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Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

NEGATIVE?....David Kurtz characterizes Hillary's latest offering in Wisconsin as a "negative ad," and I suppose that technically it is. But if this is what we're going to start calling negative, the bar has been lowered several stories. This is a powderpuff.

Kevin Drum 1:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

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It's no Willie Horton, but it still mischaracterizes Obama as being afraid to take questions (he's got 2 town halls scheduled for today alone) or appear in debates (he's done 18 so far, with 2 more scheduled this month). It's a dishonest tactic, and I think it suggests a fair amount of desperation on Hillary's part.

Posted by: DaveWoo on February 13, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the TPM crew has been increasingly overstating issues in general, lately.

Posted by: PapaJijo on February 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

It would be a more effective ad if she were actually campaigning in Wisconsin, rather than half a world away in Texas. Where's Hillary?

Posted by: lampwick on February 13, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I agree both that this is not particularly harsh but also with DaveWoo that it is also not particularly honest. However, the point I would make is that I don't know why Clinton thinks healthcare is her winning issue. I know there is the difference over mandates, but I was talking to a sincerely undecided Democrat the other day while watching a news clip of Hillary touting that she has the only truly "universal" health care plan, and her response was, "Yeah, she did so well the first time and like I believe her now!" If she is going to do "contrast" ads, I'd suggest she'd be smarter to focus on the economy, not the health insurance debacle that she is most associated with.

Posted by: Scott Farris on February 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

By my definition, any campaign statement that dwells more on the opponent is "negative." This can include contrast ads, name-calling, mud-flinging, and outright lying.

There's a continuum.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like desperation. From a woman who won't even show her tax records. Since there have already been 18 debates, what's the point of another one. But she already got her but kicked in the last debate about Iraq. Does she really want another one?

Posted by: Al on February 13, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's not dishonest at all. She's got every right to try and get more debates with Obama. These kind of political moves are to be expected. If the shoe's on the other foot, it would be Obama calling for more debates with Clinton demuring.

Posted by: Quinn on February 13, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's negative for a party primary, yes. Mainly because they've already had 18 debates. Obama has already made clear that the differences between his health care plan and hers and his will cover EVERY American who wants it. Everyone with a small semblance of intelligence knows her foreclosure freeze is an idiotic and impossible idea. The whole ad is completely disingenuous and feels completely negative because Hillary knows the answer to all of those "questions" about Obama because we've seen him answer them to her face... 18 times or more.

Seems to me Hillaryland is getting desperate.

Posted by: Da5id on February 13, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

DaveWoo: What's dishonest? It says Obama hasn't committed to a debate in Wisconsin, and that's true. And there have been plenty of reports to confirm that Obama is pretty inaccessible to the press and doesn't take questions very often.

All I'm saying is that as campaign ads go, this one is pretty mild. "My opponent won't debate me" is about the oldest trick in the book.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 13, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

The ad isn't designed to convince Obama to debate--since it is obvious that he won't turn his campaign into a debataorama. The ad is designed to leave the impression that Obama cannot withstand scrutiny and to leave a negative impression about Obama in the minds of viewers.

Therefore, it is a negative ad.

Posted by: sdh on February 13, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama supporter, but this doesn't seem like an attack ad to me. It's just a rather dull attempt to differentiate herself. Not particularly honest, but not nasty.

Posted by: RichSim on February 13, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an Obama supporter, but that is a good ad.

I understand why there wasn't time for debates this past week, but there is a whole week before the Wisconsin Primary. There should be a debate.

Posted by: PE on February 13, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Going from a debate a week to a three week hiatus is a shift and it was apparently all Obama's choosing.

I'm guessing it definitely foreshadows the general election too. Obama will be dragging his feet in debating McCain.

Informative. Not negative.

Posted by: B on February 13, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Obama doesn't take many questions from the press, true. But the idea that he doesn't take many questions generally is flat-out wrong. He suspended doing town halls and Q&As in the period between South Carolina and Super Tuesday because of time constraints. Up until that point his schedule was full of town halls and Q&As, and he resumed them after Super Tuesday. So, before you jump on the "if other bloggers say it, it must be true" bandwagon, try googling Obama's schedule.

As for whether the ad is negative, I think it's fair to say it's probably the most negative candidate ad we've seen yet. But, considering there has been little negativity coming from the candidates up until now, that's not saying much.

Posted by: Jennifer on February 13, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

If some of you recall, Blue Girl, Red State's cat Impeachment challenged Inkblot to a debate some time back.

Didn't see anyone running around calling BGRS negative at that time.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 13, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Aside from being negative or whatever, "he won't debate me" is really and truly lame. Hillary's NY opponent in 2006 tried this very same tactic and look where it got him.

There have already been a zillion primary debates. What does Hillary think another one will give her? Aside from the free TV airtime that allows her to save money on her flailing campaign, that is...

Posted by: skateman on February 13, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is right. As negative ads go this one is pretty thin beer.

I guess she is trying to put Obama in a situation where she believes she shines. I will agree that she does do well in debates but so does Obama.

If they hadn't debated 18 times and didn't have two more debates already scheduled, or if there was some issue of burning importance that either side had ducked I would say she has a point, but as it is, I don't think we need a debate this week.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 13, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

The ad states, and I quote:

"Maybe he'd prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions."

The implication is that Obama is not agreeing to the Wisconsin debate because he's unwilling or afraid to answer questions or engage in debates, despite that fact that he has done so 18 times already and will do so at least twice more in the next month. It's not a direct lie, but it is misleading and does leave out pertinent facts.

And I agree that it's the oldest trick in the book. That doesn't make it acceptable, though.

Posted by: DaveWoo on February 13, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Limiting debates is always smart politics when you're ahead or riding the wave. It's just a little depressing for policy wonks to see how elections get decided.

In a world with real campaign finance reform I suspect debates would play a larger role and the electorate might be a little better informed. Just a dream.

Posted by: B on February 13, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Its not negative, its not misleading and its not a distortion. Its a fact he wont debate so far in Wisconsin. I suppose in todays Obama frenzy, it is not even politically allowed to mention your opponent? Maybe all of you watched all the other debates, but frankly a refusal to debate is just more politics of the past. Hillary was once a front runner too, and she had no fears of debates, and lots of them. Whats up with Obama all of a sudden putting the brakes on? Someone here said even a contrast ad is negative. WTF? This really is Never Never Land.

Posted by: Jammer on February 13, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

DaveWoo,

Most primary voters aren't paying attention three weeks ahead of time. I think voters in Wisconsin would get a lot out of a debate. This year is pretty unique and a lot of people who didn't think they would get a choice are now starting to pay attention.

Besides, the first 14 debates were over-filled with candidates and had no viewership. Now is when they matter.

Posted by: B on February 13, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

How can you consider 18 debates so far and 2 more scheduled as "It's a fact he won't debate"?

I guess in this Hillary-defense-mode it's not even politically allowed to point out when she's distorting the facts, we have to distort reality to fit them.

Posted by: Da5id on February 13, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary made a simple declarative statement like "the sky is blue" some imbeciles would accuse her of being negative, of trying to inject race by mentioning a color. If Barack "Chauncey Gardiner" Obama made the same statement, the msm would declare it to be briliant and insightful.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 13, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

There are lots of unfair things going on w.r.t. regard for Hillary. For example, the Hispanic community (rather, the irrationally "sensitive" sector of it) is mad that Hillary fired Doyle (sounds Irish anyway, heh.) Well, many people are getting tired of those who simply refuse to see rational reasons for doing X to one of their own, even when the evidence is there.

Posted by: be Neil on February 13, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Eh, it's just a campaign ad. Much like that Harry & Louise thing, it's understandable. I mean, I'm not a Hillary supporter, but you gotta say something.

Posted by: Boorring on February 13, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Watching Clintonistas in these final days of the 2008 Hillary Fairytale Tour is akin to being in the bunker in Berlin, April 1945, and listening to the cultists speak of the brilliance of their Fuhrer right up until their final minutes.

As we watch Hillary go nuclear, fulfilling her campaign motto of "By Any Means Necessary", the country will watch the fury of a woman scorned, and be left with the unsettling performance art of the nation playing Michael Douglas to Hillary's Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction".

Can there be any doubt, "this woman" will not be ignored?

Posted by: filmex on February 13, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I clicked through the link at TPM -
and saw the ad ... and felt - that's it?

Actually, TPM's mischaracterization made respect the Clinton team for not going negative...

The three speeches last night sure showed an interesting contrast between the candidates. McCain and his companions looked 1/2 dead in comparison to either Clinton or Obama.

Posted by: jackifus on February 13, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

More pathetic whining from Obama supporters. If you think this is negative, just wait. Republicans have proved that they are willing to "swift boat" war heroes, including their own nominee. Obama is going to be hit with a level of vitriol that we have not yet seen. Negative? This will seem charming in six months...

Posted by: Tuna on February 13, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

The point about debates is an important one. Debates are essential in a democracy especially when he have such a poor press. We're not electing an emperor. We have a right to know and a right to question. If Obama doesn't want to take tough questions he should go back to his community organizing thingy.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 13, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Da5id,
As B stated, he didn't have a choice with the first 14 debates since he would have been the only candidate declining.

He has a right to drag his feet now that he is the frontrunner, and Hillary has the right to complain about it. I can't fault either side for this.

Posted by: DR on February 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

After 18 debates, the country has long been suffering from debate fatigue.

Is it any wonder Hillary is clueless yet again to the pulse of the country, and has such a tin ear when it comes to how people feel on the ground?

Posted by: Reality Check on February 13, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Most primary voters aren't paying attention three weeks ahead of time. I think voters in Wisconsin would get a lot out of a debate. This year is pretty unique and a lot of people who didn't think they would get a choice are now starting to pay attention.

That's a perfectly fair point to make. And if Hillary had stuck to making that argument, I wouldn't have any problem with it. But unfortunately, she's making a broader attack, that Obama is afraid to debate in general, which simply isn't supported by the facts in evidence.

Posted by: DaveWoo on February 13, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, it's common for a front-runner to not want to debate.

There's not much to gain, and there's much to lose in that forum as a front-runner ...

This isn't Obama being scared ... it's how campaigns are generally run.

Posted by: jackifus on February 13, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The ad shows she has got less than nothing. It is a non-starter. It is a waste of money.

Good for her.

Posted by: frankly prissy in Hawaii on February 13, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is afraid to face accountability in a face to face debate. He is winning support by running a negative campaign against all things Clinton. It worked for Bush and look what that got us.

Obama lost me a long time ago when he started attacking everything liberal democrats stand for.

Posted by: ken on February 13, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen this "point" made repeatedly: that the Republicans will be brutal in this upcoming general.

No, really?

Does anyone honestly think that a campaign as superbly run by Obama has not anticipated an unfair attack by the Republicans? Seriously? Does anyone honestly think that John McCain will be given the benefit of the doubt in how he will run a campaign against Obama? This is the same man who ended up praising Karl Rove, the same man who very likely defamed McCain's own adopted daughter (amazing that John said that). There are no allusions from the Obama camp: they are running an amazing campaign right now, on the same message that has carried them so far. However, as is evident by Obama's recent economic speech, they will obviously respond to the political environment as it demands (speechy some times, wonky others). I mean, it's sort of condescending to believe that Obama's campaign is not going to anticipate any unfair attacks from the right: be it Rezko, be it this crack-head Larry Sinclair, be it Obama coughing without using his hands, or Obama farting in an elevator, or him folding a paper in a new book. Hillary is giving good practice.

Posted by: Boorring on February 13, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

It was actually a rather good ad IMO. There's been plenty of chat here about how good HRC is at debating and how BHO pauses and stammers quite a bit more in them. Technically, it was a "negative" ad, but WTF, haven't most of them been over the years? The ads that Romney and McCain were using to hammer on each other were totally killer compared to this.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 13, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

In addition, what is the response by Hillary supporters regarding Hillary abstaining from the recent telecom immunity bill? That was a blatantly stupid political move, because the unfair criticisms by the Hillary camp by labeling Obama an always "Present" voting Illinois Senator had some political traction, but her lack of spine in this telecom bill just negated that.

By the way, victories are always great, but I actually feel much better knowing that Obama voted against the bill.

Posted by: Boorring on February 13, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Negative? I guess, kinda. Attack ad? Nah.

I've been on the fence between the two candidates all along, and this seems like a perfectly legitimate ad to me.

I also think Obama will win the nomination. I suspect he may be ready for what the Republicans will throw at him, but I'm not at all sure his supporters are.

Posted by: gemini on February 13, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

OK. I watched the ad.

It resorted to some sarcasm, but apart from the tone it was hardly negative. It is true that Obama has not agreed to a debate and this assertion might hearten HRC supporters and raise questions among low-information voters.

The Clinton campaign would therefore be derelict not to mention the debate thing. It's the only thing they have now. So, as it's the only move they have, the ad has to be described as smart politics.

Obama, by the same token (smart politics), would be derelict to agree to debates. He's winning. Why bother?

Posted by: paxr55 on February 13, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on. This is obviously a negative ad, and not just "technically" so.

That said, it's not particularly offensive--a little misleading, perhaps, but not seriously dishonest. It's par for the course for ordinary American political campaigns.

Given the state of the race, there's nothing here for Obama to be particularly worried about. It's a little sad: does Clinton really have so little left to say?

The Clinton dead-enders on this thread, though, are funny.

Posted by: Rieux on February 13, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe he'd prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions."

No, it's not Lee Atwater negative, but it is negative. It's just a continuation of the personal attacks what we've been seeing from the Clinton camp since South Carolina: portray Obama as all style, no substance. Or that the organization of his grass roots efforts are cult-like because they focus on engaging people in conversations. Or that his followers are crazy, or just part of a fad.

The Clintons will say or do anything to get elected - like signing a pledge not to campaign in Florida and Michigan and to withdraw their names from the ballots... only to break that pledge and try to pressure people behind the scenes to accept those delegates.

So no, it's not especially negative - but is negative, dishonorable, and completely lacking in substance. No surprise here.

Posted by: Augustus on February 13, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

He is winning support by running a negative campaign against all things Clinton. It worked for Bush and look what that got us.

So anyone who campaigns aggressively against a Clinton is effectively a Bush? Please.

Obama should probably get even more aggressive with Clinton, one reason I'd like to see some more debates. As soon as she blurts out "Rezko", I'd like Obama to provide a laundry list of every scandal and faux-scandal associated with the Clintons, since all this stuff will be fleshed out again in the general election. He should make it clear that Hillary will be tied to all the baggage of her husband's administration, dodgy pardons and everything. She will not be able to bask in the glow of any of its successes either. Obama should not pull punches, because the Republicans will not. I don't want to sit through June to November hearing about Marc Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists, and various crap that happened during the 1960s-1990s when we should be talking about the future.

I realize this strategy is tough because it's not his style, making Hillary look like a victim is dangerous, and there is only a certain level of distaste primary voters will stand for. But it needs to happen. Obama has established that he's the more positive, inspirational candidate. Now he needs to show he can be tough while simultaneously ending the Clinton distraction. That's the only way to "wrap this thing up" and focus on McCain.

But no one pays me to be their political strategist, so perhaps I'm wrong.

Posted by: sweaty guy on February 13, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

What's wrong with negative ads? Sounds like sour grapes from candidates who don't have a good advertising agency, which sour grapes is then repeated ad nauseam by the media. I love classic ads that are fair, like the Willie Horton ad, but not if they are unfair, such as the anti-Goldwater ad with the little girl and the a-bomb.

Posted by: Luther on February 13, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

An Obama supporter who's with Chrissy on this one. Challenging someone to a debate is a negative ad? Are you kidding me?

Posted by: asl on February 13, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

A negative is ad is just an ad that makes a negative case against a candidate's opponent, rather than a positive case for that candidate. So I'd say this ad is negative: it's saying a good reason not to vote for Obama is that he won't agree to debates (and that, accordingly, one should vote for Clinton).

Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with negative ads, and characterizing an ad as negative isn't inherently whining.

Posted by: LittleMac on February 13, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

In addition, what is the response by Hillary supporters regarding Hillary abstaining from the recent telecom immunity bill?

I believe the response is: but Obama sat out Kyl-Lieberman!

Posted by: Lucy on February 13, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should take an empty chair with him at every stop in WI and say "I'm willing to debate Hillary in Wisconsin, but she's somewhere else. I guess she's too busy for you guys."

Posted by: Blue Moon on February 13, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone honestly think that a campaign as superbly run by Obama has not anticipated an unfair attack by the Republicans? Seriously? Does anyone honestly think that John McCain will be given the benefit of the doubt in how he will run a campaign against Obama? This is the same man who ended up praising Karl Rove, the same man who very likely defamed McCain's own adopted daughter (amazing that John said that). There are no allusions from the Obama camp: they are running an amazing campaign right now, on the same message that has carried them so far. However, as is evident by Obama's recent economic speech, they will obviously respond to the political environment as it demands (speechy some times, wonky others). I mean, it's sort of condescending to believe that Obama's campaign is not going to anticipate any unfair attacks from the right: be it Rezko, be it this crack-head Larry Sinclair, be it Obama coughing without using his hands, or Obama farting in an elevator, or him folding a paper in a new book. Hillary is giving good practice."-Booring

The Kerry bots thought the same thing in 2004, when I told them they were not immune to being Gored in the Fall, because he was a war hero. I told them they will just lie about his war record, and he won't be able to stop it due to his inability to fight. They did, he didn't.

When the media was helping the Kerry team with their "superb" campaign, the Kerry team was under the illusion they were running a great campaign. It is a much different game when the wind is at your back early in the third quarter and your up by ten, than when it is howling in your face late in the fourth and you need more than field goal.

Dems that win primaries haven't done anything, somebody has to win it. There have been 8 Dem nominees since 1968, two became President. Many were touted as brilliant in April, when it didn't count.

Obama's supporters are really making it hard to fall in line. When their candidate's campaign repeats the same BS techniques to win the nomination I have seen the past 2 1/2 decades, and then pat themselves on the back for thinking their candidate invented something new.

The Rebublicans will make Obama seem untrustworthy in the Fall. They will attempt to destroy his credibility and his clean record by sowing doubts both directly and indirectly, outright lies will be spread. If it works is a good question. However, as long Drum keeps cheerleading its a Dem year and liberals ignore the impact the media has on driving the race, odds are it might.

Posted by: harry s/mdana on February 13, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

The ad says that Obama does not wish to debate Clinton. Well? Has he accepted an invitation to debate or not? If not - the ad is fair IMHO.

Posted by: pgl on February 13, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The point about debates is an important one. Debates are essential in a democracy especially when he have such a poor press. We're not electing an emperor. We have a right to know and a right to question. If Obama doesn't want to take tough questions he should go back to his community organizing thingy. - Chrissy

So if Clinton ever did this, would you lash out at her the same way you do Obama?

By the way, the Chancey Gardener quote is cute. Nice to see you picking up lines from the right. Anything to skewer Obama, huh?

Posted by: Quinn on February 13, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Since according to Obama supporter there have been too many debates, can one of them kindly explain both Clinton's and Obama's positions on the bloated Defense budget? How do they plan to pay for their poposals while lowering the deficit, if they don't cut military spending? If they don't plan on cutting defense spending, can they explain why we need to outspend our nearest rival by a 7-1 ratio? Or outspend the combined yearly budgets of the closest 14 nations? If we are going to become more greener or lower our dependence on oil, why don't we subsidize rail travel the same as air? The list of topics not fit for convesartion is endless: Darfur, the trade deficit, etc.

I haven't seen every debate, but I haven't seen any of those topics broached. The debates are shams the way they are presented and scripted. However, not everyone has the time to watch all the debates, especially since many of them were 6-12 months ago when there was a completely different dynamic.

Posted by: harry s/mdana on February 13, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Lucy.

I think you'll find the correct response is Hillary listened to Joe Lieberman spout, "if economic sanctions don’t stop the Iranians we really have to consider military action to stop them from doing it, perhaps by striking the bases around Tehran"...and then she voted YES on Kyl-Lieberman.

The names alone on the resolution would have been warning enough for any thinking Democrat.

Posted by: filmex on February 13, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

filmex,

Don't worry, I'm a cultist.

I was anticipating a Hillary supporter's response, that's all.

Posted by: Lucy on February 13, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I love the Powerpuff Girls.

Posted by: Brojo on February 13, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Watching Clintonistas in these final days of the 2008 Hillary Fairytale Tour is akin to being in the bunker in Berlin, April 1945, and listening to the cultists speak of the brilliance of their Fuhrer right up until their final minutes." Posted by: filmex on February 13, 2008 at 2:30 PM

So, where is the outrage from certain Obama supporters about being compared to Nazis when it is done to Clinton supporters hmmm? Especially since this is an outright direct comparison as opposed to any "insinuation" of being compared to the Nazis? Why does this comment go uncommented on by those that claim to find calling some of the supporters of candidate Obama equivalent to being members of a cult of personality so offensive and an insinuation of being like Nazis, hmmm? Could it be there is a double standard going on here, that it is fine to attack Clinton and her supporters and/or Obama critics in such a manner but their side is off limits for any such criticism, despite it being the Obama campaign that is clearly running a mainly emotional/charismatic based campaign focused on Obama himself and what he will bring to the nation as the President as opposed to some sort of core principles/philosophy as one normally sees in a true political movement?

When it is his campaign alone that trains their captains to focus on the conversion feeling from hearing Obama's speeches (in the same way evangelicals will regarding hearing a powerful preacher speak the Word of God) when recruiting new voters to their side much the same way evangelicals do when trying to make new converts? When I make my concerns known about there being a cult of personality within the Obama campaign I also go into specific details about why I think so and show that this is based on grounds seen by most people as reasonable definition usage (you can disagree as to whether I am correct, but not that I am improperly using the definitions themselves) as opposed to what this filmex commentator just did. I also make clear that I do not think this applies to all Obama supporters, but that there is a clear significant component of his support that this is true of, unlike the way this filmex did.

I would also point out that yet again one sees some strong Obama supporters acting like negative campaigning is so bad because their candidate says so because he will do things differently appear unable to practice what their candidate preaches on this, which is another reason why I keep saying I do not believe this new way truly exists but is nothing but rhetoric that sounds good but is ultimately empty of substance. I find it most ironic to be seeing this in a thread whose topic is mocking the idea of a Clinton ad being an attack/negative ad for challenging Obama on facing questioning and debates. Much of my problem with many Obama supporters comes down to this inability to practice what they claim they want and that their candidate wants and the blatant double standard when it comes to what is acceptable behaviour being totally dependent on who is saying it and/or who is the target/focus.

Posted by: Scotian on February 13, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

And there have been plenty of reports to confirm that Obama is pretty inaccessible to the press and doesn't take questions very often.

sorry, Kev, but the press getting its collective panties in a twist because Obama won't take questions from reporters is not the same as him not taking questions.
plus everything already said about 18 debates and whatnot.

i agree with you that it's a pretty mildly negative ad, but still, it does have creepy announcer-guy voice.

Posted by: e1 on February 13, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

So, where is the outrage from certain Obama supporters about being compared to Nazis when it is done to Clinton supporters hmmm?

Since this one's clearly directed at me, I'll bite. I invoked Godwin's Law (in effect) because of remarks directed at me personally. Since similar remarks have been directed at other Obama supporters I presumed to include them in my class-action protest against cheap shot-ism.

I raised an eyebrow at filmex's Nazi reference, and No, I don't like it but fully expected a reaction from an insultee. I see you have risen to the occasion, or, rather, descended from on high not to confront filmex but to seize an opportunity to wag your finger at me yet again.

When it is his campaign alone that trains their captains to focus on the conversion feeling from hearing Obama's speeches (in the same way evangelicals will regarding hearing a powerful preacher speak the Word of God) when recruiting new voters to their side much the same way evangelicals do when trying to make new converts?

I think it is both courteous and good politics to discuss with voters your reasons for supporting a candidate rather than subjecting them to campaign boilerplate. However, I wonder where you get your information, since in my experience at no time did Obama campaign organizers encourage volunteers to indulge in "conversion" narratives.

In any case, it comes as no surprise that you've failed to consider that such conversations often involve substantive arguments on behalf of the candidate, given pronouncements like this one:

the Obama campaign that is clearly running a mainly emotional/charismatic based campaign focused on Obama himself and what he will bring to the nation as the President as opposed to some sort of core principles/philosophy as one normally sees in a true political movement?

You've spent a lot of time on this board, scotian, so you can't have missed all the evidence that contradicts your condescending view of the Obama campaign. I can only conclude that you willfully ignore it.

Posted by: Lucy on February 13, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing wrong with negative ads so long as they're honest and fairly characterize an opponent's position. I sure wish Kerry had hit Bush with plenty of negative ads in 2004, don't you?

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree on February 13, 2008 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I don't especially blame the Obama campaign for running a somewhat charismatic campaign if that's what is working. I understand people being nervous about it since he is not as well known as Clinton, but what can he do about that?

I just keep trusting that he is as good as he appears to be and that he will attempt to implement a progressive agenda as President, should he go on to win.

The fact that his campaign has succeeded to the degree it has is very interesting and scary at the same time, but no more so than many a campaign in the past. Democrats, unlike Republicans, will hold Obama’s feet to the fire if he is elected, same as we would for Clinton.

The Clinton ad being discussed here is legitimate and not very negative and I don’t see much wrong with her campaign. The Obama campaign has committed no egregious crimes. My perception was that the Obama campaign panicked a bit after New Hampshire as evidenced by Jesse Jackson Jr.’s statement regarding South Carolina African Americans. But it did not become a pattern. I think Hillary supporters should realize that it’s partly her bad luck, and Obama’s good luck, that the media is so tough on her, but that’s politics.

I still feel the same as at the beginning of the primary season. The Democratic nominee will be pretty damn good. The Republican nominee will be pretty damn bad. I’ll support the Democrat 100 percent.

Posted by: little ole jim on February 13, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that HRC is saddled with the healthcare debacle of 1993 when she had help from the entire republican party and the entire health insurance industry. How many have fought against those odds and won ? If you Obama supporters were the slightest bit fair-minded, you would label this a loss and not a debacle. However, I really have given up on the Obama crowd. This primary campaign, with the smears of the Clinton presidency mostly by apparent members of the MTV generation, has left this long time democrat so disgusted that the desire to participate is just plain gone. For me seeing this kind of character assasination is no different than listening to a bunch of republicans fighting over scraps, and I know that I despise them and just about everything they do.

Posted by: rbe1 on February 14, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK
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