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Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

SHALLOW BARACK?....Matt Yglesias hangs a long post about Barack Obama on this opening sentence:

One anti-Obama meme that I notice has gotten a lot of support even among people sympathetic to his cause is the notion that he's somehow shallow or insufficiently well-versed in policy matters.

I'm confused. Who says this? There are no links in the post, and virtually everything I've ever read about Obama acknowledges that he's scary smart and extremely well briefed.

Now, it's true that Hillary Clinton is often portrayed as a policy wonk and Obama isn't. It's also true that Obama's stump speech is full of soaring rhetoric rather than policy talk. And it's additionally true that Obama is sometimes criticized for his lack of experience on the national stage. But those are different things entirely. Who are these people who think Obama is a policy naif? Let's name some names.

UPDATE: Jon Chait tosses out a name: Time's Mark Halperin. Seems like a little bit of a stretch to me, but judge for yourself. It's #16 on Halperin's list.

Kevin Drum 12:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (244)

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Comments

Hillary Clinton et. al.

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

Who are these people who think Obama is a policy naif? Let's name some names.

You, Hillary Clinton and her campaign, Paul Krugman, Digby, Atrios, Jerome Armstrong, Armando. The list goes on and on.

Posted by: Al on February 11, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Yglesias?

Posted by: Jim Strain on February 11, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Some people say..."

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

"even among people sympathetic to his cause"
I think these are the names Kev wants.

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

as Eric Zorn points out, Charles Krauthammer and Joel Stein have both compared Obama to Chauncey Gardiner in Being There, and the 'empty suit' charge is pretty common in anti-Obama blog posts.

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2008/02/obama-as-garden.html

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

Well, here's an example. I went to one of his L.A. appearances but there wasn't a Q&A session. Maybe for a future appearance I'll be able to engage him on that issue, and get it on videotape. It should be entertaining.

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

As several have already said, Hillary supporters often try to say that Obama can inspire, but lacks substance. It's not a plausible claim no matter how you interpret it, but I've always understood them to be contrasting the fact that Hillary often lapses into a sleep-inducing lecture on some wonkish detail, and Obama doesn't. I think Matt Y heard the same "no substance" claim from Hillary supporters and interpreted it to mean that Obama didn't even understand the issues in any depth.

Posted by: bobb on February 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Here the level of thinking involved:

Clinton = expert on policy
Obama is not Clinton
Therefore, Obama is weak on policy

Or

Candidates without knowledge must resort to soaring rhetoric only
Obama is a powerful speaker who uses soaring rhetoric effectively
Therefore, Obama is without knowledge.

Intelligent, eh?

Posted by: urban legend on February 11, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hey folks, let's assume for a moment that Kevin was serious with his question (big assumption, I know). If you are all going to write in an say HRC et al., then this will be one boring discussion. OF COURSE, the Obama haters think this...duh! What is much more interesting is if some of his supporters are whispering this stuff.

BTW, if you don't think Kevin was serious, talk about Maine. It is much more interesting.

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

Paul Krugman!

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

Wow, are you kidding? Check out any post or comment at the Taylor Marsh or the Larry Johnson websites. If you took your news solely from those blogs, you would gather that Barack was a middle school janitor "on the take."

Posted by: Jacek on February 11, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Rush is going on about it as I write this.

Posted by: smiley on February 11, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen it repeated on CNN often.

Posted by: Steve W. on February 11, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think the take on Obama is that he's quite smart but highly unprepared -- and certainly a policy naif compared to Hillary.

For example, there were major complaints about his lack of preparation in health care policy at an important meeting on that subject early in the campaign. He impressed everyone as clueless.

Of course, he does have advisers, and one can say that that's enough to take him out of the policy naif accusation. The real question is whether it does. The same was famously said of George W Bush, of course, which didn't work out so well.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Who says Obama is shallow. He knows both sides of every issue and is not afraid to straddle both at the same time or be pinned down.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's on MSNBC and CNN all the time.

They media has set up these idiotic "feel good vs. results", "head vs. heart", etc... dichotomies that invariably cast Obama as a performer and not a policy expert, a shallow vehicle for happy feelings.

It's mostly a TV thing.

Posted by: matthewcc on February 11, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I was surprised you even asked this--the "Obama has no substance" meme is so pervasive! The Clinton campaign has pushed this hard, and you consistently hear the news media using as a framing device, as in the Fox news interview when Bush is asked "Do you think the voters know enough about Obama?" and "How has he gotten this far if people don't even know what he stands for?" Bush uses the "clueless" Obama meme to push a slur: that the only foreign policy idea he's heard from Obama is that he will attack Pakistan and "embrace" Ahmadimejad.

Posted by: cnic on February 11, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, are you kidding? Check out any post or comment at the Taylor Marsh or the Larry Johnson websites.

Or comments on your own blog for that matter.

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

There is also a conspiracy theory around that the right side pundits; David Brooks, George Will, and Peggy Noonan, [et al], like Obama 'cause they secretly think he is more easily defeated by McCain. If politics is convoluted, here is the proof.

Posted by: bobbywally on February 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see the Democratic party keeping up its long and honorable tradition of self-destructing at the time of its best opportunity in years.

Posted by: thersites on February 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: For example, there were major complaints about his lack of preparation in health care policy at an important meeting on that subject early in the campaign. He impressed everyone as clueless.

I am interested to know more. Link?

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Who says Obama is shallow. He knows both sides of every issue and is not afraid to straddle both at the same time or be pinned down.

Good grief. Pathetic.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Proof that he's shallow and insufficiently well-versed in policy matters shows up whenever he debates Hillary.

Posted by: zaladonis on February 11, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Is it too hard to understand the concept that someone might be academically quite gifted, and very smart in that sense, but NOT have the experience in key areas to be able to perform well, or to make informed judgments about relevant policy, in certain roles -- such as, for example, the role of the President of the United States?

Assuming this is true of Obama, does that make him shallow, or deep? Or does the distinction just entirely miss the important point?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Definitely Paul Krugman. He says Obama's naive about policy and about dealing with Republicans.

Posted by: Howard on February 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

The answer, wrought with irony, is: This very blog

Is this site now part of the Hillary campaign? If so why not just say so?

Posted by: IA on February 11, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody who has seen Obama in a townhall setting answering tough questions from voters knows he's a tremendous policy wonk, the best we've had since Bill Clinton and quite possibly better.

Posted by: markg8 on February 11, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

For once I would like to see the burden of proof fall on frankly0.

We know you can't stand Obama, so is your position that Hillary Clinton has the experience in key areas to be able to perform well, or to make informed judgments about relevant policy?

If so, make your case.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK
make informed judgments about relevant policy, in certain roles -- such as, for example, the role of the President of the United States?

Sounds like the Con Law professor has the advantage in that particular scenario.

Posted by: kenga on February 11, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The plural of anacdote is not data but at a party last night somebody said: "I think Obama is all style, no substance." So those people are out there.

Posted by: Jacob on February 11, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

I saw David Fedosso of the National Review give Obama a back handed endorsement on C-SPAN Sunday. He said he was not a liberal, but saw no reason liberals should not support Barack.

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

I think it's a shallow generalization.

I figure he has lots of policy ideas. He just doesn't want to stress them until after november.

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

I have several, maybe many friends who have told me that they think Obama is light on specifics. They are generally undecided but moved to some extent by Hillary's experience argument. I suggest that they visit Obama's campaign website where they'll find policies galore. Then they do not do that. Whether they continue to find him not wonkish enough, I don't know.
I do not believe that my friends are hiding another agenda, but that they can't get past the soaring rhetoric from him, so they assign a lower value to it by finding a flaw in his candidacy.

Posted by: briggs on February 11, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans and Hillary camp say this.

Posted by: asdfasdf on February 11, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The irony of Billary now campaigning on the strength of their experience is amusing. Back in the day...when they were from Arkansas and he but the mere governor of a backward southern state...that lack of experience was broadcast as a positive, a fresh outlook from being outside the beltway. Now, after 2 terms in the WH and 2 terms in the Senate, they're campaigning on being 'experienced', seasoned, from inside the beltway...Funny. Whatever shoe fits.

Posted by: zane on February 11, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Most of what voters do know about Obama involves style more than substance...
...But the presidency is obviously about more than inspiration.

USA Today

"Voters will have to judge if living in aforeign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face," Clinton said Tuesday. "I think we need a president with more experience than that, someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to and has confidence in."

MSNBC

Can someone explain Sen. Obama's policies?
I am a registered Rep. but have great respect for Sen. Obama; I have read a few of policies, but was curious as to what ideas/policies that he would implement that you think makes him electable or unelectable. Please, do not be rude to me or others, I am genuinely curious.

Yahoo Answers

Does anyone know specifics of barack obama's policies?
does anyone know specifics of barack obama's policies?
What is his specific policy on the economy? immigrants? etc...
has he said anything specific?

Yahoo Answers

“I don’t have any policies, but if you decide to elect me, I will get some.” Nonetheless, saying just that (maybe not in those words) is Mr Obama’s best bet.

Financial Times

----

And besides those (found after a quick Google on "Obama Policy" or "Obama Issues") the water cooler talk here in the Bible Belt is NOT that he's got the #1 ranked liberal voting record or that he'd be the first black President, oddly enough it's all about this myth that he's "vague on policies and all show." I think the Yglesias article was fair. Non-news-nerds have him in a "charming but shallow" box that's completely innacurate

Posted by: Da5id on February 11, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the Con Law professor has the advantage in that particular scenario.

Talk about naive. What does a Con Law professor know about health care policy, SS, judgments about national security, etc. etc.? What does such a person know about how policy must be shaped to push it through Congress?

Experience counts -- it may not be sufficient, but it certainly is necessary.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who has bothered to read his book will be quickly disabused of the notion that he is insufficiently "wonkish." It's my general, unscientific impression, that few have. He has a gift with the written and spoken word, it is true, but this is not his sole talent. His grasp of policy is nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by: Carl on February 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Of Obama, the president said, "I certainly don't know what he believes in."

Posted by: Wonky McBulletpoint on February 11, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ugghh..can we stop accusing Kevin of being pro-Hillary or anti-Obama already? He freakin' voted for Obama! Is he simply "masking" his true intentions? And if you are so convinced he's a liar or a hack, please go read somebody else! Okay, Kevin probably wouldn't agree with me there - he wants the ad traffic :)

But seriously people - get a grip. Even someone like myself who clearly suffers from HDS does not consider Mr. Drum to be biased in this regard by any degree.

Posted by: Augie on February 11, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard this over and over again, so let us remember, Dems haven't seen 2 candidates of this caliber, running for office at the same time, in a long while. I know that spirited debate is going to continue by supporters of both Obama and Clinton. When it's all said and done, let us all agree we, our children and their children, can't afford Republicans in control for the foreseeable future. In November, no matter what the ticket we need to do what's right and vote for a Dem. We simply can't live with the alternative.

Posted by: Radix on February 11, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The charge originated not only in the early health care forum but in all the early debates. The reason Hillary was seen by the media as inevitable, much to their distress, was that he was so obviously weak in the early debates, and there were a lot of them. He was very unclear on policy and seemed unprepared.
Also the fact that he has not bothered to call any substantive meetings of the important Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs which he has chaired since the Dems took over Congress has given that impression. The comparable House committee has had many meetings during the same time because they feel that our relationship with these important allies needs tending to. Obama could have used this position to gain foreign policy expertise the way Biden did when he was chair, but apparently he had better things to do. If Obama was too busy to bother, he should have stepped down. Not the behavior of a substantive person.

Posted by: BernieO on February 11, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a simple one- Joe Klein. See his recent Time article "Inspiration vs. Substance." http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1710721,00.html

Posted by: Mike on February 11, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of average-Joe/Joanne Clinton supporters say this - I don't know where they are getting it though.

Posted by: jm on February 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Crap, that was meant for the NM thread as I was responding to the conversation within that thread not this one, sorry about that. I hit the wrong tab and didn't notice it, my apologies. Anyone commenting on it in this thread is asked to keep this in mind. Thank you.

[Or the moderator could just delete the post...]

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"A lot of average-Joe/Joanne Clinton supporters say this - I don't know where they are getting it though."

From the debates

Posted by: mww on February 11, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman's differences with the Obama campaign have been fairly specific: Obama's framing of Social Security as "in crisis" and the absence of mandates in his health care policy plan, for example. Whether you agree with Krugman or not, he's provided substance to back up his opinions.
As for the charge that Obama's naive about dealing with the Republicans...maybe he is, maybe he isn't. He hasn't addressed too clearly how he plans to achieve that bipartisan unity he's sketched out. No matter how terrific he is, it'll take more than the force of one personality, and there's nothing unreasonable in pointing that out.

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

FranklyO for one.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 11, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Who are these people who think Obama is a policy naif? Let's name some names.

TalkLeft, MyDD, Taylor Marsh, Larry Johnson are the main instigators from the left blogsphere.

Posted by: dwightkschrute on February 11, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

TalkLeft is not leftist.

Posted by: Brojo on February 11, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK
Sounds like the Con Law professor has the advantage in that particular scenario.

Talk about naive. What does a Con Law professor know about health care policy, SS, judgments about national security, etc. etc.? What does such a person know about how policy must be shaped to push it through Congress?

Experience counts -- it may not be sufficient, but it certainly is necessary.

frankly0 - I'll plead failure to read carefully rather than naivete - I had focused on "role of the President" in a Constitutional perspective, i.e. separation of powers sense, rather than what you'd asked about, a President's role in policy formation and implementation.

Posted by: kenga on February 11, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

FranklyO for one.

You make me feel so important and proud of myself!

I don't know if you want more of that.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about naive. What does a Con Law professor know about health care policy, SS, judgments about national security, etc. etc.? What does such a person know about how policy must be shaped to push it through Congress?

Oh I don't think anyone is using his con law background to buttress his health care position. The con law really comes into play more with his positions on civil liberties and civil rights, which the Bush administration has been busy trashing.

His legislative and even community organizing skills, however, would no doubt be put to good use with regard to health care.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

What matters more to me is that Obama is a good listener and will consider all viewpoints before making up his mind, whereas Hillary will do whatever Mark Penn (her pollster) tells her has the most political support.

Posted by: mfw13 on February 11, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Taylor Marsh.

Posted by: RollaMO on February 11, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

There are minor differences in the goals each candidate is proposing, and what I have heard and read many other people say, is not that Mr. Obama has different goals than Ms. Clinton, but that he has not thought out how to accomplish his goals.

This simply isnt the case. You can compare the level of detail in the plans on and Mr. Obamas and Ms. Clintons website.

Mr. Obama clearly talks less about policy specifics than Ms. Clinton. The Senator from New York often will list a few dozen policies and rattle off some specific ways her plans will function. Its an impressive show. But the show is also deceptive and ineffective.

Although Ms. Clinton explains how her plans will work, she does not explain how she will put them in place. She cannot - because if she begins to, it ruins the illusion that is a great part of her appeal. Ms. Clinton may have all the details planned out now, but her carefully wrought and nuanced proposals will not survive the legislative process. When the time comes to make these policy plans into laws and programs, legislators, business interests, bureaucrats, and anyone else remotely affected by the policy will get their say - and the details will quickly change.

Which brings us to Mr. Obama. He also has detailed policy proposals - but he does not present them as one of the basic pillars of his campaign. Rather he focuses on creating a movement, an active citizenry, that will demand change; on changing the processes by introducing elements such as transparency and direct accountability. Mr. Obama explains his approach and his thought process - two elements Ms. Clinton guards as a tactical secrets - because he acknowledges that he cannot promise specific items.

Not only is Mr. Obamas approach more honest - it is also more effective. Think of the last presidential candidates who spouted policies versus those who campaigned on broad themes. Senator Kerry campaigned on policy; President Bush on themes. Vice President Gore campaigned on policy; Governor Bush campaigned on themes. President Clinton campaigned on some amalgamation of policy and theme - in a way I have only seen Mr. Clinton fuse them - and Senator Dole campaigned you know, I dont know what Mr. Doles campaign was about. But going back further over the past half-century - most winning presidential candidates have focused less on policy, and more on character, themes, and narratives.

Posted by: The Grand Panjandrum on February 11, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

You can name me as one who believes that Obama is naïve if not well intentioned. I was a supporter of his until he started invoking Reagan in his speeches. And the unity thing sounds like capitualtion to the Republicans to me. In a two party system with checks and balances strife is a good thing.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

You can name me as one who believes that Obama is naïve if not well intentioned. I was a supporter of his until he started invoking Reagan in his speeches.

He mentioned Reagan once. In an interview.

Posted by: Jim on February 11, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I happened to have talked to Barack on the phone this afternoon, right after I read the post at Matt's.

I couldn't help but wonder how that meme got started, since he seemed about the farthest thing from shallow.

(Sorry for the name dropping. It was a conference call for ex-pats. He knew his audience well, used 4 syllable words and everything!)

Posted by: KathyF on February 11, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know if anyone's mentioned it in this long thread, but Joe Klein's last column was about Clinton vs Obama, on this very subject.

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2008
Inspiration vs. Substance
By Joe Klein

That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1710721,00.html

Posted by: Jim on February 11, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

And here's an interesting excerpt from a piece about missteps by the Clinton campaign vis-a-vis the Obama campaign and what that might say about their leadership skills and competence:

Moreover, the Obama campaign arguably had more reason than the Clinton campaign to focus on the earliest contests and slight the later ones. Obama, after all, was coming from behind. He had to win some of the early contests. If he had lost every state through Super Tuesday, it would have been all over for him. He therefore had a pretty strong reason to put everything he had into those states, and hope that whatever momentum he got would carry him through in places like Maine and Nebraska. Clinton, by contrast, only had to anticipate that Obama might win enough states to keep going to know that she had to focus on the post-Super Tuesday states. She has a lot less excuse for making this misjudgment than Obama did. But she made it, and he did not. That tells me something.

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/02/more-news-about.html

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Leon Wieseltier recently editorialized about Obama's relative lack of policy substance. Typical sentence: "[Obama] seems more prepared for the aria of politics than for the recitative of government." About Obama's message, he writes, "it is all contentless."

What's more, I've had discussions with about a dozen Hillary supporters over the last few weeks, and literally every one of them has the same complaint about Obama: that he's long on pretty words and short on policy specifics. No, they don't have blogs and they don't have columns in the NTY, but they're out there, Kevin. No question.

Posted by: Brian on February 11, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Now, it's true that Hillary Clinton is often portrayed as a policy wonk and Obama isn't. It's also true that Obama's stump speech is full of soaring rhetoric rather than policy talk.

I think it's Barack's rhetoric that's blown out of proportion. He's an alright speaker, but it's not once-in-a-lifetime, historic, incredible stuff. I mean, he can communicate well, but that shouldn't be the end of the story for people. The question (if the rhetoric impresses you) should be, 'So what? He can speak well, but should I still vote for him despite that?'

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

Reading over this list it seems Kevin's readers have come up with at least a dozen people (and that's being conservative) who have publicly accused Obama of being "insufficiently well-versed in policy matters." So when is Kevin going to raise the white flag on this one?

Posted by: Brian on February 11, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"[Or the moderator could just delete the post...]"
Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM
That works for me too...sorry I didn't think to ask for that, I'm still not used to this blog having moderators even though I know you are there. Sorry about that.

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

I don't think people are saying Sen. Obama personally is shallow. I'm pretty sure he's not. Lots of people, myself included, however think he is running a campaign that is remarkably shallow -- long on rhetoric and almost completely devoid of any plans or specifics. (People can't wait four more years for health insurance! People can't wait four more years for better schools! etc. etc.) Maybe that's smart. A lot of people seem to feel a moving speech and an exciting persona is enough. I think this explains why a lot of high school students like him. I for one think much differently than I did in high school and won't vote for someone who thinks he can change Washington merely by the force of his words OR someone who is just saying that because he thinks I think that. John McCain and the 527s are gonna get past the pretty speeches. And when they do, I want some there there.

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

The question (if the rhetoric impresses you) should be, 'So what? He can speak well, but should I still vote for him despite that?'

If you want to. You can vote for someone for whatever reason you choose. I did vote for him, and though I had the pleasure of attending a speech he gave shortly before my state's primary, his oratorical gifts certainly weren't the reason I cast my vote.

His policies and the content of his words, on the other hand, were.

Posted by: jbryan on February 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman's differences with the Obama campaign have been fairly specific: Obama's framing of Social Security as "in crisis" and the absence of mandates in his health care policy plan, for example. Whether you agree with Krugman or not, he's provided substance to back up his opinions.

Yes, but his opinions seem to be unidirectional. Krugman's problem with Obama's position on Social Security was that the language he was using attacked her from the right. Curiously, he's been silent when Clinton's done the exact same thing (hypocritically, I might add) on the very same issue.

As far as mandates go, Krugman's argument against Obama's health-care policy has been strenuous, but I think he's made a fair point. Clinton's plan is universal, and Obama's isn't. If you're interested in universal health care, that should matter. Funny thing is, I *am* interested in universal health care, but it doesn't really matter to me, and the reason it doesn't matter is because Clinton's plan has absolutely zero chance of surviving the inevitable Republican filibuster it will face. She went down swinging on her first attempt at this in '93, and it's been off the table since. Now she's coming back to double down, but without the necessary Senate votes to see it through to completion, and it's only sensible to ask how much further a second Clinton health-care failure will set back the cause of universal coverage. On this note, who's being naïve?

Posted by: junebug on February 11, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's Barack's rhetoric that's blown out of proportion. He's an alright speaker, but it's not once-in-a-lifetime, historic, incredible stuff.

No, he really is a once-in-a-lifetime speaker. You need to be able to acknowledge that before you move on to why, IYO, Clinton is the better candidate. Otherwise it just seems like you're in denial and undermines whatever else you might say.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of people, myself included, however think he is running a campaign that is remarkably shallow -- long on rhetoric and almost completely devoid of any plans or specifics.

Just out of curiosity, where is it written that campaign stump speeches must include laundry lists of specifics? It's a decision about how to run one's campaign, isn't it? It may succeed, it may not, he may point to his website for policy specifics, he may be revealed as an empty suit, etc. etc. So he makes a choice about how to run his campaign, and he takes the consequences, good and bad.

Obviously, with you, his campaign style is ineffective. With others, it is effective. Do you think it shouldn't be effective at all? With anyone? That it's unfair to Clinton that Obama is making good use of his talent and skill as a speaker?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

he really is a once-in-a-lifetime speaker

Paula White is a better speaker, and shaker. She just uses her talent for fund raising.

Posted by: Brojo on February 11, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Paula White is a better speaker, and shaker. She just uses her talent for fund raising.

Okaaayyy... so what's your point? Is there something about what Paula White is doing with her speaking skills that leads you to conclude what Barack Obama is doing with his is wrong?!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people seem to feel a moving speech and an exciting persona is enough.

OR they understand how government and politics work in this country, that a President's primary tool is the bully pulpit, and that even with the best results in November, a Democratic President is still going to have a recalcitrant, obstructionist opposition party in the Senate.

The spectacle of Clinton supporters dismissing the importance of charisma and oratory in a president has to be one of the oddest things about this primary campaign.

Posted by: Jim on February 11, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time," Obama told supporters Tuesday night. "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

The above words, although very inspiring, are the reason I wonder about specifics with Barack Obama. Even Bush ran on a platform of change in Washington and we all know how that turned out. Change is a constant. What is not a constant is a candidate that can explain what they mean by change and will explain who that change will benefit. I am sure that Obama knows what he means, I just haven't heard if from him yet. Maybe, he is hedging his bets until he sews up the nomination.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, because Bill Clinton was so choque full of details on his Change tour in 92, like every president before him.

For better or worse, HRC is the ANOMALY here. Candidates don't generally act like policy wonks.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 11, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Even Bush ran on a platform of change in Washington and we all know how that turned out.

And of course, there's no comparison between Bush and Obama. I thought at the time Bush was running that he was an idiot and his compassionate conservative crap was just that -- crap. Nothing I've seen since the 2000 campaign has modified that opinion one bit.

Now, if that's what you think of Sen. Obama, that everything he's saying is crap, then obviously you shouldn't vote for him.

Alternatively, you could go to his website and read up on his specifics.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Jim, I've always flattered myself that I have a fair grasp on "how government works." But perhaps you are right. Bully pulpit. Maybe Sen. McConnell will melt when he hears Sen. Obama speak. In the three years I've been watching things here, of course, he hasn't. But maybe the effect of the charisma is cumulative.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Even Bush ran on a platform of change in Washington and we all know how that turned out.

...

You could replace "Bush" for "Clinton" on that one, you know.

Like it or not, politics is made on generalities and themes, not bulleted lists of policy wants. HRC is a great policy wonk. I just don't think that makes for a great president and I hardly think her "To Do" list would ever become a reality.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 11, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Jim, I've always flattered myself that I have a fair grasp on "how government works." But perhaps you are right. Bully pulpit. Maybe Sen. McConnell will melt when he hears Sen. Obama speak. In the three years I've been watching things here, of course, he hasn't. But maybe the effect of the charisma is cumulative.

Obama has run a multi-state campaign with scarcely a misstep. He's not doing that on charisma alone.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

That's nice. Doesn't really have anything to do with my criticism. But nice.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK
Lots of people, myself included, however think he is running a campaign that is remarkably shallow -- long on rhetoric and almost completely devoid of any plans or specifics.

And, in the process, hasn't managed to alarm enough Republican party stalwarts that Republicans refuse to go to the polls for him, even during primary season.
He's got more people involved than just Democratic voters, and his negatives are so low compared to Sen. Clinton's as to be non-existent.

Eyes on the prize already - White House, and enlarged majorities in both houses of Congress.
Anything that impedes the achievement of these objectives is a problem.

Posted by: kenga on February 11, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK


Well, Jim, I've always flattered myself that I have a fair grasp on "how government works." But perhaps you are right. Bully pulpit. Maybe Sen. McConnell will melt when he hears Sen. Obama speak

No but Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter might find it harder to stand with McConnell if Obama is selling a bill than if Clinton is doing it. People like Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh might be less eager to compromise if a broader public supports a given issue. Joe Lieberman, who hates the Clintons precisely because he needed them to save his ass two years ago, will still be there, and will still be CNN and NBC's go-to-guy on "bipartisanship".
Salesmanship, charisma, call it whatever you want, it matters.

Posted by: Jim on February 11, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Alarm Republicans? You gotta be kidding me. Listen to 5 minutes of any right wing talk radio. Alarm!? Alarm!? (Picture Jim Mora "playoffs!?" tone here. :) ) They are spending all day JOCKING Sen. Obama. Why? Republicans are licking their chops to run against him. Can't say I blame them. National Journal's most liberal Senator? Who is for decrimanlizing pot? Who has three years of experience in the federal government -- one of them running for President? Whose middle name is Hussein? You ought to go do a half hour set at the "Laff Factory" with that sense of humor. You'll bring the house down.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

I will cease and desist all my advocacy if Pat can persuade me that Hillary has a better shot at winning it all than Obama.

Let's hear it!

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kos analysis is spot on. HRC would probably win. But Obama would win by more and that's important - he can bring along Dems in congressional elections and force the GOP to have to spend $ in red states - as well as building a greater majority to empower his legislative agenda. All the talk about HRC or Obama not being electable is nonsense. It's a question of who wins by more - not who wins.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 11, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

The above words, although very inspiring, are the reason I wonder about specifics with Barack Obama. Even Bush ran on a platform of change in Washington and we all know how that turned out. Change is a constant. What is not a constant is a candidate that can explain what they mean by change and will explain who that change will benefit.

Have you listened to or read his speeches beyond isolated process-oriented phrases here and there? Because if one pays attention through the entirety of his speeches, it seems pretty clear to me that he's very specific about things he wants to change and who he intends it to benefit.

I heard him give a speech where he used that line. He also stated emphatically some of the changes he wanted to make: he argued that the US must begin to engage in robust diplomacy with our enemies (AND with our disaffected allies by presenting our country's true ideals) and alter our foreign policy course in general and that his history will allow him to make that argument more effectively; he claimed that America must change with regards to its respect for the Constitution (and this being a huge issue for me, I personally loved the line he used, "a president that taught the Constitution, that loves the Constitution, that will obey the Constitution"); that we must cease our policy of torture. He took aim at income inequality and ballooning CEO pay and bonuses. Taking the money we're spending on Iraq and investing it in domestic priorities -- which he proceded to give some examples of, but I think you get my point.

Posted by: jbryan on February 11, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

All the talk about HRC or Obama not being electable is nonsense. It's a question of who wins by more - not who wins.

I am gunshy on this issue.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Nobcentral may be right. I sure hope so. But I think it might be just a teensy bit early to say it's a matter of "who wins by more -- not who wins."

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

James Wolcott has certainly endorsed the view that Obama is vague on policy, although I think this is more due to Wolcott's discomfort with the religious tinge of Obama's rhetoric than with any of Obama's substantive views on policy.

Posted by: jonp72 on February 11, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/Transformation_like_Reagan.html

In this interview Barak sounds like he has thought his position through very carefully and says "Reagan took us in a totally new direction" because he knew that the country was ready to "feel good again".

Kumbaya.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's remark about Reagan has the virtue of being true.

But maybe you're not interested in the Democrats gaining political power. Hard to tell.

Posted by: Gun-Shy Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

It is that Americans were ready to move in a new direction when they elected Reagan. That direction was to the right. I am interested in the Democrats gaining power but not it they have to turn into Republicans to do it.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan was an inkblot (no offense to the Drum kitty) people saw in him what they wanted to see. Same with McCain, which is why McCain is so dangerous. It doesn't matter what he stands for, people vote for his personality. Unless we can get them to pay attention to his "hundred years' war" rhetoric, and the fact that he, Bolton and Lieberman are dying to bomb Iran.

Everybody's seen this, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gwqEneBKUs&eurl=http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/

Posted by: Jim on February 11, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I went to Obama's web site, and it didn't impress me. It has many "band-aids" to fix small things. I'm sure he didn't come up with list by himself (nobody does) but instead it was drawn up by his team. That isn't a bad thing, but doesn't prove him to be a "policy wonk."

It says he will "fix" NAFTA, but leaves it at that. Is there anything controversial on his web site? Of course not. Everything on there has been focus-group tested, you can bet on that.

The difference with Hillary Clinton, is that she actually talks about this stuff on the campaign trail. Obama rarely does, thus earning him the reputation as being light on policy.

Posted by: DR on February 11, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

For as much as I love his writing, I think Ezra has been picking on Obama in this regard. I don't think he's doing it intentionally but I think he's doing it. Look at Ezra's post last week about Mustangs.

Posted by: Andrew Slack on February 11, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

leslie: You do understand what Obama is suggesting here is that Americans are ready to move in a progressive direction. And that Obama is trying to grow a progressive coalition to diminish the influence of zealots and increase support for liberal policies. Don't you?

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

Lucy,
No, I do not understand that. He did not spell out his progressive ideals. He certainly insinuated that his candidacy was for the betterment of the country as a whole. I am impressed with the fact that he seems to be all things to all people, certainly the mark of a skillful politician.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

I went to Obama's web site, and it didn't impress me. It has many "band-aids" to fix small things. I'm sure he didn't come up with list by himself (nobody does) but instead it was drawn up by his team.

Interesting. I just went to Hillary's site and found feel good promises to fix stuff. Nice -- but wonkish? I think not.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

He did not spell out his progressive ideals.

What have you read by Barack Obama?

He certainly insinuated that his candidacy was for the betterment of the country as a whole.

What presidential candidate doesn't make that claim?!

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Zealots?" You are creeping me out a little.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com/2008/02/why-do-peggy-noonan-george-will-and.html

You've all seen this right?

Lucy,
Where's the beef?

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

alter our foreign policy course in general

I have trouble supporting both Democratic candidates because I do not think either will make any substantive changes to our foreign policy course. The last Democratic president didn't make any real changes to foreign policy and the Democratic president before that is regarded as a failure because he did. I eagerly await the changes Barack has promised and hope they are as humane as Jimmy Carter's.

Posted by: Brojo on February 11, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, would you not agree that radical Republicans have enjoyed undue influence in the federal government? Zealots, you might call them.

leslie, you have got to be kidding me. I can only assume at this point that you developed your convictions about Obama based on internet spin.

If you're so worried about Obama being a Trojan horse why haven't you bothered to read his books to find out what he has to say.

Of course, his books are probably just part of the conspiracy.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's Obama's fault if he looks shallow to some people. If he would talk more about the issues and lay off the fluff (sounds like he is giving a sermon most of the time) we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's Obama's fault if he looks shallow to some people. If he would talk more about the issues and lay off the fluff (sounds like he is giving a sermon most of the time) we wouldn't be having this discussion.

And you would agree, I'm sure, that it's Clinton's fault if she appears to some to have no inner core of principle, only an abiding and overwhelming desire to be President no matter the cost and no matter what she has to say or do to get there?

I mean, fair's fair.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy. I'm sure you are a good person. I'm sure Sen. Obama is a good guy. I'll vote for him if he gets the nomination. But there is something slightly unsettling to me about some of the Obama supporters I see here and the words they use. I mean read your posts above. Seriously. One guy a couple of days ago was here talking about the Senator's book as a "literary masterpiece." Several others have talked about (word for word by the way) how thanks to Obama "the old politics is dying." Some lady heatherk the other day was saying how our government hasn't worked since the 1940's (!) and Obama had come to change it. And you with the talk of "Obama is trying to diminish the influence of zealots." Its just language I find odd, really. Like a cult. And I gotta be honest. It creeps me out. Particularly when it is all applied to a guy who has been on the scence for three years -- one of them running for President and has very few accomlishments I can point to.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy,
Yeah, he is a great writer and I admire his life story and charisma! I just wish that some of his progressive ideals did not involve dismantling social security while using Republican talking points about how the social security fund is bankrupt when it has enough money in it until 2040. He is using Bush's talking points as Paul Krugman has pointed out in the N.Y. Times. I don't want another Republican in the White House, whether his supporters know it or not.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish that some of his progressive ideals did not involve dismantling social security while using Republican talking points about how the social security fund is bankrupt when it has enough money in it until 2040.

"Dismantling social security"? A complete misrepresentation.

Why?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 11, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, WTF. I can't speak for other Obama supporters on this board, and anyway, every candidate has some idiotic supporters. leslie complained Obama did not spell out his progressive ideals, so I suggest she read "The Audacity of Hope", where he spells out his progressive ideals. Meanwhile all I'm hearing is spin like "Obama wants to dismantle Social Security".

Why are you creeped out by the idea that a progressive majority in Congress would diminish the influence of Republican zealots? That sounds great to me.

I have no idea if Obama can deliver. All politicians disappoint, and so will Obama. So will Hillary. Since I'm done trying to handicap the race, I'd rather gamble on the visionary.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

I am not at all sure Obama is a good guy. Obama's latest commercial states the follwing:

"My mother died of cancer at 53. In those last painful months, she was more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well. I hear stories like hers everyday. For 20 years Washington has talked about health care reform and reformed nothing. I've got a plan to cut costs and cover everyone"

Obama's mother died in Hawaii which has achieved near universal health care. In addition the line about "cover everyone" is a lie.

I've seen a lot of despicable things in politics and although nothing comes close to Rove and the Republicans, to use your dying mother in a lie to get votes and wrench some tears from the gullible like this is sickening.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Hillary would never have done anything this tasteless but if she had can anyone imagine the press would not have had a field day. Expect the dopes in the msm to ignore this evidence of a bad character.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Who says this?

My wife.

Posted by: Wendell on February 11, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy,
Obama played into the Republican camp when he made the remarks about how social security is in trouble. This is the beginning of dismantling a system in Washington, saying it is in trouble and getting the average voter to sign on to a lie. Please go to the N.Y. Times and read the "Played for A Sucker" column by Paul Krugman. Coming together is a way of giving conservatives what they want.

"Last week the New York Times' Paul Krugman offered a charitable interpretation, I think, in his "Played for a Sucker" column:
Mr. Obama’s Social Security mistake was, in fact, exactly what you’d expect from a candidate who promises to transcend partisanship in an age when that’s neither possible nor desirable.

...Social Security isn’t a big problem that demands a solution; it’s a small problem, way down the list of major issues facing America, that has nonetheless become an obsession of Beltway insiders. And on Social Security, as on many other issues, what Washington means by bipartisanship is mainly that everyone should come together to give conservatives what they want.

Posted by: Leslie on February 11, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

I was talking about you, too, Lucy. Seriously. Read your posts above. Who says stuff like "Obama is trying to diminish the influence of zealots." I'm sorry. It's just a little uncomfortable for me. As I said, I'll vote for the guy. But I just have this strange reaction when I read language like this about a guy who (as this thread talks about) has almost no specifics or plans and has few accomplishments I know if in his three years in government.

As far as Social Security, I didn't say that, someone else did. I don;t think the Senator wants to dismantle SS. In fact, what I know of Sen. Obama's positions, this is a good example of what I've been posting about as far as my concern about him. As far as I know, his only specific proposal on SS was to talk about how we should uncap the taxes on higher income people. When asked about that proposed tax increase, the Sen. waffled and backed off some, saying instead he would "convene a meeting" when he was the President and "listen to the best advice" about how to save SS. Really? Convene a meeting? Right there in the White House? Jesus. I can convene a meeting. Can I be president too? Pathetic.

Posted by: Pat on February 11, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the audacity of hype.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

leslie: Thank you, but I'm familiar with Krugman's columns. I see you are settled into your convictions. Nobody's going to throw the wool over your eyes!

Come on, Pat. Maybe I'm just a bad writer! I still don't get why you're "uncomfortable" with the idea of defusing the radical right. Anyway, you're cherrypicking. This is what I said, and I admit it was a clumsy formulation, but creepy?

And that Obama is trying to grow a progressive coalition to diminish the influence of zealots and increase support for liberal policies.

Yeah, Obama has spent a lot of time running for president since he got to the Senate. I have a beef with the fact that the campaign season started two freaking years before the election. It's a problem.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this has been mentioned above, but just look in the mirror, Kev.

Posted by: Disputo on February 11, 2008 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is shallow not in the sense of lacking sufficient I.Q. but in the sense of not appearing committed to progressive causes -- lots of dog whistle phrases re Social Security; re Reagan (who, Obama said, answered the need of the country to end the "excesses" of the 60's - wow); Harry and Louise ads indicating that winning the argument is more important that advancing the policy; pandering to anti-gay evangelicals, etc.

He also seems "shallow" as a progressive in that he has a mean streak that somehow doesn't really fit - if it's about love and hope and peace etc he doesn't seem to practice a lot of that himself. I think this is especially true in relation to how he ginned up the race issue against the Clintons, who are the last people in the world who have any history of racism. This is deeply dirty in a way that is inconsistent with his message.

And there is a problem with many of the on-line supporters - specifically their repetition of republican smears against Hillary from 1990s as if they were facts -- is truly astounding.

Posted by: Amelia on February 11, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I have taken on the spin and failed. I will leave it to my betters to contend with Amelia and the next wave.

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Halperin also says Obama's got "rhythm". Outta sight!

Posted by: Tracer Hand on February 11, 2008 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I have taken on the spin and failed. I will leave it to my betters to contend with Amelia and the next wave.

There will always be another wave.

As everyone knows, you go negative when 1) you got nothing positive to distinguish yourself from your opponent, and 2) your goal is to suppress voter turn-out. Since Obama is a) much more progressive than HRC, and b) the one bringing out all the new voters, HRC really has no other choice. She did finally get smart and delegate the hatchet work to minions far removed from her, and ones too dumb to recognize that they are doing the GOP's work for them, and, even worse, laying the groundwork for Obama's eventual assassination, should he buck the trend of the insider superdels going for the DLC candidate. Then again, for more than a few of the minions, that is precisely what they are driving for.

Posted by: Disputo on February 11, 2008 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Is Mark Halperin not involved with the Clinton campaign? Seems to me I read somewhere that he is.

Posted by: Helena Montana on February 11, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent use of Faux News Channel's "Some say..."

Matt has a long big bright future in punditry ahead of him.

Posted by: Klyde on February 11, 2008 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

My Parents. They don't know what his policies are and would like to hear more about them.

Posted by: Chris on February 11, 2008 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Hillary Clinton, for one:

You never hear the specifics, Clinton said. Its all this kind of abstract, general talk about how we all need to get along. I want to get along, and I have gotten along, in the Senate. I will work with Republicans to find common cause whenever I can. But I will also stand my ground because there are fights worth having.

Posted by: John on February 11, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

So here we see the champions of Obama yet again declaring anyone that does not believe them is victims of spin and/or the next wave of Hillary operatives. Yet some people wonder why there are those who see not a true movement but a cult of personality loaded with zealots for Obama out there. Lucy, you are a classic example of a zealot on this, while nepata comes off to me as someone that is not, yet you both support the same candidate which should show that I do distinguish between normal supporters and zealots despite the attempts to make it sound like I do not. As I have said before there are many who support Obama in good faith and because they believe in his being more progressive and for other reasons, but then there are those that refuse to hear anyone being critical or daring to ask hard questions that go beyond the surface of Obama's rhetoric and that is to the Obama zealots heresy and spin, it never has any basis in reality to hear them tell it.

Look, Obama is not the second coming of JFK or MLK no matter how much he borrows their rhetoric and legacies, he is an as yet unproven and untested politician on the national stage, who has no foreign policy credentials (despite chairing a sub-committee dealing with exactly that since he came to Washington yet never once calling a meeting and using it to establish those credentials) at all (and no his 2002 being against the war does not count except within the ranks of the hard core anti-war liberals, which are not that large a percentage of the voting population) which also brings into question how hard he works once given the opportunity/power.

Obama has no economic credentials to work with either, all he has to sell himself is his nice life's story and his wonderful rhetoric of change and inspiration, what some have taken to calling hopeium (yes, I like that word, I only wish I had coined it, alas only telebangelist and trolletariat are all I get to take credit for) and while a certain amount of that is important and healthy in a political campaign too much is dangerous to both the candidate and to those that follow. He concentrates on making people feel wonderful and positive, which also in proportion is important, but in his campaign it is clearly the central focus/theme, his specifics are not all that fleshed out, and despite all the saying by supporters to go to the web site and find them there how many of the average voters are going to be doing that? This is why he has needed to show within his rhetoric more policy details than he has, and he also needs to be able to show he can converse about these ideas in a challenging format, be they debates or hard interviews, which he has not done well with.

It is very easy to fall in love with a dream, what happens though once it is time to wake up and face reality though? This is my question, this is why I am so worried he is far from the "electable" candidate that polls currently argue he is (How electable against McCain can he truly be if HRC is within a few points of him given the vast differences between them in terms of facing negative ad campaigns, her many to his none?) and keep raising questions as to what happens if his rhetoric and inspirational abilities get neutralized in some manner. It doesn't matter what does it, be it massive attack ads, smear campaign, terrorist attack, economic collapse, assume something takes that card away from him, what else does he have to justify why he should be the next President? Especially in as uncertain times as these with as many serious disasters to clean up from the Bushco/GOP years?

For all of those that want to dimiss my views and attack me personally I have yet to see anything that actually answers these questions about him that do not require faith/belief, in too many cases blind faith at that (i.e. believing he will be the true progressive despite his actual legislative record not supporting that belief) from his supporters. This is the same sort of pattern I see in born again evangelical faiths/churches and their believers, not in a standard political campaign. That fervour he is tapping into is powerful, and it may even be enough to get him into office, but I guarantee you that unless he can truly deliver he will be a one term wonder like Carter and with possibly even worse impacts on the Dems than Carter left. It will also help rebrand the Dems as the party controlled by the far left anti-war anti-military freaks, something the party has worked very hard to escape after the Vietnam war ended, an image which has hurt the party for three decades, and this is what too many Obama supporters are all willing to risk blindly.

Is Obama himself shallow? I don't know, and to be honest that is not something I would care all that much about. Is his campaign shallow? Yes it is, in this aspect it reminds me more of the 2000 GWB campaign than anything else, which is one of the reasons I have such grave and growing concerns about him. Remember, when I first started raising warning signs/questions I was not as convinced as I have become about the danger he represents, but what he has shown in that period of time has underscored my worst fears with no reassurance, and that this is so hard for so many otherwise intelligent perceptive commentators I have known here to see for themselves really bothers/worries/scares me. I really hope I am not playing Cassandra again, but this really has that feeling, especially if he manages to get the nomination.

Posted by: Scotian on February 11, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

But I just have this strange reaction when I read language like this about a guy who (as this thread talks about) has almost no specifics or plans and has few accomplishments I know if in his three years in government.

Hold on there, Pat. Three years in government?

Obama's Varied Record

In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd

Judge Him by His Laws

Posted by: Lucy on February 11, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Support for Obama is overwhelming among college grads while support for Clinton is overwhelming among those with a high school diploma or less. In fact the more educated one is the likelier to be an Obama voter. This according to Gallup.

Go to the Gallup site and check out the analysis on all of their polling so far. It is fascinating .

Clearly Clinton's specificity on policy issues, attention to detail and sheer intellectual brilliance has convinced the uneducated, including those we find here.

Posted by: Manfred on February 11, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Obamas politics of unity bother me more than anything else. On the one hand he is the progressive candidate in the race, (more so than Clinton) and on the other hand he wants to put aside the devisive politics in Washington. This is what Nancy Pelosi said and the reason she took impeachment proceedings off the table. In retrospect I believe that was a tactical mistake that made the Democrats look weak. Remember, a two party system is by its nature devisive. I read John Adams biography and the founding fathers wanted our system of government to have checks and balances which means pushing back against attacks and not going with the flow and singing kumbaya with the likes of Karl Rove. I realize that Clinton also played into Republican hands so I am not giving her a pass either but she is not the so-called progressive in the race.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary, for one. From her Politico interview aired tonight: “You never hear the specifics,” Clinton said. “It’s all this kind of abstract, general talk about how we all need to get along."

Posted by: jfy on February 11, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Pat, three years in government??

(I tried to post this before but may have dropped some tags. Sorry, moderator.)

In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd

Obama's Varied Record

Judge Him by His Laws

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

Also, Scotian, above. In a long post full of the absurd name-calling and uninformed accusations that all the other desperate Hillary supporters have been hurling.

Hillary herself has acknowledged (while trying to jump on Obama's coattails) that the policy differences between the two of them are slight. I happen to disagree and think his foreign policy is far more well-adjusted to the realities of our new conflicts and new centuries, but there you go. You heard it from the candidate herself.

Posted by: jfy on February 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

OK, everyone. Here's a McCain video styled like the Obama video, one that everyone here (almost) will enjoy...

McCain Video

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Lucy. You've been really great. I'm certainly not your "better", but:

Chrissy. Chrissy. Are you proud of propagating lies? I hate the way the rightwing machine cranked out lies about HRC. Now you're doing it allegedly on her behalf.

According to Wikipedia, Obama's mother died in 1995 of ovarian cancer. Hawai'i, where she lived prior to her death, putatively had universalhealth care coverage. Except that it didn't.

"Is Hawaii a Model for Health Care Reform?" (NCPA, Aug 1994)

Hawaii is the only state with an employer mandate. The state requires employers to provide health insurance to all full-time employees. However, many part-time employees and their dependents and many unemployed, low-income people remain uninsured.

While the Hawaii Department of Health says that only 2 to 3 percent of the population is uninsured, no outside corroboration supports this claim, and other estimates contradict it (see figure) For example:


  • The Urban Institute estimates that 11 percent are still uninsured.

  • The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) estimates that 8.1 percent are uninsured.

  • The Hawaii State Data Book, 1991, estimates that about 6 percent are uninsured.

  • The 1991 Current Population Survey shows a figure of 7 percent uninsured.

State healthcare plans aren't a binary affair. They can, and usually do, sharply increase the number of people covered. But they seldom, if ever, eradicate a patient's concern with bills in all cases.


Thanks for playing, though.

PS: I am not plugging the NCPA.

Posted by: descamp on my deformity on February 11, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

"what happens if his rhetoric and inspirational abilities get neutralized in some manner. It doesn't matter what does it, be it massive attack ads, smear campaign, terrorist attack, economic collapse, assume something takes that card away from him, what else does he have to justify why he should be the next President?"

Scotian,

I would assume that Obama's 'rhetoric' would remain the same, an ethical and reasoned response to whatever tragedy might befall us. None of the hyperbole of Bush. No 'axis of evil.' No 'dead or alive.' No 'crusade.' No lying. No propaganda.

On another of your points, I don't see why you think Hillary is the policy wonk and Obama is not. I hear no policy specifics from Clinton in her stump speeches. It's just 'healthcare for all,' 'out of Iraq,' etc. followed by cheering and applause. It's just a "things to do" list without any specificity. Quite honestly, I don't like either her or Obama's healthcare plan. They've both caved to the insurance industry by keeping them the 'middleman' in healthcare. We CAN do better than that. Obama's rhetoric is more inspirational; not only does he have a 'to do list' like Clinton, but he invites his audience to help, to share in his vision, to become involved, asking for much more than just getting him elected.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

San Francisco Bay Guardian Says:

"The cost of his soaring rhetoric is a disappointing lack of specific plans. It can be hard at times to tell exactly what Obama stands for, exactly how he plans to carry out his ambitious goals."

I think this is the kind of stuff Matt meant.

full text: http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=5430

Posted by: mike on February 11, 2008 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Pat: You're another reliable source. First you cite a bunch of people you heard here and there saying something. You're paraphrasing, and there's no way on earth we're going to find out who said those things. I would think any adult would regard this style of argumentation unconvincing.

Then you distort what Lucy said beyond recognition. In the next thread you'll probably say some Obama supporter claimed he would magically disarm the zealots in Congress.

Are you proud of yourself? Don't you feel a little trashy, especially after the years of slander against Hillary R Clinton? Wouldn't you feel some self respect by rising above that? I'm angry at the lies the rightwing talking heads spewed out about Hillary Clinton, whom I regard as a fine candidate. Are you?

Posted by: descamp on my deformity on February 11, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

And you would agree, I'm sure, that it's Clinton's fault if she appears to some to have no inner core of principle...

LOL. No, I blame that on the right wing smear machine. You have to be a wingnut. Her life's work speaks volumes of her principals...

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

" and singing kumbaya with the likes of Karl Rove."

leslie,

This is where lots of people misunderstand Obama. Obama has NO plan whatsoever to sing kumbaya with Karl Rove or people like him, which includes 90% of the Republicans in the House and Senate. He believes that most Republicans (not rabid ones) will come along with his ideas to make America a better place, similar to the Reagan Dems that gave Reagan support during his years as prez. His goal is to draw a new kind of Republican into government, one that is less partisan, less greedy, more rational, more ethical. If he can do that the Karl Roves will be on the outside looking in.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

leslie: Obamas politics of unity bother me more than anything else. On the one hand he is the progressive candidate in the race, (more so than Clinton) and on the other hand he wants to put aside the devisive politics in Washington. This is what Nancy Pelosi said and the reason she took impeachment proceedings off the table. In retrospect I believe that was a tactical mistake that made the Democrats look weak.

You've already jumped around considerably in your positions, leslie, but I'd like to take this post on face value. I think this by George Lakoff (from a link I gave on the previous thread) gets to the heart of it: First, triangulation: moving to the right -- adopting right-wing positions -- to get more votes. Bill Clinton did it and Hillary believes in it. It is what she means by "bipartisanship." Obama means the opposite by "bipartisanship." To Obama, it is a recognition that central progressive moral principles are fundamental American principles. For him, bipartisanship means finding people who call themselves "conservatives" or "independents," but who share those central American values with progressives. Obama thus doesn't have to surrender or dilute his principles for the sake of "bipartisanship." This is where the (tactical) comparisons with Reagan come in. Note that this strategy is not contingent on having the right-wing demagogues play nice (fat chance unless they have to!) but on weakening the ground on which they stand. Now Obama's strategy may work and it may not but it resonates with me. As to how effective an Obama presidency may be, if we're given the chance we'll have to wait and see. But I see it as a whole heck of a lot better than what the Clintons propose - the 90's were at best a decade of treading water against the right-wing onslaught and that onslaught needs rolled back. Then again, perhaps frankly0 is right and BO will be an unmitigated disaster. I don't think so then but I write this as one locked in the thralls of a personality cult (because if Lucy is a zealot then so am I).

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to 9:26 comment: He believes that MANY Republicans, not most...

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Her life's work speaks volumes of her principals..."

Throwing principle out the window with her AUMF vote? That was a 'life and death' decision and she chose to put her personal ambition first. Either that or she's not as smart as some of you say she is.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian is just another fellow, the reading of whom makes one stupid. At first I thought he was just poorly informed, but he's turning into just such a zealot as he accuses Obama supporters of being. I wonder if he writes the political columns for The Economist.

Seriously:

For all of those that want to dimiss my views and attack me personally I have yet to see anything that actually answers these questions about him that do not require faith/belief, in too many cases blind faith at that (i.e. believing he will be the true progressive despite his actual legislative record not supporting that belief) from his supporters. This is the same sort of pattern I see in born again evangelical faiths/churches and their believers, not in a standard political campaign. That fervour he is tapping into is powerful, and it may even be enough to get him into office, but I guarantee you that unless he can truly deliver he will be a one term wonder like Carter and with possibly even worse impacts on the Dems than Carter left. It will also help rebrand the Dems as the party controlled by the far left anti-war anti-military freaks...

Scotian, get it through your head that if no one DARES take on the burgeoning militarism our country is finished. Some people truly and sincerely believe all this country needs is another dozen wars against random 3rd world countries, and they've had a monopoly on political power since 1948. Some do not believe this, and Scotian insists that we're far left anti-war (ergo anti-military) freaks. I'm aware of the fact that Scotian is likely to suppose that the majority of Americans ARE freaks, although I've heretofore supposed that Canadians generally believed it was the jingos among us who accounted for our freakish nature.

But aside from this, I'm really tired of these prolonged mendacious stink bombs by Scotian's Uriah-Heepish avatar. The core of all these philippics against Obama are based not on facts at all, but on talking points too lame for any but the most choleric of the anti-Obama crowd to regurgitate.

PS: I actually like Hillary, and I will vote for her in the 2008 elections should she get the nomination, but I regret that she is extremely hawkish and I also regret that her healthcare plan is IMHO utter crap. I do NOT hold her campaign responsible for the ballocks circulated by Scotian, Pat, Chrissy, and others. That's why I attribute this merely to a nebulous "anti-Obama" crowd.

Posted by: descamp on my deformity on February 11, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack,

Excellent description of what Obama means by bipartisanship!

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

descamp, weak attempt at covering up for Obama's deceptive exploitation of his mother's death. Hawaii, has near universal health coverage and a far greater percentage of insureds than would be covered under Obama's plan yet Obama is trying to deceive people into thinking her sufferings were exacerbated by lousy coverage and this is motivating his plan. Obama is trying to deceive people by manipulating their emotions with lies. Despicable, despicable, despicable.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Drudge already had a link to a story about Obama being assassinated and he hasn’t even gotten the nomination yet. Can you imagine if they had done that about George W. Bush in 2000? Wouldn’t have happened. There are two different standards in the media for Democrats vs. Republicans.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 11, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

"I think Obama is all style, no substance."

As opposed to this type of commentary which is lacking in style, substance, knowledge, and tact. It is patronizing and insulting. It is the casual comment of someone who doesn't know what they are talking and are more comfortable spouting superficial impressions or regurgitating Republican/Clinton talking points than actually finding out for themselves.

And where exactly is the hard hitting substance from Hillary? Compare their web sites. Compare their speeches. Watch them in the debates.

There's nothing wrong with thinking one has the edge on the other on this issue or that (though their stand on the issues is fairly similarly). Or having a more positive impression of one than the other. But the people who are spouting that Obama is lacking in substance and particulars either don't know what they're talking about or are deliberately lying.

It's this kind of sleazy, vacuous, destructive politics that makes me support Obama of the Clintons. The Bush administration was a nightmare compared to the Clintons, and given the choice anyone sane would choose the Clintons over Bush. But we can still do better than Clintons. A lot better. It starts by not rewarding the Clintons and the Republicans for sliming Obama with baseless attacks like these.

Posted by: Augustus on February 11, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

This is not a comment on BO policy expertise. This is a comment as to why I have developed a negative reaction to him. I have finally figured it out.

He is holding himself out as an change agent.. a very big change agent.. Try as I do, I cannot see a thing that he has changed. His mentor in IL was a slum lord who owned 11 buildings in BO's district. The mentor stole federal funds meant to fix the buildings. This did not hamper BO's friendship in the least.. in fact he enlisted the slum lords wife to help him buy some property... I guess with some of the stolen money.

If he had gotten the mentor to clean up the buildings, help him buy some property and remained his mentor at the same time BO would be a change agent.. In the absence, it is the same old, same old. He maybe the most cynical person to take advantage of a hurting nation that I have ever seen.

Posted by: MsComment on February 11, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,
There is no such thing as a moderate Republican. Name one who has been willing to work with any progressive Democratic. They will never move to the center because their party is controlled by the extreme right-wing. All moderate Republicans were purged during the Bush administration. (Remember Jim Jeffords).

I remember the Reagan Democrats well. In 1980 I predicted our country would turn into a third world country controlled by an Oligarchy when Reagan was elected. I also predicted that the gap between rich and poor would grow ever wider. Anyone who supports Reagan's economic policies cannnot be a progressive candidate.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Throwing principle out the window with her AUMF vote?

Yeahhhhh, just like Obama voting to fund the rest of the deaths that occurred since he got to the Senate. Huh? How fucking weak. You Obazombies wanna dance, fine, lets dance...

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Would you prefer a warm young pool or a toxic swamp - ruthless in its desires.

Posted by: leo on February 11, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

He maybe the most cynical person to take advantage of a hurting nation that I have ever seen.

You lose all veneer of credibility when you make such an extreme, hyperbolic statement like this (which is almost certainly hypocritical too, if your alternative is Hillary Clinton).

Notice the full press sleaze machine that the Clintons and Republicans are putting on Obama. It may not be concerted, but does seem like a mutually convenient coincidence that both the Clinton and Bush camps are attacking Obama for the same thing at the same time (Bush commented that he doesn't know what Obama stands for either).

It really strains credulity and in fact nearly provokes laughter that Clinton fans would be attacking someone else for having contacts with questionable characters. The sad reality is that almost no one can make it into national political office without at least tangential exposure to corrupt and/or questionable characters. Take the upcoming Rezko trial that could hurt Obama. Funny coincidence, there are pictures of him with the Clintons (never mind that the Bill denied ever meeting the guy until the photo emerged and he had to change his story).

So sick and tired of the Republican and Clinton sleaze machines. We can (or at least should) do better than this.

Posted by: Augustus on February 11, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

leslie, you are confusing voters with representatives... the difference is somewhat significant. And is your last aside meant to indicate that one of the would-be Democratic candidates is proposing Reagan-like economic policies? Unless I've accidently slipped worlds, in which dimension?

descamp, I think it as unfair to call Scotian a zealot as is his use of the label to describe some of the other posters here. I - with the exception of two posters - have seen little evidence of zealotry on this thread or others at PA.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

So sick and tired of the Republican and Clinton sleaze machines.

Get the fuck out! Don't act like you ain't playing the game mother fucker. It makes you look stupid. Your slapstick attempt at being the "we're not playing that game" campaign lost it's luster when Obama jumped on the media's racism bandwagon to win SC.

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,
What I meant was that the Reagan Democrats were not progressives. But, they were for "change" so they all thought they were being progressive. Reagan paved the way for the Bush presidency by moving the country to the right. Anyone who will vote to make the Bush tax cuts permanent or who has supported them thus far is participating in Reagan economic policies. How will Obama vote on that? How will he vote on the inheritance tax issue? I don't see that discussed on his website.

Posted by: leslie on February 11, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ! The Reagan thing was the biggest fuck up of them all you shit-for-brains!

You want to see Reagan's legacy? Dare me to link to a few blogs? Is that what the fuck we want the next 30 years of this Democratic movement to emulate!?!

You fucking zombies...

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Calm down, elmo! Electoral strategy not policy. Election of Reagan was the biggest tragedy to hit the U.S. in the last half-century IMHO.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Electoral strategy? You mean, lie, cheat and steal to get elected...no thanks.

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Leslie (and Elmo, calm down),

I'm going to take your second comment first. Of course Reagan Dems were not progressives!!! I really don't remember Reagan campaigning on 'change' but if he did it was meant as change from the Carter years. Of course Obama will NOT vote for the Bush tax cuts to become permanent. If you would listen to him you would hear him say that he wants to let the Bush tax cuts expire. That would include the inheritance tax cut I'm sure. If you really have concern about any of these issues, then you really have Obama figured wrong. Neither Clinton nor Obama would support Bush's tax policies.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

don't remember Reagan campaigning on 'change'

There you go making yourself look stupid again.

http://www.posters57.com/images/categories/1980_Reagan.jpg

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Name one who has been willing to work with any progressive Democratic."

Chuck Hagel. Also, both Hillary and Obama have sponsored bills with Republicans in the Senate. And remember, I already told you that Obama is NOT looking at the current congress for allies among Republicans. He hopes to bring in more moderate Republicans in future elections.

From Google:

Hillary Clinton is still outraged that Rockstar Games left a sexually-themed ... Clinton's co-sponsor on the bill, Joseph Lieberman, had his own video game ...

Official Site of Hillary Clinton for President. ... She worked with the Republican Senate Majority Leader, a doctor, to co-sponsor a bill to give everybody ...

I'll let you look up Obama's cosponsorship with Republicans.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone who supports Reagan's economic policies cannnot be a progressive candidate."

Leslie, Of course you're right!!! Who supports Reagan's economic policies? Certainly not Obama and certainly not me.

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

Elmo,

A picture of Reagan in his cowboy hat and shirt with the words "Reagan Country" is supposed to mean exactly what? What in the world does that have to do with change, other than conceiveably a change in 'clothes fasion.'

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Slow down, nepeta. Don't get all hysterical...

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,
I went to Obama's website and did not see anything about letting the Bush tax cuts expire. However, under the heading "economic policy" it say he wants to cut taxes so that 10 million Americans do not pay any taxes. Does that mean he will also raise them on wealthy families to counterbalance the loss of government funds since he wants to invest in the infrastructure of the country? Do you think that the wealthy in power in this country are just going to say, "yeah sure no problem". Kumbaya.

From the website:
"Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans".

Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.

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

Please give us a definitive statement that you *super duper* believe Reagan did not run on "change"...stupid...

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

leslie,

"I went to Obama's website and did not see anything about letting the Bush tax cuts expire."

If you want to hear him say it himself, watch the Reno Gazette interview with Obama (easily found by googling). And from Obama's web site, obviously he will let them expire if he thinks they're irresponsible. Agreed?

"Irresponsible Tax Cuts: President Bush's policies of giving tax breaks for the wealthy will cost the nation over $2.3 trillion by the time they expire in 2009."

Also from Obama's web site:

"Reverse Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers."

AND just for the fun of it:

"End Tax Haven Abuse: Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
Close Special Interest Corporate Loopholes: Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry. "

"Does that mean he will also raise them on wealthy families to counterbalance the loss of government funds since he wants to invest in the infrastructure of the country?"

Letting Bush's tax cuts expire will automatically raise taxes on the wealthy. Obama points out that withdrawing all troops from Iraq will save the US about $1 billion/day.

Really, this is such a silly argument. If you think Obama is some sort of closet Reagan then you're badly mistaken.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

You never heard of that "Time for a Change" speech?

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

elmo,

You're the one making the argument that he did run on change. So far you've sent me one picture of Reagan in a cowboy hat. Anything more substantial you can come up with? Not that it makes any difference at all to me.

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

Well, glad to see you could come up with something a little better than a photo of a cowboy. Although the speech was titled "A Time for Change," scanning the text I couldn't find another occurence of the word change. Also, the first commenter on the site said:

"Actually, I believe the speech was entitled "A Time for Choosing".

Whatever, Reagan has absolutely nothing to do with this election other than the 'lesson' of his ability to draw conservative democrats to his side. It's an analogy only to Obama's attempt to draw liberal Republicans to his camp and has nothing to do with policy.

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

You're the one making the argument that he did run on change.

Am I talking to a wall here? REAGAN RAN ON CHANGE.

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, dude, you want to argue on where the fucking "a" is?

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

It's an analogy only to Obama's attempt to draw liberal Republicans to his camp and has nothing to do with policy.

I don't want a single wingnut in our camp. They are smelly little chickenhawks. I want them humiliated to the point of no return...

Posted by: elmo on February 11, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Don't ever fucking pimp Reagan again, Barack...

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Shut up and read, elmo...

"By 1980, this conservative insurgency, having organized a new governing coalition, found itself with the power to act. Based in the Republican Party it incorporated wide swaths of Democrats and Independents -- and led to nearly three decades of conservative government.

When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, many of us hoped for a return not to the programs of the New Deal, but to its values -- a politics that viewed us as one people, collaborating with one another, and committed to equality.

But that's not what happened. Instead, Clinton did for Reagan what Eisenhower had done for Roosevelt -- he ratified Reagan's success, reaffirmed that the "era of big government was over" and presided over a continued dismantling of American industry, a continued rise in inequality, and a fever of Wall Street speculation. Instead of challenging the old governing coalition, Clinton reinforced it, and remained trapped by it.

That's what Obama wants to change. That's why he reaches out beyond the Democrats' base to Republicans and independents -- not to avoid change but to challenge Americans, whatever their party, to embrace change as profound as the Reagan Revolution -- but this time one that's unalterably committed to restoring values of community, collaboration, and equality that have been too long marginalized in our public life.

Obama, Clinton, Reagan: Change That Matters, Ganz, Huffington Post, 1/28/08

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Whenever I am in need of a good laugh I now come here and read the pro-Obama rhetoric. It is absolutely hilarious. These are easily some of the most self-deceptive and deceitful people I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Even Drum's reason for posting the thread comes across as a transparent attempt to encourage Hillary bashing and to ridicule other people's opinions.

But the truth is hard to ignore. Obama is a great enigma especially to those of us who can't grasp how the democratic party could possibly nominate a candidate with so many holes and expect him to win in November. It doesn't make much sense to me. Obama supporters rave at how great of a speaker he is and yet every time I watch him speak I find him to be less than adequate, even arrogant and off-putting. They say he is brilliant, but I'd be much more comfortable if they said he was a brilliant politician and then back it up with examples of legislation he wrote and pushed through. They say he has accomplishments, yet they can't produce any. They say he is honest to a fault, but he appears to have gotten kickbacks from Rezko in the form of campaign contributions. They say he has depth but cite his rhetoric as the example. They say so what, the presidency really is a bully pulpit even though the executive branch controls the military, the federal bureaucracy, and is charged with enforcing the laws of the land.

Frankly, I just don't see how he is up to the task. I don't think he has ever taken a stand on a controversial issue such as abortion. I don't think he'll stand up for progressive ideas and issues. I think he has proven that by basically throwing universal health care coverage under the bus during this campaign and by watering down that nuclear legislation he wrote and pushed through the senate only to have Bush veto it. Ooops, he lied about that one didn't he. The legislation ever passed did it? Was it because Excelon became one of his biggest campaign contributors? How is that for change? An end to corruption? A new type of politics? Yeah right. Want to know why so many of us hard core democrats are skeptical of Obama? It is really easy to figure it out. We believe in the progressive agenda even if our cynical politicians and the democratic party doesn't.

Posted by: voteforairhead on February 12, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

"descamp, I think it as unfair to call Scotian a zealot as is his use of the label to describe some of the other posters here. I - with the exception of two posters - have seen little evidence of zealotry on this thread or others at PA." Posted by: snicker-snack on February 11, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Thank you, especially since I said in an earlier thread that at PA the zealotry percentage was much lower than I was seeing elsewhere, otherwise why would I bother? I am getting very tired of having my concerns dismissed by some as being nothing but my imaginings, especially since my concerns have stayed consistent since I first started raising them. I know I could be wrong about all of this (I obviously don’t think I am of course but I always accept that possibility in anything I say/evaluate, especially in the realm of politics where perception is at least as definitive as fact/reality) when I write it, and I would really appreciate if people could look past the part that they feel offended by and actually address my concerns. nepata has tried to do so, and I have appreciated nepata’s efforts even if I remain unconvinced by them.

nepata:

First off, your point about the health care plans, while as I have said before there is a limit to how comfortable I am talking about this aspect of the race from what I have seen I have seen more evidence that she understands the problem, has costed out an effective means to deal with it, and that this has passed the scrutiny of not just her supporters but independent economists as well. From Obama I’ve seen the evaluations leaving a hole (not covering all unlike hers is attempting to do) AND he claims his will be paid by the Bush tax cuts and efficiencies in the system, and while the latter is one thing how can he pay for any of it in his first term if he won’t revoke the tax cuts but waits until they sunset which I understand is 2012, the end of his first term in office assuming he becomes the President.

So on that score I see her, and apparently others do as well, as having the more comprehensive plan and having provided the details to convince independent experts that it is a feasible one for universal coverage (yes, I know there is dissenting voices out there too, but outside the ones also pulling for Obama it seems much quieter, and this is where Krugman’s analysis does also play a role in my evaluation given his track record for truth telling when it isn’t the popular thing to do combined with his economics background giving him additional credibility) versus a plan from Obama that appears less detailed, less substantial, and overall less realistic.

BTW, regarding Krugman’s supposed partisanship that some of the Obama supporters have griped about here and elsewhere, why is it not believable that he simply sees Obama as the far less detailed/substantial on these points once he analyzes what he has said versus what Clinton has put out there, why must it mean he is wrong this time and/or a Clinton partisan/Obama hater? I have a hard time with the way how when Krugman is goring the sacred cows of Obama supporters that suddenly he is considered impossibly partisan and/or incredibly incompetent/wrong this time without actual refutation of his arguments in any serious way beyond attacking him personally in some manner. One of the reasons I like Krugman is that he provides his reasoning and has shown himself to be quite consistent in how he operates, obviously able to be mistaken like anyone and I will go along with people thinking he is this time, but they also need to show WHY he is mistaken, which I haven’t exactly seen much of, which makes me question how much that belief in Krugman’s being mistaken is based on sound reasoning and how much on wanting to believe it is so.

Secondly, the bipartisanship angle that you congratulated snicker-snack for understanding. I understood that too you know, the problem is as others have pointed out is that it takes two sides willing to be so in good faith, and that has been shown to be absent from the GOP side for a decade now and not likely to change anytime soon no matter who wins in November. If you want to argue that they will have to listen to what the people say in November, my counter is look at how well they listened to the 2006 wipeout of the GOP and their actions in Congress ever since as my rebuttal to that belief. If I really thought there was any real chance of the old fashioned bipartisanship partnering with the GOP I might then accept Obama’s premise of such as his governing model, but that is not the reality I see when I look at the modern GOP, not even close.

There is also the point I’ve made before, that if this is his way of practicing politics where then is his use of it in this primary season? If he cannot show how it works while running for the nomination within his party how then can anyone believe it is real? I’ve heard how he practices politics differently from traditional pols like the Clintons, yet when I look at his and his campaign’s actions I see a hard ball negative campaigning politician willing to misquote and context strip his opponent just like the standard old politics that have been around for so long. Therefore I have a real hard time with this postpartisanship concept since it is all a matter of faith/belief since there is nothing in his actions to indicate it that I can find, especially not after he and his campaign went out of their way to smear the Clintons as race baiters (and yes nepata I do blame the Obama camp there, theirs was the first campaign to systemically use that card as I’ve noted before between the Bradley effect, tears for Katrina explanations for the NH loss, the clear revision of Bill Clinton’s Fairy Tale comment from being about his Iraq war voting history into somehow being about the entire Obama campaign, and the MLK/LBJ thing which Clinton used in response to Obama bringing up King first and comparing himself to King, chronology and proper sequencing counts in laying blame/responsibility) going into SC.

Then there are the Obama flyers about how Clinton lost the Congress for the Dems, never once mentioning all the major Congressional Democratic leaders in major scandals during that time, including his home State of Illinois Rep Dan Rostenkowski among others. This is all the standard attack politics of the past and none of it shows this new way of his, so why should I believe it is anything more than a theme/meme he is riding to power because of the fatigue with hyperpartisanship in the land? This is why the idea of his bipartisanship/postpartisanship kind of politics appears to me as a mirage/phantasm, and worse if he truly does believe that there is within the GOP a desire for such bipartisanship then he is deluded and basically disarming himself going into a major fight/conflict, never a wise thing to do. I also have to question how strenuously he is going to expose the abuses of Bushco and the GOP and prosecute those that deserve it if he wants to work with the GOP, because he has to know the more he exposes the less they will work with him, and to me it is more important to expose the rot than it is to have the appearance of unity, especially given the massive institutional damage done by Bushco over the pasty seven years.

Everything I see about him nepata indicates that he is basing most of his reason for supporting him in this mythical notion of postpartisanship/bipartisanship that will suddenly work for him when it hasn’t for any Dem politician in decades now. That somehow his force of personality will make it happen, this despite the history showing that if anything the more any Dem leader looks like he may succeed on substantive issues the more they will impede that Dem to prevent the Democratic brand from gaining more respect/credibility. The GOP is the party of fear, smear, and anti-government (government cannot work because it is always the bad guy approach), the last thing they want to see is another FDR showing the people otherwise, which was why the Clinton health care was so bitterly fought in the early 90s, as Gingrich himself made clear along with Bill Krystal (another Obama fan, which in itself would make me nervous, when GOP political operatives/strategists start swooning over a Dem candidate I smell a rat, their opinionists are one thing operatives/strategists though quite another) at the time.

This is why I see the campaign Obama is running as being shallow, and why I argue that it is primarily faith based in what he says he can do based on little actual proof he can make it work on the national stage going by all his actions on the national stage since elected in 2004 to the Senate. This is also why I think he is running a primarily emotion based campaign instead one of substance/issues primarily (especially bread and butter issues), because he knows its power and he knows he cannot truly provide the details needed, at least not without prep time/prepared speeches. He has underwhelmed me in the impromptu format of debates and interviews where the questioners are asking these questions and actually doing follow-up instead of accepting the answer as given without significant scrutiny. I think this is creating a dangerous weakness in him as a candidate which will increase the odds of the GOP beating the Dems despite the conditions being so good for Dems this year.

Part of the cult of personality complaint comes from me because whenever I raise these points I get them dismissed as talking points from the Clinton camp, never once is it considered possible that these might actually be my own observations independently arrived at. Just look at many of the responses I have gotten from other Obama supporters here aside from yourself when I raised these points. You are one of the only ones to at least be willing to believe that I am being honest in my claims of these being my own concerns and not being some sort of Clinton operative or brainwashed by Clinton spin, which is why I respond to you in detail and without scorn at this point. Look at how many times people have telepathically read my mind to tell me my motivations and my thinking, even when I have explicitly written both out. That sort of close mindedness is something I associate with zealotry be it religiously based or politically based, and in either case it is something I find worrisome and a potential danger to the welfare of an open democratic society.

I have had far more personal attacks on me than I have had serious attempts to actually try to refute my concerns, how should I take/read that as anything else than as I do nepata? I know I am a long winded person and a lengthy writer, but that was always my style of writing here ever since I first came here, as the old timers here can vouch for, how many times though have I been mocked/insulted on that basis that you’ve seen from Obama supporters? How should I take that kind of criticism? I’ve had people tell me I’m obviously in the bag for Clinton despite it making no difference to me because of my lack of vote and my sole stated concern being the Dems winning in November as my focus, how should I take that other than being called a liar and having my honesty/honour impugned because what I say is not something these people want to hear or see out there, and if it really was as stupid/irrelevant as some of these folks have argued why then spend the time responding let alone attacking my credibility in the first place?

Can you not see why I am getting increasingly sharp in my tone with some of them and more concerned about a cult of personality effect with Obama when I see such aimed at me here, one of the better places for serious discourse and one of the less fanatical sites for Obama supporters in my observations? I really do not want to be correct in what I am stating nepata, I really don’t, and if I am proven wrong down the road I will quite happily acknowledge it at the time, but until then, until I see that I cannot in good conscience say and do anything other than what I have been. You at least have been good about treating my concerns as legitimate and real, even if you think I am wrong about them, how many others have you seen grant me the same courtesy? Not to mention how can I believe in the new way of Obama’s if I see no signs of it from his supporters and instead see some fairly harsh partisanship and very aggressive behaviour?

Sorry to have gone on so long yet again, but since you are one of the only Obama supporters here I can actually have a reasonable disagreement with here you ended up being the one getting it all, sorry about that. I do thank you though for that courtesy, I just wish you weren't such a minority in that.

Posted by: Scotian on February 12, 2008 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

That's what Obama wants to change. That's why he reaches out beyond the Democrats' base to Republicans and independents --

Fuck me running!?! That's what they want you to do shit head! Reach out to them? What fucking planet are you living on? They are on the retreat. There will be a time for healing and compromising, but it ain't fucking now! You will be ambushed sure as shit and you don't even now it. This "healing time" shit is premature and you better realize it proto...

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Everything I see about him nepata indicates that he is basing most of his reason for supporting him in this mythical notion of postpartisanship/bipartisanship that will suddenly work for him when it hasn’t for any Dem politician in decades now. That somehow his force of personality will make it happen, this despite the history showing that if anything the more any Dem leader looks like he may succeed on substantive issues the more they will impede that Dem to prevent the Democratic brand from gaining more respect/credibility.

This is where I think you're wrong. It's not based on his force of personality; that would be 'cultish.' It's on an understanding that there are some core values that touch voters on both sides and if you can command these core values through your language, you can draw ties to some of these voters where none existed before and build a large enough coalition that you push through change in the direction you want. Mr. Obama believes (I think) that he can speak to these issues in a way that Ms. Clinton can't and I think he's right on this. Please read the George Lakoff article I linked to in the previous thread. Unfortunately part of the current appeal of the GOP is that it speaks to some of these core values in a way the Democratic party currently doesn't and this transcends the particularities of any specific policies. I see it with friends who, for instance, want to be strong and independent and not come crawling for help - voting for the GOP helps reaffirm this self-image. But by touching on other core values - the need for honesty, a sense of shared sacrifice, concern for the weak, freedom from an instrusive government, the right to dissent - some of these friends are now considering voting for the Democrats for the first time ever. Perhaps it is Mr. Obama's experiences both as someone between cultures (it's telling that Mr. Obama gets such strong support from Americans who have experience with culture-shift, those who work abroad) and as a community organizer trying to work across various groups that has him seeing this (again, I think) where Ms. Clinton does not. This is not Kumbayah.

Now it could be that I'm full of shit. And it could be that I'm not full of shit but Mr. Obama is unable to build any sort of larger coalition. I think not but time may well do the telling.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 12, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's on an understanding that there are some core values that touch voters on both sides

Again, you are projecting to a time we haven't got to yet. Live in the NOW please. Those votes with conservative values are not about change, yet, they are still conservative. When they get that liberal bias out of their system...then we can talk...

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Secondly, the bipartisanship angle that you congratulated snicker-snack for understanding. I understood that too you know, the problem is as others have pointed out is that it takes two sides willing to be so in good faith, and that has been shown to be absent from the GOP side for a decade now and not likely to change anytime soon no matter who wins in November.

I don't think you really understood my point if this is your response... my writing is not always clear and that's also true of George Lakoff who I quoted. Let me clarify. As in my post right above, the outreach is not to legislators, it is to those who vote - creating pressure from the bottom-up both in terms of more Democratic seats and in terms of increased pressure on remaining GOP legislators. Good faith may not be necessary. The GOP is full of Norm Colemans. As has been the Democratic party.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not worried about the smarts with either one of these candidates. This policy naif stuff...and particularly the comparisons to Bush...give me a break. If you need evidence, just consider what Bush himself said, that he doesn't believe Obama has the experience needed for the office.

When was the last time Bush was right about anything? Just trust your instincts...if Bush said it, the opposite is true.

Posted by: Jennifer on February 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Hey elmo, agree to disagree. Think the time is right for this approach - think the time is always right for this approach - but you're at a better vantage point. I'm in the States for three to four weeks a year only and most of my contact is through the media, with friends in the States or with American friends here in Asia. Anyway, liked the post on your site about why you're supporting HRC.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 12, 2008 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Dammit, you make it hard not to love you, snack.

I just want the fight that is coming. I long for it. If there was ever a time to come together it is now and is happening. Sure as shit. But there is one last battle coming that will rock the ages. We have to win, for the sake of us all...

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Scotian,

No one is going to get a healthcare bill passed in their first year. I think Obama promises to pass one by the end of his first year (but don't quote me on that). As I noted in another post here tonight, $1Billion/day from withdrawing from Iraq will also provide funding for domestic programs as well as debt repayment. The Bush tax cuts sunset in 2009, not 2012.

Scotian, you can say that Obama's healthcare plan is Obama "less detailed, less substantial, and overall less realistic" but I see no evidence of that. As a citizen I've seen no detail for either one of the candidates, including the approximate cost of the 'insurance' per person/family, or the foreseen amounts of subsidies available to those who would find the premium a burden. If you can locate any numbers for me on Clinton's or Obama's plan, I'd appreciate it. Also, I posted a link on another thread the other day that describes the mess today in the Massachusetts mandated healthcare plan. Many, may problems, not the least of which are those who can't afford to buy the mandated 'insurance' and being fined. It would be a grave injustice to have a mandated plan without sufficient subsidies, don't you agree? If it can be shown that subsidies will be generous enough to alleviate any economic hardship, then I'm all for them. But in that case it would seem that everyone would be only to happy to get the insurance. As I've said before here tonight, I need to read the Krugman articles before I can give you a response on specifics.

Again, and I thought you understood this, Obama is not planning on partnering with the current GOP crew in congress. He's hoping they'll be replaced with moderates if he can appeal to enough liberal conservatives. Whether he will succeed is impossible for anyone to know at this point. Also, the Senate GOP was not 'wiped out' in 2006. Sheesh, I don't even know the distribution now. 51D-49R?

Your next paragraph simply indicates that our perceptions of the Obama/Clinton race are squarely opposed. I would argue my case but I've wasted my breath too many times before.

I know nothing about the flyers you talk about which isn't to say they don't exist. My perception is that Obama is running a clean campaign. He responds personally when he is, as he says 'hit over the head' with lies from the Clinton campaign. I am quite aware of what was said in NH and SC and as Obama has said, he made no response, not a 'peep,' in his words. What you heard during that time was outrage from Obama supporters at both instances. Funny that Bill Clinton would have apologized for the Jesse Jackson remark had he felt remorseless in what he said, don't you think?

Can Obama be a successful president? I sure hope so. Everything looks terribly bleak to me at this moment and, quite honestly, I'm not sure Obama can recover all that has been lost. In fact, I'll be enormously surprised if he gets elected in the first place. There are ways to get around 'insurgent' candidates in the good ole USA. The country is run by an economic, corporate and political elite that doesn't take kindly to competition. For me Obama is the best bet. Clinton would be a 'decent' president maybe, I'm not sure. When I look back at Bill's presidency I don't see much good except in the environmental area and that was managed by executive order. NAFTA, increasing outsourcing, bombing Baghdad, economic bubbles. Except for the environment I'm having trouble thinking of anything good! The Clintons are 'players.' Part of the political elite that insures that American society doesn't diverge much from the staus quo.

I understand that personal attacks are no fun. It saddens me personally. But certainly you can see Obama supporters being equally attacked from the Clinton side I hope. I can vouche for it. Argument can so easily become personal, particularly with such strongly held views as we see here. You can look at the bright side and see that people are letting off steam here that they aren't able to when watching a stupid newscast or speaking to neighbors. Even scientists get into rumbles with each other when they have a solid set of facts at hand. Politics is far less a matter of facts, instead it involves people's perceptions, ideas, and experiences. I'm sure you can handle it, as can I. I'm even getting better at letting the personal attacks just slide off and melt away.
Enough for now.

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Argument can so easily become personal

No shit? Should've figured that out up thread...

I understand that personal attacks are no fun.

Wanna bet?

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

You're 'melting away,' elmo. Nite...

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Sweat dreams, nepeta. I got point...

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack:

No, I understood what you meant in that regard too, I just don't think it is going to happen. The 2006 elections were a massive repudiation of the GOP extremism and hard-line perspectives, yet how did the GOP react to that massive repudiation BY THE VOTERS? They have become incredibly obstructionist and no less extreme in their own framing. They have had the media more or less on their side and I don't see that changing any time soon either no matter who wins in November. I think also that if Obama understood the framing argument you mention that he wouldn't be using GOP frames regarding the Clintons and things like social security as freely/often as he does. The problem isn't that I don't understand the concept/theory ss; it is that I don't believe Obama truly does let alone is capable of taking it from theory to reality/practice. THAT is where I run into a major problem with that notion.

Indeed, one of the things which have most appalled me in the past several months is watching the progressive blogosphere go from understanding these issues and fighting the frames to suddenly placing one man ahead of everything, that man being Obama.

nepata:

You don't know about these flyers? Have you bothered to look at pro-Clinton blogs (what few there are left of them these days) to see what they have been saying/covering as well as pro-Obama ones? I have been doing both sides all along, and these flyers do exist, as does many other less than honest/positive campaign messages from the Obama camp, what is one of the reasons I am so worried about his candidacy is that he is getting away with it because the media refuses to cover it in any real way. At best you might find the isolated media mentioning it but no follow-up, let alone pressing the campaign to explain itself, anymore than the Obama campaign was forced to explain how they said back early in the primaries about how they never accused the Clintons of being "insensitive (regarding the race issue) and then having it surface on the internet that their SC chair had written a memo doing exactly that and listing all kinds of supposedly racial comments by the Clintons, where was the follow-up on that and do you think if the reverse with the Clintons had happened it would have been given so little coverage? This is my problem nepata, unless you are paying close attention and actually go looking for it it is very difficult to see the slime/negative attacks the Obama campaign has been using all along. This is the media advantage that he has had and used quite ruthlessly, which is why I have been saying that his supposed different kind of politics is nothing but superficial messaging and not what he has actually practiced.

Please nepata; spend some time looking for these things. Try at TalkLeft for example as one place where this information is in various diaries (including as I recall the flyers I'm talking about) and Taylor Marsh and then backtrack the source links to their posts and see for yourself. It is this unwillingness of too many Obama supporters to believe that any of this could be true that I find most disturbing, and again why I see a cult of personality surrounding Obama. Do you really think I would be repeating myself about this time and again on a blog that I cannot take my words back at on a later date unless this was what I've been seeing all along? Do you really get the impression of me that I would comfortable setting myself up that badly? I know I am long winded, tedious, and more than a little argumentative at times, but I also pride myself on getting my basic facts correct even if one disagrees with my conclusions/interpretations.

The problem I see with what Obama has done is that he has provided massive ammunition to the GOP to use against him if he wins the nomination via this approach to winning the nomination. It is one of the reasons why I think he is now an ever weaker GE candidate than I thought a month ago. He has charmed the media on his side and used their well known hatred of all things Clinton to great effect, but what happens when the rules he is using against Clinton become turned on him to work in McCain's advantage, how then does he complain about it with any credibility? Even if he can point to examples there are going to be many examples left from the primaries where he gladly used it to beat up on HRC which makes him look like a standard hypocritical politician that will saw/do anything for power despite all his high minded rhetoric about principles and a new way forward. Please nepata take the time and look for yourself, if I was any good at doing linking in comments I would gladly take the time and track them down for you to find, but I assume you can use Google and I gave you the name of a couple of sites where you can find this at as well as keywords to use. The Left Coaster would be another one that has been favourable to Clinton so you should also find material there showing these negative attacks from the Obama side that somehow the media doesn't want to tell you about.

This really worries me nepata, because I see him taking short term gain at the costs of long term goals, both for himself and for the Democratic Party and progressive ideals. This is a key time to show Democratic competence in running a government, and I don't see how Obama can do that, he simply lacks the experience, same as Bill Clinton did when he won in 1992, and we saw where his getting a handle on the tools of power caused him serious trouble, and that was before the massive systemic destruction of the non-partisan infrastructure of the Executive branch by Bushco with the aid of the GOP Congress throughout this decade. Just look at the legal abuses in Alabama against the Dem Party and politicians there as one example among so many. It is this unwillingness to look at information that would show Obama in a less than good light without automatically dismissing it as spin that is one of the main reasons I see zealotry and not open-mindedness in so many Obama supporters. Why is it anything that might support the Clintons positions must be spin and anything that supports the Obama positions is of course factually accurate honest truth? Do you not see the problem with this logic/reasoning being practiced all around you by many of your fellow Obama supporters?

Please, nepata, look into it for yourself, see for yourself that the complaints I have been making have a basis in fact. Go back through newspapers and see the chronology of the events regarding the racial cards being played once NH happened and see which campaign was initiating and which one was responding and which one ended up being portrayed as the villains afterwards despite the actual chronology (If Obama truly was so against the use of race in his politics why didn't he smack the media down when they went to that card during this period instead of letting it go unchallenged if not actually aiding it?). I didn't need to look it up afterwards nepata, I watched it happen as it happened with increasing shock, because I took Obama at his word that he wasn't going to use race like that, yet once NH happened and Clinton resurged and he needed a big win in SC he did exactly that, and whenever it was brought up by Clinton defenders the refutation was always a variation of "Obama said he wouldn't and hadn't to that point so why would he now, there is nothing for him to gain", yet look at the demographic breakdown of the AA vote since NH, I'd say that is a massive gain for him and the argument that only the Clintons could/would gain from it along with the Clintons are always to be presumed guilty of the worst motives/moves because they are the Clintons logic while Obama is the candidate of doing it differently being the other main defence I saw also being proven wrong by this.

I don't think the Clintons and HRC in particular is something moral among politicians, my point has always been that Obama is also just as rough a politician (these days though I am coming to think he is even a nastier player of these games than the Clintons, and they can play some real hardball, although in this race they have been massively handicapped because Obama and his campaign spun hard criticisms as somehow being racist in nature/original and we saw what happened there didn’t we) who uses the same hardball negative attack politics he decries in everyone else. It is this massive double standard that I see as one of Obama's greatest weaknesses for the GE, especially if the media decides if it has to choose which pol to give an easy ride to they go with the independent that has been good to them for the past decade now versus the newcomer. It is still a major unknown as to whether the media favour he gets is more because of him or more because of the anti-Clinton sentiments in it, my suspicion is more the latter than the former, which means they *WILL* turn on him and suddenly "discover" all these contradictions and run with them, and what does that do to what Obama has been running on?

So please nepata, take the time and effort to make sure you aren’t being led down the garden path by someone that is a truly gifted orator but in reality does not practice what he preaches. Otherwise you may be in for a very nasty surprise if he is the nominee in November. Just because the media isn’t letting you know about something doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, and it used to be progressives/liberals online knew that, but too many of them have let their feelings for Obama and the fact the media is giving him such glowing press obscure that truth. Go read The Daily Howler to see how much of what the media is telling you matches up with reality just in the past six weeks or so. I’m not here playing Cassandra because I like being made fun of and being mocked by so many, I’m doing it because I think too many Obama supporters are being played by both the media and the Obama campaign and that this will end up giving the GOP a real chance to win with McCain even though by any sane standard that shouldn’t be a possibility. Not to mention that if Obama does lose in November in these conditions what does that do to the Democratic brand’s credibility as an option for power/government down the road.

Your country truly is at a turning point nepata, which is why I am being so insistent on this. I want the America I knew in the past who had her flaws but was a good neighbour to have back, these days your nation, the government and increasingly the populace are really starting to scare me in the direction you have gone and the inability of so many Americans to recognize just how bad things are in government and in your so called free press.

PS:

Remember what I told you about the amount of time I have to watch all this in real time and that I pay a lot of attention to politics in particular since it is something I have been raised around since birth. That I watched this in real time and drew my conclusions then, and not because I was told afterwards by someone else’s work. I know most people here don’t have that kind of time, which is why I fear so many are going to be successfully manipulated/conned about reality until it is too late.

Posted by: Scotian on February 12, 2008 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

Scotian, no. I don't think you really understand the issue of speaking to where people live. Maybe when I've got more time. I gotta get back to work for now.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 12, 2008 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Elmo: Get the fuck out! Don't act like you ain't playing the game mother fucker. It makes you look stupid. Your slapstick attempt at being the "we're not playing that game" campaign lost it's luster when Obama jumped on the media's racism bandwagon to win SC.

You sabotage your own argument and support those made against Clinton and her supporters when you reply like this (though perhaps you're just deliberately trying to make Hillary's supporters look like rage-filled crazies?).

A more reasonable counter-argument would be to criticize Obama for negative campaigning against Hillary Clinton. Yes, of course he's attacked her. Political opponents are supposed to criticize one another on the issues (whether or not a given attack is fair or not is often a matter of opinion).

But hopefully you appreciate the difference between criticism and attacks on the issues (entirely expected) versus general ridicule or vilification of an opponent or his followers (personal attacks).

Clinton herself has subtly ridiculed Obama by suggesting his campaign was a fairy tale. That's not an especially mean attack, but it is demeaning and in any case completely devoid of any substance. Nevertheless, it's probably not worth getting worked up about.

However this new wave of criticisms (that Obama's surge in the polls is fad, that his followers are insane and/or cult-like in their devotion) is worse. There's no pretense of substance or facts - just personal attacks.

By all means attack Obama on his stand on the issues, his possible ties to unsavory figures, judgment, and so on.

But concerted efforts such as these to ridicule an opponent and demean their supporters based on nothing more than generic and manufactured accusations such as these are unacceptable. It's a slightly toned down version of the campaign tactics used by Karl Rove and other Republicans. It's also a partial explanation for why public support for the Clintons has been fading... and why Bill Clinton was subsequently muzzled.

You accused Obama of playing the race card in South Carolina. I'm willing to listen to a coherent and factually supported argument that supports your claim. But at the very least you cannot claim the high ground after Bill Clinton's racially charged comments on South Carolina.

Posted by: Augustus on February 12, 2008 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK

David Axelrod

Hence he designed a campaign strategy that stressed high concept ideas instead of policy.

From the Tribune:
Yet even in those early days(February 2005), Obama and his advisers were thinking ahead. Some called it the "2010-2012-2016" plan: a potential bid for governor or re-election to the Senate in 2010, followed by a bid for the White House as soon as 2012 or, if not, 2016. The way to get there, they decided, was by carefully building a record that matched the brand identity: Obama as unifier and consensus-builder, an almost postpolitical leader.


Posted by: celebrity-politician??? on February 12, 2008 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

They say he is brilliant, but I'd be much more comfortable if they said he was a brilliant politician and then back it up with examples of legislation he wrote and pushed through. They say he has accomplishments, yet they can't produce any. They say he is honest to a fault, but he appears to have gotten kickbacks from Rezko in the form of campaign contributions. They say he has depth but cite his rhetoric as the example.

Huh? Many Obama supporters right here on this thread rallied to address such "concerns" (I offered links to articles on Obama's legislative achievements at 8:34). Show me where anyone has claimed Obama is "honest to a fault". Please, that is absurd. If you had probed the Rezco affair in any depth you would know Rezco is a player who routinely contributes to both Democratic and Republican campaigns. The Chicago Sun-Times has done a lot of reportage on this; A kos diary by John K. Wilson that claims to debunk "10 myths" about the Rezco-Obama connection is also of interest: If you play a game of "six degrees of separation" with Rezko, he’s linked to almost every politician in Chicago.

Frankly, I just don't see how he is up to the task. I don't think he has ever taken a stand on a controversial issue such as abortion.

Invasion of Iraq.

I think he has proven that by basically throwing universal health care coverage under the bus during this campaign and by watering down that nuclear legislation he wrote and pushed through the senate only to have Bush veto it.

Because Hillary is going to waltz into office with all that awesome political capital of hers and get universal health care done. Big pharma and the insurance companies will be kinder and gentler than the nuclear power industry. Right. Whether it's Hillary or Obama they will have to deal with the politics of the possible, and the health care reform bill that makes it to the president's desk is going to be an ungainly compromise no matter what the candidates are saying now. At least Obama acknowledges that reality.

Obama reintroduced the nuclear notification bill last October. I agree it is a disappointment, and that is a legitimate argument. But all the whining about where's Obama's record is just sheer laziness and snark. The record's out there. You could google.

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

David Axelrod -- the same guy who brought you Rod Blagojevich. Admittedly, Blago is somewhat less "high concept."

I think the most amusing thing about the Obama maniacs is how they never seem to notice that the "change" he talks about is always off in the future. He was in the state Senate, but didn't "change" things there; he had a pretty weak record filled with typical Springfield political hack actions like voting present and "accidentally" hitting the wrong voting button repeatedly. He has been in the U.S. Senate for three years (one spent running for President) and has not "changed" things there; frankly, not only his is record in the Senate not marked with efforts to change things, its not really even up to par with most Senators as far as legislating (and certainly voting) goes. But in the future, he's going to change things. You just watch.

I suspect that when he talks about change, he means changing his job.

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Pat. Many have tried to point you to the record you affect doesn't exist. But you're not serious.

Good snark, though.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, nothing is going to change your mind about Dear Leader, Lucy. I'm certainly not trying to. But I think it's a legitimate question. Why hasn't the Senators done something in the positions he has actually been elected to? Why are the changes always in the future, or in the next job, Lucy? Why are there never any details?

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Pat,

You're not a black man who's been beaten up by the police in custody, are you?

Didn't think so.

Oh, and you've played the "Dear Leader" card! Charming. Although moved by your longing for details, I must go. No doubt someone else will jump at the chance to engage you in good faith only to be ridiculed with cheap shots.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

What is wrong with all you people who think that any supporter of Obama is a closeted cultist? Given the back and forth here, it's hard to argue that he doesn't have supporters who have real policy/politics driven reasons for supporting him. Yet, I keep reading condescending remarks and dear leader type comments about them. Shameful!

Posted by: GOD on February 12, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Darn it! If only you had more time, Lucy, I'm sure you would have answered the question in some detail. Too bad you're running late!

As for your question about whether I am a "black man who has been beaten up in police custody," I sincerely don't have the foggiest damn notion of what you are prattling on about. But maybe if you are in the Obama club, and have the secret decoder ring, you get it. Whatever.

Anyone else now that Lucy has had to toddle off? Why has the Senator not done anything in the positions he has actually been elected to? Why are these enormous "changes" always in the NEXT job?

Why, jiminy, I think I feel a song coming on. Let me just put on my red frizzy wig, here:

"Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya! Tomorrow! You're always a day away! When I'm stuck with a day, that's gray and lonely ..."

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has NO plan whatsoever to sing kumbaya with Karl Rove or people like him

Barack and Hillary have NO plan whatsoever to bring the criminals of the W. Bush regime to justice.

Many of us who are going to support the lesser of two evils have spent the past seven years agonizing over the crimes committed by the W. Bush administration and the lack of opposition to them by the Democrats. Now we are being asked to vote for a Democrat, either Barack or Hillary, that will do very little to prosecute the previous adminstration for crimes committed and do very little to rectify the consequences of them. The most committed Americans against the crimes and policies of the W. Bush regime will have to suppress their desires for real change in American politics through the electoral process and try to make real changes outside of it.

Posted by: Brojo on February 12, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton herself has subtly ridiculed Obama by suggesting his campaign was a fairy tale.

Liar. Your childish spin needs a name...how 'bout PR Fluff n' Stuff?

Posted by: elmo on February 12, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

brojo,

I just wrote a long comment in response to your post and then 'x-ed' it out by mistake. Aaargh. So, to be succinct, I agree there will be no prosecution of anyone from the Bush administration. An impeachment effort in the House would have been the obvious course, even if it had failed. I don't know what the possibilities are with an ex-administration. Certainly impeachment is out.

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Could things be worse than they are now??? Note the "large number of Democrats." (From Talking Points Memo):

A majority of senators, and a large number of Democrats, decide that telecoms should not suffer the hazard of accountability for cooperating with the administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Vote was 31-67. Telecoms get immunity. Here are the Dems who voted against granting immunity:

Akaka (D-HI)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Tester (D-MT)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
Baucus (D-MT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Casey (D-PA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Tester (D-MT)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for that long column. But I count 38 there, not 31. Here's more:

The Senate voted on the Dodd/Feingold amendment, which would have stripped retroactive immunity from the surveillance bill just now. The final tally was 31-67; crossing over to vote nay were Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Evan Bayh (D-IA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Webb (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Update: Here's the official tally.

Presidential candidates Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) were present for the vote – voting nay and yea, respectively.

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

Thank you Brojo for your articulate comment. The fact that Bush and his cronies will get away with their crimes is what has bothered me more than anything.

Unifying the country to me sounds like a code for "get over it, everyone". I am sorry, I can't get over it. Our system of checks and balances broke down over the last 7 years and I hope that it will be restored by this election in November.

Posted by: leslie on February 12, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK
....My perception is that Obama is running a clean campaign....nepeta at 1:42 AM
You have amply demonstrated that you inhabit a fantasy world in which your hero does no wrong, tells no lies. Your ESP ability is simply amazing. You know so much about your hero, all those facts not in evidence from his record or statements.
....You accused Obama of playing the race card in South Carolina.... Bill Clinton's racially charged comments on South Carolina.... Augustus at 4:15 AM
Jesse Jackson Jr urged racial solidarity in the South Carolina vote. I think that was fine. Clinton comment was racially charged only in your overheated imagination.
The record's out there. Lucy at 9:11 AM
The record you claim for your hero is scant and shows a lack of accomplishment. But, 'bamamania doesn't need a record. Posted by: Mike on February 12, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Darn it! If only you had more time, Lucy, I'm sure you would have answered the question in some detail. Too bad you're running late!

Gee, Pat, I'm sorry I had to go, you know, work.

As for your question about whether I am a "black man who has been beaten up in police custody," I sincerely don't have the foggiest damn notion of what you are prattling on about.

Clearly you didn't follow any of the links I provided you (and they got double-posted) to get up to speed on Obama's record. If you had, you would never have made this embarrassing admission. That is, if you had any shame.

Our system of checks and balances broke down over the last 7 years and I hope that it will be restored by this election in November.

Ah! The audacity of hope!

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

So Barack Obama showed up to vote for the amendment to strip telecom companies of their immunity. John McCain voted against the amendment. And Hillary Clinton was a no show.

Guess she wants to be able to argue her position either way if she's the nominee against McCain.

Can you spell E-X-P-E-D-I-E-N-T??

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

How much you wanna bet Hillary defends her no show by whining: "Telecom companies are people too!"

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

Do you think you could provide a link that isn't sponsored by the Hillary campaign about Obama's lies? Watering down a bill to get passage is unfortunately par for the course in the Senate. I'm sure Exelon has lobbied Obama, but I suspect that the real watering down of the bill was in response to Republican pressure. It's known as compromise in order to get a bill passed. If you would have preferred no positive outcome at all, then go ahead and demand that the bill not be watered down. Progress? zero

If there's something terribly wrong with Obama's relationship with Rezko, then why do we see nothing more than innuendo? Isn't there a single investigative journalist willing to take it on and 'prove' some sort of illegality? Obama has returned Rezko contributions to his campaign in the same way that Clinton has returned Hsu contributions. I really do find it amusing how most of your links about Obama are from Clinton sites. How about a little independent linking? Meanwhile, Clinton refuses to make public her financial records until after she's nominated. That's really reassuring. Btw, you match me for partisanship ounce for ounce. If you think you don't, I'd suggest some serious self-examination.

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

"And Hillary Clinton was a no show."

LynnDee,

I was hoping someone would pick up on that. This was a very important vote but Hillary didn't have time for it. Figures.

Posted by: nepeta on February 12, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy: Thought this might help.

Checklist of Cult Characteristics

"Comparing the following statements to the group with which you or a family member or loved one is involved may help you determine if this involvement is cause for concern. If you check any of these items as characteristic of the group in question, and particularly if you check many of them you may well be dealing with a cult and should critically examine the group and its relationship to you or your loved one.

1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.

4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members' doubts.

5) The group's leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel.

6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it's leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

8) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

9) The group teaches or implies that its "superior" ends justify means that members would have
considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

10) The group's leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control then

11) Members' subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goats and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups."

12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

Oh right you are, girlfriend! I remember the day the Obama police showed up to hustle me out of my home and down to the local reorientation center. Well, at least I get a cot and three squares a day. So I got that going for me.

Translation: Good grief, Pat. You're beginning to sound more than a little ridiculous.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Reading your posts I checked off five. How about you, hon?

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, I just read through your posts and, reading between the lines, I see that you and your fellow travelers are about to sell West Point to the British.

How could you?! How could you! Just because Hillary may lose, you would sell our country out?

Shocking!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK
Ah! The audacity of hope! Lucy at 1:21 PM
Yes, for people in need, promise them hope. For people in trouble, promise them hope. For people struggling to survive, promise them hope. For a country that has seen its laws breached by government, promise them hope. Just keep the faith because 'bama is all.
.... you match me for partisanship ounce for ounce....nepeta at 2:05 PM
You are in a class by yourself when it comes to dishonesty in promoting your agenda. Obama's bill, which he touts as one of his successes does not do as claimed. After 2005 it became clear that Rezko was in legal trouble. Obama stayed a close associate and when called on it, used the lame Bush style defense of minimizing his relationship. Your talk of tax statements is a typical Republican issue talking points. Like your candidate, not impressive.
....This was a very important vote but Hillary didn't have time for it...nepeta at 2:09 PM
Paired with Lindsey Graham, Republican.

Here's an Obama supporter on his cult of personality

...However, in that context there is now a struggle for what kind of Obama nomination and presidency there will be. The explosion over Krugman's comments indicate that struggle is lost. We are going to be treated to a nice huge vat of "shut the fuck up" Obamism.
I just hope that the people now outraged over Krugman telling the truth, will remember this moment the next time that Obama tells the blogosphere to shut the fuck up, which he has done several times. He must, because as a representative plutocrat, he not only must create a loud noisy ball of people, he must have control over them, and will crush anyone who attempts to swim in that environment and direct it. He has promised his backers control over that ball, and anyone who moves it in another direction will be seen as a threat. He's already done this, and therefore, I am sure he will do it again...
Now the fight over Clinton and Obama occupies more ink and more anger than the real problems the progressive movement has. Power is still its own policy, and we have cults of personality, precisely because people want a politics of personality, and not a politics of substance...

It promises to be interesting times.

Posted by: Mike on February 12, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, I just read through your posts and, reading between the lines, I see that you and your fellow travelers are about to sell West Point to the British.

How could you?! How could you! Just because Hillary may lose, you would sell our country out?

Shocking!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

#7.

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary should have voted yea. Another legislative disappointment in her pocket does not help her campaign.

Posted by: Brojo on February 12, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator, is there any way to ban elmo from the site? His language is offensive, and he has little of substance to say.

Posted by: Daydream Believer on February 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I knew it! Whatever I post fits into one of the categories! This is apparently what passes for substantive thought and incisive analysis amongst Hillary drones!

And which category does this post fit? I'm counting on you to come through for me, Pat.

Hmmm. You know, it occurs to me ... Shall we read through your posts, Pat, and decide which of the five Kubler-Ross categories they fit into? It'd be easy to do.

As easy as what you're doing is!

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"I knew it! Whatever I post fits into one of the categories"

That's it LynnDee. You've taken the first step -- admitting the problem. It's the hardest one. Now let's see if we can get you well again.

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Group project?

Here are the five stages defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for dealing with personal loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

At this point, I would say that Pat is firmly lodged in denial but with tinges of anger leaking through from the next stage.

Thoughts?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 12, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

This strikes me as a very odd post. You have to have your head in the sand not to see that the Clinton campaign is trying to paint Obama as all soaring rhetoric and no substance. Or as I read Bill Cinton to say today, "all smoke and mirrors."

Posted by: Chunche on February 12, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, baby! That's all you got? Whipping out the meme du jour? How pedestrian. You really let me down.

I must reluctantly add you to my shitlist of:

CREEPS WHO HAVE IMPLIED THAT I AND/OR OTHER OBAMA SUPPORTERS ARE LIKE NAZIS

in order of average post length

scotian

Mike (the irony-free one)

ErikaS

Pat

Donald from Hawaii

Well done, all!

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Come the revolution, Lucy, I'm sure you'll make us all pay. Creepy, much?

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK
....Watering down a bill to get passage is unfortunately par for the course ....nepeta at 2:05 PM
Let's take a closer look at that Exelon bill that you are trying to spin.

Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants
That's bad: radiation is harmful and people have a right to know when leaks occur.

Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks.
That is good

He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.”
OK, well deserved pat on back

A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks.

That is a complete cave to the nuclear industry and is worse than nothing because people now have the expectation that legislation has made them safer. Is this what Obama means by bipartisanship?

contrary to Mr. Obama’s comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate.
It not just that it was watered down to the point of being meaningless, it didn't even pass. So he is lying when he claims that the bill passed and you are too. But, hey, the people still have the Audacity of Hope.

That is why I regard you as dishonest: you push every campaign talking point no matter how obviously false.

....I must reluctantly add you to my shitlist....Lucy at 5:32 PM
Speaking for myself -- and possibly others -- I am proud to be on your sh*tlist just as being on Nixon's enemy's list was a point of pride for those people. I don't know how being a gungho 'bamabot is fascist, but whatever gets your victimhood whine in motion. I just hope you don't kiss your dog with that potty mouth. Posted by: Mike on February 12, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

I am proud to be on your sh*tlist just as being on Nixon's enemy's list was a point of pride for those people.

Mercy! Like I said, irony-free.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why thank you Lucy, I'm sure you can show where I have specifically argued you and other Obama supporters are like Nazis, and no, a cult of personality concern is not enough evidence to make that argument with. To accuse someone of such behaviour is very ugly/nasty smearing unless you can support it with actual evidence, which funny enough I did not see in your post making this claim, not one quote of mine to back it up with, and avergae post length btw is irrelevant to such a claim in the first place. I love the way you get on your high horse here and show that you are more interested in attacking the person/messenger and not the message. Dishonesty at its finest along with smearing and ad hominem attacks. Classic cult of personality behaviour, so thank you for that smear and how it underscores that you unlike some other Obama supporters clearly are acting like a cultist here.

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

scotian,

I believe it was not an explicit accusation on your part, but, like I said, an implication.

There is no way I'm going to wade through your archives to dig up the comment in question, so if I wrongly accused you, I retract and apologize.

That said, you have been extremely presumptuous and insulting toward me and other Obama supporters, so you still get an honorable mention.

As for your message that Obama is a risky candidate for the general because the media has treated him with kid gloves and the right will savage him, I actually agree with you on that. I think Hillary is even more of a risk, however, even though she has endured over a decade of abuse from the machine. Why? Because although many Democrats like Hillary, many Americans don't, and I think, and have thought for a long time, that she would lose the general.

Reasonable people can disagree about this, of course. But it has become a challenge to have a discussion in these primary threads because of the rudeness and aggression of snipers.

Fine.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy,
How about the "Audacity of Standing up to Scumbags". We need that more than hope at this point.

Posted by: leslie on February 12, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

leslie,

What do you mean exactly.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy:

Apology NOT accepted. You have repeatedly attacked me personally far more than you have attacked what I have been saying for some time now, and then you decided it would be ok to claim I was claiming you and other Obama supporters were Nazis. Some of us are aware enough of history and what the Nazis did to understand just how offensive it is to be compared to the Nazis and therefore how serious such an accusation against others would be especially without a strong basis shown to support such a harsh and ugly comparison, especially in the disgusting way you did it, and worse by saying it was too much work for you to find the statement in which I supposedly committed this offence which if I had done something like that should have been obvious and easy for you to find since it supposedly made enough of an impression on you to smear me with it. You said it was implied, and then when I called you on it to back that statement up you withdrew it instead of standing by your argument. What does it say about you and your character that you did this in the first place, highlighted it the way you did in bold with my name at the top of that list, yet provided ZERO evidence to support your assertion?

You've claimed I am the one acting arrogantly and in a high handed manner in my writings, that I am the one committing personal attacks instead of comments of substance, yet you are the one making such outrageous claims solely because you don't like what I have had to say. That I am attacking people instead of content, etc. You have mocked me previously with similar unsubstantiated comments, but this one was particularly odious and uncalled for, and in the process with this attack you actually helped show why I am arguing your behaviour is that of a zealot. Why should I be willing to accept the apology of someone willing to make such disgusting smears in such a nasty and mealy mouthed manner as you did (by claiming I insinuated it as if that somehow makes it less offensive then simply saying I called you that directly which is yet another example of your putting words in my mouth which is another complaint I have had about how you respond to my comments) on me personally? If this was something out of the norm for you in responding to me I would have been willing to accept the apology and let it go, after all we are all human and can once in a while go too far without meaning to, but your entire pattern with me is to attack my character, my honesty, and my honour. This was the very last straw on that, with this you have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that you are a nasty ugly piece of work, and for someone that claims to be a supporter of a politician claiming to be beyond such disgusting tactics I find such blatantly disgusting ugliness as this unforgivable.

BTW, I have been insulting towards Obama supporters? I have been clear that I do not claim all Obama supporters are members of the cult of personality I see around him, and that the percentage of such was lower here at PA than other blogs I’ve been reading. Why don't you go back and read the personal attacks I have taken from my very first critique of Obama here several weeks ago before you get on your high horse and claim I had this coming to me. It says a lot that you withdraw/apologize for a remark and in the same breath say I had it coming anyway and that I am the one doing all the personal attacking. Perhaps you might learn to make the distinctions between attacking a concept and attacking a person, because it is the former I have been doing and you and your fellow Obama zealots (which since you need this explicitly spelled out to you is not all other Obama supporters here) that have been responding with personal attacks on me, my character, etc. So you can take that mealy mouthed apology and stick it where that mealy mouthed Nazi attack/smear came from, which clearly is your posterior nether region.

So as I said, apology not accepted, and you ARE going to have this flung back in your face each and every time you attack my character again. You want to respond to what I write in the future and not have it thrown in your face, stick to actually dealing with the content of what I am writing instead of me personally, because that is the only way I won't raise the fact that you will brand a dissenter with the Nazi smear with no evidence provided and in such a mealy-mouthed manner. You made this bed for yourself so deal with it.

Posted by: Scotian on February 12, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

You are a sloppy reader. I said "like Nazis", not Nazis.

As for the rest of your diatribe, I have only made fun of your windbaggery and Olympian pretensions.

Further, I have twice made conciliatory overtures toward you, and each time you acted churlishly.

By the way, who's the one here whose been likened to Nazis? Yours truly. So cry me a river, pal.

Posted by: Lucy on February 12, 2008 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Lucy,

I mean, "a crusade against powers that have governed us ... that have limited our development, that have determined our lives, that have set us in a straightjacket to do as they please." That is a quote by Woodrow Wilson in 1912 who said it better than I could.

If that is also the "Audacity of Hope" than I am happy. I have heard enough platitudes in my life time. I want results now.

Peace out.

Posted by: Leslie on February 13, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK
....who's the one here whose been likened to Nazis? Yours truly.... Lucy at 11:57 PM
Only in your perfervid imagination. Making phony claims of victimhood is typical of those whose use of self-pity is their moral justification for smearing others. Posted by: Mike on February 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

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