sickening and indefensible at it is entirely predictable. They did it against Perot and his followers. They tried to do it to Lewinsky and other women who were linked to Bill's sexual escapades.

This family is the their great political hope? This is the family that they are inspired by? These are the morals and values they support?

If you're going to accuse anyone's supporters of cult-like devotion, it's an argument the Clintons will lose. It's the Clinton backers who have supported that family through one indefensible scandal after another. Through one unprincipled, poll-triangulated vote after another. Through one sleazy campaign tactic after another. At least Bill's fans might be excused for liking him because of his charisma, charm, and apparently sincerity. Not so much with Hillary.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

The special prosecutor revealed W. Clinton's philandering. It was no one's business. I do not recall VP Gore mentioning that. Perhaps Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have enough nastiness in their personalities to run strong presidential campaigns. W. Clinton did.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nice.

Sorry. Connecticut is a backstabbing, stupid bipartisan state.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Adam -- I stand corrected.
But I still think that if Gore lost because of Clinton's personal behavior it proves we're a nation of fucking dimwits.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like Scotian's spanking of heatherk worked - she's gone to bed now, without any dinner.

Thank you Scotian. Being an ex-Canadian you make me proud. And your analysis of Trudeau is spot on.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 7, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK
...whose philandering cost Gore the Presidency.

Only to the extent that Gore responded to it by failing to effectively run effectively on the record of the most popular outgoing administration in the history of polling, and by further distancing himself from that Administration by choosing one of its leading Senate moralizing critics, crypto-Republican Joe Lieberman, as his running mate.

OTOH, given that both of those are examples of extremely poor political judgement, its hardly unlikely that Gore wouldn't have found some other stimulus for the same poor judgement that would have cost him the election anyone in the absence of that particular stimulus.

Of course, its worth noting that Gore had more people vote for him than Bush, and more people in states with a majority of electoral votes, and if and only if there had been a statewide, comprehensive recount in Florida, rather than the piecemeal, inconsistent ones that he called for and the US Supreme Court seized on to find an Equal Protection violation, Al Gore would, poor campaign strategy and running mate selection and all, been President of the United States.

Al Gore cost Al Gore the 2000 election, from start to finish.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Do you suppose those Clintons somehow manipulated the American Heritage dictionary on my desk? It's the paperback version, but still...

I don't know how anyone who's lived through the last seven years can carry on as if the Clintons are monsters. Whatever their personal characters, who's the crew that changed USA to FUBAR?

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Al Gore cost Al Gore the 2000 election, from start to finish.

You're not entirely wrong. But the Supreme Court, the Liberal Media and the True Believer Naderites didn't help either/

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Calling someone's followers "cult-like" is about as useful and precise as saying someone is "electable."

As in:

The Apple corporation has a cult-like following.

People have a cult-like devotion to the various schools of barbeque, and readily vilify members of rival cults.

Cubs fans are like a cult.

Gimme' a break already. To some extent, every candidate out there has cult-like followers. So what? If there wasn't a Clinton "cult" Hillary wouldn't even be in the running as a junior senator with even less experience as an elected official than Obama. Rudy would not have had a chance without the "cult" surrounding his much ballyhooed poise during the 9/11 crises (I guess compared to Bush in those days, he was pretty damned inspiring).

We approach our politician's in the same way as we approach any other "product" -- namely as consumers. Any first year marketing student in the 21st century can tell you that developing a "cult" around a brand is worth far more than clever advertising. You want the product users to be so emotionally attached to the brand that they will evangelize for the product within their own social networks, even if the product doesn't quite live up to the hype (see Apple).

"Clinton" is a brand. So is "Hillary." So is "Obama." Of course there are cultists out there for each of them.

Hillary vs. Obama
PC vs. Apple
GM vs. Ford
Coke vs. Pepsi

What's the difference really?

Posted by: lobbygow on February 7, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I question whether some of you folks are Americans, as even your knowledge of recent history is notably bad. Maybe you could ask the Canadians?

The Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress in 1994. This was chiefly due to the scorched earth election policies instituted by Gingrich amongst others (it is worthy of note that the 1993 Omnibus budget passed Congress without a single Republican vote- typical of how Republicans treat Democratic Presidents).

Democrats picked up a few seats in the House in the 1996,1998, and 2000 elections and tied the Senate in 2000 (all under Clinton's watch). Lewinksky didn't happen until 1998, so it's difficult to accept your argument that it retroactively affected the 1994 elections.

@Lucy- the point the other poster was trying to make is that CT failed to elect a Democratic Senator and thus might not be as strongly Democratic as you seem to think.

Again, it is unnecessary to demonize one Democrat because you support the other one. I have many more problems with the lunatic fringe of Obama's supporters (hopefully a small minority) than I do with Sen. Obama himself.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

solar - If this comment log shows nothing else (and i'm starting to believe it doesn't) it demonstrates that there is a lunatic fringe behind any candidate.

I believe that anyone who takes a realistic look through the position statements and written policies from either candidate will come to the conclusion that they're quite similar. So this is really a fight about politics, which are far more subjective. i happen to believe that both approaches to building concensus have considerable merit. I see good strategy, and risk behind both approaches. honestly i'd rather see either candidate get the win cleanly than i would see more of the devisive petty arguing that supporters are engaged in here. Is that true of the rest of you?

We have two good candidates - we should be happy, why do so many people here seem angry?

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
You're not entirely wrong. But the Supreme Court, the Liberal Media and the True Believer Naderites didn't help either/

Well, the Supreme Court and the True Believer Naderites were factors, the pink unicorns, magic pixies, or whatever that mythical other thing you mentioned was, though...

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

AJ: "Neither Jake Tapper nor Joe Klein is worth paying any attention to."

I eminently agree, even if I might otherwise agree with them about this particular issue. But I really wouldn't know that, because I just refuse to read or listen to either of them. They're both hack journalists of the worst sort, whose collective body of work isn't worth the paper it's printed on, or the bandwidth it occupies.

Kevin, OTOH, seems to find Klein and Tapper useful, if for no other reason than they are the proverbial "canaries in the coal mine", more often than not reflecting the so-called "conventional wisdom" of the D.C. punditry. If that's the case, then what they're saying could well be a harbinger of things to come from that vacuous expanse of Beltway bloviation.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry won the nomination rather handily because he was seen as a winner who was inoculated against patriotism attacks.

And Hillary supporters like her because she's been inoculated against swiftboating.

It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

We have two good candidates - we should be happy, why do so many people here seem angry?

Because a lot of people think we don't have two good candidates here.

Some thing Obama is too inexperienced to be a good candidate.

And others think that Hillary's neo-con foreign policy leanings (among other things) make her an unsuitable candidate.

Obama supporters hear the critics saying that he's too inexperienced, and they respond by pointing out that Hillary doesn't actually have much more experience unless you count being first lady.

Hillary supporters hear the critics pointing out that she has repeatedly supported neo-con foreign policy decisions (not to mention being pro-torture and having wrecked health care reform once already, etc.) and they respond by pointing out that Obama supporters sure seem cult-like, don't they?

HTH

Posted by: bobb on February 7, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Donald: vacuous expanse of Beltway bloviation.

You sure you haven't been studying the collected works of Chairman Spiro? You're getting awful damn good at that sort of thing.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

For those who claim that Obama is simply comforting the latte sipping elite , go to Yglesias' blog and check out his comments on the exit polls for Illinois vs. New York. Maybe you might learn something about his appeal across the board. If he isn't doing well in certain places and in certain segments of the population, the main reason is that they really don't know the man. Yes, he is new. The people who know him clearly like him very much.

Posted by: Manfred on February 7, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

"What's the difference really" That's the right question i think. There is a difference - I think Hillary is probably better at pushing through her policies under strong opposition. Obama is probably beter at drawing supporters to his policies. Both candidates are going to have a long future with the party. The question is: who's the right person in the presidency now. bruced gave an argument above for hillary that i completely agree with. Personally i think it's better in the long run to have obama in there, as i think he'll be better at attacking the philosophies behind the republican policy. But i'm smart enough to realize that Obama probably carries a little more risk, and is maybe a little less effective in the short term. Whoever you support - you'd damn well better come to terms with the other "side" winning, because this going to be a close one.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

alright, Gore cost Gore his Presidency, however, if not for Bill's affair, Gore would not have had to distance himself from the Clinton Administration and that by itself might have given him a victory without recourse to a recount in Florida. Is that conceivable? And from there you get more what ifs like no Iraq War. A useless exercise I grant you but I do take a hard view of Bill's philandering not because I consider it my business but because it had such huge consequences on what would have been a pretty amazing legacy.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that anyone who takes a realistic look through the position statements and written policies from either candidate will come to the conclusion that they're quite similar.

That is especially true if you read their speeches to AIPAC. Then they look quite similar to neoconservatives.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

bobb - you're right of course, but i'm trying to point out that characterizations you describe are completely overblown. All those points are mostly spin and speculation, don't you think?

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

"And yes, there's a subtle implication of racism, as per Bill's comments about South Carolina, if it weren't for the African-American vote, Obama wouldn't even be competitive."

Although I don't think Bill Clinton said that, he did say: "As far as I can tell, neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votes because of their race or gender," he said. "They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender — that's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here." which is just the former President being politically wonkish and making a factual statement. Per exit polls, Sen. Obama won 75% of the AA vote, while carrying only 25% of the (as CNN puts it) non-black vote. It's clear both that in SC, Sen. Obama loses without the AA vote and that the Obama campaign inflamed the prospective AA voters in the days leading up to the primaries with bogus claims of racism. It is no more improper to remark that a white candidate running against a credible AA candidate in a SC Democratic primary will likely lose than it is to say that any Democratic presidential candidate will likely lose SC in the general election because of the preponderance of Republicans there.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

When all is said and done, it really shouldn't matter whether we have Hillary or Barack as the Democratic nominee. Either one would be infinitely better as President than John McCain. Let's keep our eye on the ball.

Posted by: Obama Strategy on February 7, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus: "The Clinton sleaze machine just doesn't stop, does it? That's why Hillary keeps losing ground - people are sick and tired of all of this hatred, viciousness, and divisiveness."

Is it just me -- or does anyone else here notice that we always keep hearing about this vaunted "Clinton sleaze machine" and its "hatred, viciousness and divisiveness" from secondary and tertiary sources?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo - you realize that speeches are very different from actual position and policy right? All speeches to some extent sound the same. Speeches with lots of detailed policy analysis and concrete direction are usually not fit for general public consumption. Is there some specific policy with well documented support from both candidates that you don't like? I'd honestly be very keen to know.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Bill, Hillary or Al revealed Bill's philandering. Those who did reveal Bill's whoring were counting on the electorate to make consequences of it. The Democratic Congress could have done something similar to W. Bush, but they lack W. Clinton's nastiness.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like someone trying to be an elitist snob with no tolerance for fools who dare to HOPE ! ( Is the inappropriate use of caps a sure fire indication of a CULT victim? ). Jeez come to think of it I never cared enough about a candidate to actually make a comment in a blog before. THEY HAVE ME OH NO THEY WILL TAKE OVER. HELP ME HILLARY BACKERS I"VE BEEN SUCK A FOOL. Or maybe just maybe I like him a little better than Hillary? YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

Posted by: wild eyed fool on February 7, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Neither Bill, Hillary or Al revealed Bill's philandering. Those who did reveal Bill's whoring were counting on the electorate to make consequences of it."

true but its hard not take fault with Bill for exceedingly bad judgment which in turn made him vulnerable to the attack dogs. This philandering *probably* cost Gore his Presidency--hard to say--by requiring him to distance himself from an otherwise positive Clinton legacy. just mho.

Posted by: don'tknow on February 7, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me -- or does anyone else here notice that we always keep hearing about this vaunted "Clinton sleaze machine" and its "hatred, viciousness and divisiveness" from secondary and tertiary sources?

What, you didn't watch or read any news for the entirely 1990s?

If you want to argue that the Republicans during and after the Clinton administration were far worse, you won't get much argument. But just because the Republicans were worse doesn't exonerate the Clintons from their own acts.

Just Google "Lewinsky stalker" and you can read about Sidney Blumenthal relaying Bill Clinton's characterization that he was "the victim' of a predatory and unstable sexually demanding young woman."

You have to be pretty brainwashed to believe it's possible the president of the United States could be stalked from within the White House.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

When I read Wolcott's piece, I said YES! Someone finally noticed the scary missionary zeal of his speeches, rallies and supporters. That is the EXACT reason I voted against him. It just started to seem that it was all about him. All he talks about is his movement and joining his cause, and it started to seem so empty that I couldn't figure out exactly what he stood for except "change" and "hope." On Super Tuesday, he threw in some actual ideas, but they seemed tacked on, an afterthought. Come down to earth, Barack.

Posted by: Sue on February 7, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

"What, you didn't watch or read any news for the entire 1990s?"

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sue: All he talks about is his movement and joining his cause, and it started to seem so empty that I couldn't figure out exactly what he stood for except "change" and "hope." On Super Tuesday, he threw in some actual ideas, but they seemed tacked on, an afterthought. Come down to earth, Barack.

Absolute nonsense. This doesn't even pass the smell test. Either that, or you haven't been paying ANY attention to the race and have no business voting.

The war in Iraq - specifically Clinton's vote to authorize it and Obama's initial opposition to it - has been a major focus of the campaign. Clinton and Obama have both argued over their differing visions for implementing universal health care.

Even if you've ignored every debate, newspaper articles and television coverage, your comments about his speeches not containing any substantive policy points would also fail. You'd also be hard pressed to find a single Obama speech at any point during the entire campaign where he didn't mention at least several (if not all) of the following: the war in Iraq, health care, the environment, energy independence, corporations getting tax cuts for shipping jobs overseas, education, and day care.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I want to play! Let me use the lazy logic performed so well by other posters here regarding the cult of personality charge (in short: so does Bill). What do people find appealing regarding Bil-, uh, Hillary Clinton? Bill Clinton. Why? They want to go back to the 90s.

This claim on the cult-of-personality regarding Barack Obama is a vague charge, and can be applied towards any candidate. But the hope to vote for candidate because she was married to a previous candidate who did good for the country in a different environment reveals an embarrassing tendency: a wanton desire to go back. It almost mirrors the desires of many on the Republican Party, with their incessant need to return to the 50s, except this time it is the 90s. This cult-like devotion to return to the good time of the 90s throws aside such messy details as the war on terrorism, the increasing globalization of the world, the rise of China and India, etc etc. No, no, no: Bill Clinton, the great fundraiser from Kazakhstan, can take care of it! He'll be in office, and even though he supported NAFTA and Hillary didn't, he'll have the sway to bring our country back into the economic powerhouse it was in the 90s...when it was a divided, uh, government that helped, uh, bring out, um...moderate proposals. Arguing about a President's influence on an economy is tough work, and arguing about Bill Clinton's ownership over the productivity improvements by the Internet, for example, is another matter. But no, we don't want to hear that! If Hillary goes in, Bill goes in, and it'll be like an ADT commercial, except this time it's Bill's, uh, magic power that will flow (ahem) from the White House and spew (cough) onto every corner of this country, flooding (blush) everyone with...good stuff? I'm being unfair, and I know it, but it works both ways you guys. Let's go back in the booth this November, and vote to return to the 90s! We can bring grunge back, and maybe Arsenio too!

Posted by: Boorring on February 7, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

As a great compliment to Hillary Clinton the candidate, a majority gain assurance from this potential first woman President by her close proximity to her husband (the message is: never-mind Hillary, her husband will take care of things if it gets too hot). It seems she really wants to be the first woman President in-name-only, and the pride in seeing others see Hillary break the final glass ceiling is not affected by the fact that she can crack that high plateau while standing on Bills high shoulders. You've come a long way, baby.

An additional compliment to the office of the Presidency is her strength of experience by a few years more in the United States Senate. Oh, I forgot, being the First Lady counts. For example, when Bill was in the danger room, Hillary was taking notes. When Hillary was performing White House functions, she wrote footnotes on the conflict in Kosovo. Accepting this would also accept the fact that she was intending to run for President from day one, and accepting this realizes to an observer her push to run for Senate in a state that wasn't her home: to gain credibility. That's what it's always been about, come hell or highwater. And her campaign has been exemplified by that one tear, that one, fake, tear in New Hampshire, which seemingly brought about an honest plea by Hillary that it wasn't about "who's up, or who's down", lines that she repeated during her Super Tuesday speech. She found her voice, was it? As I saw it, she was reading a prepared speech.

and so on, ad nauseum. I see Hillary's financial troubles and I smell blood from the Hillary camp. I see Barack raising that amount and more by regular folks like me, and I see the desperate rebuttals by some on this thread as he gets closer to the nomination. This is all to be expected, and let's see where we are after Louisiana.

Posted by: Boorring on February 7, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Besides it's stupid to reject enthusiam when the enthusiasm is for Team Democrat! Obama "cultists" are a threat only to the Clinont campaign. if the goal is a Deomcrat in the Presidency, then entusistic, hardworking new voters, attracted by the "personality cult" are an asset.

BTW I'm not using sock puppets. i just like to give all of my pets a turn at blogging.

Posted by: Squawkie on February 7, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

theresites: "You sure you haven't been studying the collected works of Chairman Spiro?"

No. But there's certainly a book or two in there, somewhere -- probably out of print.

Actually, my mother is a retired high school English teacher who taught creative writing, expository writing, and speech and debate. Through her tutelage, I developed a good ear for the lyrical expression, because she rightly noted that it holds a capacity to turn otherwise-ordinary prose into something memorable.

When I worked in Democratic politics up until 2004, it was a skill that served me well when drafting press releases, speeches, etc. That's probably why I can truly appreciate Barack Obama's oratory and autobiographical writing, because he's right to the extent that words can and do matter when expressing an idea and grabbing an audience's attention. It's truly an underappreciated art, especially in politics, where the emphasis has more often than not shifted to short soundbites and fleeting images.

Where I differ from Obama is that I think he has of late shown a marked propensity to indulge in demagogy, i.e., incite rather than inspire, and that's something that has always given me great pause, regardless of party.

Not coincidentally, that was something at which "Chairman Spiro" proved far more adept than was necessary for his own good -- and unfortunately for him, that and his apparent mastery of the shakedown and kickback became the hallmarks of his political legacy.

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

Augustus: "What, you didn't watch or read any news for the entire 1990s?"

I'm talking about 2008, Augustus, not 1998. You keep talking about hatred and divisiveness emanating from the Clinton campaign, yet the only time I hear about it is from people like you and the Clinton-hating mainstream media, who seem to have a vested interest in spreading such stories.

But you know, now that I think about the 1990s, I do seem to vaguely remember some testimony from a certain White House intern who admitted under oath that she did in fact have the hots for our then-commander-in-chief, and who finally bagged her quarry after 18 months of pursuit by flashing him her yellow thong ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK
alright, Gore cost Gore his Presidency, however, if not for Bill's affair, Gore would not have had to distance himself from the Clinton Administration

Gore didn't have to distance himself from the most popular outgoing administration in the history of polling in the first place. That he chose to do so is one (of several) examples of the poor judgement that, combined, allowed George W. Bush to become President.

I like Al Gore. I wished he would have run for President in 1992, when he was widely looked to as a strong possible candidate but said he didn't want the strain of a national campaign (but then turned around and took the #2 spot when offered it; I suspect the real reason he didn't win is he didn't think a Democrat had a chance, and then once it looked like a realistic possibility, he wanted to be in the game in the only way he could.) I wanted him to win in 2000. I would have liked him to run this year, even with the flubs of 2000. But he blew it, big time, in 2000. Clinton's infidelity may have been the occasion of some of Gore's gross errors in judgement, but they didn't make any of them necessary.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

wild eyed fool: "YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!"

No, you can't. Don't ask me again.

Now, turn down that music, finish your homework, and then you can watch Hannah Montana on TV.

Posted by: wild eyed fool's mother on February 7, 2008 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Donald: Where I differ from Obama is that I think he has of late shown a marked propensity to indulge in demagogy, i.e., incite rather than inspire, and that's something that has always given me great pause, regardless of party.

Demagogy? Yes, how frightening it is when a politician talks about the value of hope. Here's an unsolicited music video made from one of Obama's speech.

It's probably the best case you can make against Obama, in terms of appealing to emotion rather than substantive policy proposals. And yet, a lot of people like me find it inspiring.

Please explain to all of us the danger of Obama talking about the value of Hope, and how we can see examples of hope in the words in the Declaration of Independence, the hearts of the people who settled the West, or the president who dreamed of going to the moon. All of those things started out with little more than hope.

And now we're being told by Clinton followers that hope is bad?

Yes, heaven forbid our citizens feel the value of hope. Much better if the continue to wallow in hopelessness. They're much more compliant when they're afraid, hopeless, and have no reason to be involved in political discourse.

Heaven forbid we should feel good about a political candidate (apparently hope and inspiration were great when Bill Clinton was able to inspire it, but all of a sudden it is not only unimportant but also dangerous now that Hillary is less capable of inspiring it than her opponent). How transparent and typically Clintonian: values aren't a foundation that guide them, values are tools they embrace or reject as their political necessitates dictates.

Sorry, but the last thing this country needs is to reset the political landscape to 15 years ago. We need to move beyond the amoral poll-driven political triangulations of the Bush and Clinton clans.

They say America gets the government it deserves. Did we deserve the last eight years?

Apparently I'm a stupid, foolish, and mentally weak cult-follower for daring to hope that we can do better than Bush and Clinton.

Sorry, Hillary fans, hope is good. And you really need to reconsider backing a side that would brainwash you to think otherwise.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sound the klaxons!!

Pro-Hillary bloggers and journalists with 'tude will write hostile stories on the Obama-phenom. And other bloggers and journalists, ever helpful, will spread the nonnews!

Nothing like red meat to bring out the worst in ravening political carnivores (see upthread), and the Jake Tapper piece was a big, dripping, sloppy chunk o' meat carved off a Super Tuesday media carcass and heaved out with no particular thought or care.

Tapper quotes Joe Klein, Wolcott (just back from voting for Hill), and an Obama supporter (for balance?) who admits that, yes, some of Obama's supporters are too enthusiastic.

I don't read Joe Klein anymore. Wolcott is wonderful, but he has a spare esthetic and, well, he'd just voted for HRC before justifying his vote in the post Tapper cites. Wolcott can write whatever he wants. And Tapper can link. But how you get from there to a story, to Kevin's harbinger of backlash? Ill will would be my guess.


There's also a bit of a puzzle. The Tapper piece is entitled "And Obama Wept."

WTF? This head doesn't work on any level. This editorial failure is a red flag. First, it doesn't work as an allusion to the Gospel of John 11:35 ("And Jesus wept."), which describes Jesus' grief at the death of Lazarus (which Jesus resolves rather handily by raising Lazarus from the dead). Where is the parallel to the Obama campaign? There isn't one. It's literary ignorance.

The head also doesn't work as a tweak on Hill's Moment in NH. (Yes, I know. She didn't cry.) Obama didn't tear up recently, AFAIK. So there's no historical parallel to Hill's Tears.

And Obama doesn't have a campaign that requires resurrection. Clinton's does. If he's crying, it's likely with joy at a surging campaign.

Tapper could have written a helpful, insightful story that would simply have conceded that Obama is a gifted candidate, a megastar, in fact, who makes a number of people swoon. I suspect, with swooning strangers in his crowds, that Obama's just being himself, a megastar, and he can't much control the effect he has on some people. I further suspect that Obama hopes some of his enthusiasts would get a grip.

Finally, a word about enthusiasm and movements and megastars. These rare things take place on many levels.

On one level, some Obama voters are newbies inclined to swoon just as a temperamental matter. Others are not temperamentally inclined to swoon. But they appreciate the swooners (and Clinton's followers deprecate the swooners as a corollary). And they swoon on another level. Widespread swooning means victory. Old-timers have waited a long time for a candidate like Obama.

Finally, Tapper, in a thoughtful piece, might have noted that seven years of Bush have unhinged a lot of otherwise reasonable Americans and perhaps as a corollary created conditions for this over-the-top behavior he describes with such grave disapprobation.

I'm reminded of Aesop's fable of the dog in the manger:

"People often begrudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves."


Posted by: paxr55 on February 7, 2008 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Donald,
Don't waste your prose on Augustus. You can tell by his rants that he is jealous that Bill got a blow job. And it appears that he has taken the baton from heatherk who was here in full glory earlier today.
Weenie

Posted by: optical weenie on February 7, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is there some specific policy with well documented support from both candidates that you don't like?

Military aid to Israel.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo - Ahh.. yeah that's a toughie.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK
"Donald, Don't waste your prose on Augustus. You can tell by his rants that he is jealous that Bill got a blow job. And it appears that he has taken the baton from heatherk who was here in full glory earlier today. Weenie"

and on and on it goes...

Posted by: Boorring on February 7, 2008 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

OW: Don't waste your prose on Augustus. You can tell by his rants that he is jealous that Bill got a blow job. And it appears that he has taken the baton from heatherk who was here in full glory earlier today.


I could care less about his affair. Most people are unaware that Clinton had an affair with a former Miss America (she posed in Playboy and talked about the affair) years before Lewinsky. The big difference is that he didn't lie about that affair under oath. Had he admitted to it, it would have been a sensational story for all of a couple of weeks and been done with. Supposedly it was Hillary who pressured Bill into denying it publicly. No matter who is to blame, it was exceptionally bad judgment to lie under oath (technically it was NOT perjury) or to deny it in public in front of cameras (it was also exceptionally reckless for him to have an affair with someone so young - a married woman with some position in society would have been far more discreet).

But OW's tactic is basically the same as those who are attacking the sanity of Obama's supporters: ridicule and belittle people who disagree with you rather than address the substance of their argument. It's an effective tactic - especially when you have no substantive counter-argument.

One of Obama's themes is the value of Hope. When your side is ridiculing the value of hope, you should take a step aside and ask yourself whether you are placing loyalty to an individual over your own morality. When your side ridicules the message "yes we can" it's basically telling people "no, we can't".

Is that Clinton's message for America ("no, we can't")? No, of course not - it's just another politically expedient deviation from what is morally right and decent.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wow...I don't have time to read all of this, but there is a lot of distrubring rhetoric coming from both sides.

I was an Edward's supporter, I will caucus for Obama but I will vote for Clinton if that's where the party goes. I prefer Clinton's health plan but prefer Obama on foreign policy and what I see as his potential to actually move public opinion.

To go back to the original question. All you have to do is read this thread to see that there are plenty of Hillary "cultists" as well, at least in the terms that the people are using it about Obamites. Additionally, I resent the notion that sexism hurts her. If she was a man who had not been first lady, she would have been just another senator in the race this year. I also don't see this "Hillary will get things done" sentiment? Where is the proof?

My point is this, I understand that some people prefer Clinton and I respect that. It's certainly legitimate to see her health care views as better or believe she has more experience or just to want a woman as President.

There is no, need however, to imply that Obama supporters are crazy, cultists or anything else.

Posted by: topher on February 7, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Despite my dislike for both candidates' support, both ideologically and militarily, for Israel, Sen. McCain's pending nomination has convinced me to support whomever the Democratic candidate shall be.

I voted for Sen. Clinton Tues. I think Sen. Clinton will be a better president than Sen. Obama, accomplishing more progressive policies and finding a way out of Iraq sooner. I like Clinton better and trust her more. I have always enjoyed Sen. Clinton's persona and grasp of the issues. Domestic issues.

I would rather vote my conscience and vote for a socialist candidate as I had planned. Even though the US will have to become worse before it becomes better, the suffering caused by a McCain presidency would be too much for me to bear.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

OK. OK . OK

People look back into the voting history for obama, unfortunatly (when he does vote) he votes 35% of the time against what the democrats vote for, pushing votes towards favoring the republicans... I honestly dont think he knows what he is doing, he is like a broken record to me i keep hearing his voice say hope, but where is the insight of details... i am sorry but i am not gonna waste my time on what people have been pursuing since the beginning of time, hope is a childs game , and will not belittle myself to hoping he knows what he is doing, america has been built upon foundations, some of the material ordered has been wrong but the brands used has its advantages
electing obama is like trying to build a hurricane resistant house with toothpick's, yes it does look kinda sturdy but the blows from the republicans will knock him down with 30mph winds.

Posted by: brad on February 7, 2008 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wow,
everytime i say something in favor for hillary on any other site it quickly vanishes... hillary o8

Posted by: brad on February 7, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Brad: People look back into the voting history for obama, unfortunatly (when he does vote) he votes 35% of the time against what the democrats vote for, pushing votes towards favoring the republicans.

That's funny, because the National Journal has been saying that Obama was the most liberal senator in 2007. Now he's intolerably conservative?

How about you back up that accusation with something substantive? Otherwise, it sounds like you're just regurgitating someone else's talking points.

This link (same source) includes a comparison of Obama and Clinton's key votes. They are almost identical except Hillary voted against a bill that would establish a Senate Office of Public Integrity to handle ethics complaints against senators and Obama voted for it.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Don't waste your prose on Augustus. You can tell by his rants that he is jealous that Bill got a blow job. And it appears that he has taken the baton from heatherk who was here in full glory earlier today.

It's no surprise that optical weenie, whose contribution to this blog consists mainly of inanities in praise of Inkblot, is unable to discriminate between Augustus's informed commentary and the vitriol of young heatherk.

Oh well, it's all part of the game here at Shill Central.

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

What we have above is a combination of Obamabots (the original wild-eyed cultists), reasoned Obama supporters, and at least one full-blown Republican concern troll. You can tell the cultists by their vicious personal attacks against their Leader's opponent (mostly recycled Republican talking points), ignorance of anything pertinent to an election, and condescending attitude towards anyone not riding the mothership with them. Most of the Clinton supporters I've met (and I apparently travel in Democratic circles far more than the looney fringers do) have many positive things to say about Sen. Obama, as do I. I have not spoken to a Clinton supporter who says they will vote for the Republican nominee if Sen. Obama wins the nomination. There are many denizens of the mothership who say that, quite loudly.

The fools amongst us attack a candidate by attacking her spouse (using that most sexist of reasoning that the man will take over after the election). Long-disproven canards from the 90s are regurgitated as somehow being "new" evidence that Sen. Clinton is unfit- never mind that they are all lies, and lies about Bill Clinton at that. In case the point escapes you folks, his name isn't on the ballot.

For the class idjit, I see no one belittling the value of hope. If hope is all you have (like I hope like hell to get laid, so you can stop obsessing over Bill Clinton's penis), or what you use to decide who to vote for, then you are the same type of clueless voter who brought us two terms of Bush.

BTW, just so you'll know- I am not attacking Obama- just his more intolerant and clueless supporters. They probably won't be able to tell the difference.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy, "oh well" is right.

The optical weenies self-identify as moderators. I remember them from the playground.

Posted by: paxr55 on February 7, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Of course I typoed the words "for you". I doubt if my own sex life is enough to take your mind off the Clenis.

Posted by: solar on February 7, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus: This link (same source) includes a comparison of Obama and Clinton's key votes. They are almost identical ...

Thank you for convincing me of what I already believed - there ain't much difference between them. It's all about image and a pissing contest about who's more electable.

Which is why I find the Obamabot mentality so funny - what is it that people are so excited about?

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

"@Scotian
"but that of a tired and corrupt scandal ridden Democratically controlled Congress"
Like the tired and corrupt candidate you seem to prefer. I'll see you a Dan Rostenkowski and raise you a Marc Rich and a Norman Hsu.
You also seem unable to comprehend the link between the hostile congress of the late 90's and the inability of Big Bill to keep his pecker in his pants. His incontinence cost the democratic party control over the political agenda and the presidency in 2000.
The Clintons are not good people. People (and parties) that associate with them are inevitably tainted." Posted by: Adam on February 7, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Wow, love that revisionist history there, as if Clinton would not have been under such fire without his inability to keep it in his pants. What delusionary fugue state are you living in? If you recall Whitewater had *NOTHING* to do with sex/Bill’s pants and the GOP started in on that right from the outset, long before there was any Monica story to chase down. Besides, I was talking about the deceitful flyer from the Obama camp that blames the loss of Congress solely on Clinton, so your attempt to deflect with Marc Rich and Norman Hsu is particularly obvious in its disingenuousness. It is amazing how you managed to gloss right over the major Dem Congressional scandals of the early 90s to lay the blame all back on Bill and Hillary for the loss of Congress, pity the scandals you listed all came in the middle to end of the Clinton Presidency since Congress flipped to the GOP in 1994! . Certainly shows your partisanship/bias for all to see as well as your poor spinning capabilities since you tried to blame Clinton for the Dems losing Congress in 1994 on scandals that came well after that point in time while completely ignoring the major Congressional scandals that were the main basis for the Gingrich “revolution” to be fueled by.

You seem to fail to understand that the GOP Congress was always hostile to Clinton because he was a charismatic successful Democratic politician who could threaten their plans for a permanent GOP majority with his health care plans and other agenda items he was interested in. So nice of you to show that either you’re as ignorant as heatherk on this stuff or worse simply dishonest and making this case out of partisanship for Obama and/or Clinton derangement syndrome.

"You have to be pretty brainwashed to believe it's possible the president of the United States could be stalked from within the White House." Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 7:01 PM

Well then I guess you never heard about how frustrated Ken Starr was with Lewinski because she refused to say she wasn’t the aggressor throughout the relationship and that she became an intern with the express intent/desire to have Bill sexually. Starr tried and tried and tried to get her to change her story because what he needed was a pattern of coercion and harassment from him, and she gave him nothing to work with on that front even when threatened with prosecutorial abuse by Starr. So contrary to your claim quoted above it is in fact not that hard to see Clinton seeing her as someone that stalked him as opposed to his pursuing her. I guess then you are the one that is brainwashed by your obvious antipathy towards Clinton that the facts don’t matter to you, funny how common that is with so many of the Clinton bashers. I wouldn’t mind them so much if their complaints were rooted in fact instead of fiction, but as you show yet again it is the fiction that you Clinton bashers believe, not the facts.

Next time try to deal in reality instead of this fantasy creation otherwise there is no point in treating you and your comments with any courtesy and/or respect.

Posted by: Scotian on February 7, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian: you tried to blame Clinton for the Dems losing Congress in 1994 on scandals that came well after that point in time while completely ignoring the major Congressional scandals that were the main basis for the Gingrich “revolution” to be fueled by

Damn, usually I check out the BBC to find out what's happening in my country, but you've convinced me I should try the CBC!

Dumb question: is "Scotian" a reference to Nova Scotia? I like that place almost as much as Maine (gotta watch out for the tides though).

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

alex - I'm excited because 1) BOTH candidates have really good policy (as you mentioned) 2) i think obama in particular can move the country to the left politically.

(i'm also excited about hillary in that i think she can probably get some of that policy implemented, but you're asking about obama in particular.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

doug: I'm excited because 1) BOTH candidates have really good policy (as you mentioned) 2) i think obama in particular can move the country to the left politically.

Ah, but doug, you're not an Obamabot. You're (no offense) boringly rational.

Seriously, while I'm not nearly as enthusiastic about their policies as you are, we agree that they're pretty similar. Maybe you see the glass half full and I see it half empty. But heck, after 8 years of W, I'd take Mickey Mouse over more of the same.

You also make some good points about how being a good salesman is important to being an effective politician. Maybe whatever dislike I feel towards Obama (and it's not much) is related to my excessive aversion to salesmanship and hype.

Nevertheless, there is a probably small but unquestionably vocal minority of Obama supporters that are Obamabots, more than with other candidates, and that excessive zeal in an untried (potential) president just amuses me.

I think that most non-incumbent presidential candidates are something of a crap shoot. Forget FDR - look at Truman. He got into office largely on luck, and people were afraid he was a light weight. I hope that President Obama gets his picture right next to George Washington's (the irony would be great), but I wouldn't bet the farm that it will happen, even if he's elected.

Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus: "I could care less about his affair. Most people are unaware that Clinton had an affair with a former Miss America (she posed in Playboy and talked about the affair) years before Lewinsky. ... One of Obama's themes is the value of Hope. When your side is ridiculing the value of hope, you should take a step aside and ask yourself whether you are placing loyalty to an individual over your own morality ..."

You sound like you have serious Daddy issues. You really need to get your own life, instead living vicariously through others.

'Night, all.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 7, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

You don't have to be a Clinton-basher to lament the Lewinsky business. Yes, it was grossly unfair for Clinton to be pilloried over a little bit of booty that was none of the public's business, but given that his enemies were relentless you wish Bill had practiced more restraint.

I've always admired Monica for standing her ground against Starr's thugs. That took courage, but it's neither here nor there.

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, that's the latest echo chamber meme, as the Nelson Report reports. And you have dutifully passed it on, citing Joe Klein as an authority.

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/

Shouldn't the president have the ability to move people, leadership I think it's called, to line folks up behind her or his agenda?

Another spoon fed meme becomes a cliche.

Posted by: Chris Brown on February 7, 2008 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Cult?
You wanna talk cult?

Two words: Ron. Paul.

Posted by: david on February 7, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

“Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.” - Call to Renewal Keynote Address, 2006

Obama is the first politician in my memory who has included 'nonbelievers' in a speech on faith. I greatly appreciate that inclusion.

Posted by: nepeta on February 7, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

PS: Btw, is Hillary still attending those Senate prayer meetings with evangelical Republicans? I think she's the only Dem in the rather 'elite' group. What's that about anyway?

Posted by: nepeta on February 7, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian: Well then I guess you never heard about how frustrated Ken Starr was with Lewinski because she refused to say she wasnt the aggressor throughout the relationship and that she became an intern with the express intent/desire to have Bill sexually. [] I wouldnt mind them so much if their complaints were rooted in fact instead of fiction, but as you show yet again it is the fiction that you Clinton bashers believe, not the facts.
Care to support your facts with a link? Not that it would matter much as your point is inherently self-contradictory: youre trying to validate Clintons accusations that Lewinsky was a stalker by claiming Starr tried to prove the same thing. This necessitates that you believe Ken Starrs accusations were valid and appropriate. That would pretty much validate the entire Starr witch hunt as well as all of his other unproven accusations (perhaps youre a closet Republican?) unless of course you were just picking and choosing what to support and believe, which is at the heart of my criticism of the Clintons. But of course, thats problematic too, because by your own claims Ken Starr wasnt able to prove the accusation that Lewinsky was a stalker.
And of course this ignores a more important question: why is this even relevant? Even if you can more or less support an accusation that, say, a woman is whore, it doesnt mean that calling her a whore isnt a despicable and deliberate act to undermine her character and credibility.
Frankly, the notion that Lewinsky was a stalker falls flat for so many other reasons: the duration of their relationship; the numerous instances where Bill Clinton initiated contact with her, even from overseas; Clintons attempts to get Lewinsky a job, etc. Also, the simple fact is that if she had initiated an improper advance on him that he disapproved of, he could have simply fired her and barred her entry from the White House. Pure and simple. Also, your contention would require you to believe the laughably absurd notion that somehow a man of Clintons age, experience and abilities was somehow bamboozled by a 20-something chubby bimbo of questionable charms, attractiveness, and intelligence. That would be an even bigger insult to Clinton, his judgment, intelligence, and abilities.
This all leads to a wider and more important point: fair or not, the Clintons come with a considerable amount of political and ethical baggage that is simply inescapable. Fair or not, its going to be far easier to defeat Hillary because of her and her husbands past than Obama. Fair or not, its going to be far easier for Republicans to mire a second Clinton presidency in scandal (or at least false outrage and animosity) than an Obama presidency.
Next time try to deal in reality instead of this fantasy creation otherwise there is no point in treating you and your comments with any courtesy and/or respect.
Next time try to deal in consistent principles of morality instead of simply trying to say or do anything to defend the indefensible. Otherwise theres not much point in treating your comments as a legitimate counter-argument instead of hack partisan gain-saying.

Posted by: Augustus on February 7, 2008 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

HeatherK, the wee girlish voice for all Heathers.

Posted by: Sharon on February 7, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Take Two: Hillary's Choice, The Atlantic, Nov 2006

Posted by: nepeta on February 7, 2008 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe whatever dislike I feel towards Obama (and it's not much) is related to my excessive aversion to salesmanship and hype."

I think that's pretty common among dems, i'd probably blame it on education and smarts and general good impulses. Still, not always the right impulse.

"Nevertheless, there is a probably small but unquestionably vocal minority of Obama supporters that are Obamabots, more than with other candidates..."

awh, sure. He talks big. big ideas, big plans and all that. People are bound to get caught up. I think- good for him. It's nice to see people who are optimistic. There's too much cynicism in american politics, people come to expect too little. I learned that living in canada - People in canada expect the government to work well, and that expectation helps to make things work well.

"I think that most non-incumbent presidential candidates are something of a crap shoot."

I believe that all good thinking obama supporters DO have to take a reality check occasionally and ask themselves "am i getting suckered here?". I sure do, and i still tend to find that he's a really good candidate. actually that's probably a good exercise no matter who you support.


Here, I'll try to be less boring - frankly0: yer a fool.

Posted by: doug on February 7, 2008 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

I've often heard that Obama's message is "Yes we can" and Hillary's is "No we can't". That's complete nonsense. Hillary doesn't say we can't, just that change takes time, it's generally a long and tedious process. What a wonderful world we would live in if only we could change heart felt beliefs, which have been held for decades, with one great speech.

Posted by: Radix on February 7, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it falls to me to ridicule the value of hope. Germany hoped Hitler would lead them to a better Germany. People hoped all over the world that communism would usher in a better life for the working poor. Hope, like faith, has no intrinsic value. It obtains its value from the moral worth of the thing being hoped for and from the manner in which the hope is translated into real world policy.

So hope needs to be tethered very tightly to the real before I am comfortable giving it value. And when I see two candidates who are profoundly similar in terms of their quality and their positions, and one of the candidates inspires an enthusiasm that has nothing to do with said quality or said positions (if it did, there would be equal enthusiasm for both candidates), then that concerns me. It doesn't say anything about the candidate, but it says something about the people who invest their hope in him. And it doesn't say something good about them.

Posted by: Sean on February 7, 2008 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus at 8:07

All candidates offer hope and change. In fact, this is a shop worn cliche that has been around since the dawn of politics. I used to write for candidates and I can tell you there are only so many different ways you can say the same thing without feeling the urge to slit your own throat. There's not a damn thing new or original in a "hope and change" campaign.

For a 46 year old to campaign on hope and change is age appropriate behavior and a matter of political necessity given a thin resume.

In 1992 Bill Clinton was 45 and also campaigned on hope and change. Remember "The Man from Hope"? However, having been a state governor for 2 terms, he had a thicker resume and that added substantial weight to the promise. The thing in that campaign that was strikingly original was "It's the economy, stupid."

That an older candidate doesn't drag out hackneyed platitudes is merely evidence he/she has a thicker resume. It's not evidence the candidate does not offer hope and change. That's implicit. In fact if hope and change are the best you have to offer at 60, it's a pretty lame puerile candidacy.

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

"And it doesn't say something good about them."

Sean,

That is a particularly cruel comment. Clinton's and Obama's policies are not identical. Clinton's and Obama's positions on the Iraq War were not identical. (This is the biggest factor in my decision to support Obama. In 2002 I promised myself I would never vote for Hillary Clinton again in my lifetime on the basis of that single AUMF vote. I find it amazing that so many anti-war Dems flock to her now.) Beyond policy and position differences there is a factor that we all take into account, although perhaps not admitting such. It's best described perhaps as an 'intuition' or a 'vibe' about a person. This is the icing on the cake, after rational decisions have been made. It's something other than 'likeability.' It's a deeply personal set of expectations we make with every person we meet and often is unique for each of us. The person you like I might not like and it might be very difficult for us to explain to each other the difference in perception. But it happens all the time, including with political candidates.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Care to support your �facts� with a link? Not that it would matter much as your point is inherently self-contradictory: you�re trying to validate Clinton�s accusations that Lewinsky was a stalker by claiming Starr tried to prove the same thing.

uh Augustus, as eminently silly as I think are Scotian's claims of cultism among those who choose to Mr. Obama over Ms. Clinton, he is quite right about Ms. Lewinski and you've just got his arguments plumb wrong. Please go back and reread... (anyway, my argument - only half in jest - is that anyone who has their finger on the nuclear button should have an aide next to them day and night ready to pleasure them). I expended a lot of energy defending Bill and Hillary at the time.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 8, 2008 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'm shocked to hear that a bunch of old white folks can't see an impassioned black man speak without comparing him to a preacher....

These aren't harbingers of an Obama backlash -- this is just yet another in a series of racist attacks on the man. I fully expect the MSM to be regularly using the N word to describe Obama by the time of the convention.

Posted by: Disputo on February 8, 2008 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta, actually Clinton's and Obama's position are indeed identical or nearly so. If we look at each person senate voting record, they are nearly identical. If memory serves, they only differed on 2 votes. Perhaps you could help me out with something, it's a question I asked before, but received no answer. Why did Obama vote for Iraq war funding? If he was so staunchly opposed, why not vote no? Why didn't he stand before congress and the nation and say no?

Posted by: Radix on February 8, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

My cynical self thinks his administration would be very corrupt, he is a Chicago pol afterall,

Nice slur against all Chicagoans, but for the record (not that that matters to Obama haters), Obama is about the least tied into the Chicago machine of any Chicago politician. In fact, it would be more accurate to describe him not as a Chicago pol, but as a pol from Chicago. He certainly wasn't the machine fav in the US Senate primary.

Posted by: Disputo on February 8, 2008 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Alex: Maybe whatever dislike I feel towards Obama (and it's not much) is related to my excessive aversion to salesmanship and hype.

That gives me the willies as well, but I'm actually repelled by his cultish followers. Someone upthread made the point that Senator Obama himself would probably like some of them to cool it because they're really turning a lot of people off especially with that put-the-old-farts-on-ice-floes-and-push-them-out-to-sea stuff. It brings the question of their values into high relief.

I like Obama very much. Since Edwards withdrew, it's been a hard choice to make. I only made up my mind Monday in favor of Clinton. I feel she's ripe and he's still a little green.

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is the first politician in my memory who has included 'nonbelievers' in a speech on faith. I greatly appreciate that inclusion.

Me three, Napeta. That was strikingly courageous.

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I find it amazing that so many anti-war Dems flock to her now.

It's not so amazing. It's quite simple actually -- it is no longer "cool" to be against the war, and so those for whom anti-war sentiments are more a form of fashion than an act of conscience no longer feel a need to vote based on that sentiment. Most of those anti-war Dems weren't anti-war when it counted, back in 01, 02 and early 03. They were swept up in the war fever like most of the nation. Most of them only came to be anti-war after the Iraq war began going bad, and then it became cool to be against it. But now, now that the violence has lulled, all those "bad weather" war haters have once again reverted to their base level, and so are free to vote for the perceived pro-war Dem candidate, HRC.

That being said, I don't argue, like some, that HRC's vote makes her pro-war. HRC's vote was a pure political calculation based upon her desire to run for POTUS (contrary to her promise to the NY voters, which most have forgotten) and to look as tough as the guys back during a time before it was cool to be against the war, a time when it took actual guts to go against the war pigs. In other words, I don't see her vote as pro-war -- I see it as feckless posturing, which AFAIAC is a greater indictment of her character and a greater liability in a POTUS candidate.

Posted by: Disputo on February 8, 2008 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Why did Obama vote for Iraq war funding?"

Sean,

This question has been asked at least a zillion times and the answer is just so obvious, as you well know. Once US troops were in Iraq, funding was a necessity to protect the troops. Btw, both Clinton and Obama have voted 'no' to war funding bills without withdrawal dates included in the bill. I'd need to do some research to see whether their votes have been the same on all war funding bills in 2007 but I rather suspect they have been.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

PS: Btw, is Hillary still attending those Senate prayer meetings with evangelical Republicans? I think she's the only Dem in the rather 'elite' group. What's that about anyway?

Napeta, I read in Bernstein's biography she's been a devout Methodist all her life, but she doesn't wear her faith on her sleeve. And, of course, being a political pragmatist, it never hurts to do some bipartisan networking.

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Btw, Sharon -- more HRC supporters like you, please. :)

Posted by: Disputo on February 8, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,

You're reading something into my post that I didn't say. There are a plethora of reasons for supporting Obama, and using the Iraq vote is about as legitimate a reason as you can find. It was nearly enough to cause me to pull the trigger on Obama by itself, as I was vehemently opposed to the war before it started. That's fine. (I'll support him lustily if he is the nominee.)

But that's not what I'm talking about. Let me pull a few quotes from an blog Digby ran before Super Tuesday that talked about the differences between the Clinton and Obama approach:

In a storefront on Q Street in Sacramento, Kim Mack told a crowd that spilled out onto the sidewalk how she came to back Barack Obama.

With a son serving in the Iraq war, which she opposed, Mack was looking for a like-minded presidential candidate. She was impressed by the Illinois senator's books.

But the clincher came on March 17, when she met the Democratic contender face to face. She describes how he lit up the room with his wide smile, shook her hand and thanked her for volunteering.
Click here to find out more!

"He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words," said Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and whispered something in her ear – she was so thrilled she doesn't remember what it was.

Then Mack brought home the point of her story for the crowd of 100 or so eager volunteers, sipping coffee and watching a PowerPoint presentation in the Obama campaign office on a recent Saturday.

"Did that make more impact on you than if I had talked about his health care plan or his stance on the environment?" she asked.

On the verge of a hectic few weeks leading to Super Tuesday, the crucial Feb. 5 multistate primary including California's, Mack wanted to drill home one of the campaign's key strategies: telling potential voters personal stories of political conversion.

She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to Obama – something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.

"Work on that, refine that, say it in the mirror," she said. "Get it down."

...

I'm an atheist, a secularist through and through, and the language of Obama's supporters frankly gives me the creeps, a feeling that is exacerbated whenever I listen to Obama's speeches or watch him in debates and am confronted with the chasm that exists between my own sensory experience of him and what is being described. It bothers me deeply.

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Where I differ from Obama is that I think he has of late shown a marked propensity to indulge in demagogy, i.e., incite rather than inspire, and that's something that has always given me great pause, regardless of party.

Once again our pet political op is projecting his own personality disorder onto another. Since he signed up with HRC's campaign a couple months ago, Donald has dutifully eschewed discussing issues and has done nothing but personally insult Obama in an effort to incite people against him.

Posted by: Disputo on February 8, 2008 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo, I've enjoyed getting to know Donald on the site. I read his comments for several days before I was at all clear that he was pro-Clinton. (I concede it may have something to do with my reading comprehension skills.) I found him even-handed. He has gotten more emphatic about his preference recently, but he's not fanatical, IMHO.

BTW, thanks for the compliment.

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,

It wasn't me who asked about the funding.

Disputo,

I don't disagree. The votes in favor of the war were an act of mass political cowardice on the part of the Democrats. Necessity, particularly for those who were either running for reelection in 2004 or who harbored presidential ambitions, but cowardice nonetheless. Democrats who came onto the national scene in 2004 simply didn't have to come to grips with the choices made by the pre-Iraq War group, and that's fine. Many of them (Howard Dean comes immediately to mind) came to prominence because their anti-war stances gave them immediate access to the ignored and marginalized anti-war wing of the party. The presence of that wing essentially gave rise to a whole new set of Democratic leaders, and it made being against the war the de facto party position heading forward.

So the vote is extremely disappointing. That said, I'm more inclined to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt than some others, simply because no presidential hopeful has ever, ever been under the kind of withering scrutiny that she has been ever since her first Senate run. She has had to work overtime to demonstrate that she could appeal to conservative and independent voters to even get a shot at making a presidential run. It's caused her to make some legislative choices that are pretty unfortunate. I think less of her as a result of those choices, but for her, they were unavoidable. (Assuming she wanted to be President, that is.)

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Sean,

I understand what you're saying. As you might have guessed from my comment above, I'm also an atheist and a secularist. And yes, Obama's speeches to rallies do have the rhythms and intonations of an evangelical. I view it as nothing more than 'his' way of engendering enthusiasm, sounding similar to other black political figures like ML King and Jesse Jackson. I would find it 'uncomfortable' if I suspected he was a closet evangelical but his statements on faith have made it clear that he is not but extremely tolerant of all faiths or no faith.

As to the story of Kim Mack, all I can say is that we're all human. Hugs and genuine smiles can lighten our days. Ms. Mack had read his books so hers wasn't a total emotional reaction devoid of reason. I don't like her recommendation of supporters telling stories of 'political conversion' though (haha). It seems to me this would NOT serve the interests of Obama's campaign. The people who have phoned me for the Obama campaign have thankfully not had any personal conversion stories to tell.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Radix,

Sorry, the comment I posted to Sean at 1:05 AM was supposed to have been directed to you.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

the language of Obama's supporters frankly gives me the creeps,

This seems to be the Hillary supporter dodge-du-jour. I can understand supporting Obama because of his positions on issues, or supporting Hillary because of her positions on issues (if you're into neo-con foreign policy, torture, and so on).

I can understand letting one's own visceral reaction to a candidate influence one's vote. I like what Obama wants to do, and I also instinctively think he's a good person to do it. I don't like what Hillary has done, and I instinctively feel about her much the way I felt about Romney.

But letting someone else's feelings about a politician influence your vote??? Or even how you feel about some random blogger's comments about a politician??? Totally daft. But easier than explaining why Hillary was bamboozled by Bush on the Iraq war vote (or admitting that she lied when she said she believed him), explaining why she adopted Bush's revised standards of "success" in praising the surge, explaining why she wants to keep the option of torturing suspects open, etc., etc.

Posted by: bobb on February 8, 2008 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly, bobb. Your whole comment is right on the mark.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Um...if you say so. Only I wouldn't characterize myself as a Clinton supporter per se, and I'm not sure what it is I need to dodge. I think Obama is a fine candidate. Unlike you, I don't think there is much of a difference at all between them from a policy standpoint (and their voting records backs this assumption up), and I think they would govern with similar aims. I've conscientiously followed the debates and every time the two of them have appeared on stage together, Hillary has been more impressive. Even most moderate Obama supporters seem to concede that she has bested him in the debates.

There is a sentiment that I've read repeatedly in endorsements for Obama that while Hillary is a quality candidate, she is a known quantity, and that Obama has the greater potential. Basically, I'm being asked to ignore what I see with my own eyes-that when the two are together, Hillary is a bit more impressive-and put that aside in the hope that Obama is more than he seems to be. It's the equivalent of drafting a quarterback based on upside instead of tangible production. Generally, it's a stupid thing to do, and sound personnel departments will value experience and production over upside. (Okay, football analogy over.) So when I am being asked to see something that I don't see, I'm uncomfortable. I don't dismiss it out of hand, but I'm to accept it, then I need to look not only at the candidate himself (which I've done), but at the people who support him and to get a feel for why they support him. After all, they're my demographic- well-educated, young, urban, etc, etc.

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

That should say, "If I'm to accept it." Speaking of well-educated...

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Sean,

The thing that sold me on Obama was his Reno Gazette interview (yes, the one that caused the
'praise of Reagan' storm). I watched the video, about 50 minutes in length, twice in a row. The video is easily found online. If you haven't seen it, give it a look. Actually, I may watch it a third time, just to see if it still impresses me as much as it did the first two times.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

And incidentally, it's simply not true that funding was necessary to protect the troops. Had Congress de-funded the war, then the only thing that would have endangered the troops is if the president had insisted on keeping them there, which is to say it would have been on him (and in reality, it would have been an impossibility; the only thing he could have done was to reduce troop levels in accordance with available monies). It was the only viable way for Congress to exercise its authority and put an end to the war, rather than punting in the hopes that the next president might do it for them. Which is to say that deciding to nix the de-funding option was an act of political expediency/cowardice very much in keeping with the original votes to authorize the use of force. The contours were a bit different, but the capitulation was identical.

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Nepata,

I'll have a look at it.

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the link, Sean. I just listened to 2/3 of it again. It still impresses me.

Reno Gazette Interview with Obama

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK
Sharon: All candidates offer hope and change. In fact, this is a shop worn cliche that has been around since the dawn of politics. […] In 1992 Bill Clinton was 45 and also campaigned on hope and change. Remember "The Man from Hope"?

This misses the point, which your “Man from Hope” reference emphasizes: it’s as insulting to our intelligence as it is hypocritical for the Clinton campaign and their followers to ridicule Obama for using hope and change as themes in his campaign (given how much Bill relied on that theme before).

Well, obviously not “all candidates” offer hope and change as their principle theme – incumbents and those hoping to succeed fellow party members tend to stick with “stay the course” type themes. You don’t hear a lot of talk about hope and change from the Republicans right now. Similarly, it's hard for Hillary to campaign on "change" and "hope" when she isn't the fresh new face in Washington.

That an older candidate doesn't drag out hackneyed platitudes is merely evidence he/she has a thicker resume. It's not evidence the candidate does not offer hope and change. That's implicit. In fact if hope and change are the best you have to offer at 60, it's a pretty lame puerile candidacy.

Hillary is older but it’s arguable whether her resume is meaningfully thicker. Hillary is campaigning on the implied premise of a return to the good old days under Bill, which makes a direct appeal to hope and change awkward. You’re conveniently counting this as a superior virtue when in fact it more a product of circumstance.

Again, it’s hypocritical and insulting to our intelligence for Hillary or her supporters to ridicule Obama for using hope and change when Bill Clinton used those very same themes himself.

I understand you’re trying to use age as a distinguishing criteria, but frankly it seems transparent, arbitrary and counter-productive to one of the central premises of Hillary’s campaign (a return to better days under the Clinton administration).

Bill’s administration was successful, so clearly the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ themes were not a negative predictor.

Of course almost everyone reading this (if anyone still is) will know it’s complete and total nonsense for anyone to read so much into the rhetorical themes of campaign speeches. Bill Clinton’s campaign shouldn’t be judged positively or negatively because he relied on ‘hope’ and ‘change’ any more than Obama’s campaign. Bill’s success as president had little or nothing to do with his campaign themes, just as Obama’s themes would have little or no bearing on his success as president.

That’s why it’s so annoying to listen to Hillary’s followers ridicule Obama for using the themes of hope and change (as indeed Hillary herself subtly ridicules in her speeches): it smacks of the worst kind of politicking. It’s vacuous, hypocritical, arbitrary and completely irrelevant.

Posted by: Augustus on February 8, 2008 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Unlike you, I don't think there is much of a difference at all between them from a policy standpoint (and their voting records backs this assumption up),

Only if you engage in some sleight of hand in that comparison.

Hillary's vote to authorize the war is not comparable to any vote of Obama's. And she hasn't repudiated it. Worse, she's said that she believed Bush at the time when he said that it wasn't a vote for war. Either she's lying about that, or she was taken in by a transparent lie.

she is a known quantity,

Well, yes. But what's to like? She set back the cause of health care reform by fifteen years the last time, and if you look at the reasons that her efforts were such a disaster and try to get a Hillary supporter to explain what's changed to make it less likely that she'll botch it again, you'll come up empty.

She voted for the war. In her rhetoric, she's was praising Bush's handling of the war right up until she started campaigning. Worse, she praised the "success" of the surge by adopting Bush's revised definition of "success," ignoring the fact that by the original rationale it's been a royal failure.

She supported Bush's threats against Iran. In every respect (ignoring the campaign rhetoric of the past few months) she's been a supporter of the neo-con approach to foreign policy. She wants to keep troops indefinitely in Iraq. She wants to keep the option of torturing suspected terrorists, so she's to the right of McCain on that point.

Hillary supporters complain about the lack of substance from Obama supporters, but look at your own rationale. It's about "experience" even though to make that argument you have to count her being first lady as experience, and ignore the fact that the one thing she did in those years that could possibly be a good example of experience was the one she botched so thoroughly, health care reform.

And so on. I doubt there's much point in even having the discussion. I expect the Democrats will nominate Hillary, and then either the whole thing will be derailed if it turns out Bill hasn't kept it in his trousers for eight years (who wants to take that bet with the known quantity that is Bill?), or she'll give the election to McCain and help Republicans avoid big losses in congress by energizing the wingnuts like nobody else can, or she'll be elected and (how could anyone have known?) it will turn out that her votes and rhetoric in support of neo-con foreign policy was the clearest picture of her views and her evasive rhetoric of the past few months was the misleading part, and so on.

To Hillary supporters, none of this matters. To me, if she turns out to be a good president I'll eat my words, but I think that in every respect in which she's a "known quantity" the "known quantity" is shouting that this is a road to disaster.

Posted by: bobb on February 8, 2008 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

Sean,

As you acknowledge, the die was cast in 2003 with the invasion. After the ensuing destruction, Sunni/Shia conflict, threat of outright civil war, there has been a certain moral argument that prematurely turning tail after causing such mayhem without returning some measure of stability to Iraq would not be honorable. Well, now five years later I don't think we're going to find an honorable way to leave. The Iraqis want the US out. So be it. Both Obama and Clinton have voted for defunding. I do worry that Clinton may have plans for permanent bases in Iraq. But that is only a personal suspicion, not based on anything she's said but more on what she hasn't said.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

"I don't like her recommendation of supporters telling stories of 'political conversion' though (haha). It seems to me this would NOT serve the interests of Obama's campaign."

"The thing that sold me on Obama was his Reno Gazette interview (yes, the one that caused the
'praise of Reagan' storm)."

The second post isn't a conversion story but I still found it funny that both statement's came from the same person(nepeta).

FWIW The Obama campaign instructs organizers to stick with the "conversion story" when they are canvassing. Anyone who inquires about policy is referred to the Obama website. The quotes from Kim Mack above are from an article (SacBee 1/21/07 "Obama basic training") on how the Obama campaign trains its volunteers. The campaign thinks these stories are very much in its interest. Given the size, quality and effectiveness of Team Obama's advocacy and turnout operations I certainly agree despite the "creepiness."

Since there is so much generational rivalry on this thread I would be remiss if I didn't point out this - There would be no problems if you self obsessed boomers had done a better job raising your narcissistic children. It is absolutely no fun being stuck between the two of you.

Posted by: Gen X on February 8, 2008 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus at 3:39, I certainly had no desire to insult your intelligence or to ridicule you or anyone else who has come down on the side of Obama. If it felt that way, I apologize. As I've said more times than I can count, I find Obama immensely convincing and inspiring. But choose I must. I only meant, as you put it so well yourself, "Bill Clinton's campaign shouldn’t be judged positively or negatively because he relied on ‘hope’ and ‘change’ any more than Obama’s campaign." Hope and change are the theme's young candidates use, that's all I meant to say and I believe it's all I did say. Whether or not it's reasonable to expect the realization of hope that delivers change is another issue. I feel both candidates offer hope and change. My personal view is that chances Senator Clinton will deliver change are easier to calibrate. I'm a secularist and atheist as are so many of you but I do remember my Bible. Faith without works is dead.

Lord, don't you people ever sleep?

Posted by: Sharon on February 8, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

uh Augustus, as eminently silly as I think are Scotian's claims of cultism among those who choose to Mr. Obama over Ms. Clinton, he is quite right about Ms. Lewinski and you've just got his arguments plumb wrong.

I finally got off my duff and looked it up (although I didn't consult the Starr Report). The following is from Conason and Lyons' The Hunting of the President:

In the hotel room [deputy prosecutor Michael] Emmick told Lewinsky that the OIC was prepared to charge her with a laundry list of federal crimes including perjury, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury, witness tampering, and conspiracy. Altogether, she could expect to spend upwards of twenty-seven years in jail. Unless she agreed to cooperate, by giving a full statement and wearing a body wire for "consensual monitoring" of her conversations with Betty Currie, Vernon Jordan, and Bill Clinton, they would have no choice but to prosecute her. They might even be forced to file charges against her mother, Marcia Lewis. Shaking with fear, she nevertheless had the presence of mind to ask to speak to her attorney, Frank Carter.

After being bullied all day Lewinsky was finally allowed to call her mother.

Lewinsky also told her mother that regardless of what happened to her, she could not betray Currie and Jordan, decent people who had been kind to her. "I can't do this," she said. "I can't wear a wire. I can't tape-record phone calls. I can't do this to the president."
Posted by: Lucy on February 8, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Nepeta, I don't buy it. If Obama wanted to make a stand on this issue he should have voted no on every war funding bill that came the senates way. According to TPM, when they looked at HRC's and Obama's Iraq votes, they differed only once, Obama voted for Casey and Hillary against. Further, HRC has said that in hindsight her vote was a mistake. I know, not quite what Edwards gave us. It would seem to me that if it truly was consistently being on the right side of the war votes, and consistency was the criteria, then Dennis K would be your folk's choice.

Posted by: Radix on February 8, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Dumb question: is "Scotian" a reference to Nova Scotia? I like that place almost as much as Maine (gotta watch out for the tides though).
Posted by: alex on February 7, 2008 at 9:39 PM


In part yes, it is also my heritage/ancestry so it made for a nice twofer.

snickersnack:

Thanks for the defence with Augustus on the Lewinski point, I appreciate that. As to my view on seeing a cult of personality around Obama, I am referring in his online community, I cannot speak to the on the ground component since I haven't stepped foot in America in many years, not since GWB started screwing with the rule of law and until I see evidence that this is being reversed there isn't any sum of money that would induce me to visit America. Bottom line though ss is that Obama's campaign is almost totally emotionally driven on hope, charisma, and inspiration, it is what I hear when I listen to him speaking, in debates, and in interviews. His organizers trained by the campaign are taught to focus on the conversion feeling more than on substance and taken together ss it has the look, the smell, and the feel of a cult of personality to me. Is this true for all his supporters? Of course not, but it is clearly true for a major percentage of his support (whether it crosses the majority/minority threshold I can't say for certain, but if it doesn't it isn't by much in my estimation) and that sort of thing always makes me very twitchy. If I saw more substance behind Obama in terms of legislative accomplishments or in executive decision making I might not be as concerned about it as I am, but things are what they are. I may be wrong in this perspective, I freely acknowledge that, but if I am it is being honestly wrong because everything I see, hear, and feel is telling me that this is what I've claimed it to be and it is particularly intense on the online community. This is one of the only blogs where in the comment section the Obama supporters haven't essentially swarmed to deride anyone not supporting their candidate, something I acknowledged in an earlier comment in this thread as I recall.

Well, I have to go now, I have medical tests being done, one of the main reasons I am commenting on US politics lately instead of on our own in the fight against Harper is because I have little emotional investment in American politics as opposed to a great deal of emotional investment in Canadian and I have been having some so far minor yet worrying arrhythmias over the past few weeks.

Posted by: Scotian on February 8, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Richard Michael Daley was elected mayor in 1989 and reelected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. His 2007 re-election set him on the path to becoming the longest serving Mayor in the city's history (a record currently held by his father, Richard J. Daley), should he remain in office beyond December 25, 2010.

Posted by: Brojo on February 8, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus,

Alternately, perhaps Hillary supporters who lived through Bill Clinton's term-i.e. through the initial hope and the subsequent disappointment-have learned something from the experience. It's always kind of startling to see Republican framing mechanisms repeated on the left, as if there is some virtue to holding a fixed opinion in the face of all evidence. Bill Maher's right wing speechwriter guest (I don't recall her name) actually thought she was being clever when she said that the NY Times endorsed Guiliani in 1997, so they were flip-flopping by attacking him now. They weren't flip-flopping; they had simply lived through 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 (and through his current campaign) and had seen enough to cause them to change their minds. That sort of thing should be commended, not attacked.

As for the difference in Healthcare, I would suggest that the critical factor is the changing attitudes of the country at large, the different facts on the ground (Americans spending 17% of their income on health insurance instead of 7%), and the declining power of the opposition party. Those strike me as not just significant but decisive differences.

As for Hillary on Iraq, it's fine to hold that against her. I think it's arguably the single most valid reason for opposing her candidacy (as opposed to simply supporting Obama's). But I don't think it's wise to conflate her past vote with what her policy would be going forward. The overwhelming preference for Democrats is a phased withdrawal that begins immediately, and that's going to be the starting point for either Democrat when they come into office. (For all the talk about wanting character in office, the reality is that people generally want someone who bends to the will of the people; when a president insists on ignoring it for extended periods of time, as Bush has, he becomes completely impotent.)

Posted by: Sean on February 8, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

I found heatherk's disparagement of "boomers" as lacking in idealism amusing, being myself 54 years old and a strong supporter of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and a registered Green Party voter.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 8, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK
….I can understand letting one's own visceral reaction to a candidate influence one's vote…..bobb at 2:01 AM
Visceral reactions are an atavistic part of our primate heritage, and while always present, they preclude rational discourse.
…I just listened to 2/3 of it again. It still impresses me…. nepeta at 3:31 AM
You emphasize this as if it were the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus. In reality, it was just a pander to a rightwing paper for their endorsement, hence the lack of criticism of Reagan and the fine words for Republicans as the party of ideas. Obama people keep pushing the trope that it's not a campaign, it's a movement, an anamorphous movement with no agenda save electing Obama to fulfill their fears, hopes and desires. Since there is no specificity as to the nature of those goals, failure is a given.
...a return to better days under the Clinton administration).…. Augustus at 3:39 AM
Frankly, your candidate's endless repetition of platitudes and simplistic nostrums is an insult to the intelligence of working Americans. You speak highly of Obama's potential, but there is little in his record to substantiate that expectation. The Clinton message is competence; Obamas is a nebulous, even messianic leap of faith predicated on unrealistic expectations.
…. I doubt there's much point in even having the discussion…..…..bobb at 3:52 AM
Your fascination and concern about The Clentis™ is duly noted, but frankly, who cares? Nor has Clinton supported a neo-con agenda if you know what that is. She has done and said none of the things you claim, so perhaps it's time for you to begin to pay attention. The Clinton camp always emphasizes policy solutions to problems; the 'bamabots orate platitudes of hope and bipartisanship using language of religious terminology Your other charges are nonsensical. The health care lobby is the one that kept this nation from universal health care. Obama's offering on this regard is not encouraging.
….Both Obama and Clinton have voted for defunding. I do worry that Clinton may have plans for permanent bases in Iraq….nepeta at 3:58 AM
Both voted for funding as well. It's good you are now able to mind read on intentions concerning permanent bases. That puts you in the ranks of Dowd, Noonan, Collins and numerous others: ESP as the new basis of political judgment.
…. minor yet worrying arrhythmias over the past few weeks. Scotian at 10:54 AM
Good luck and I hope there's an easy solution. I really appreciate your insightful commentary. Posted by: Mike on February 8, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

"You emphasize this as if it were the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus."

This is so silly. This interview is one of the few places, perhaps the only place, where one can hear Obama talk about what his agenda would be if elected president, both in breadth and depth. Obviously you have not listened to the interview or you would not have written "Since there is no specificity as to the nature of those goals, failure is a given."

"ESP as the new basis of political judgment."

I was being honest instead of stating personal opinion as fact, such as your 'failure is a given' comment. Although as opinion, I would emphasize that on the matter of a total Iraq withdrawal it is not based on ESP but instead on Clinton's previous support for the Iraq war and her Iran vote. It's hardly ESP to conclude that Clinton is the most hawkish of the Dem candidates and until she makes her foreign policy goals a great deal clearer I will remain skeptical of a full withdrawal from Iraq under a Clinton administration.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

Thanks. It is ironic that I can dissect what is clearly a very emotional campaign within the Dems without having it cause me emotional stress but trying to dissect the current political goings on in Ottawa makes my blood boil because of the damage being done to my nation and my heritage (I have a family tree with many military and significant political players/figures in this nation's history and watching this government piss on Geneva and destroy the institutions that were built up over the past 14 decades is very upsetting for me). The ironic humour in this is not lost on me, especially when I get comments telling me I am letting my emotions overrule my good sense/reason when I dissect the Obama campaign and strategy.

Now I have to wait until mid next week to find out what the EKG is showing, thankfully the blood panels done showed nothing unusual so I may be lucky and this is a medication problem which if so is easier to deal with than some of the other possibilities. Until then I will be using the US race to help keep me distracted from this, as the worst thing in this sort of situation is to not be distracted from worrying about what is going on with the heart. The last thing a person in my situation needs is to cause biofeedback triggering of the arrhythmias and scarily enough commenting here has been doing a great job of that especially later into the evening when I find it is easier to get more morbid/worried about things like this.

So unless something happens to cause me to not be able to access the net you are going to have me around for a while yet. Which I suspect is not what some people here would like but then I never worry about trying to please people with what I say as I find that not only a mug's game but inherently intellectually dishonest. I write/say what I do because it is what I see/perceive, if people like it that's nice but doesn't change anything and the same is true with the converse dislike.

Posted by: Scotian on February 8, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obama people keep pushing the trope that it's not a campaign, it's a movement, an anamorphous movement with no agenda save electing Obama to fulfill their fears, hopes and desires.

Mike's spin today is pathetic.

It's not the "Obama people" who "keep pushing this trope". It's snipers like Mike.

scotian, I crab at you a lot, but I will drink to your health!

Posted by: Lucy on February 8, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

My best wishes on your test results too. I know that most arrhythmias (two r's?) are bothersome but easily controlled. I wanted to mention that my first and only symptom of Lyme disease was a heart arrhythmia where my heart would 'skip' a beat for periods during the day. I'm sure other sorts of arrhymias are also possible with Lyme. I live close to Lyme, CT so my doctor's first response to my complaint was that I probably had Lyme disease. He was right. I did some quick googling and found that Lyme disease is present in Nova Scotia. Although this is a long shot in connection to you, I wanted to mention it as a possibility that should be checked out if all other diagnostics fail.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

PS to Scotian: I also wanted to say that my arrhythmia began about six months after the tick bite and that I did not have a 'bulls-eye' rash at the time of the bite.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: "Mike's spin today is pathetic."

That's just about par for the course with most all the posts that don't say exactly what Obamalytes want to hear, isn't it?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 8, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why, no, Donald, it's par for the course with most all the posts that are untrue.

Aloha.

Posted by: Lucy on February 8, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

nepata:

Thanks, but mine is a case of extremely rapid yet steady heart rate (tachycardia) , as in my pulse going beyond 200-240bpm and staying there for several minutes which in turn leads to oxygen deprivation. I was not expecting my EKG results today but my doctor called me a little while ago and it turns out there is an abnormality in the electrical aspect of the heart (which beats being in the pumping side of things) and that this is not all that uncommon apparently and that all the blood work panels were fine . The danger from it is not cardiac arrest but oxygen deprivation to the brain since the blood is pumping so fast it isn't receiving the oxygen to take around the body, or so the doc explained it to me. Apparently according to the cardiologist she consulted the fact I did not lose consciousness during the first attack given how high and long that incident lasted was rather remarkable/surprising, (although I was greying out at that point) so it doesn't look like Lyme's, although I do appreciate your suggestion that was kind of you.

I have to say having one's heart pounding like that for several minutes at a time is not one of the more pleasant experiences I have had in my life. Still though life is what it is and at least getting into these debates/discussions of your primary politics is helping to keep me distracted without getting me worked up. I've had to take a pass on Canadian politics altogether this week, something I really dislike doing but that is where my passions truly run hot. Hopefully by the end of next week we will have this all sorted out and I will be able to go back to following my own national politics at least as much as I am currently following yours.

Posted by: Scotian on February 8, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

That sounds like good news. Wasn't that Bill Bradley's problem? My father-in-law also suffers from the same sort of tachycardia and has had a few 'procedures' done (I can't name them or explain them) but all in all is doing fine at the age of 85. I find it interesting that your tachycardia responds to heightened 'emotional' states. Is that usual? What about exercise?

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

nepata:

I am a disabled person and have been for over a decade, I throw deep veined blood clots even on blood thinners and I have suffered serious damage to my lower extremities because of it. The heightened emotional state bit is basically this is likely to trip if my pulse is already running rapidly, and I am a very passionate person by nature, so when I get worked up emotionally it increases the heart rate and increases the possibility of misfire, or so it was explained to me. It is not a given that one will cause the other, but in things like this until one knows for sure what is what it is better to err on the side of caution. Same at the moment with exercise, especially in the past few weeks, as it leaves me lightheaded to do significant walking right now. I had to call in my folks to take me to the med center for my tests today because I found getting around yesterday on the buses extremely taxing and more than once left feeling quite light headed. This btw, is not a normal state for me, as I usually can walk reasonably well with my cane without such problems, so I am in uncharted territory for me right now.

That is about all I can say about this and more than I usually will regarding my personal side/life. So again I thank you for the concern, questions, and offerings of ideas on this, but I don't want to keep talking abut this if only because I am trying to not think too much about this especially here at PA, remember the distraction value point I made earlier? :)

Posted by: Scotian on February 8, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

Of course. Understood.

Posted by: nepeta on February 8, 2008 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

nepata:

Thanks, much obliged, and we will see you in other threads where no doubt we will be clashing on our views yet again...good times no? :)

Posted by: Scotian on February 8, 2008 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

late back to this thread but hope for the best...

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 8, 2008 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

And what exactly did Mike say, Lucy, that wasn't "true"? He's simply a man of strong opinions, to which he is entitled, as you are to yours.

And judging by your obvious intolerance of any political opinion that doesn't validate your own perceptions -- or misconceptions, as it the case may be -- you sound just like a Bush Republican.

Sieg heil.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 8, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

Thanks, don't worry, being an optimist is a part of my nature, as is being a realistic idealist (as in I strive for ideals knowing they can never be achieved by definition/nature yet understanding that the closer one can get the better as well as the journey itself having its own rewards) about life/reality. It is my wife that tends to be the cynical pessimist in this house, but then given her life since birth she certainly has cause (Let's just say her life story makes all I have ever suffered look like a day at the amusement park, and is one of the reasons I tend to be a bit touchy regarding the topic of misogyny and abuse/sexual assault). I was always amazed that after all the traumas she has endured since infancy that she was ever able to trust and fall in love with anyone, let alone me. In any event, thanks for the kind sentiments, much appreciated.

Posted by: Scotian on February 9, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Donald: And what exactly did Mike say, Lucy, that wasn't "true"?

You're just spoiling for a fight, aren't you? Here it is again just for you:

Obama people keep pushing the trope that it's not a campaign, it's a movement, an anamorphous movement with no agenda save electing Obama to fulfill their fears, hopes and desires.

This statement is untrue. Yes, the campaign speaks of a movement, but "no agenda"? Pure spin.

And judging by your obvious intolerance of any political opinion that doesn't validate your own perceptions -- or misconceptions, as it the case may be -- you sound just like a Bush Republican.

Not above slinging the cheap hash, are you, Donald?

Sieg heil.

Congratulations for having joined the ignominious bunch of creeps who've embraced the the meme de jour and compare the Obama phenom to Nazi Germany. To think I used to have some regard for your "strong opinion".

Posted by: Lucy on February 9, 2008 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK
.....There would be no problems if you ... had done a better job raising your....children..... Gen X at 5:30 AM
As Mort Sahl once said “People are always coming up to me and saying, ‘My kid is a conservative. How did that happen?’ I have to remind them, ‘Remember in the 60’s when they told you that if you kept using drugs your kids would become mutants?"
..... This interview is one of the few places...nepeta at 2:10 PM
As was pointed out by Gen X at 5:30 AM above, the 'moment of conversion' is one of the campaign's techniques. That has evangelical overtones.
... It is ironic that I can dissect....without having it cause me emotional stress....Scotian on at 2:45 PM
It is ironic. While I dislike your PM Harper and Calderón, but neither get me as riled as Bush or American TV talking heads. That makes your calm dispassionate writing style more impressive. I hope you develop some way to calm the ticker (meditation, deep breathing for relation, transfer Harper to the great beast to the south? ---- he'd fit right in.) Anyway, best of luck.
....Mike's spin today is pathetic. It's not the "Obama people" who "keep pushing this trope". It's snipers like Mike.....Lucy at 3:04 PM
In the sense that the campaign places an overwhelming emphasis personality and platitudes like 'hope' and 'bipartisanship' instead of policies, it is certainly true that it is not an agenda driven operation. One doesn't see Obama signs saying Vote for Obama for Health Care but Get Hope? Obama. (The question mark was puzzling to me. Why wasn't it Get Hope!)? Whether Leni Riefenstahl would the appropriate person to film one of the events with thousands of adulating fans is beside the point. Your candidate himself has already published a tract that develops the evangelical nature of the movement

Blithe sniper,

Posted by: Mike on February 9, 2008 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

"As was pointed out by Gen X at 5:30 AM above, the 'moment of conversion' is one of the campaign's techniques. That has evangelical overtones."

BS. I just read the Sac Bee piece (the Sac Bee, btw, has endorsed Obama). It didn't sound to me like the 'moment of conversion' was the point of the training at all, but rather that the description of 'personal emotions' rather than policy discussion was the factor being emphasized. When I see Clinton's rallies full of cheering supporters I see enthusiasm and emotion as being the primary means of motivation used in her campaign too. I've received phone calls from Hillary supporters and their message is hardly one of policy discussion but rather one of personal enthusiasm for Clinton, often with the gender issue being high on their list of priorities. There are few people, in general, who want to get into the nitty-gritty of policy distinctions between two candidates of the same party, particularly when the policy distinctions are minimal. So what's left? Emotionalism. I think the emotional element in campaigns is probably as old as politics itself and to ignore it in persuading others to support your candidate would be foolhardy. Why you see Obama's use of it as 'evangelical' rather than as an often-used persuasive political technique to attract voters is just your attempt to paint Obama's campaign as 'creepy,' which serves your own interests, of course.

Posted by: nepeta on February 9, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama principally differs from Hillary in creating enthusiasm. Thus, Hillary partisans must demonstrate that enthusiasm is bad. Not a good long-term strategy for a party. But Democrats have a long history of opting for the short-term gain. Not a good decision, I think, when you've been taken down behind the line of scrimmage repeatedly and the clock is running out. But the "pragmatic" folks know better, I guess.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 9, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta

You used the term 'political conversion' to describe Kim Mack's advice to the Obama organizers in training in your response at 1:44 am.

"I don't like her recommendation of supporters telling stories of 'political conversion' though. (haha)."

I merely quoted you, and then pointed out that the conversion stories were features of the training. The statements from Kim Mack that you initially expressed your displeasure with were excerpted from the SacBee article that you now say isn't about "conversion" stories.
At 1:44 am you certainly felt 'political conversion' was part of the Obama volunteer training process but now you are saying it is about personal emotions.

The subhead of the SacBee article is "Volunteers told to share personal conversion stories with voters - not policy views" so the reporter or his editor certainly thought these stories were about "conversions" and essential to the training.

I will concede that emotions are certainly part of the volunteers' stories but you are the person who first referred to them as 'political conversion' stories not I.

Posted by: Gen X on February 9, 2008 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

The primary reason to de-emphasize policy differences and emphasize conversion stories would be, I think, that the policy differences are so picayune. The differences between Obama and Hillary on any point are trivial compared to the difference between either of them and the bill that will eventually pass Congress. Probably the most important thing is not their exact policy now, but who will vote with them when they present their policy to Congress. In that light, the candidate with the least pre-existing opponents and the longest coat tails is the best bet, because that candidate will be the best able to get laws passed that are closest to the impossible Platonic Ideals that we all share. All this debate on policy is academic if it can't become law, right? Or hell, let's be perfectly pure and vote for Nader or Kucinich.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 10, 2008 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Right on guys (previous posters), you're past the game :)

Posted by: Boorring on February 10, 2008 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK
BS. I just read the Sac Bee piece....Why you see Obama's use of it as 'evangelical'....serves your own interests, of course. nepeta at 2:40 PM

Here is the SacBee article Volunteers told to share personal conversion stories

...She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to Obama – something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.
"Work on that, refine that, say it in the mirror," she said. "Get it down."
She told the volunteers that potential voters would no doubt confront them with policy questions. Mack's direction: Don't go there. Refer them to Obama's Web site, which includes enough material to sate any wonk.
The idea behind the personal narratives is to reclaim "values" politics from the Republican Party, said Marshall Ganz, a one-time labor organizer for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers who developed "Camp Obama" training sessions for volunteers.
When people tell their stories of how they made choices and what motivates them, they communicate their values, Ganz said in an interview.
"Values are not just concepts, they're feelings," Ganz said. "That's what dropped out of Democratic politics sometime in the '70s or '80s."....

....on the matter of a total Iraq withdrawal it is not based on ESP but instead on Clinton's previous support for the Iraq war........ nepeta at 2:10 PM
Since that is the opposite of oft-stated intentions, your belief is clearly based on your prejudices not any concrete fact. Posted by: Mike on February 10, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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