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Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

NEW MEXICO....The gutless milksops at CNN still refuse to project a winner in New Mexico, but we're made of hardier stuff here at the Washington Monthly. So here it is: With 99% of the precincts finally reporting in, it looks like Hillary Clinton will win the state, and with it 13 of its 25 enchanting delegates.

And speaking of the Democratic race, did you catch 60 Minutes tonight? Talk about a contrast. Barack Obama got quizzed by Steve Kroft, who conducted a fairly ordinary softball interview, while Hillary Clinton was forced to put up with a relentlessly witless interrogation from Katie Couric. Do you like Barack Obama? Do you take vitamins? Why are you so polarizing? In high school were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand? Was your nickname really Miss Frigidaire? In your deepest darkest moments are you afraid you might lose? Really? Are you sure? Huh? Are you? Crikey.

UPDATE: Uh oh. Maybe the milksops at CNN are on the ball after all. That'll teach me to make dumb jokes without thinking first. But the stuff about 60 Minutes was totally serious.

Kevin Drum 1:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (181)

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You might want to take a look at Krugman's column in the Monday Paper. He cites the "Clinton Rules"

Posted by: Ted on February 11, 2008 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Hi Kevin,

This is the second time this evening that you're behind the times on primary news. The CNN results are not including the 16000 provisional ballots that need to be counted. 16000! That's why no one is declaring a winner.

Posted by: br on February 11, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

This is just bizarre Kevin. On a day when Obama wins Maine, and a weekend where he sweeps 5 contests, you choose to post about Clinton winning New Mexico??

Not that I'm reading anything into that......

Ok, actually I am.

Posted by: Joe on February 11, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Joe: Actually, I originally wrote a joke about that in the post but then killed it. People don't seem to be in the mood for humor these days when it comes to the campaign.

As for Obama's wins on Saturday, I wrote about them on Saturday.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 11, 2008 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

With 99% of the precincts finally reporting in, it looks like Hillary Clinton will win the state, and with it 13 of its 25 enchanting delegates.

I'm sure that extra delegate will really matter after the drubbing she received today. *snicker*

By the way, didn't you just say you voted for Obama several weeks ago? So why are you complaining about Katie's treatment of Hillary? You should be happy the MSM is treating her so badly because then YOUR candidate Obama would more easily win. I'm beginning to question whether you are a truely converted believer in Obama or not.

Posted by: Al on February 11, 2008 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

As the former "Tiffany Network" completes its transformation to lead....

Katie just sucks.

and no, I am not a HRC fan.

Posted by: Keith G on February 11, 2008 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a quote from Krugman's Monday column:

"I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality."

And here's my question: Who's he talking about? Voters?? If so, all I can say is: Criminetly. Grow up, Mr. Krugman. So you found some over-zealous Obama supporters. I see them on the Clinton side too, those who are embittered about one thing or another and want to lash out at the first young face with an Obama T-shirt that they see.

Now, if he's talking about the media, maybe he has a point. Sort of. Although obviously the pundits and commentators aren't so much over-zealous Obama supporters as they are -- some of them -- Clinton-haters and Clinton-dislikers. So it's more complicated, really, than Krugman is saying.

So what do I see in Krugman's column? Someone who's angry and upset about Obama "supporters" without really saying who he's talking about. But it sure sounds like he's talking about voters. People whose only power is the one vote that they hold.

And then he complains that these Obama-supporting voters apparently aren't up in arms about the application of "Clinton rules" by the media. I mean, it couldn't be because the average voter isn't paying any attention to what the pundit class is doing. No sirree! In Mr. Krugman's world, all voters are keenly aware of what the media are doing, and if they aren't complaining about Clinton bias, that can only mean they approve.

Get out of your bubble, Mr. Krugman. There's a big ol' world out there.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Katie Couric is in an idiot though.

No reason why we can't all agree on something here!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

I think Katie Couric thought she was anchoring Access Hollywood. Witless is right. And, frankly, to my ear (and I don't mean to be sexist here, hopefully people will know what I mean) it was a "girly" interview. To me Couric simply didn't take Clinton seriously -- which is insulting for a legitimate presidential candidate and unbecoming for a show like 60 Minutes.

Posted by: Callimaco on February 11, 2008 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

RE Krugman -

Isn't it special how he complains about the "venom" from Obama supporters only to turn around and smear Obama supporters as cultists? Nice.

Posted by: Callimaco on February 11, 2008 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

the mood for humor these days when it comes to the campaign.

Sigh, we need much more humor. I don't recall the battles between the candidates and their supporters ever being worse.

The names each side is calling each other, the tactics each sides supporters are using, it's disgusting because it's identical to how left treats right and right treats left.

Everybody is so goddamned sure of themselves and sure of the asshole politician they know will lead the way to nirvana.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman's Big Idea this election cycle was that the details of a candidate's policy positions matter immensely.

After all, he reasons, wasn't he the only one who called Bush a fraud in 2000?

Therefore he supported Edwards first (as did I). Then he turned, not so much to Clinton as against Obama.

The problem with his thesis is that candidates lie. HC, for example, is currently promoting a 5 year freeze on rate increases for adjustable rate mortages. It is her solution to the foreclosure crisis.

Do I have to point out that this is never going to happen? Do I have to point out that HC is lying?

If I don't trust a candidate then all of their detailed policy prescriptions are meaningless. When Krugman asks us to exclude everything we know about the candidate's personalities and their past actions he is being a fool.

I love the guy, but he needs to get over his One Big Idea. Stop being such a hedgehog and start being more of a fox.

Posted by: Adam on February 11, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

So we just don't disagree with Krugman, now he is living in a bubble, and "isn't it special...."

How depressing to find out that the commenters here agree with National Review: Krugman is shrill.

As we eat our own let us bow our heads and say "nom nom nom."

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

I love the guy, but he needs to get over his One Big Idea. Stop being such a hedgehog and start being more of a fox.

Good point Adam. I think Krugman should stop looking at policy minutiae and start feeling Obama's inspiration. Then he will see the light and come to Obama just like what everyone else is doing.

Posted by: Al on February 11, 2008 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

Everybody

Not everybody.

One key to civil and accurate discourse is the word "some".

Some Obama supporters act as if he were the Second Incarnation.
Some Clinton supporters tend to take criticism of their candidate personally.
Some partisans on both sides tend to recklessly sling about universals like "all" and "everybody" which instantly make their statements false and inflammatory.

If you're going to diss some portion of the other side, please have the simple honesty to qualify your statements. Thank you.

Two more points:

1.) Alexander's Law:
You cannot simultaneously antagonize and influence.
If you really must tell someone off, go ahead, but realize that you are not going to change their mind in the process.

2.) We have a common foe, a dangerous, lawless, dishonest, unscrupulous opposition that we need to unite to defeat in November. Let's not lose sight of that.

I'm Emily Postnews, and I approved this message.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 11, 2008 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

You're pretty goddamn sure of yourself Joel, but it's not clear you even read my message since I was not dissing some portion of the other side, but dissing both portions of both sides.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

The cognitive dissonance of Paul Krugman -- Paul Krugman -- accusing Obama supporters of injecting most of the venom in this race will make my head explode tonight. Mark my words.

He's an excellent economist and I enjoy reading his perspectives on public policy, but boy, was he late to the backlash. The subject of Barack Obama truly reduces Krugman to a blathering caricature. He never once entertains the notion that Hillary's high-profile is a double-edged sword, that maybe the very phenomenon that yields tough questions and scrutiny also makes her the presumptive nominee, and that indeed she and her husband use that media attention to their advantage. And they should not be blamed for it (except when they use it to muddy the race a la Bill's "Jesse Jackson" comment, curiously absent from Krugman's analysis of "venom").

The irony of all this is that it's Krugman's borderline-vitriol that makes it hard for me to support Hillary, even though I almost certainly will should she be the nominee.

I've concluded that he needs to go on an official "Obama-leave" and just not tackle the subject for the rest of the primary season. It's clear where he and his employer stand on the Democratic race, and the New York primary has come and gone. Move on, Paul. If you want the media to be more even-handed about the race, then doctor, cure thyself.

Posted by: KobayashiMaru on February 11, 2008 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, I'm being a disgusting prig. (It's my turn; my name finally rose to the top of the Disgusting Prig Duty Roster.)

Nevertheless, it remains the case that any statement starting with the word "everybody" is almost certainly false.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 11, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

I don't recall the battles between the candidates and their supporters ever being worse.

You're new here, aren't you? This is pattycake to some other contests I've seen through the years. Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton REVILED each other, so much so that Clinton's people arranged the Monty Python theme (Sousa's Liberty Bell March) to be played as the lead up to Brown's speech at the 1992 convention.

Posted by: eponymous coward on February 11, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Jerry, you're right: that rant had been building for weeks now, and your posting simply triggered it. It wasn't particularly about your statements, or even very much related to what you wrote. Sorry about that.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 11, 2008 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

Totally agree with your take on Couric. I must say that Senator Clinton did a good job wrenching the interview away from this superbly unqualified female fool.

I still don't understand, as I am searching the internets for a running total on the absolute numbers of people voting for Clinton versus the numbers of people voting for Obama...

After Super Tuesday, CNN posted 8,823,097 popular votes for Clinton, 8,294,209 popular votes for Obama.

Uh, she was was about a half-million voters ahead of him?

This hasn't been updated, because I guess it's against the narrative...

Surely, Obama has cut into that huge popular vote lead in the past week...so what is it down to now?

300,000? 200,000? In favor of Clinton?

Well, if at all comes down to delegate counts and superdelegate counts and Obama wins on points...

What about one person/one vote?

What the hell ever happened to that?

Posted by: wobbly on February 11, 2008 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

No problem, Joel, if we can't be sanctimonious prigs on teh Intart00bs, the terrorists shall have won.

Eponymous, did Clinton really do that? Sigh. I really liked Jerry Brown when he was my governor, but then I also really liked Mike Royko's nickname for him too.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Bad as the New Mexico Democratic count is, nothing compares to what's going on with the Washington Republican caucus. Eeesh.

Wobbly,
"What about one person/one vote?
What the hell ever happened to that?"

It never existed. It never will exist. It's not, despite the fame of the maxim, ever been the basis for the way our government or parties are structured. And beyond that, those popular vote totals you're using aren't that accurate.

Posted by: jbryan on February 11, 2008 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

"What about one person/one vote?
What the hell ever happened to that?"

I don't recall primaries ever working that way.

Posted by: doug on February 11, 2008 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

I caught both segments, and though I'm an enthusiastic Obama supporter, I have to agree that the Katie Couric interview was ridiculously ridden with references towards Barack Obama. Much like Geraldo Rivera's mustaches constant reiteration about an African/Latino divide, Couric just couldn't ask other questions to a potential President (i.e., how would you reconcile dealing with countries where women are so limited in freedom's, being a woman yourself, but this time with executive authority?)

So how do I deal with this? The mainstream media, which so blatantly bypassed Ron Paul in a few instances, which so unfairly dominated an interview against Hillary by injecting Obama's name every other question, and which replayed that "Dean scream" back in 2004 to cost Howard his candidacy? It's really childish, and only gives some "moral leverage" to those who want to claim anti-Hillary bias from the networks.

To be fair, it must have been a lengthy interview, but the editing has made the Couric/Clinton affair to be a, well, girlish affair, and didn't help Clinton's campaign by diminishing it's intent. It's a sort of strange position for me to be arguing, given that "Barack Obama is teh awesome" and represents the best outcome for the Democratic Party, but I don't like to give the other side any ammunition, especially when that side will exploit it for political advantage.

/Obama, 2008.

Posted by: Boorring on February 11, 2008 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Krugman's most excessive anti-Obama moment was his likening of Obama's "Christian" flyer to the extremes of the evangelical right.

Obama was quashing the "...isn't he a Muslim?" smears coming from the right.

Only to get smeared from the left for doing so.

Posted by: Max Power on February 11, 2008 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

What about one person/one vote?

Democratic delegates are allocated to each state according to a complex formula that is based on the state's Democratic vote in the past three elections as well as the state's total electoral vote.

The actual vote in the election depends on turnout. If two states have the same number of delegates, but one has a huge turnout (say because of good weather) whereas another has a smaller one (because of a storm or other reason), the number of delegates will not change. (But if this happens in the general election, the formula of delegate allocation will be adjusted next time around).

To the extent that states in the USA retain the independence that the country was founded on (and provided for in the Constitution), it is likely that indirect elections through delegates will continue. And remember how senators are elected -- that is even more extreme.

Posted by: JS on February 11, 2008 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Just a minor point away from all the serious disagreements (Clinton vs Obama) and one major point of agreement (KC is an idiot - which is why I never understood what her appeal ever was).

Even in this bastion of liberalism (?) I have seen repeated references to girly/girlish/whatever. Has anyone noticed even when we (some) are using the boy/girl reference the boy is used to reinforce positive things (such as charm/good looks etc) and girl is used to demean, primarily to indicated childish. I know that this is more a matter of habit - such as using a shorthand that readers will understand etc.. - but still it seems more like a Corner comment section than Washington Monthly's.

--r

Posted by: DesiPanchi on February 11, 2008 at 6:32 AM | PERMALINK

Was that horrible anti-gay Dan Rather news segment that I saw on the Evening News With Walter Cronkite back in the early seventies actually part of a "60 Minutes" episode?

I think it might be on YouTube now. I saw a little bit of it a while ago and it was so incredibly bizarre and melodramatic.

Dan Rather talks about these strange, bizarre creatures known as "homosexuals," then he shows them prancing down the streets together arm-in-arm wearing cut-off jeans. He says things along the lines of, "Are these creatures condemned to live their lives alone, either committing suicide or living in the shadows, grasping at hundreds of one-night stands as they try to fill the empty, hollow shells that are their existences?"

Anyway, it's pretty close to that. I watched the gay activists and said to my seven- or eight-year-old self, having recognized myself as gay since age four, that I would take a stand and I would show everyone and I would change the world. HAW-HAW-HAW-HAW.

Posted by: Anon on February 11, 2008 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

I just read Krugman's column, and I agree with every word of it. The difference in treatment of the 2 candidates by the media is astounding. And many Obama supporters are shrill and dismissive of those who don't support their candidate.

As far as 60 minutes-Couric should have stuck with the Today show.

Posted by: Susan on February 11, 2008 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody.

The genius economist doesn't realize that, when you consistently attack someone, "most of the venom" is likely to come from that person's supporters. Duh.

Posted by: lifelongdemturninggreen on February 11, 2008 at 7:28 AM | PERMALINK

Newsbusters is actually claiming that this interview demonstrated pro-Clinton media bias.

Posted by: keptsimple on February 11, 2008 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman is spending a little too much time on internet message boards. Both camps of supporters in this environment (Blogoland) are passionate. The country, less so.

Obama appears to have a massive edge in online fundraising. It would then follow that more of those people are spending time in internet message boards. Krugman also spends a lot of time on the internet and naturally is going to run into more of those people. Also, assuming younger people are the norm on internet message boards, being young, they tend to be less deferential than older message board denizens. It would follow that there are more of those younger, extremely passionate supporters on line. Those foolish youth don't have the experience of so many bad presidencies.

So I would suggest to Mr. Krugman that perhaps he is observing a skewed sample.

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

Hey, Joel, hope you see this --

IMHO, your 3:01 comment should be cross-stitched into a sampler and hung on the wall of every political zealot's parlor.

Do we want to persuade, align, unite, make a better world? Or just beat people over the head with our opinions (for their opinions)?

Posted by: time to pull together on February 11, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Paul Krugman: I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.

"I'm going to strive for rank partisanship here and circulate a scurrilous meme by accusing the Obama campaign of being 'dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.' However, since I am after all a respected columnist for The New York Times I will refrain from calling Obama supporters jackbooted zombies even though they do support a candidate who doesn't include mandates in his health care plan. However, might I suggest that Obama bears an uncanny resemblance to the President who declared "Mission Accomplished" on the flight deck of the USS Lincoln. You may puzzle over the connection but I just thought I'd throw that out there. We don't really want a third Bush term by electing Barack Obama, do we?"

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

I see Kevin's back on his "I love HRC because the MSM doesn't" kick.

Posted by: Quinn on February 11, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

who conducted a fairly ordinary softball interview, while Hillary Clinton was forced to put up with a relentlessly witless interrogation

What's new?

So Kevin, you don't think peer pressure and conventional media images have anything to do with the caucus bias. I figure you're a strong willed guy who's more likely to push back than follow, but I'm pretty sure the public process is going to pressure a lot of people away from the "more divisive" candidate. I guess that makes her supporters more passive -- but there's an external context to their posture.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Katie Couric, uggh.

Posted by: Yaddayadda on February 11, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

So I would suggest to Mr. Krugman that perhaps he is observing a skewed sample.

Likely so, but my guess is he's getting it from his correspondence.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Krugman would have no problem if everyone slavishly voted for Clinton as most people expected when the elections began.

Posted by: Quinn on February 11, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Katie Couric still have a job?

Posted by: lobbygow on February 11, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman is basically doing in his column today what he did back in the days when Bush was regarded as a fine, upstanding, honest, down-to-earth compassionate Conservative: speaking the truth he saw regardless of how much animosity it might incur. Nothing can be more obvious about the man than that, fundamentally, if he believes something to be true and important, he doesn't give the slightest damn what other people think: he will speak his mind.

I can understand that this particular truth might pain Obama supporters, who of course don't imagine that on balance they are the far worse sinners when it comes to expressing venom, and that they do so in no small part because they are part of a personality cult. One wonders if they might express their dissent on that point without resorting to venom in the act itself; the evidence so far is not good.

Obama supporters might consider, though, whether such things as personality cults actually do occur. If they do, why might they not appear in politics? And if they appear in politics, what would it look like? And, given what it might look like, why don't Obama supporters exemplify it?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dear B,
And I would guess that most of his correspondence is coming by the internet.

I would guess that most Obama supporters are also Krugman fans, and it's pretty easy to toss of an email to him to complain. The Clinton fans, who we can probably agree don't spend as much time on the internets, aren't banging a path to his door to pat him on the back. So he's getting a ton of anti-fan mail these days. Eventually it starts to piss you off, especially because nearly everyone writing to you isn't as smart as you.

As for me, I am an Obama supporter who also is a big fan of Krugman. I am a little older (almost 45) so I don't feel the need to get incensed that he is supporting another democrat. We just happen to disagree on this one thing.

Posted by: swarty on February 11, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly--
Am I a member of the cult if I supported Dodd until he dropped out? And then briefly supported Edwards? And argued against Obama's lack of health care mandates, and still do? How will I know when I've been absorbed?

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 11, 2008 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

So I would suggest to Mr. Krugman that perhaps he is observing a skewed sample.

Yes, surely he must. I've long been thinking: while Krugman is an economist, the op-ed page is not a peer-reviewed publication. Part of the purpose of peer review is to protect against researcher bias. There is good reason be suspicious of academics publishing without peer review. (E.g., Pons, Fleishman, and cold fusion in 1989.)

Posted by: Dagome on February 11, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

hey wobbly--
Delegates are assigned to states on the basis of Democratic registration and assigned to candidates based on proportional voting. So how is it possible that the candidate up by "half a million" votes is losing in delegates?

Answer: it isn't, unless you count Michigan and Florida. So why don't you make your real point--those votes should count, even if only Hillary was dishonest enough to stay on the Michigan ballot. Because that, and only that, is your point.

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 11, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Though there are indeed overwrought supporters of both Clinton and Obama posting venom to discussion boards, I think Krugman, and many others, are overstating the matter.

A recent Newsweek poll indicates that 83% of supporters of both candidates responded that they will be happy to vote for either.

I voted for Obama in the Democrats Abroad primary election I will be happy to vote for Clinton should she gain the nomination.

Posted by: Chris Brown on February 11, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

The infamously disingenuous frankly0 wonders what's so bad about calling the Obama campaign a personality cult?

Because it's a cheap tactic to simply dismiss a serious contender for the presidency.

One would think that the ability to inspire voters would be considered a good thing if one were actually interested in winning the general election and shifting the balance of power in Washington to the left.

One would think.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear I'm running late again! Good day.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Fralkly0:
I can understand that this particular truth might pain Obama supporters, who of course don't imagine that on balance they are the far worse sinners when it comes to expressing venom, and that they do so in no small part because they are part of a personality cult.


Them's some pretty big accusations there fella. It would be like me extrapolating that ALL Hillary supporters must agree with this:
http://www.womensmediacenter.com/ex/020108.html


The ice is pretty thin where you are skating, frankly. (now that is a good pun). All this talk of kool-aid and cults will be over soon. One of these 2 democrats will soon be running against John McCain. One side will have to join the other in that battle to beat the Republicans in November.

Posted by: swarty on February 11, 2008 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

How will I know when I've been absorbed?

In the general case it happens when you start to believe that your leader can do no wrong and when you notice you are looking down on folks outside of your fellow elite cult members. You may also notice yourself promoting your cause actively, perhaps cornering coworkers at a water cooler and feeling them out for the types of things you should and should not tell them about your leader to bring them over to your side.

I suggest you work first on the health care mandate issue. Obama isn't working counter to the cause. He is seeing the larger picture and finding a pragmatic route to the goal. He is likely not telling you all parts of the plan, which for now is the best. You have to trust in his wisdom.
-- Alternatively (as long as you don't believe it) the mandate schtick is good fodder for the water cooler. You don't want to look like a cultist.

Secondly you need to start referring to others as low-information voters, passive couch potatoes, or divisive racist oral-sexaholics.

Get to work.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

The explanation in terms of a grand conspiracy is quite clear.

The fix is in. Obama takes the nomination. McCain takes 48 states in November.

Conspiracy or not, Obama is going to lose to McCain big time in November, notwithstanding the uber enthusiasm of his starry eyed supporters from generation Z1.

Posted by: gregor on February 11, 2008 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

LynnDee::Katie Couric is in an idiot though....No reason why we can't all agree on something here!" I agree that Katie Couric is an idiot.

But I'm going back to Joel Hanes point that "One key to civil and accurate discourse is the word "some"." Another key to civil and accurate discourse, it seems to me, is the phrase, "in my opinion" (or imho). For example, "ALL media newscasters are idiots....in my opinion."

Or one can say, "it seems to me." For example, "It seems to me that HRC got the exactly the interview she wanted." That is, SOME people, informed people, even Obama supporters, are angry at what they perceive as dual treatment, and therefore they feel more sorry for Clinton, that poor victim of media discrimination against women and/or Clinton. But SOME people--perhaps those who can't tell the difference between "shallow TV personality" and "competent journalist" or the difference between "wife of previous Democratic president" and "presidential material"--will come away positively impressed. Frankly, in my humble opinion, SOME media panders to the intellectual level of its viewers.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 11, 2008 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Katie Couric and Hillary Clinton: the worse possible match of interviewer/interviewee you could possibly imagine.

Posted by: lampwick on February 11, 2008 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Somebody was good enough to mention the fact that a number of provisional ballots equal to ten times hillary's lead. These ballots, also, are likely to break for Obama, since it includes many people coming in to vote at the last minute at the wrong precinct (such voters' provisional ballots are to be counted according to NM Dem rules). Barack Obama spoke in Albuquerque the Friday before the vote, and there is a now notorious pattern of Senator Obama sweeping places where he has made personal appearances (even in Tennessee, where he got pounded, he swept the urban counties in Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis where he appeared in person.

Posted by: Benjamin Jones on February 11, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

My guess is that Krugman is responding to Frank Rich's "insightful" screed against Clinton in this weekends New York Times. Fair and balanced.

Posted by: applestooranges on February 11, 2008 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

How about a mention of Maine caucuses, which attracted more than twice the number of attendees as 2004? In the whitest state in the country, Obama won 59% of the delegates. I guess Senator Obama is perfectly capable of getting rural, white, working class voters to support him.

Posted by: Sue on February 11, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Relentlessly witless" is exactly what that Couric interview was. I was embarrassed that one successful woman would ask another one such belittling, "girly" questions on national TV. You'd think someone who's been dismissed as "perky," and had troubles of her own being taken seriously as a professional, would make some effort to ask substantive questions.

Even so, can I just mention how sick I am of hearing Hillary's tired and bogus claim that she's been "vetted"? To hear her talk about surviving Republican attack ads -- "you don't know what it's like unless you've been through it," etc., etc. -- you'd think that she'd been running for office all her life, instead of having done so for the first time when she ran for the Senate. Of course with all this "vetted" stuff, she's really talking about Bill's campaigns. This constant shell game, where she claims her husband's experience as her own when it suits her, and proclaims herself totally independent of him when it doesn't, is getting pretty tiresome.

Posted by: Patrick on February 11, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

As usual well put frankly0.

When there is little substance, content or accomplishment to back up the hysterics and any attempt to question the qualifications and character of Dear Leader are met with anger and name-calling; odds are you're looking at a personality cult.

Regarding Krugman, the 60 Minutes interviews bear out so well what Krugman states about the media. The questioning of Hillary was plain bitchy and the questioning of Obama was without (as per usual) follow up to his pat and nonsensical answers. The Obama technique seems to be whenever questioned about his liabilities he compares himself to some other great person or entity. Like with experience he will always bring up Lincoln or some other great person. In the interview with Kroft he says Google didn't have a lot of time/experience. Problem is the entities he compares himself to had lots of originality and genius. He doesn't. Never once does the interviewer say but you're not Lincoln or Google and why would you compare yourself to them?

The media needs to play an adversarial role with all candidates. Obama has been getting a free ride so far. But if the questions are ever posed like "how much money have you gotten from Rezko" "what legislation benefited his donors" "what exactly has he accomplished for poor people or anyone besides himself, where are the results" "what votes did he miss and why" Obama is in trouble.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

And, given what it might look like, why don't Obama supporters exemplify it?

Then, again, one might presume that it might fall to those accusing others of witchcraft just why it is they exemplify it? Okay, I'll admit my bias against the burden of proof being with the accused... I got this problem, I float.

As I posted on another thread here are some characteristics of cults taken from Carol Gimbalvo's Cult Information and Recovery site.

* Authoritarian in their power structure
* Totalitarian in their control of the behavior of their members
* Pyramidal structure
* Uses thought reform techniques
* Isolation of members (physical and/or psychological isolation) from society
* Uses deception in recruiting and/or fund raising
* Promotes dependence of the members on the group
* Totalitarian in their world view
* Uses mind altering techniques (chanting, meditation, hypnosis and various forms of repetitive actions) to stop normal critical thinking
* Appear exclusive and innovative
* Charismatic or messianic leader who is self-appointed and has a special mission in life
* Controls the flow of information
* Instills a fear of leaving the group

Please detail how these points are apt descriptors of those who after consideration would opt for BO as the Democratic candidate of choice.

Posted by: snicker-snack (cultist) on February 11, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

I take great offense at the suggestion that Obama voters would dominate the "voting in wrong precinct" category. Low-information voters are squarely in the Clinton camp and you aren't going to steal them away that easily. You may have the new and inexperienced voters but we more than make up for that with the old and feeble minded.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

A religion is just a cult with an army.

And a cult with the majority of pledged delegates is the future of the party.

Posted by: lampwick on February 11, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Nanderthals for Change
.
Fay Buchanan, Romney spinmeister, arch Republican Villager and sister of Pat Buchanan was being interviewed. The reporter broached the topic of change, that Romney had joined the verbal band wagon of and for change.
"We're definitely for changing the old prevailing ways of Washington" said dear Fay.
But you're in the process of adding White House insider types, Bush confidants and Cheney genes to Romney's staff said the reporter.
"Isn't it amazing how the old guard can be a force for change?" responded Fay, effortlessly.

Posted by: cognitorex on February 11, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy, agree it would be good for Obama to face a more critical media. It is always good for politicians to face a critical media. For the most part, your media is far too obsequious...

But I really don't see support for Mr. Obama as being a media-driven phenomenom. Some of us just like the bottom-up appeal and prefer it to Ms. Clinton's top-down, however attractive a candidate she may be in other ways.

And please let me apologize in advance if this response is too hysterical and nasty. I don't mean to be... it's just this cult thing clouding my thinking.

Posted by: snicker-snack (cultist) on February 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"This is just bizarre Kevin. On a day when Obama wins Maine, and a weekend where he sweeps 5 contests, you choose to post about Clinton winning New Mexico??
Not that I'm reading anything into that......
Ok, actually I am"

The family that owns this publication are huge Clinton supporters, DUH.

Posted by: IA on February 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy--
When there is little substance, content or accomplishment to back up the hysterics and any attempt to question the qualifications and character of Dear Leader are met with anger and name-calling; odds are you're looking at a personality cult.

Are you referring to Taylor Marsh or TalkLeft? Well, I guess it can't be Taylor Marsh, because she doesn't allow comments critical of Hillary....

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 11, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

This is the second time Hillary has been subjected to an "interview" by "Heather" Couric. Her staff should have demanded that another correspondent do this one. I believe it's actually unconstitutional for any American to have to submit to this kind of stupidity and nastiness twice.

This is the same "journalist," by the way, whose hard-hitting interviews of Bush and Condi consisted of saying to Dubya, "We all know how much you care about our troops" (and she wasn't being ironic) and asking Condi if it was tough to date as Secretary of State.

Posted by: sullijan on February 11, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack,

I believe the bar is a little lower for "personality cult". It basically involves intense devotion and image over substance. And when you put caveats on the description (some, verges on, may appear, etc.) it becomes even weaker. I don't think the accusation is equating obama supporters with those of Kim Jong Il.

Personally, I wouldn't use the term but I do get annoyed with intense devotion or intense hate and politicians who can talk for a half hour without saying anything. It's not new. It happens every four years and there will always be those out there who insist we all jump aboard the worship bandwagon before the convention. I figure we might garner more votes by at least attempting to look rational. Besides, I find it easier and less confusing.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'll add that I don't think snicker-snack or most of the posters here fall into any category of irrationality.

Posted by: B on February 11, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I thought Hillary was a street fighter, the new LBJ, the only candidate to fight and win against the Republican machine with one hand while slapping the press around with the other.

Yet, Katie Couric is too much? And Hillary can't even organize and win a caucus in Maine?

Posted by: Mike on February 11, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK


And Krugman, like me, spends way too much time reading the comments on blogs and should get some useful work done.

Posted by: Mike on February 11, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

There ARE two cults in this country:

1) Clinton infatuation syndrome.

2) Clinton debasement syndrome.

Together they make one cult: Clinton haters and defenders. And they thrive on each other in a mutually reciprocal way. Their shit pie fight has been going on for decades. They've smeared and been smeared. Over the years.. they've got a lot of smearing invested in the fight.

When you are part of a smear-cult it is hard to escape. That's why Krugman has jumped the shark. He is a Clinton lover. Also remember Kevin's post last week where he felt "sorry" for the Clintons. Letting go of a cult is a hard thing to do. Kevin is still undergoing "deprogramming." He has spent huge amounts of his lifetime defending the Clintons...

To some of us... it is fairly obvious the time has come for America to move on. And that really is the core idea behind Barack Obama's widespread support. His main appeal is that he indeed does represent "change." Like it or not: ending the shit-pie fight is a compelling idee fixe.


Posted by: koreyel on February 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, didn't Clinton say she was the candidate who could take all the heat thrown at her?

Now we have Robin Morgan and Paul Krugman complaining that people are just too mean to her!! Obviously we now all have to support her to take a stand against misogyny and political nastiness...is that it?

This is not a very appealing argument, I must say.

Posted by: Sue on February 11, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

60 Minutes was hilarious. Surprised no Obama supporters complained about Steve Croft who said "the Senator from Illinois has very little experience...aside from two best-selling books and one speech in 2004."

Also: "He's seen by many as arrogant, but others see that as confident." Footage of Obama slapping Croft on the back "how's it going?"

"Whether Obama's huge crowds will translate into votes is yet to be known."

But the contrast between Obama and Katie was huuuuge.

Posted by: AF on February 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

To hear her talk about surviving Republican attack ads -- "you don't know what it's like unless you've been through it," etc., etc. -- you'd think that she'd been running for office all her life, instead of having done so for the first time when she ran for the Senate. Of course with all this "vetted" stuff, she's really talking about Bill's campaigns. This constant shell game, where she claims her husband's experience as her own when it suits her, and proclaims herself totally independent of him when it doesn't, is getting pretty tiresome.\\\


Ken Starr was rummaging through her underwear draws for 8 years.

Obama seems to be reaping the benefits from the past 15 year right wing jihad against the Clintons. 15 years of anything goes when you're talking about the Clintons. Congratulations. While Republicans carve Reagan's face onto Mount Rushmore, a whole lot of Democrats gleefully join the lynch mob of Clinton haters. The only twice elected Democratic president since FDR and half his party hates him. I wonder why Bill Kristol and Joe Scarborough are smiling. Obama will never get my vote because he hasn't been talking to me this campaign.

Posted by: mm on February 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

And many Obama supporters are shrill and dismissive of those who don't support their candidate.

Boy, you got that right. I can't tell you the number of times I hear Obama supporters dismiss any and all Hillary supporters as "cultists".

Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: Brautigan on February 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Are you referring to Taylor Marsh or TalkLeft?

The Left Coaster is another place I read where comments that criticise Sen. Clinton tend to provoke some pretty hot replies.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

mm. Obama will never get my vote because he hasn't been talking to me this campaign.

Good for you. You shouldn't vote for anybody who is unable to connect with you.

I would expect most of the 1/2 of the Democratic party who are not in love with Hillary to vote for her this fall if she wins the nomination. Of course, we are not as principled as you.

It's called Democracy mm. We all get to express ourselves for our candidate and against the guy. Of course, and this might be an alien concept after years of listening to the right wing slim machine, if we lose we don't go to war with our opponent. Instead we try to work with them. Since both Obama and Clinton are Democrats I expect the losers to work hard this fall to defeat John McCain. Don't you?

What ever you do, don't vote for John McCain.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 11, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty interesting to see how people react to Paul Krugman's columns on Obama.

So far as I know, there's not another major pundit who criticizes Obama on a regular basis. On the other hand, there are legions of pundits who can't contain their scorn of Hillary -- at the Times alone, there's Rich, Herbert, Dowd, and Collins.

Why, then, the expression of outrage over Krugman's dissenting point of view?

Well, of course, the Obama cult, which can brook no criticism of their guy, is one important aspect of that. But I think the other is that Obama's supporters know in their bones something very basic: Krugman speaks with genuine authority, derives his views from careful thought, and does not make his criticisms lightly. The Riches, Herberts, Dowds, and Collins of the world are just intellectual lightweights, hysterics who have a small command of the English language and little else.

That's really why the Obama cult can't handle the man, and must demonize him. It's precisely his impressive credibility that drives them nuts. He's as threatening to them as a rational sceptic in a Scientology gathering.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

'The gutless milksops at CNN still refuse to project a winner in New Mexico...'

Kevin,

Actually there was a full recount in NM, hence the delay in getting a result. From NPR:


" NPR.org, February 7, 2008 · It will be awhile before the last of the Super Tuesday states declares a winner. New Mexico Democratic Party officials announced Thursday that they will recount every ballot. Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama in the state by about 1,000 votes...

... the Democrat-only contest was plagued by so many problems that the state party, along with the Clinton and Obama campaigns, agreed that only checking all ballots cast would insure an accurate result."

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

"other guy."

That is what I get for posting on a busy Monday morning.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

And many Obama supporters are shrill and dismissive of those who don't support their candidate.

Boy, you got that right. I can't tell you the number of times I hear Obama supporters dismiss any and all Hillary supporters as "cultists".

Oh, wait . . .
Posted by: Brautigan on February 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM

And right on cue, Frankly0.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 11, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone believe that Hillary wanted the Couric interview to go like it did? She has done best after showing her feminine side. Her supporters are overwhelmingly white women, slightly older. Women who loved Katie on TV her whole career.

Posted by: Patrick on February 11, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty interesting to see how people react to Paul Krugman's columns on Obama.

So far as I know, there's not another major pundit who criticizes Obama on a regular basis. On the other hand, there are legions of pundits who can't contain their scorn of Hillary -- at the Times alone, there's Rich, Herbert, Dowd, and Collins.

Why, then, the expression of outrage over Krugman's dissenting point of view?

Well, of course, the Obama cult, which can brook no criticism of their guy, ...

In your opinion, is it possible to disagree with Paul Krugman without being a cult member? It would seem not.

But, if you'll look at who Krugman is going after in this column -- those who would vote for Obama and those Obama supporters who haven't responded the way Krugman thinks they should against Clinton-haters in the media -- I don't know how you can't be left scratching your head.

To me, what Krugman is expressing is the frustration of a Clinton supporter who just doesn't get why Obama is getting the support he is. And he's free to do that -- although how it really helps Clinton is a mystery to me.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

That's really why the Obama cult can't handle the man (Krugman), and must demonize him.

I really like Mr. Krugman, never miss a column by him and have read two of his books and for the most part think he has great judgement but don't think he is infallible and don't worship him and have the temerity to make up my own mind and think he is off in his characterization of Mr. Obama's supporters.

There! Is that enough demonization for ya!

Posted by: snicker-snack (Obama cultist) on February 11, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I can understand that this particular truth might pain Obama supporters, who of course don't imagine that on balance they are the far worse sinners when it comes to expressing venom, and that they do so in no small part because they are part of a personality cult."

Does frankly0 lose irony points because Krugman already suggested that Obama supporters didn't realize that they are so venomous because they are members of a cult?

Posted by: Joe on February 11, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

To me, what Krugman is expressing is the frustration of a Clinton supporter who just doesn't get why Obama is getting the support he is.

Absolutley correct LynnDee. The problem with Krugman is he doesn't feell Obama's inspiration like we followers of Obama do. That's why they call us cultists when we are just following our heart by listening to Obama's preachings and doing the morally right thing.

Posted by: Al on February 11, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

"I really like Mr. Krugman, never miss a column by him and have read two of his books and for the most part think he has great judgement but don't think he is infallible and don't worship him and have the temerity to make up my own mind and think he is off in his characterization of Mr. Obama's supporters."

snicker-snack at 10:41

"He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back."

Carroll, Jabberwocky

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 11, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack,

I don't expect people will accept what Krugman says just because he says it, and neither, I'm sure, does Krugman.

But that just misses the point I was making. I was asking, what is it that Obama supporters can't stand about his criticism? As I said, it's precisely the authority he projects that makes it so hard for them. His criticism carries real weight -- unlike the other chowderheads who occupy the columnist positions at the Times and elsewhere.

Krugman's criticism has the effect of making sensible people think twice about what's going on with Obama vs Hillary. And Obama supporters desperately don't want people to think twice.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

That's why they call us cultists when we are just following our heart by listening to Obama's preachings and doing the morally right thing.

I'm hoping this is parody, Al.

But I wonder if it isn't instead a poorly censored truth emerging raw from your "heart".

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Absolutley correct LynnDee. The problem with Krugman is he doesn't feell Obama's inspiration like we followers of Obama do. That's why they call us cultists when we are just following our heart by listening to Obama's preachings and doing the morally right thing.

And Krugman doesn't have to feel the same. All I really want to point out is that what Krugman is doing -- for all his intellectual firepower -- is accusing those who support of Obama of being cult members as if that's the only possible reason for supporting Obama.

Pretty lame, if you ask me.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I was asking, what is it that Obama supporters can't stand about his criticism?

Speaking for myself, I don't feel like I "can't stand" what Krugman is saying. I simply disagree with him and am pointing out what I believe he's doing.

Is that a problem?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

LynDee,

Maybe you should ask yourself the question: what would a personality cult look like? Do Obama supporters in aggregate look like they resemble that model?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a personality cult, I should think.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe you should ask yourself the question: what would a cranky old people look like? Do Clinton supporters in aggregate look like they resemble that model?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a personality cult, I should think.

It's all just stick and stones......

Posted by: Quinn on February 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Why does Katie Couric still have a job?" I often wonder that too. I'm an Obama cultist but I do feel sympathy for anyone subjected to Couric's so-called interviews.

Posted by: MarvyT on February 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

koreyel: Obama does not represent change. Obama represents the same old crap.

A candidate whose past record, character, self absorption, conceit, lack of experience, accomplishments, especially accomplishments that show a concern for others is overlooked and his meaningless rhetoric is characterized as inspirational.

This is the same old crap we got from W.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking for myself, I don't feel like I "can't stand" what Krugman is saying. I simply disagree with him and am pointing out what I believe he's doing.

Go to blogs elsewhere, or, for that matter, even here, and you will find any number of examples of people who have found one way or another to demonize Krugman over his column. Why pretend otherwise?

When Krugman claims that there's a personality cult going for Obama, why does that in any way imply that every Obama supporter supports Obama because they're part of a personality cult? Isn't it sufficient that a very large, and very active segment of Obama's support buys into a personality cult? How is your using yourself as a counterexample refute that point?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Do Obama supporters in aggregate look like they resemble that model?

Oh please. You're talking about who -- ? The Obama supporters that you've elected to look at as if they're the aggregate of his support?

That's a completely bogus test you've set up. Surely you know that.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

corpus: Good for you. You shouldn't vote for anybody who is unable to connect with you.

It's not that he hasn't been able to "connect" with me. On the contrary, he's been landing blow after blow.

Posted by: mm on February 11, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Go to blogs elsewhere, or, for that matter, even here, and you will find any number of examples of people who have found one way or another to demonize Krugman over his column. Why pretend otherwise?

I've seen overzealous people on both sides. And I've seen thoughtful, reasoned comments from both sides. And I've noticed that whenever a candidate seems to be in the ascendancy -- whether Clinton or Obama -- the "magnanimity quotient" goes up for that candidate's supporters and down for the other (however temporarily).

You know, it really doesn't speak well for your candidate that some of you have chosen to plant your flag here -- on the supposed cultishness of the other side.

You need to find another hill to plant your flag on. (Oops! No pun intended.) But seriously. Get a better argument for your candidate. They're out there.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

When LBJ was asked a question he didn't like, he responded with "Why are you asking me, the leader of the Western world, a chicken-shit question like that?"

I wish Hillary had said something similar to Katie Couric.

Posted by: Auto on February 11, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0, I think your point was that Mr. Krugman was being demonized so I was trying to help you along by demonizing him by showing my disagreement...

I do think to some extent supporters of Mr. Obama and of Ms. Clinton are coming at this from quite different frames. A second or a third look is not going to help this talking past each other. For my part I think George Lakoff's description a good one. But again, I don't see this desperation on the part of Mr. Obama's supporters re. people thinking twice (which I presume would go two ways). I just don't. I do see some signs of desperation on the part of those who presumed that Ms. Clinton's coronation was a given and are now seeing those presumptions challenged. But whoever does emerge victorious in the end will be much stronger for having gone through this process and if it's Mr. Obama, criticisms offered by you and others will have been all be to the good because he will surely have to answer to much worse in the general.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0,

As much as I don't want to agree with you, I must say that Krugman's intense criticism of Obama does in fact make me think twice. I have so appreciated and agreed with Krugman's opinions during the Bush reign that I find it very strange to be on the opposite side of him now. I think there has to be something going on here that doesn't meet the eye. I haven't read his anti-Obama columns in the past few months, so I personally don't have a feel for how anti-Obama they are. Does Krugman endorse Clinton clearly and what are his salient points? (I've heard about his support for healthcare mandates, but that's hardly an defining issue, even for an economist.)

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

LynnDee,

Look, how would one really establish that there's a personality cult involved with Obama? Of course, the only truly correct way of doing that is to come up with some objective test of what would be evidence for such a phenomenon, and then perform some kind of empirical test to see if the chosen criteria are satisfied.

Problem is, it's very hard to set up such tests and carry through with them. But does that mean that there are no personality cults if we lack such proof that they are, indeed, personality cults? Of course not. Absent a "scientific" basis, people can very reasonably make such inferences based on general observation. I think what Krugman is asking is for people to look around at what various supporters of the candidates say and do, and assess whether the claim that the Obama supporters are often into a personality cult is a fair one, making the appropriate, if imperfect, inductive inference.

And at least there is one pretty clear index that something is up with Obama: the already empirically demonstrated fact that Obama's press is vastly less critical than is Clinton's, or any other candidate. Not sufficient unto itself to prove a personality cult, but very suggestive basic evidence.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama supporter, and there's nothing cultish about my support. So why not take me and people like me as the defining aggregate of Obama supporters? It wouldn't be because that wouldn't support your argument, would it?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

And at least there is one pretty clear index that something is up with Obama: the already empirically demonstrated fact that Obama's press is vastly less critical than is Clinton's, or any other candidate. Not sufficient unto itself to prove a personality cult, but very suggestive basic evidence.

You're doing the same thing here Krugman is doing in his column: You're conflating Obama's support among voters, which you characterize as "cultish," with antipathy toward the Clintons by a portion of the media. They are not the same thing.

How does it help your candidate to put forth such a lame argument? It's not at all clear to me that this serves her in any way.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Critics of Krugman - check out his blog (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/statistical-comparison/) where he points out the anti-Clinton Pro-Obama columnists are running far more anti-Hillary columns than he has anti-Obama.

This also ignores the fact he has repeatedly said if Obama wins the nomination he will support Obama in November, and that he sees the differences in positions between Clinton/Obama as actually extrememly small.

His biggest gripe about Obama has Obama's use of GOP talking points to scare people on Social Security (needlessly), or to pretend his healthcare proposal will cover all American's uninsured (something I saw on one of his TV ads myself last night), or this from Time Magazine:
"
"Obama likened Clintons health care mandate proposal to eliminating homelessness by requiring everyone buy a house."

The Clinton plan does every bit as much to ensure affordability as the Obama plan. This is just grotesque.
"
In fact, as Krugman points out, MIT healthcare economist Jonathan Gruber (unaffiliated to any campaign or party) has analyzed the various proposals, and concludes Obama's plan will leave 24 million Americans with no healthcare insurance, and will cost $4,400 per person for the 23 million he'll cover. Meanwhile, Gruber concludes Hillary's plan with mandates (which Obama attacks like a Republican) will cover 45 of the 47 million uninsured, and will do so at a cost of $2,700 per person!

As to the comments on Obama's supporters. I too note where I work (in Nebraska), his supporters become very upset when I say I prefer Hillary, while Hillary supporters always make very clear, we'd have no problem voting for either in preference to the GOP choices. And both Krugman and (can't remember) either Atrios or TalkingPointsmemo have noted a recent rise in the number of media pundits (even in the so-called "liberal" media) who are referring to Obama's supporters as "cult like".

Posted by: Zoomie on February 11, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

I must admit that this very long thread has completely changed my mind.

I recognize now that not only is Krugman shrill, but he always has been and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

As much as I don't want to agree with you, I must say that Krugman's intense criticism of Obama does in fact make me think twice.

Oh, no one wants to agree with me anymore! You all simply can't comprehend what suffering it visits on one's heart to be a martyr despised for telling the truth! I must wipe the tears from eyes, stifle my cries of anguish, and content myself with the knowledge that my soul is pure and my thinking is perfect.

Or not.

Anyway, to address your points, I think it's really a major mistake to ask yourself the question, what "really" lies behind Krugman's problem with Obama. For God's sake, really, the man has been crystal clear about what he doesn't like. He doesn't like Obama's approach to politics, kumbayah singing prominent among them -- he thinks that's dangerously naive. He doesn't like Obama's health care plan, because it won't achieve universal health care. He especially doesn't like Obama's use of Republican talking points to criticize those health care plans that have a hope of achieving universality -- or Obama's use of other Republican talking points. He doesn't like the Obama personality cult, and the venom they use, as he says in his most recent column.

Asking why Krugman "really" doesn't like Obama after all this is like asking the question, "Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how'd you like the play?"

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else noticed that the only thing Clinton supporters say anymore are attacks on Obama's charisma? The nostalgia for the cool reasoning of a Bob Shrum-advised candidate is palpable--but they get to live it one more time with a Mark Penn-advised candidate. This is the sum of their argument: Obama is too popular and I don't see any good reason for it. When confronted about specific issues where Hillary has folded to pressure: crickets. When asked why it's OK to have a union-buster as chief political advisor: crickets. Is waterboarding OK?: crickets. And so on. But Obama supporters (who outnumber Hillary supporters in the election so far) are the "cultists."

Well, Obama's going to do you all a favor--his going to give your adored loser of a candidate the loss you so deeply crave. And you won't even have to wait until November. Obama is what a genuinely popular Democrat looks like. It's too bad that galls you so much.

Posted by: calling all toasters on February 11, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

This also ignores the fact he has repeatedly said if Obama wins the nomination he will support Obama in November, and that he sees the differences in positions between Clinton/Obama as actually extrememly small.

Are you saying, since Krugman says their policy differences are small and he'll vote for Obama if he's the candidate, that that means those of us who disagree with him can't say so?! Surely not...

His biggest gripe about Obama has Obama's use of GOP talking points to scare people on Social Security (needlessly), or to pretend his healthcare proposal will cover all American's uninsured (something I saw on one of his TV ads myself last night), ...

Both sides have demagogued the issue a bit in roughly the same amount, near as I can tell. Hillary has said -- and just the other day in Virginia, in fact -- that Obama has "given up" on universal health care, and that's not true either.

But notice that we're now talking about policy differences, and about whether Hillary's "mandate" is better or worse than Obama's "penalty for gaming the system." What happened to the cult argument? Kinda disappears when you get into the weeds of policy distinctions, doesn't it?

And FWIW, I tend to support mandates, but I'm not sure what difference it makes at this point. This is a campaign.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

LynnDee,

I agree. All political candidates inspire emotionalism. In this election there is clearly one candidate who attracts an emotional response by his speeches and persona greater than that of the other candidate. Here on Kevin's site, I think it's quite clear that those who support Obama do so rationally, despite being extremely enthusiastic at the same time. Whether the average person outside of blog world makes rational decisions about candidates, without being swayed by preconceptions or emotional factors is more debateable. But I see that as a liability for either side and a natural response to competition in any arena. The same people who describe Obama supporters as cultists are probably among the people whose days (or weeks) are ruined when their favorite football team loses and vice versa. Competition simply breeds emotion in partisans on all sides.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

I recognize now that not only is Krugman shrill, but he always has been and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Yawn. Nobody's mind gets changed by this stuff. Surely you know that.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Just want to point out that if this thread starts dying out, the same disclaiming of Mr. Shrillarity is occurring over at Salon:

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2008/02/11/krugman/index.html


Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Emotion buttressed by reason is not bad. Emotion that squashes critical thinking and reason is dangerous.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

My mind was changed by this stuff. Primarily by your salient responses. But now I have to rethink this, because now you are attacking me, and telling me my mind wasn't changed! Who are you?

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0 calling people who support your political opponent members of a personality cult without objective evidence is to insult your opponent and his supporters. You are hoping to gain political advantage with the insult. In addition to being a stupid method of persuasion, insulting your opponents it bespeaks a kind of desperation that is utterly a typical of you.

Perhaps if you tried advancing solid reasons for others to support Hillary Clinton you would be more persuasive.

There is nothing wrong with a politician being inspirational.

Let me give you a clue, most of the millions of Obama supporters haven't been through any serious kind of cult orientation. Many are just sick to death of the little people running America. We want bold change.

I have to go now. I need to talk to another poor soul who can no longer afford to live in George Bush's America and is going bankrupt.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 11, 2008 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

I adore Paul Krugman, and I take his criticisms of Obama seriously. The problem for me is that HRC is not a viable alternative. Elect Clinton, and we get baggage, more of what we have had for the past 15 years with, maybe, a health care plan that would be almost identical to Obama's. Or we can elect John McCain and get more of what we have had for the past 15 years plus more war, less torture and no health care.

Obama is the only candidate remaining in the race that offers a different path out of the mess we are in, so, as far as I am concerned, it's "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." The difference between Krugman's assessment and mine is that he believes the toxic political climate that we have had for the past 15 years is going to continue regardless of the candidate, and I don't. I believe that Obama is reframing the question and that the virulent conservative movement willl lose its steam. That belief is not a cult of personality. It may be, like romantic love, a triumph of hope over experience.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 11, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Bottom line - unifying politicians tend to get good press - e.g., Reagan -teflon man. While divisive politicians tend to get dumped on - See Bush - no matter what they do. Bill Clinton was not a unifying politician and neither is Hillary. If you want eight years of listening to the media pick her apart because she can't unify the country -then vote for her.

Posted by: C.B. on February 11, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps if you tried advancing solid reasons for others to support Hillary Clinton you would be more persuasive."

Based on his posts here, I don't believe he's really pro-Clinton. Rather, he's obsessively (and irrationally) anti-Obama, and has been for months. His posts have been rather amusing in their hyperbole.

Posted by: PaulB on February 11, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

"Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how'd you like the play?"

Frankly0,

I expressly told you that I haven't read Krugman's pieces that have been critical of Obama. I have been able to pick up from general conversation that Krugman had a problem with Obama's healthcare plan, particularly in regard to mandates. Does Krugman have any general criticism of both plans, since neither are universal single-payer plans? Have you or Krugman read about the horrible mess of the mandated plan in MA? Did you hear Clinton say that a possible option for enforcing the mandate in her plan would be to 'garnish' wages? On to Krugman's second (and only other?) criticism: cult-like aspects of Obama's supporters. That's just politically naive. It's a talent that the greatest leaders in the world have had, both the good and the bad leaders unfortunately, but there's nothing in the talent or its result that is intrinsically 'bad.'

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the word 'cult' is loaded, so why not leave the word out of the dialogue for a moment?

Instead, try this:

Let Clinton supporters list the qualities about HER that most disturb/annoy/frustrate them.

Let Obama supporters do the same about HIM.

In other words (just to be absolutely clear), supporters can list the flaws they deplore only in their OWN candidate.

And let's see which list is longer, and which list is serious, and which list is honest.

Posted by: Mezzanotte on February 11, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"The difference between Krugman's assessment and mine is that he believes the toxic political climate that we have had for the past 15 years is going to continue regardless of the candidate, and I don't."

I'm going to have to side with Krugman on this one, but obviously that's just a personal opinion and not one I can support with any real data. I don't see that as a reason to refuse to support Obama, though, mostly because I'm fairly cynical about what any of the candidates say during the campaign.

Posted by: PaulB on February 11, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

We all want bold change. Bold change from Bush is someone who does the hard work, the heavy lifting, shows up for committee hearings, doesn't skip out on votes, has undertaken tough fights like healthcare. When it comes to change, Hillary represents real change, Obama represents chump change.

As some Boston pol put it we need a work-horse not a show-horse. We don't need another strutter who likes the limelight and has an imperial disdain for hard work and words with meaning.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I heard, but don't have verification, that the candidates were allowed to their interviewer on 60 minutes. Can anyone confirm this?

If so, then Senator Clinton made a mistake chosing Katie.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on February 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta,

I can't speak for others, but it's really not a question of partisan emotion for me. I voted for Hillary, but I've been pleased with Obama winning, and I would like to see one of the candidates (and it looks like him) start to pull away and make for a smoother nominating process. (What has happened to this point has been great, but no one wants to see a brokered convention.)

My issue is that the popular enthusiasm for Obama's campaign-the enthusiasm that separates him from another candidate with similar positions and similar if not superior qualifications-is a synthesis of celebrity worship, of religious conversion and of slick advertising, all things that I find not only charmless, but offensive. You can hold up the Christian flier in one hand and that Gap commercial turned political "inspiration" video floating around on Youtube in the other and you have the root of why there is some distrust of the gushing enthusiasm for Obama.

And I would add that it's not very becoming for people to be trashing Krugman on the basis of his (largely substantive) critiques of Obama's policy positions. Krugman is as intelligent and steadfast a liberal voice as there is in the mainstream media today. It doesn't mean that he's always right, but he's always worth taking seriously, and the histrionics don't suggest serious treatment.

Posted by: Sean on February 11, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. I didn't mention what the talent 'was' in my comment at 11:59. As most of you probably took for granted, Obama's talent is the ability to inspire and enthuse many people.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Right Chrissy - Obama doesn't know what hard work is. He was raised by a single mother and grandparents and went to Columbia and was President of the Harvard Law Review - but he didn't work for that it was handled to him. He was an enormously effective community organizer in Chicago but we know what a diletante town that is he slept late every day and rarely went to a meeting - is that what you think?

To compare Obama to Bush is a real laugh. Bush never worked a day in his life until 9/11.

Everything is work work work - "hard work" for Hillary because she has very limited vision and real expertise at bringing people together - but that somehow will make her a better President?

Posted by: C.B. on February 11, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

My mind was changed by this stuff. Primarily by your salient responses. But now I have to rethink this, because now you are attacking me, and telling me my mind wasn't changed! Who are you?

Gosh. Why would I do such a thing? (Although of course "attack" is a bit hysterical, don't you think?)

Think maybe it was the part where you said you were also convinced that Iraq had WMD?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

When it comes to change, Hillary represents real change, Obama represents chump change.

Is this one of those substantive arguments we've come to expect from Clinton supporters?!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

LynnDee, are you new to teh Intart00bs? If so, let me welcome you and assure you years of entertainment.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Oh jeez, I apologize profusely, I just checked your email address and didn't realize.... I feel like a real jerk now. :(

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jerry, No I'm not new to teh internets, although I don't often post here.

And... are you talking to me with the email address comment? If so, do I know you? Or are you concluding something else?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry LynnDee, no we don't know each other. To be honest, it's been years since I've been able to crack an AOLuser joke, and I thank you for the nostalgia kick.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

(What I wrote in the "I've changed my mind" post and since then was supposed to be identifiable as dry and sarcastic. No doubt I was not successful, that happens a lot -- I have a lot of work I need to do.)

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

C.B., please list all of Obama hard work that wasn't part-time. What exactly did he accomplish that was original or significant. Co-sponsoring or signing someone else's bill is not significant. What exactly did Obama organize in his community? This nebulous claim of "brilliant community organizer" is bull.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

An AOL user joke? AOL doesn't have any actual users anymore? This can only be a joke? And what kind of joke could I be? Obviously there's someone sitting at this terminal, typing this stuff in. What are you suggesting? That I don't believe what I'm saying? That I'm some life form different from other posters here and therefore have an unfair advantage? That I'm a plant from the Obama campaign?

You know, your ongoing efforts to find an explanation for my posts -- including now, apparently, to "sleuth me out" -- are certainly interesting. But I suppose you find that easier than actually responding with substance?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of cults, this is what some people hear when Obama supporters swoon over his speeches:

Ted Rall cartoon

Posted by: emmarose on February 11, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, it looks like frankly0 has derailed yet another thread with his insatiable curiosity about the Obama phenom. "Gee whiz, what doesn't make you guys members of a personality cult?"

Oh, we're not cultists! Oh, we respect Paul Krugman! Oh, I will vote for Hillary if she gets the nom!

For anyone weary of the frankly0 show and for answers to ad hom champ Chrissy's 12:38 (which needless to say was posed in the spirit of disinterested intellectual inquiry), Matthew Yglesias's post "Obama and the Details" and the ensuing commentary are informative.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, now I see that Kevin has posted, skeptically, about this MY thread.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

please list all of Obama hard work that wasn't part-time

Oh I see. Because an Illinois senator is part-time, that means Obama was sitting around playing poker between votes? And does Illinois have some rudimentary form of government that makes the job of being a senator less, somehow, than that of other states?

And what exactly was Clinton doing? She taught at a law school (not sure what subject). Obama taught constitutional law at the same law school Cass Sunstein teaches at. She worked for a law firm. Obama did too.

Indisputably, Obama is 16 years younger than Clinton and will therefore have less experience. And of course, Clinton was also first lady in both Arkansas and D.C. I don't know what exactly she did in Arkansas as first lady, but Obama has stated, without qualification, that she did some "heavy lifting" as first lady during the Clinton years.

You know, for all this disparagement of Obama supporters as cultists, what I'm hearing here is simply unhappiness on the part of Clinton supporters. And I understand that. But I'm not hearing any real support for your so-called arguments.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"I voted for Hillary, but I've been pleased with Obama winning.."

Sean,

That's wonderful (I guess) that you can stay above the partisan fray within the Dem party. You must be one of the few people on this site that have accomplished that. I think I have managed it in previous primary battles, but not this one. At the same time, I try to respond politely and as rationally as I can when debating with those who support Clinton, certainly a different POV than I would have with a Bush or McCain supporter.

"candidate with similar positions and similar if not superior qualifications"

I'm not willing to concede to this description of the candidates, although it is partially true. But in addition, I hear Obama saying that his administration would lean in a more progressive direction. Obama realistically can't campaign on a Kucinich platform and win. But my 'hunch,' which I admit isn't easy for me to prove, is that an Obama administration would be far more liberal than a Clinton administration.

Advertising is advertising. All political candidates do the best they can, whether using 'slick' or 'fear' or 'likeability' or whatever, to attract voters. It's just the way it is.

Krugman. No way would I trash Krugman. I just don't 'get him' in this particular instance. I have to get around to reading his columns dealing with criticism of Obama and then perhaps I will have something legitimate to say about his views.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Now, I know it's small of me, but since so many Obama supporters have criticized Hillary for taking on accents of the regions which she is targeting at a given moment, I wonder if I might ask how Obama has come by his current accent, which, in Virginia, at least sounds rather Southern to my ear -- in fact, rather as if it might be mimicking Jesse Jackson's (who was raised in SC), if that comparison is allowed anymore.

The guy was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia (mostly Hawaii, in the ages when accents mostly take hold), went to college in LA and at Columbia, then law school at Harvard.

Question: how does a guy with that sort of background come to develop naturally the accent he now uses?

Anyone? Maybe Donald from Hawaii could remark on how authentically Hawaiian Obama's accent is?

Again, I want everybody to know that I'm very aware of how horrible it is of me to raise this issue, and I am very ashamed of myself for doing so.

But, any answers?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Here's Yglesias on Obama's big achievements:

"He successfully authored and passed legislation and impressed a lot of Illinois progressives. Nor is the University of Chicago Law School in the habit of handing out teaching positions to dullards"

As our eloquent Justice Thomas puts it: whoopdeedamndoo.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Now, I know it's small of me, but since so many Obama supporters have criticized Hillary for taking on accents of the regions which she is targeting at a given moment

So many??!! Now this has just gotten silly. I hear very little of that from Obama supporters. None, in fact, although there may be a comment or two in immediate response to a speech.

And again -- are we confusing supporters with pundits with the campaign spokespersons? Do these distinctions even matter anymore?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Cass Sunstein is no slouch, and neither is Laurence Tribe of Harvard.

This is getting progressively sillier -- and not to your candidate's benefit, might I point out.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on February 11, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

@ franklyzero & prissy:

Don't you folks ever make a run to the drugstore to replenish your supply of Virginia Slims?

Yeeesh... but you are chauvinistic thread pigs.

Posted by: frankly wearied.... on February 11, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman's criticisms of Obama on Social Security and health mandates have been substantive and, I think, largely justified. Having weighed them carefully, I still support Obama over Clinton for a variety of reasons, but I certainly respect his views.

However, this column was little more than an opportunity to vent some spleen over the harsh emails he's been getting since he stepped up his criticisms. So of course "most of the venom" he sees is from Obama supporters; if he'd been criticizing Clinton, "most of the venom" would have been from her supporters. Neither is evidence of cultism.

Posted by: Patrick on February 11, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Kevin, New Mexico has 26 pledged delegates, not 25. CNN has held off on awarding that last delegate because it depends upon the outcome of the at-large race.

Presuming the current 13-12 score is accurate, the state pledged delegate race will finish either 14-12 Clinton or 13-13 tied.

Posted by: Rieux on February 11, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I would never belong to a cult that would have me as a member.

Further, I gulp my latte with macho reckless abandon.

Yes, I voted for Obama here in California, after much back and forth (though mostly between Edwards, Obama and Kucinich). I certainly don't look at my support for him for anything more then it is -- a guess that he would be better for the country. That's right -- a guess. I am not enamored with all-things-Obama, and my wife and I are in a continual state of eye rolling at every “cult” reference. They have all got baggage, and I have misgivings about anyone being able to lead us out of this disaster that is eight years of Bush. But I sure as shit will vote for Hillary if she ends up securing the nomination. All this back and forth noise is going to make my head explode.

As for Katie Couric, apparently my ignoring her has not made her go away. What a vacuous mind.

Posted by: E Henry Thripshaw on February 11, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh*

You want to know are the things that have started to convince me there is a cult of personality around Obama? It was when I started seeing his supporters place his victory above the win in the GE (keep in mind this is from all the various venues I have been visiting over the last couple of months, not so much here as I have noted before) by saying they won't support HRC if she wins, and casting any criticism and critics of Obama as either secret Clintonites or some kind of racists because they don't want to see a black man win. When I saw them being hypersensitive to any possible hidden racist code words in anything Clinton and her campaign said while ignoring completely anything that can be reasonably taken as sexist that their own candidate and his campaign said (That he is running against Bill Clinton as much as her implying she cannot stand on her own in the WH without him, HRC's foreign policy experience based on tea party, claws out, tears for Katrina victims after NH, etc) and worse, insisting that the media be sanctioned if they dared go to the race well while simultaneously staying silent about the rampant sexist MSM commentary about HRC because it helped their side. That one was a bad sign for me personally, as I take racism and sexism to be equally offensive and equally deserving of being called out for what it is regardless of the target.

When I see the Clinton campaign I see a campaign that is a balanced mix of emotions and reason, when I look at the Obama campaign, especially in terms of the speeches I see a dangerously imbalanced mix of predominantly charged/high emotional states with little substance in the mix (which is not saying he has none nor has offered nothing, just that it is clearly not the primary focus for his campaign nor of most of his supporters that I have seen) and a word I've seen from some Clinton supporters fits it very well to me, hopeium.

I also have this problem with the Obama supporters that fail to see that their own side has played equally hard ball and in particular was the first campaign to make systemic use of the race card (as opposed to isolated reps from each side, for me it matters when it is the campaign running with it as opposed to supporters and isolated members who are disciplined as was the "shuck and jive" speaker for their comments not to mention the Obama campaign writing the SC memo arguing the Clintons were race baiting when on examination that vast majority of those statements clearly were being twisted into such meanings) with the MLK/LBJ, Fairy Tale comments being twisted into racial slurs despite that clearly being a major stretch in the former's case and totally unsupportable in the latter (unless one wants to read it so for other reasons) and then ,JJ jr's tears for Katrina comment and Bradley Effect explanations’ for Obama's NH loss despite there being zero evidence to support the Bradley effect explanation right from the outset since his support didn't drop from where he was polling, it was her support only that was wrong, in her case underread, the polls got Obama's percentage support on target in the final results.

Yet it was assumed that Obama would never go there because it would hurt his candidacy, yet when I look at the demographics of all the votes in so far if he was not taking the 80+ range of the AA vote (which turning the Clintons into some kind of race baiters clearly has aided in although is not the only explanation for his high support but also clearly is a component) he would not be in this close a race with her. So it was in his interests, especially after the NH loss to have a big win in SC, and having the Clinton camp seen as race baiters would help with that, yet that was according to every Obama supporter I saw challenged with that impossible, only the Clintons are that kind of manipulative politicians, Obama is post-partisans and race.

It is the inability of the Obama supporters to see that one can be deathly afraid Obama is a paper tiger candidate for the GE without being Clinton supporters, and their ability to know the minds of everyone that opposes them and to know the worst possible explanation is always the right one where a Obama critic and a Clinton and Clinton supporter are concerned (and one can be an Obama critic without automatically being a Clinton supporter despite the presumption of such by many to most Obama supporters). It is their belief that the Clinton's have run a vicious campaign against Obama when objectively compared to every campaign both Clintons have run in their lives this has been the least aggressive they have been against their opponent. It is this notion that Obama is clearly more able to win in the fall because he polls better now against McCain than Clinton, this despite she has faced a decade and a half of demonization while he has yet to have one negative ad campaign run against him ever, which means no one can know for sure how effective or not such a campaign would be until it is too late to make a difference, which is why I say he is unvetted. It is the inability of many Obama supporters to recognize that their guy is getting a free ride in the media and Clinton is getting the opposite that is helping create this "wave of support" for him, and what happens when that media favourability inevitably turns against him?

I'm not saying everyone involved in supporting Obama is a part of a cult of personality, but that is clearly a significant element of his support nonetheless. Those that go for him because of how he makes them feel, not because of what he makes them think about, those that are voting for him solely based on faith and emotion and not with facts about him and what he will do AND HOW HE WILL DO IT beyond inspiring it. Those are the people I see as being the cult of personality component. If he was getting an equally rough time from the media as Clinton and doing this well then I would not be so worried about all of this, but he isn't. Like PaulB at 12:02 PM I agree with Krugman that the toxic political climate that we have had for the past 15 years is going to continue regardless of the candidate, and what I have not seen is how well Obama can fare in that context/environment and I see nothing in his background to show this either.

I made the mistake of accepting the electability argument in 2004 with Kerry; I refuse to make that mistake again. If the GOP had put up anyone other than McCain I might not be so worried, but while he has his own base troubles he is also the only GOPer that I could see ever had a chance of winning in the GE this year. Unlike some people I do not think it is a lock/given that the Dems will win this fall, although I agree it is a reasonable probability, but I have seen too many political campaigns be turned on a unforeseen incident to ever assume such victory is inevitable, even with the turnouts I have been seeing on the Dem side.

So I continue to be one of the few voices here critical of Obama, and like Krugman I call them as I see them whether it is the popular view or not. The thing is I do understand Obama's appeal, I really do, but I do not believe he is anywhere near as easy a winner in the GE as his fans do, nor do I think Clinton is anywhere near as unelectable as his supporters do. I think it speaks volumes about some of the Obama supporters that they attack the messenger at least as much as the message in Krugman's case and in the case of many that are critical of Obama. So yes, I do think there is way too much similarity between a cult of personality and the Obama campaign, in no small part because of that campaign's own actions as in training coordinators to focus on the conversion feeling to sell the candidate, to me that is no different than born agains selling the feelings of joy conversion to the faith brings, and that makes me extremely wary. Strong emotions are easier to manipulate people with, that is why doing so is something to watch out for in ALL political leaders no matter who they are and what they say.

If I saw the same in the Clinton camp I would be equally critical of it, but I don't. On their side I do see an over reliance on the premise that Obama is an empty suit, that I don't agree with, unseasoned yes empty no. What makes Clinton and Obama fundamentally different is that we know Clinton can survive and win against the GOP attack machine, she did it in 2000 in NY (and they did NOT want her winning, anyone that thinks the 2000 was a gimme for her wasn't watching closely back then) but Obama is untested, which was why I wanted to see a much more aggressive vetting by the media (which they are supposed to do with all politicians regardless of their own preferences, at least an honest media is supposed to) as well as by the other candidates, but the Obama campaign cast such criticisms is racial terms (MLK/LBJ and Fairy Tale being two excellent examples) making it near impossible for the Clinton campaign to do so without hurting them more than helping, something that is a useful defence against a fellow Dem for Obama but not against the GOP in the GE.

As for those complaining about my "screeds", if you don't like what I'm saying then don't read them, because I am not stopping and I refuse to respond to any further attacks that presume upon my motivations, I have said what they are several times and I am very tired of having people tell me why I am doing something as if they know better than I do. If I did not see these dangerous flaws in Obama's candidacy for the GE I wouldn't do this, my sole partisanship is that the Dem wins in Nov this year, nothing else. As I have said from the outset, and as I also said from the outset I see Obama as the less examined, less tested and therefore more vulnerable candidate to defeat because of it. That along with the fact that Clinton's weaknesses are being dissected everywhere including the comment threads here while Obama's were getting little notice is why he gets the focus of my attention.

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The "Miss Frigidaire" crack was typical of why some reporters don't merit air time. What will it take for HRC to set these idiots straight with a good come-back? At least "Katie" didn't flash us her legs all through the interview.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on February 11, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

When I see the Clinton campaign I see a campaign that is a balanced mix of emotions and reason, when I look at the Obama campaign, especially in terms of the speeches I see a dangerously imbalanced mix of predominantly charged/high emotional states with little substance in the mix (which is not saying he has none nor has offered nothing, just that it is clearly not the primary focus for his campaign nor of most of his supporters that I have seen) and a word I've seen from some Clinton supporters fits it very well to me, hopeium.

Hopium. Cute. And I disagree. I can also tell from this paragraph that, although your post is quite long and shows excellent word choices and grammatical skills, there's probably not much point in reading it. I wouldn't call it a "screed" (as you mention at one point), just a long-winded effort to sound objective and substantive when really all you have to say is: "I like Hillary and I think Obama supporters have the wrong fuel-to-air mix.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"...just a long-winded effort to sound objective and substantive when really all you have to say is: "I like Hillary and I think Obama supporters have the wrong fuel-to-air mix."
Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 2:03 PM


Ah, so you are telepathic and know better than I do what I am saying and why I am saying it. If you HAD bothered to read my comment you would have noted that this is one of the traits within many Obama supporters that I find more than a little troubling since it requires treating ASSUMPTION as FACT on your behalf. I don't care WHICH Dem wins so long as they win, I have repeatedly made that point, and repeatedly had people like you tell me that this is not what I really think. Do you not see the arrogance in that along with the willingness to treat his critics as obvious Clinton fans regardless of what the facts may be? If I saw Obama as truly vetted, truly winning this race against a critical media and competitor then I would not worry, because then I would be confident he is ready and prepared for the GOP onslaught. However, that is NOT what I've seen, and that IS something I worry about once he becomes the nominee.

In case it escapes your attention I have no dog in the intra party fight here, my sole concern is the GOP not be allowed to stay in power at the Executive level any longer because it is having majorly negative effects not just for your nation but mine and the rest of the planet. So my concerns aren't partisan, and they ARE objective whether YOU want to believe they are or not, and for you and too many other Obama supporters to presume that anyone that is critical of Obama is automatically a Clinton fan/supporter is the same binary logic of "you are either with us or against us" Bushco and the GOP used to beat down dissenters against the Iraq war. I wonder how you felt when it was applied to you by Bushco, perhaps if you reflect on that you might understand where my irritation of late is coming from.

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Now, I know it's small of me, but since so many Obama supporters have criticized Hillary for taking on accents of the regions which she is targeting at a given moment

This "she's changing her accent!" criticism was always one of the silliest ones out there. Hillary Clinton lived in Arksansas for about twenty years and has been married to a Southerner for thirty plus years. Think there's a chance that, over time, her speech pattern may have developed a little drawl given her constant daily exposure to it?

Posted by: Stefan on February 11, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian, now you're being disingenious. You do have a do in this fight. You obviously prefer HRC to BO. No need to pull this I'm an impartial observer thing again. This has nothing to do with the merits of your comment, but you can't keep saying you're not for one candidate over another.
Whether that makes you a fan of HRC is another issue, but a reasonable person can conclude that you prefer her to BO.

Posted by: GOD on February 11, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

In case it escapes your attention I have no dog in the intra party fight here, my sole concern is the GOP not be allowed to stay in power at the Executive level any longer because it is having majorly negative effects not just for your nation but mine and the rest of the planet. So my concerns aren't partisan, and they ARE objective whether YOU want to believe they are or not, and for you and too many other Obama supporters to presume that anyone that is critical of Obama is automatically a Clinton fan/supporter is the same binary logic of "you are either with us or against us" Bushco and the GOP used to beat down dissenters against the Iraq war. I wonder how you felt when it was applied to you by Bushco, perhaps if you reflect on that you might understand where my irritation of late is coming from.

I'm not an espouser of binary logic. I will vote for Hillary if she's the Democratic candidate. So that kinda puts paid to this, does it not?

But I'm curious: How is it you feel entitled to criticize one side or the other about their criticism of one side or the other?!

Passing strange.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

As an Edwards supporter I can only laugh bitterly as the two Republican Lites, Clinton and Obama, tear the party apart and ensure a McCain victory in November.

The circular firing squad does it again.

Posted by: tam1MI on February 11, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The circular firing squad does it again.

What makes this a circular firing squad? Why isn't it just ... politics?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

::What makes this a circular firing squad? Why isn't it just ... politics?::

Well, tell me, LynnDee, will YOU vote for Hillary Clinton if the superdelegates clinch her nomination for her - you know, according to the (FUBARED but operative) rules?

In your answer lies my case (or lack thereof ;) ).

Posted by: tam1MI on February 11, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK
....Get out of your bubble, Mr. Krugman....LynnDee at 2:28 AM
Perhaps you need to re-read the article. He said: "I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality." That is, ipso facto, referring to other statements and hence, no bubble.
... I will refrain from calling Obama supporters jackbooted zombies even though they do support a candidate who doesn't include mandates in his health care plan...... Lucy at 8:15 AM
This over-the-top statement implies that you would be one of the ultimate exemplars. Note his statement: "I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality," in fact says it isn't.
Perhaps Krugman's most excessive anti-Obama moment was his likening of Obama's "Christian" flyer to the extremes of the evangelical right...Max Power at 5:02 AM
Actually that wasn't Krugman but Glen Greenwald, and there was nothing in the flyer that justifies your interpretation.
I hear Obama saying that his administration would lean in a more progressive direction....But my 'hunch,' ....is that an Obama administration would be far more liberal than a Clinton administration..... nepeta at 12:51 PM
Your ESP is apparently more convincing than a person's actual words or deeds. Obama, despite the ads running in Virginia, will not insure all Americans, using as the reason, the poor. He has said on multiple occasions that doing so would be like making the homeless buy houses. Now, no real progressive would deny coverage to the poor, and providing some form of housing to the homeless is a working progressive plan in some areas, including mine. There are other positions Obama has taken that progressives or liberals may not agree to: I have previous linked to an article that analyzed his much vaunted nuclear bill which was a Obama cave to nuclear industry
.... "Does your husband take vitamins?" meathead republican at 1:17 PM
Bob Dole is the Viagra spokesperson, in case you didn't know it. Why don't you ask Liddy how well it works?
.... this column was little more than an opportunity to vent some spleen over the harsh emails he's been getting .... Patrick at 1:24 PM
And you know this, how? It seems that the ESP abilities of the 'bamabot bourgeoisie permeates the breed.
....How is it you feel entitled to criticize one side or the other about their criticism of one side or the other?!....LynnDee at 3:39 PM
Why should not any interested foreign observer, which is the status he claims, venture an opinion? He has been a commenter, and an astute one, here for years Posted by: Mike on February 11, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

As an Edwards supporter I can only laugh bitterly as the two Republican Lites, Clinton and Obama, tear the party apart and ensure a McCain victory in November. The circular firing squad does it again.

Tearing the party apart? For god's sakes, get over it. This is just participatory democracy, two candidates competing on a level playing field for the same post.

What's the alternative, anyway -- a coronation? The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, holding Excalibur aloft from the bosom of the water to signify by Divine Providence who the Democratic Party nominee will be? Barring strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords in some farcical aquatic ceremony, I'm afraid we have to actually go through, you know, primary elections in order to determine the mandate of the masses.

Posted by: Stefan on February 11, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: "And Hillary can't even organize and win a caucus in Maine?"

I guess that she was too busy winning primary elections on Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Arizona to realize all the hullaballoo that would be made over 2,000 Democrats caucusing in Maine.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 11, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

I guess that she was too busy winning primary elections on Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Arizona to realize all the hullaballoo that would be made over 2,000 Democrats caucusing in Maine.

Oh are caucus delegates different from primary delegates? Inferior in some way? I hadn't realized that.

Alternatively, maybe Hillary thought it'd all be over after Super Tuesday. Dumb mistake. One might be tempted to conclude Obama has run a smarter campaign than Hillary.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why should not any interested foreign observer, which is the status he claims, venture an opinion? He has been a commenter, and an astute one, here for years

My remark had nothing to do with his being a foreigner. Rather, it struck me as silly that he is criticizing Obama supporters for -- what, exactly? Criticizing Hillary. Let me pare that down even further: criticizing others for crticizing others.

And being smug and supercilious whilst launching his broadside was probably a mistake as well. Unless his goal is simply to congratulate himself on his fine job of posting.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, my complaint is that when "Political Animal" and so many other leftwing blogs sound like National Review and so many other right wing blogs by calling Krugman shrill and telling us that Clinton had Vince Foster killed, well my complaint is that we'll no longer hear about the time Arthur Fonzarelli jumped the shark.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, tell me, LynnDee, will YOU vote for Hillary Clinton if the superdelegates clinch her nomination for her - you know, according to the (FUBARED but operative) rules?

Yes. Have you listened to John McCain recently?

Now, that doesn't mean that all Hillary has to do is say at some point: "I'm counting Florida and Michigan. That puts me over. I now claim victory." It ain't over till it's over.

But if she's the nominee? I absolutely will vote for her.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Now, no real progressive would deny coverage to the poor,"

The poor are covered by Medicaid. Obama's concern is with low-income people above the poverty line. Do you happen to know what the costs of Hillary's plan is? Do you happen to know what the amount of the subsidies are per person/family? I don't. Until I get a much clearer picture of what both plans entail I won't support either Obama's or Hillary's plan. And in any case, both plans will be subject to the shenanigans of congress. The health care plan will not appear as fiat. Take a look at the MA mandated healthcare plan right now. It's a complete mess.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Alternatively, maybe Hillary thought it'd all be over after Super Tuesday. Dumb mistake. One might be tempted to conclude Obama has run a smarter campaign than Hillary.

To be fair, I think this strategy has been more one of necessity than choice. There was never any chance for Mr. Obama to win with a knock-out blow. But that he correctly recognized this perhaps says good things about his judgement. And that Ms. Clinton and her advisors perhaps failed to see that this was the strategy that Mr. Obama had to take again raises the sorts of doubts some of us have previously had about her judgement evidenced in things such as her health care reform fiasco in 1992 and her votes re. Iraq and Iran. And again, if Ms. Clinton does eventually become the candidate, I hope that this setting her back on her heels will have done her good; even if her first move is often the wrong one she has shown a strong ability to learn from experience. I just prefer a candidate that I judge to have the better judgement first time round (my judgement quite obviously differing from that of many others).

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

GOD:

Nice putting words into my mouth to suit your preconceptions there. I said that I found Obama to be the far greater risk of LOSING in the GE, which means by definition that HRC is someone I see as less likely (although that is NOT the same as saying she is a guaranteed win, but while her possible high vote mark is lower than Obama's potentials she also has a much higher floor than Obama does, which means among other things is that he is also a greater chance for catastrophic failure at the polls which would I might add impact down ticket as well) to lose given all factors involved. So far I have seen Obama coasting on his reputation as beyond partisanship and a different kind of politician (while his actions show otherwise), the media worshipping of him while tearing at HRC at every chance and a man that barely does better than HRC against McCain before ANY negative ad campaigns have ever been run against him, unlike HRC who has survived constant negative campaigns for a decade and a half. Gee, I can't imagine why I might think Clinton is better prepared and has shown a resilience that Obama has yet to prove he also has when it comes to the GE. So you can take your mind reading act and your inability to recognize that I am far more objective than anyone with an actual horse in this race can be somewhere else since I am not a partisan of anyone beyond wanting a Dem winner in November. How about instead of trying to attack me personally based on your own interpretations of my "true" thinking/motivation here you show me where my arguments lack any merit.

Until then "GOD" I am not going to be bothering with you any more. You have chosen to repeatedly attack my honesty and honour with this line of attack and I am tired of it. I deal in objective realities and inherently distrust rhetoric from all politicians, I compare the rhetoric to the reality wherever possible, and it is by that standard that I find Obama is so open to being easily destroyed in the general election based on the reasons I have repeatedly stated here at PA because of the massive contradictions between image and reality that so far the friendly media has allowed him to skate on. That will not last, but by then it will be too late, and against McCain he will look like a callow youth overly ambitious at a time when serious people are needed. Hopeium is good in small doses in politics, but the levels of it within the Obama campaign is addictive and dangerous and creates illusion. I understand political dynamics very well, and were this another time when things are not as massively screwed up as they are I would be less worried about taking a chance with Obama in the GE, but reality is what it is and all it would take just to use one feasible possibility is one terrorist attack on US soil (not saying it will happen, just using it as one clearly viable possibility and nothing more, and it is not using the "fear smear" to make this point no matter how much some people want to say it is) between his winning the nomination to the GE to totally change the dynamics of this race into something he has little to no credibility in especially against McCain, and the fact that none of you see this possibility speaks volumes for just how much you are letting your emotions/faith/belief carry you past cold hard logic and reason.

LynnDee:

I feel entitled because this is an open board, and I have had a long history here from before the 2004 election. I feel entitled because I am not trying to pretend to be anything other than what I am. I feel entitled because I thought one of the most important principles of those that claim to be progressives/liberals is the value of free speech, especially free political speech. I feel entitled because I don't see you bitching at snicker-snack for her sticking her nose in, oh wait that's right SHE is saying what you WANT to hear about Obama and this campaign instead of being critical about your preferred candidate and the conduct of his supporters. I feel entitled because I live in a nation that has America as our sole neighbour, whose policies inevitably have disproportionate impact on my nation and I am tired of having to put up with the ripple effects of the ongoing GOP disaster. I feel entitled because unlike you the blog operators here have not told me that I can't nor shouldn't, so perhaps you might want to take that attitude of yours and take a good hard look at what it shows about you.

So, while I am being an honest observer and not pretended to be anything I am not you have chosen to act in a most dishonest manner by claiming to know my mind and my "true" meanings better than I do, this despite the fact that I write the lengths that I do in part to make sure people see WHY I think what I do. So deal with it LynnDee, if you and yours cannot withstand my criticisms how do you expect to handle that of the GOP slime machine's?

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, I am not saying I am certain I am correct; I don't deal in such absolutes. What I AM saying is that everything in my life's experiences are telling me that what I am writing about is an accurate depiction of reality. I never assume I can't be wrong, but it takes more than telling me I am or simply don't understand things to do so with, I need hard evidence that supports/shows why the thinking is mistaken, and that is not what I have been getting from almost everyone supporting Obama here that has responded to my comments to date, no instead I have been getting my honesty and honour smeared instead and that only tends to conform my impressions not refute them.

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

I feel entitled because this is an open board, and I have had a long history here from before the 2004 election. I feel entitled because I am not trying to pretend to be anything other than what I am. I feel entitled because I thought one of the most important principles of those that claim to be progressives/liberals is the value of free speech, especially free political speech. I feel entitled because I don't see you bitching at snicker-snack for her sticking her nose in, oh wait that's right SHE is saying what you WANT to hear about Obama and this campaign instead of being critical about your preferred candidate and the conduct of his supporters. I feel entitled because I live in a nation that has America as our sole neighbour, whose policies inevitably have disproportionate impact on my nation and I am tired of having to put up with the ripple effects of the ongoing GOP disaster. I feel entitled because unlike you the blog operators here have not told me that I can't nor shouldn't, so perhaps you might want to take that attitude of yours and take a good hard look at what it shows about you.

For crying out loud! When did I challenge your being here?!

As for my not challenging snicker-snacker or anybody else, I am not the board monitor. Conclude whatever you like about who I respond to and who I don't.

Jeezie peezie. What a fruitcake!

P.S. BTW, you might want to learn to be more succinct. I can't be the only one here who's disinclined to read through a bunch of self-aggrandizing claptrap.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Donald:
I guess that [Clinton] was too busy winning primary elections ... to realize all the hullaballoo that would be made over 2,000 Democrats caucusing in Maine.

Earth to Donald: there were just short of 45,000 Mainers at yesterday's caucus (more than double the number from last cycle), not 2,000. Nice try!

Don't fret--next week, the Obama Trounces Clinton parade will be coming to your home state, too!

Posted by: Rieux on February 11, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hey GOD! Welcome to the club of people scotian is not bothering with anymore.

I finally have GOD on my side.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

::Yes. Have you listened to John McCain recently?

Now, that doesn't mean that all Hillary has to do is say at some point: "I'm counting Florida and Michigan. That puts me over. I now claim victory." It ain't over till it's over.

But if she's the nominee? I absolutely will vote for her.::

Well, then let me say this in the most sincere, non-snarky way I possibly can, LynnDee:

Thank you. Thank you.

You are literally the first Democrat I have come across in weeks who is keeping his/her "eyes on the prize."

I now a feel a tiny bit of hope again... :)

Posted by: tam1MI on February 11, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

I guess that she was too busy winning primary elections on Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and Arizona to realize all the hullaballoo that would be made over 2,000 Democrats caucusing in Maine.

I suspect Maine will have more voters than Hawaii, Donald From Hawaii. ;-)

And Obama's going to get the majority of their votes too. :D

Posted by: Quinn on February 11, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

You are literally the first Democrat I have come across in weeks who is keeping his/her "eyes on the prize."

Really? I'm another one - I will support Clinton or Obama, whichever wins the nomination, unabashedly and wholeheartedly. (This may not be the highest praise -- as people used to say, I'd vote for the Devil himself if he was running against a Republican).

I'm also deliberately not contributing to either one in the primaries because I'm keeping all my money ready to use against the GOP.

Posted by: Stefan on February 11, 2008 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

tam, You are welcome. One thing I find helpful is to realize how many of us use the internet -- to discuss, yes, but also to vent when we're really steamed about something! So, there's probably a higher percentage here of "if that person gets the nomination, I will go into the backyard and eat worms before I vote for him/her!"

Real life's another story though. There's not a Republican out there I would vote for before I voted for a Democrat. There are Republicans I like to varying degrees -- but none that I would vote for President. We need a Democrat in that office or nothing will change.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I see a lot of negative energy here. I'm wondering... would it be better for this community if we punish any abusive posting by simply ignoring it--like treating it as transparent--instead of rewarding it with attention? I understand that often even an ill-mannered posting would contain some substantive point that we want to rebut, but if we're going to lose our cool too then we're only adding more to this already escalating bad feeling among us. So why don't we just sit it out, wait till another, more civilized posting that makes the same point, and then reply to THAT posting instead? If we can all do this, we can talk about real issues without rewarding violence.

Posted by: cs on February 12, 2008 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Obama's concern is with low-income people above the poverty line."

No it is not, otherwise he would have proposed a different plan. Obama's concern is getting Obama elected. One of the reasons he is anti-mandate is because his organization relies heavily on individuals who do not want to subsidize other people's healthcare.

When David Cutler, Obama's healthcare guru, was asked about the Obama plan, he stated their primary concern was lowering costs across the board and any increase in coverage would be a positive side effect.(Interestingly two years before he was arguing the focus of reform should be improving the quality of care rather than on reducing costs) Alas in addition to not being universal the Obama plan doesn't have cost controls and its subsidies are similar to the Clinton plan.

Being primary season, I don't have a problem with commenters spining for their favorite or posting the new talking points. I have grown weary of boosters disingenuously transforming political calculation and policy shortcomings into noble endeavors to help the working poor.

David Cutler in 2005
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/magazine/13HEALTH.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Obama loves the poor too much on February 12, 2008 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK
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