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Tilting at Windmills

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February 29, 2008
By: Kevin Drum




"IT'S THREE AM"....The question in this campaign ad is: Who's going to answer the White House phone when it rings at 3 am? Jason Zengerle comments:

I actually thought this commercial was pretty effective — right up until the very end when I realized it was for Hillary. I wonder if McCain can just buy the first 25 seconds of it from her and then recut the ending so he can use it in the general election.

There's something wrong with that response. Why is it somehow OK for John McCain to run on the basis of being the guy who can protect America while Hillary shouldn't? Why are we often so eager to practically concede to Republicans exactly the stereotypes they want voters to believe about us? Seems to me that Democrats ought to get used to the idea of competing on this dimension regardless of whether ads like this are precisely the right way to do it.

Kevin Drum 1:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (192)

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Comments

"effective" =/= "OK"

Posted by: Capt. Obvious on February 29, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Be afraid, be very afraid, be scared, be afraid, be worried, be afraid, be scared, be concerned, be afraid, I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this ad.

Really, that's all there is there.

Posted by: sdh on February 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

This would be an effective ad for Obama to run. Because, as he responded to Hillary's ad by pointing out, both McCain and Clinton already had their "red phone" moment... and both failed the test. Obama passed. He should definitely run on national security. A smart national security policy vs 100 years in Iraq.

Posted by: Z on February 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's what I thought as well. This would work great for McCain.

I suspect that's because John McCain has extensive Military experience and Hilary Clinton doesn't.

Posted by: Justin on February 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, man, I don't think you should ever run clever little ads like this unless you think the answer to the ad is very clear.

Also, I think it continues to suggest that the Clinton campaign (and possibly the McCain campaign) is profoundly misunderstanding the nation's mood.

If this kind of crap actually worked on people, Hillary would have already won the nomination ...

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 29, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Obama could run the same thing against McCain, but at the end show Obama sitting alertly at his desk, and McCain in an oxygen tent.

Posted by: Trypticon on February 29, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

By now you've seen this - "Now one of Clinton's laws of politics is this: If one candidate's trying to scare you and the other one's trying to get you to think, if one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."
-Bill Clinton, 2004

Posted by: Rolla, MO on February 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

He should definitely run on national security.
- Z

He can't. He's weak in this area, compared to both McCain and Clinton. He'll get creamed.

And if he gets to the Whitehouse, he's going to be rather chagrined to find himself going back on his promises, once he sees the real data.

Posted by: Optical Weenie on February 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain already has a version of this ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPadP7eAO9Y

Hillary's has better production values and appeals to women while McCain's seems to be appealing more for men his ad kind of hits the action movie chord.

It's similar to the way they market SUVs: fear and adventure. SUV drivers have a much higher level of fear about everything than us non-SUV drivers but also like to pretend they might have to go off-road on their way to the grocery store.


Posted by: Mike in KS on February 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I don't have a problem with the ad. It isn't accusing Obama of being dangerous or anything. It simply claims that Hillary is the person you would rather have in an emergency.

Politics isn't beanbags.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Zengerle might argue that this type of ad effectively targets "possible John McCain voters" better than "possible Hillary Clinton voters." But I think Kevin's point stands. There's no reason to concede national security as an issue. It's a solid ad for Clinton that touts her own abilities rather than attacking anyone else's.

Posted by: owenz on February 29, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

If this kind of crap actually worked on people, President Kerry wouldn't have won in 2004.

Posted by: thersites on February 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I like this ad. Much better than most political ads these days. No reason why Clinton can't run on the issues of national security and experience. Why give all that to the Republicans?

Posted by: Sue on February 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

McCain might buy it if he hadn't all ready run it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPadP7eAO9Y

Actually thats not fair to Hillary, she actually ripped of some anonymous utuber who supports John McCain and made this crappy video in response to a Romney ad.

E

Posted by: Economaniac on February 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on February 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Zengy is right. This ad demonstrates HRC's campaign weakness in a nutshell: on all her central themes (experience, national security, etc.) she is intuitively less plausible than McCain. So what helps her against Obama hurts her after August. She's a good liberal on policy, but her tactics are GOP-lite at a time when Dems would rather beat Bushism than imitate it.

Posted by: RMcD on February 29, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Kristol must be so proud of Hillary.

Posted by: DB on February 29, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is right! Dems need to get used to competing in this space. We need to be prepared to run ads with wolves running through the forest, morphing opponents's faces into Osama Bin Laden, accusing people of wanting to have hot gay sex with terrorists, and so on.

What better way to get started than running ads like these on fellow Dems. Karl Rove got his start attacking fellow college Republicans. We should do no less.

Christ, I can't wait for this primary to be over.

Posted by: skeptic on February 29, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The best thing for Obama to do is run an ad about Iraq and link her to Bush-Cheney expereince, and throw McCain in there too to up the ante.

Posted by: Rhoda on February 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK


About McCain's "extensive military experience": okay, he got shot down and captured; he survived 5 years of captivity. By contrast, Randy "Duke" Cunningham was an ace fighter pilot in the same war. If experience as a "warrior" counts for something, shouldn't SUCCESS as a warrior count for more?

-- TP

Posted by: Tony P. on February 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"red phone" moment?

Doesn't only the president have the "red phone"? There have only been 43 presidents and much of them did not have a phone at all, much less a red one...

Posted by: elmo on February 29, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

This could just be a case of gender bias, instead of perceived differences in a parties ability to lead.

Posted by: Radix on February 29, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it somehow OK for John McCain to run on the basis of being the guy who can protect America while Hillary shouldn't?

Probably because war mongering is pretty much the only arrow in McCain's quiver. He doesn't have anything else going for him. Clinton, on the other hand, is such a strong candidate in so many other regards -- she's got a blisteringly hot intellect, and she's right on most policy issues. Why she continues to hitch her little pig of a wagon to this issue is simply baffling. Every time she broaches this subject, she paints a huge bull's-eye on her chest for that AUMF vote. As a rule, folks who wet the bed on the first midnight phone call really shouldn't bring this stuff up. All of which is to say that I agree with Z.

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton to the red courtesy phone!

Posted by: p mac on February 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

A person's gut reaction to a physical violation is to respond in kind. You (or a friend) are attacked you return fire. That's why people default to thinking and trusting Republicans when the 3AM phone call comes in. Republicans can be depended upon to start blowing things up and killing people. If you're punched in the nose you don't say "Hmmmm, how can I defuse this and reach a diplomatic settlement of the situation?" You tend to go ballistic. You may innately expect the same of your government in an analogous dilemma. Hence peace seeking, negotiating Democrats are viewed suspiciously. They're not reacting like they're "supposed" to.

Posted by: steve duncan on February 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

John, the phone... er, John, the phone... PHONE!!!! ring, ring, ring....

Posted by: Fran, the upper east side limousine liberal on February 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

It shows children safe in their beds and it keeps repeating that they are safe. No fear there. It says, who do you want taking care of things while you and your kids sleep? Someone who knows what they're doing. No fear there. It doesn't emphasize military crises but mentions several types of crises. Phones ring in the middle of the night because of Katrina, not just 9/11; because events in Asia or Europe are in different time zones, not just because of wars.

What does it mean that you guys jump immediately to fear and military experience when the ad isn't about that? There are many important kinds of experience. Maybe we should be focusing more on our domestic crises instead of the military ones -- a scene with kids in bed is a domestic scene (perhaps a reason why someone above says this ad appeals to women).

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Mark Penn still thinks that Obama being AGAINST the war will hurt him in the general. From today's NYT:

"“He regularly goes out there and says he’s the person who can beat John McCain,” said Mark Penn, Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategist. “But the truth is, if he is ever in a general election, a lot of positions he took in 2003 and 2004 will come back to haunt him in a big way and a lot of the vetting that didn’t happen will happen. The independent and Republican support that he has had will evaporate really quickly.”"

Are anti-war Republicans going to break for McCain or for Obama/Hillary?

Posted by: Jerome on February 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

We know that when John McCain answers the phone, his response is biased towards "Bomb Iran!" (or wherever), regardless of what the issue is. I'm worried that Clinton, to prove that she can be as tough as the next guy, will be biased the same way. I think that Obama's response to this ad was exactly right.

But perhaps Obama will also feel the need to prove his toughness. That's one of the problems with our political discourse.

Posted by: Fred from Pescadero on February 29, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jerome, are you sure he is talking about positions on the war? I don't see that mentioned. There may be other positions that Independents and Republicans wouldn't like.

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Saw this on tv this morning and the subtext for me was "Hillary's going to wake the children! #$%#$#! I just got them to bed!!" Look for a percentage drop in Hill's approval among parents of children ages newborn to five years old.

Posted by: John Thomas on February 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Due to constraints, I was only able to view this advertisement without sound, but what I've seen is a good and effective ad for Hillary Clinton. Not really the fear-mongering in the beginning, but the image of Hillary "workin the phones" is a great takeaway for the casual viewer, conveying much in its final seconds than many of her speeches took in their minutes. Gotta give respect to that.

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Heck, the president we've got now was asleep at the switch and all we lost was three skyscrapers in NYC and a wing of the Pentagon... and four airliners. And a war. Or two.

So how bad could Obama be?

Posted by: Grumpy on February 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Also, I think it continues to suggest that the Clinton campaign (and possibly the McCain campaign) is profoundly misunderstanding the nation's mood.

Bingo. Neither McCain nor Clinton seem capable of changing course, no matter how much evidence they have that what they're doing isn't working. That reminds me of someone...

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Zengerle was saying it was more fitting for McCain because it was a fearmongering, boogeyman, be very afraid ad.

Posted by: ckelly on February 29, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see this as Clinton playing on fear. I see it as her portraying the care of children as a natural female activity and generalizing from the home to the nation. As women take care of children in the home, they can take care of a nation full of children, because women are the ones who do get up at 3 am, while dads sleep through. Women will get that.

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Boorring: Try it with the sound on. Enjoy the descriptions of "something happening in the world" and "a dangerous world." Feel the shiver of fear. You're supposed to--that's what the ad is for.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Something happening in the world and dangerous world both apply to the Nikkei crashing.

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Coming from the generation that worried about Russian atomic bombs blowing us up without warning, I understand the underlying anxiety. I just don't find the idea of HRC answering the phone all that reassuring.

There is something that is disingenuous about this whole argument. Here's another version: When voters were asked about Clinton vs Obama, one man said that he preferred Hillary because the president is going to need some help (implying Bill's presence, one would presume). The president can ask for help from anybody in the country and expect to receive it; he has military experts on call (in the White House even) 24 hours a day. He has his pick of people as cabinet officers, the Joint Chiefs, his chief of staff, ad infinitum. The only reason that phone rings at 3 AM is because some situation has percolated up through those channels -- the president doesn't have to reinvent Clauswitz or emergency response procedures.

Posted by: Bob G on February 29, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "... Seems to me that Democrats ought to get used to the idea of competing on this dimension ..."

Seems to me that Democrats should compete by offering something other than fear, and aggressive militarism as the answer to fear.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting that the comments here seem to split, based on two different projections onto the "security" Clinton offers:

- security = personal military experience
(in which case Clinton is indeed making McCain's argument for him)

- security = superior intellect and judgement in dealing with a crisis.
(in which case, thinking Democrats will dismiss McCain out of hand, and potentially accept Clinton's White House tenure as an asset)

While many readers here may accept the latter, alot of voters may reflexively embrace the former interpretation. And the ad really does nothing to shift that interpretation or disarm the dangrous assumptions underlying it (like for instance calling out judgement errors of both her opponents).

Interesting that they're pitching this message now, instead of two months ago. The difference between "Ready on Day One" vs. "Able to keep the terrified among you safe" is substantial, especially to viewers outside of our choir.

Posted by: poliwog on February 29, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

What does it mean that you guys jump immediately to fear and military experience when the ad isn't about that? There are many important kinds of experience. Maybe we should be focusing more on our domestic crises instead of the military ones -- a scene with kids in bed is a domestic scene (perhaps a reason why someone above says this ad appeals to women).

You've got to be joking. This isn't about national security?

"... your vote will decide who answers that call, whether it's somebody who knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world..."

Exactly what domestic crisis were you envisioning when you made that comment? A tornado touching down in Omaha?

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Optical Weenie on February 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM:

He's weak in this area, compared to both McCain and Clinton. He'll get creamed.

Mmm...I dunno. There's stuff like this, for example, an expansion of the prior Nunn-Lugar bill.

Unless you mean 'weak' meaning that McCain and Clinton have been in politics longer, i.e. have more experience...But one could argue that McCain and Clinton's experience with national security issues hasn't necessarily led them to making good decisions regarding national security issues.

Posted by: on February 29, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly what domestic crisis were you envisioning when you made that comment? A tornado touching down in Omaha?

I think Mary's too hung up on the "domestic crisis" of Clinton not being the nominee to be able to see how laughable her analytical contortions in this and the other thread are. Psychologist, take a look at thyself.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'd have had a more cogent response sooner, but I had to go home and change my underwear.

Posted by: thersites on February 29, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

We live in a country with a strange ring to it.

The Hillary Clinton Red Phone Moment ad brings back to mind the Goldwater Nuclear Bomb ad from the Johnson campaign. Clinton was a Goldwater girl then and she must have been plenty hurt by the ad.

Let's hope that fear is not the road to the White House this time around.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 29, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is not Clinton, but Zengerle.

It's the age old D.C. memo that 8 years of disgrace, ruin, death, and debt cannot erase: Republicans are tough and Dems are weak, and thus Republicans can protect you better. The first part is often true as far as political tactics go, but the punchline is an epic travesty.

Yet Jason does not function as a rational being. He writes for TNR.

Posted by: HeavyJ on February 29, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK
Why is it somehow OK for John McCain to run on the basis of being the guy who can protect America while Hillary shouldn't?

Well, its "OK" (in the sense of "consistent with the interests of the party who the candidate represents") for a candidate of a party whose entire purpose is using fear (whether of an angry God, scary brown people, people with different sexual preferences, or whatever else happens to be handy) to get the public to surrender freedom to an increasingly authoritarian government which serves the interest of a narrow wealthy elite to use such blatant fearmongering in a campaign.

OTOH, it is less "OK" (in the same sense) for a candidate seeking to represent a party whose interest is empowering the average citizen to reach their potential to do that.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 29, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Optical Weenie skrev :
[Obama will] be rather chagrined to find himself going back on his promises, once he sees the real data

You know, I used to believe stuff like this.
I used to say it publicly.

"Once we invade Iraq", I said, "our military will conduct the inspectors to the actual WMD sites that our intelligence services know are there."

"The government of the US would never allow Bush to do this pre-emptive war, " I said, "unless there was absolutely clear intelligence showing that we'll be able to find evidence that justifies the war after we invade."

I was wrong.

Posted by: joel hanes on February 29, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see what the Obama camp is afraid of, unless it's that they think the ad is effective. The cute rejoinder from them about the "red phone moment" is a little absurd. For a guy who voted "present" a number of times our real fear would be that he wouldn't bother to answer.

Posted by: annl on February 29, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

You're all missing the point.
The hook for McCain: Is the phone on Hillary's side of the bed, or Bill's?

(Yes, I know that an aide would answer the phone and knock on their bedroom door, or something. It's still another way of reminding voters that Bill would be back in the house.)

Posted by: Kerkira on February 29, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clinton's "Children" ad is really despicable. It's the same sleazy fear tactics that Bush uses. You don't want the war in Iraq, so Bush comes at you saying "You don't want the war in Iraq, but what if TERRORISTS INVADED YOUR HOUSE and THEN THEY RAPED YOUR WIFE and RAPED YOUR CHILDREN??!! Then what would you do?? Huh, huh, huh?? You'd want to KILL them!! Right?? Yeah?? I THOUGHT so!!"

It's not seeking to evoke any intelligence or thought on the parts of the viewers. It's just fear-mongering propaganda.

Clinton truly deserves to lose the nomination to Obama.

Posted by: Anon on February 29, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's response was a pretty effective rebuttal IMHO. Let McCain run these ads against Obama. Something tells me that Obama will be able to play hardball right back - and surprise folks as to how tough he is (and this is someone who voted for Mrs. Clinton).

Posted by: pgl on February 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's so true that many of Obama's supporters live in "Fantasy Land". If their delicate sensitives get in a twist over this,then if and when Obama finds himself in a General Election they surely will be "twisting the night away". If the message has not been part of your decision making then don't vote-PLEAZE!

Posted by: fillphil on February 29, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton on the phone at 3am..."Have you checked the children?"

Posted by: ckelly on February 29, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK
"Boorring: Try it with the sound on. Enjoy the descriptions of "something happening in the world" and "a dangerous world." Feel the shiver of fear. You're supposed to--that's what the ad is for."

I listed to the ad now, with sound, shortstop, and I think it is even more effective. Despite the initial discomfort with that "trailer-movie voice", you would think this advertisement is effectively a John McCain ad, until the pleasant surprise at the end of seeing Hillary herself "manning the phones".

I think this advertisement will be very effective, through the use of fear-mongering, as well the last five-second takeaway of Clinton leaving her perception of experience. Barack Obama responded, however, saying that the real question was:

"‘What kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone?’” Mr. Obama said, speaking over applause from about three dozen veterans and their families. “In fact, we have had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer, George Bush gave the wrong answer, John McCain gave the wrong answer.”"

An effective verbal response, but he needs to convey this better than that, I feel, because it isn't going to blunt the visual influence of her ad. Again, the advantage goes to Hillary Clinton on this aspect, and her effective use of this medium.

Furthermore, this is a net benefit towards Democrats as a whole, because of the preconceived perception that I am going to suppose people will have that this could have been a John McCain advertisement. The counter-image at the end is also effective at addressing this stereotype of Democrats being weak on national security. Again, I have to give the advantage to Hillary Clinton, and my tip of the hat as well. Barack Obama can respond to this more effectively, but until he does this advertisement could resonate.

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's an effective add but I totally understand Zengerle's comment. The ad establishes "knowing the military" as a key variable for answering the phone. Hillary doesn't "know" the military like McCain. She hasn't been "tested" in that type of situation (probably none of the candidates have). But on the basis of the concocted calculus that the ad establishes, McCain comes a lot closer to meeting those qualifications than she does.

Of course, I agree with a previous commenter. Hillary and McCain had their "red phone" moment and both failed miserably. So even if the faux qualifications in this ad are to be used, I still think Obama is the one you want answering that phone because he's not, you know, a total hawk or someone who thinks they have to be hawkish to win elections.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 29, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton truly deserves to lose the nomination to Obama.

I tend to agree, but certainly not because of this ad. Look, she's not smearing anyone here. She's going with the strength she thinks she has. It's just not a) a strength that people largely attribute to her (witness how many people thought this was a McCain ad) and b) the kind of message that is moving people this year.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously this ad is meant to appeal to our reptilian brain - the unthinking part of our brain where fear immediately produces a fight or flight response.

In that respect is is very much like most Republican ads, and that is the exact problem with this ad.

It is dangerous for Hillary to whip up the feelings of fear because (for better or worse) that will drive voters to the Republicans.

Republicans have spent years and years getting the message across that they are better at protecting us. That message persists even when they are obviously not better at protecting us.

It will take years of concerted effort and money to counteract the idea that only a Republican can keep us safe from danger.

Posted by: Tripp on February 29, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

God what a crock of shit. Do we have to go through anymore time of being threatened with the boogieman. I find it impossible to imagine anyone being as frozen to inaction as GWB was when he was told that the nation was under attack. For fuck sakes my 6year old daughter would have jumped right up and went to work immediately on whoever was attacking us. Hillary has decided to treat us like a bunch of pants peeing 4 year olds who have just been told yellow Mike the evil madman has busted in their house and is about to eat them alive. Ooo scary.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The craziness of what McCain gets away with was summarized well by columnist George Will yesterday:

"...Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Such certitude is, however, not merely an unattractive trait. It is disturbing righteousness in someone grasping for presidential powers."


Posted by: consider wisely always on February 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The ad doesn't say "red phone" it says "phone." I see this as Clinton positioning the job as one that women have already been doing -- getting up in the night to take care of things while children and men sleep. She is normalizing the job for her gender. This is not about nuclear attack, unless you project that onto it.

What domestic crises can occur? Major earthquake on the West Coast requiring declaration of a disaster and authority to mobilize national relief efforts -- everything that was missing during Katrina.

If you want this to be about fear, by all means go there. Personally, I think your biggest fear is having a woman in charge -- which is why you make this about military training.

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton campaign has been so ugly over the last two months. When it was down to Clinton, Edwards and Obama, I was still completely open to any of them.

At this point, I cannot even conceive of casting a vote for Hillary when my state has its primary. Not because of anything Obama has said about her. It's entirely because of her revolting campaign tactics.

Vote for me, or your children will die... Obama is a plagiarist who votes present... He wore a Somali outfit... He's an empty vessel with nothing but talk...

It's an F'ing ugly campaign, appealing to the worst in people and truly scraping the bottom. Again, I don't say this as someone invested in Obama at all (in any sense of the word). I'm the undecided primary voter she's supposed to be getting on her side.

Ain't gonna happen now.

Posted by: DB on February 29, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

He can't. He's weak in this area, compared to both McCain and Clinton. He'll get creamed.

By the Laws of Rove, isn't that exactly what he should run on?

Anyway, Obama won't run on "national security", if "national security" means running as the guy with the biggest dick who will be the first to wag it in front of all our perceived enemies. Good thing that sort of thing is total bullshit, means nothing, and as the last 7 years have proved, doesn't actually make us any "safer". The last thing we need is another set of warmongering creeps in office.

Obama will actually let McCain run on this, and then hammer him for the fact that it is total bullshit.

Which is what he should do.

Posted by: Joshua on February 29, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a pretty enthusiastic Obama supporter and not a particular enthusiast for Hillary (which, on certain days, is putting things mildly). However, I thought this ad was fairly subtle and not really illegitimate. All it's really saying is that she's had more experience in the upper echelons of power, which is the one and only basis of her entire campaign.

Still, personally, I'd feel much, much better with Barack picking up that phone. At the very minimum, he doesn't have a proven and lengthy history of tailoring his decisions based largely on what he thinks his next political campaign is going to be. And I'm not just talking about her Iraq vote, I'm talking about the entire pattern of both Clintons in office.

Hillary's entire campaign is based on presenting politics and world affairs as if it were a gigantic mystery that only certain high priests are qualified to handle. And just to make sure we understand how hard it is, she makes sure to use just enough jargon so that it's somewhat hard to understand but she sounds as smart as possible. This is an ancient technique for a professional class to hold onto its job and is present in all fields -- it's effective for keeping people in their jobs but it's a severe handicap on innovation and, as in this case, on actually doing a good job.

Posted by: Bob on February 29, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Where are the cats? I came here for the cats.

Posted by: Steve on February 29, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rockwell created this hook, inspired by a Roosevelt speech, back in 1941. Or maybe he stole it from someone else.

American parents stand over their sleeping children. The father holds a paper with headlines about the horrors of bombings far away. I'd say it's another attempt to equate the "War on Terror" with World War II, and therefore unworthy of a Democratic candidate. Which might be Zengerle's point.

Freedom from Fear

Posted by: cowalker on February 29, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Some odd years ago, in our traditional conservative household, when one of us kids puked at 3 AM, guess whose mind leapt from sleep to decision-making gear almost instantly and whose level-headed voice calmed the situation and got order restored without awakening and frightening the rest of the kids?

MOM!

What was Dad doing? Sleeping 'cause he had to work tomorrow. So did Mom, a seldom mentioined conservative tradition.

Posted by: Zit on February 29, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's a pure fear ad, simple as that. The strong theme of keeping your children safe while sleeping from 'terrorists' or Iranian nukes is a just a play on emotions. I don't particularly like either Clinton's or Obama's stand on national security and I see either responding militarily and incoherently to another attack. What is obvious to me at least is that we bring hatred upon ourselves for our national security positions, always what we see as being in our best interest (and often duplicious, i.e., fighting terrorism as a cover for controlling natural resources) with disregard for other nations' mostly logical priorities. At least Obama understands that principle and his plan to talk with our 'enemies' (I hate that word) and arrange a conference of Muslim countries and the US to make progress towards understanding the problems they have between each other and with the US. National security is way more than answering a phone call in the middle of the night. Sounds to me very much like Condi/Bush's 'mushroom cloud' fear-mongering, and unfortunately probably quite effective.

Posted by: nepeta on February 29, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Damn straight, Kevin. I would run an ad with a voice over saying, "Republicans claim to be tough on terrorism" and then two big words flash on the screen "WHERE'S OSAMA?".

Then show Bush sitting in the classroom in Florida for seven minutes reading My Pet Goat (upside-down, by the way) on Sept. 11th, 2001 and then have the voice over remind the people how many times Bush was warned about an impending al-Qaeda attack and did absolutely nothing about it. Zilch. Nada. Zippo - followed by a picture of John McCain. Guilt by association.

Learn from Karl Rove - Attack your opponent where they are perceived to be strong!!!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 29, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sick of the fear-mongering genre of political ads, and I hope Obama doesn't resort to it. Although Obama is somwhat hawkish, he's pretty unflappable and doesn't appear to have the need to prove what a tough guy he is.

Hillary is hawkish, as are her foreign policy advisors. In addition, she has the burden of demonstrating that a woman can be credible on national security and as Commander in Chief. As with so many issues confronting the candidates, it's not fair, but on the other hand, it makes me nervous that Hillary will err on the side of aggression. Not that you can ever know how a president will react in a crisis, although Hillary did cave on that vote...

Posted by: Lucy on February 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. It's 3am and Hillary is at her desk in full makeup, ready to answer the phone. Her staff, her receptionist.. they've all gone to bed, but HRC never sleeps. Who knew?

Posted by: PE on February 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Why are we often so eager to practically concede to Republicans exactly the stereotypes they want voters to believe about us?"

The problem is the "we" in that sentence. The writer works for TNR. Those guys aren't part of any "we" that I wanna be a part of. Why Kevin keeps linking to those @#$%'s is beyond me. For the TNR crowd, anyone who would hesitate to slaughter a few hundred thousand Muslims over imagined threats isn't ready, or serious.

And yeah, that Hillary ad sucks hard.

"Mark Penn still thinks that Obama being AGAINST the war will hurt him in the general"

Mark Penn also worked on Menachem Begin's campaign in Israel. He's a hawk against Arabs. He doesn't understand there are people out there who don't think that wars against Arabs are automatically a good thing.

Posted by: luci on February 29, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with Obama for liberals is that no one can mention his middle name without being accused of a thought crime. This is so anti-american and anti-liberal that every time it happens I become more convinced that he should never be allowed anywhere close to the white house. He is worse than George Bush who only accused us of being traitors for our opposition to his policies, not to him personally. But with Obama we cannot even dislike him without being accused of racism and uncleanliness. As a liberal I cannot abide to have him in power. We've seen people like this throughout history and it never comes to any good.

A further problem with Obama for liberals is that, by taking on stupid positions, he willingly makes true all the conservative criticism of liberal positions on national defense. Obama is the worst thing that has ever happened to the democratic party.

Posted by: ken on February 29, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

What domestic crises can occur? Major earthquake on the West Coast requiring declaration of a disaster and authority to mobilize national relief efforts -- everything that was missing during Katrina.

Um, exactly what good does familiarity with world leaders & military affairs do the president in the face of your earthquake? But let's pursue your little thought experiment. Seeing as the declaration of a particular site as a disaster area isn't something that Presidents (or Governors, for that matter) do at the moment said disaster strikes, why is a midnight call relevant? Exactly what kind of direction or advice is a President on the other side of the country going to give to first responders at the scene of a natural disaster?

If you want this to be about fear, by all means go there. Personally, I think your biggest fear is having a woman in charge -- which is why you make this about military training.

My fear is that someone with a blind spot as big as the Amazon basin can be trusted with a driver's license. How do you get through your day?

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'd sooner have Obama answering that phone than Clinton or McCain, so I don't think the ad really works. If someone "tougher" than Kennedy had answered the phone during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we would have had a civilization-ending nuclear holocaust.

Posted by: kth on February 29, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

kth wins the prize.

Posted by: DB on February 29, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Z" already said it once, but it bears repeating:

McCain was in the military.

I'm sure we're seen all those montages of basic training (Private Benjamin, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Full Metal Jacket) where the Sargent wakes up the troops at, say, 3AM, to go for a run in the rain or some such. Or when killer instincts are instilled in the troops with some team-building drill.
This probably would likely have avoided that little "My Pet Goat" moment, but as we know, that wasn't what caused us to be the mess we're in.

The more the Presidency is made out to be some sort of Rambo-like job where s/he is leaping out of bed and scrambling the jets to go bomb some 5h|t, the more likely we'll get the candidate that was also in a SE Asian prison.

Posted by: marc on February 29, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Fear isn't the right emotion to play to, especially not against fellow Democrats.

Posted by: Steve W. on February 29, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

BombIran's comment bears repeating:

Yeah, man, I don't think you should ever run clever little ads like this unless you think the answer to the ad is very clear.

It is a clever ad! And Hill looks terrific at the conclusion in that caramel-colored suit, and the reading glasses are a nice touch. So, yes, effective on one level IF you buy the experience argument. Which brings me to bombiran's next point:

Also, I think it continues to suggest that the Clinton campaign (and possibly the McCain campaign) is profoundly misunderstanding the nation's mood.

This is astute. The nation has become exhausted with (and wary of) phobocrats and warriors. First, they make things worse because their vaunted experience ruins their judgment. Worse, after they make a hash of things with mesbegotten wars in very bad places, they scare the bejesus out of us. That's why that poor mom is up in the middle of the night checking on her sleeping children. God protect us from warrior presidents, she's prolly thinking.

If this kind of crap actually worked on people, Hillary would have already won the nomination ...

Right again. This is all she has (and all McCain has). Maybe in the General it works with some of fearful base on the right--but in what minuscule percentages?

I worry that we've all become scaredy-cats. Afraid of big bad Rovian campaign tactics. Scared of this or that. I'm warming to Michael Chabon's take on all this in his Potomac Primaries op-ed:

The whole WaPo op-ed is worth a read, and it's hard to choose an excerpt, but here goes:

But the most pitiable fear of all is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say "pitiable" because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. If we do fight for Obama, work for him, believe in him, vote for him, and the man goes down to defeat by the big-money machines and the merchants of fear, then what hope will we have left to hold on to?
Thus in the name of preserving hope do we disdain it. That is how a phobocracy maintains its grip on power.
Posted by: paxr55 on February 29, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you wanted cats? Will these guys tide you over as an opening act until the headliners are ready to go on?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's 3 am.

I can either act in the interests of my special interests, or I can act especially interested in
the lives of others.

Empathy is hard to teach.

The electorate have got 3 choices:

A) Same old stuff.

B) Centrist.

C) The rest of Us.

We think only certain players are qualified to
control our world, that only those wealthy enough to have too much time to play, are the actors we place in positions of power.

The Repugnacans are fielding a rather "established" persona, sort of a big daddy 'il take care of ya.

HRC is similar.

OHB is harder to peg, other than a kaleidoscope of
posibilities.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 29, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

If you want this to be about fear, by all means go there. Personally, I think your biggest fear is having a woman in charge -- which is why you make this about military training.

My biggest fear is having people this stubbornly stupid voting. The ad REFERS to the military, dumbass. It says THE PREZ IS CONSULTING WORLD LEADERS. Get rid of your cozy fantasy about domestic issues and ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE AD.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

That's shameless, Blue Girl. ;)

Impeachment for President!

Posted by: thersites on February 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the ad was great and the only thing wrong with it was that it came out now instead of 10 or 20 days before February 5th. It was classy and is the type of thing she should have been doing instead of releasing photos of Obama in Somali tribal clothing and a few other corny attacks. It absolutely does not hype up fear, it is not "the politics of fear," and makes a legitimate, staid point about one of the basic issues of the primary, that Hillary Clinton has more pertinent experience than Obama.

Posted by: Swan on February 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Cats, please.

(BTW, Atrios has an excellent cat blogging picture up right now.)

Posted by: lampwick on February 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

My fear is that someone with a blind spot as big as the Amazon basin can be trusted with a driver's license. How do you get through your day?

Damn. Had I seen this before posting, I'd not have bothered saying the same thing with a lot less style.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

I guess this is a sequel to the ad showing Hillary working the "night shift". As long as she's working all night anyway, she might as well answer the phone.

Seriously, though, the ad does get at a real difference between the implicit messages of the two campaigns that embraces their approaches to domestic policy, too. The Clinton campaign is telling voters that if they elect Hillary, they can safely go back to sleep -- she and her team of experts can be trusted to take care of everything. For the Obama campaign, electing him is just the first step for citizens, who then have to work with him as part of a coalition to bring about the changes they want to see.

Posted by: Patrick on February 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Make with the cats!

Posted by: 11cents on February 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary has decided to treat us like a bunch of pants peeing 4 year olds who have just been told yellow Mike the evil madman has busted in their house and is about to eat them alive. Ooo scary.
Posted by: Gandalf on February 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Maybe that is what Zengerle was getting at: If McCain had done this ad, there is a section of our population who would have reacted exactly thus and voted for him from just that purposeful kind of scare-selling, the newly quantified fear base demographic.

Posted by: Zit on February 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The problem I have with the ad is that it buys into the Republican meme that we live in particularly dangerous times, where our security, even our very existence, are at stake. That meme has no connection with reality and instead of buying into it, we should be fighting it.

The Democratic Party is the party of "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." The Republican Party is the party of "we have nothing to offer but fear itself." Clinton's campaign has been tilted far more toward the latter than it has to the former.

There's a practical reason to dislike the ad, too, and that is that Clinton almost certainly cannot "out-fear" McCain, so such an approach is likely to play into Republican hands for the general election. The bottom line is that I want an effective response to that meme, not an ad that buys into it.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary Clinton has more pertinent experience than Obama."

What "pertinent" experience is that? Hillary can certainly make an argument that she's got more experience with domestic policy than Obama...but what foreign policy experience does she really have? I've never heard of her playing some sort of significant foreign policy role during Bill's administration.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on February 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

(BTW, Atrios has an excellent cat blogging picture up right now.)

Posted by: lampwick on February 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM


Sacrilige! Plagerism! Copy cat!

Posted by: Jimmy on February 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well I'm confused by this ad for Hillary.

You only run an ad like that when it's obvious the people should want you handling the crisis.....and I have no idea why Hillary assumes that she is the obvious choice.

Leaving aside the arguments about why she isn't the proper choice for handling the crisis (wrong on Iraq etc.), Zengerle is right, up until the very end, one can easily assume this is a McCain ad.

It's not that Hillary wouldn't be effective at protecting America, it's just that, rightly or wrongly, McCain is publicly perceived as the "most serious" about protecting the country, which makes the appearance of Hillary at the end surprising, or even, dare I say, absurd and unintentionally humorous.


Posted by: Joe on February 29, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

ken "I kan haz liberal soxpuppet" says: But with Obama we cannot even dislike him without being accused of racism and uncleanliness. As a liberal I cannot abide to have him in power. We've seen people like this throughout history and it never comes to any good.

I can see that, as a liberal, you couldn't abide to have Senator Clinton in power either, because you can't dislike her without being accused of misogyny. Thank goodness Richardson dropped out before the Hispanic thing could get ugly. I understand that, as a liberal, you're too sensitive to tolerate four to eight years of feeling accused of illiberal "bad" thoughts toward someone whom you dislike for really valid, non-bigoted reasons. As is ever the way, no one sufficiently appreciates the characteristic low pain threshhold of the liberal. Better never to put such sources of potential pain into office.

Why don't the Democrats take this liberal vulnerability into consideration? Instead they insist on supporting candidates on whom a "card" can be played. They should take advice from the Republicans, who stick to older white men. As a liberal, you can reject all the Republican candidates except McCain with a conscience free from reproach.

Ahhhhhhh. What a relief.

Posted by: cowalker on February 29, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

I learned from experience that once you blog cats, you can never go back. I posted kitties once when this site was down for the crossover readers, and when I failed to post kitties the following Friday, I had approximately ten emails by 6:00 p.m. wanting to know where the cats were? And so, blogtopia (y, sctp!) had another catblogger.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

cowalker, I am crying with mirth over here. And man, I needed that laugh!

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Have you all forgotten that 9/11 occurred at 9:15 am (in the morning, idiots) and that no one had to be woken up? Fear doesn't have a time of day. This is about taking care of business so that people can be secure and confident in their leadership. It isn't about sending missiles anywhere. Do presidents only talk to world leaders when bombs are going to fall? They should be talking to them all the time about many things, and 3 am is when other countries are awake (even if we are sleeping).

I see that the Obama attack is focused on fear-mongering and Clinton's unfitness to lead. That is clearly echoed in these comments, regardless of what the ad says. The word "military" only appears once in this ad, linked with "leaders". There are references to other things along with that, making this an ad about taking care of business not fighting wars.

I am disappointed by Obama's willful misinterpretation, but even more dismayed by the chorus of attack raised in these comments. Can't you all process information independently of your favorite candidate's campaign?

Posted by: Mary on February 29, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, good points, Mary. 9/11 happened in the morning, so this can't be about world events, and world leaders are in the habit of waking the U.S. president up at 3:00 a.m. just to shoot the breeze. Will you get a grip?

Posted by: shortstop, still howling with mirth on February 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Can't you all process information independently of your favorite candidate's campaign?

Thanks a lot for shattering the old irony meter.

Posted by: Lucy on February 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Mary, thanks for explaining Hillary's "phone" ad to me. I understand it now. Whew! What a relief. Before I was just relying on my own miserable judgment.

Posted by: paxr55 on February 29, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I really am beginning to suspect that "Mary" is a mean-spirited Obama supporter trying to make Clinton fans look like complete fools. No one could seriously be this blind to herself...well, she could be a lifelong Republican, I suppose.

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Give me a break, Mary. You don't have to be in the tank for Obama (I haven't been) to see this ad for what it is.

We're supposed to look at little children, snug in their beds in the middle of the night, and think about the banks being open in Switzerland?

This is just like showing Obama in that Somali garb and then acting like he's the one who should be ashamed for insinuating that the image is divisive.

Really pathetic. I never would have imagined that Clinton supporters would be so absurdly in her corner that they would try to make us think something like this ad was intended to make people think about her work ethic and not her "Commander in Chief" qualifications.

How many swing votes can Hillary get by insulting people's intelligence like this?

Posted by: DB on February 29, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

If it's 3:00 a.m., why are the lights on all over the freakin' house? And why does Mommy look fresh as a daisy in her snappy little tailored shirt? If Mommy is up at 3:00 a.m. workin' the night shift with Hillary and doing all the stuff moms do after hubby and the kids are in bed, she needs to look considerably more bleary-eyed and tousled, not to mention a little pissed off.

And Hillary's help needs to be considerably more careful of their subtext. Only bats and vampires look that good at 3:00 a.m. Bwahhh haa haa haa haa. Mark Penn really is working for the Republicans. He has just indelibly engraved the message that Hillary Clinton is a vampire bat on all of our hearts. Nice going.

Posted by: bluewave on February 29, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

thanks, shortstop! I think we can all use a laugh at this point in the campaign, and you have certainly provided me with laughs and pithy observations.

Posted by: cowalker on February 29, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Have you all forgotten that 9/11 occurred at 9:15 am (in the morning, idiots) and that no one had to be woken up?"

ROFL.... No, dear, we didn't. Now do tell us just what this has to do with Hillary's ad, won't you?

"Fear doesn't have a time of day."

No shit, Sherlock.

"This is about taking care of business so that people can be secure and confident in their leadership."

No, dear, it's not, which is why the actual text of the ad doesn't even remotely mesh with your "interpretation." Not to mention that at 3:00 (in the morning, idiot), nobody is "taking care of business". You do know that's the time that we're asleep, right?

"It isn't about sending missiles anywhere."

Here's the actual text of the ad:

"Something's happening in the world."

"...someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world."

"Do presidents only talk to world leaders when bombs are going to fall?"

Dear heart, you do remember that this was 3:00 (in the morning, idiot), right?

"They should be talking to them all the time about many things, and 3 am is when other countries are awake (even if we are sleeping)."

ROFL.... Yes, dear, and those other leaders just love to talk to our president at a time when they know he or she is asleep.

"I see that the Obama attack is focused on fear-mongering and Clinton's unfitness to lead."

ROFLMAO.... Oh, the irony. Dear heart, you did actually listen to the ad, didn't you?

"I am disappointed by Obama's willful misinterpretation"

ROFLMAO.... And, again, the irony....

I just love Mary's total lack of self-awareness.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just throwing this out there - my husband, who has actually called the White House at 3:00 a.m. a couple of times, says that in his experience missiles hardly ever go off-line in multiples during daylight hours.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Fear doesn't have a time of day.

That's the backend of the double feature over at the Bijou. It begins immediately after Death Never Oversleeps.

Doors open at 7:00 PM (in the evening, retards).

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

But with Obama we cannot even dislike him without being accused of racism and uncleanliness. As a liberal I cannot abide to have him in power. We've seen people like this throughout history and it never comes to any good.

Nonsense. For example, see Paul Krugman.

Posted by: Joshua on February 29, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

HA junebug. Pass the Atomic Fireballs, please.

Posted by: Lucy on February 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jujubes...

Posted by: shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Boo!

Posted by: HillaryClinton on February 29, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"IT'S THREE AM"...

More like, "It's two a.m."

Mary on February 29, 2008 at 3:55 PM:

Can't you all process information independently of your favorite candidate's campaign?

Have you never heard of Ockham's Razor, Nancy?...the application of which would indicate that, instead containing the broad array of hypotheticals that you've posed, this ad simply is an attempt to scare Dem primary voters into voting for Hillary Clinton.

shortstop on February 29, 2008 at 4:05 PM:

I really am beginning to suspect that "Mary" is a mean-spirited Obama supporter.

I'm thinking more along the lines that Nancy's conducting a psych experiment. Hard to think that a Clinton supporter would willfully misinterpret something so badly.

Posted by: grape_crush on February 29, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

At 3 a.m., the youngest candiate will be most on the ball.

I want to see the ad of trying to roust 75 year old McCain at 3 a.m., which takes awhile, and whatever he hears he responds, "Bomb Iran." A lobbyist next to him whispering might be a nice touch.

Posted by: razor on February 29, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think Jason was on to something, since this ad appears to have been ripped off from a McCain fanvid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPadP7eAO9Y

BTW, I assume the working title of this ad was "Nocturnal Emissions"

Please tip your waiters & waitresses.

Posted by: Brautigan on February 29, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is called effective advertising.. I know because the "Obama for God's" are knocking themselves out over this.

Yeh women can answer the phone in the middle of the night and TAKE CHARGE. (Guess what, they usually do).

So much for the "we can do it candidate" who can't figure our how to do universal coverage when most of the industrialized nations can.

Posted by: MsComment on February 29, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Even in light of the fact that this is a great political advertisement, I should reiterate that Hillary Clinton has had her chance: when "Bush came to shove", she folded. All of her years of experience and connections, and she took Bush at his word. Either she was handicapped by bad judgment when it counted, or she paved its way in terms of political expediency. The result of that has been years spent in quagmire, kicking ourselves in a quicksand while flag-draped coffins arrive en masse, and enemies pop up in consequences ill-prepared for.

Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, for all intents and purposes, are remnants of the "old politicorp", unequipped to deal with modern problems while still leveraging outdated influence: while Hillary wants to establish numerous committees to further her deadlocked administration, McCain offers a compromised and impotent authority in an abstract world.

In my assessment, Barack Obama is, at his core, a modern, pragmatic candidate that better understands the nuances of modern problems, and offers a modern approach in a complex world. While Clinton offers broad and simplistic mandates, I feel more inclined for a candidate that offers a more measured and targeted approach. While McCain hangs, perched on strings held by a base that hates him, I feel better with a candidate that can temper big-government inclinations through the filter of respected modern economists. Of course, this is a generalization against some realities of modern-politics, but I would breathe a bigger sigh of relief that an Obama administration can effectively grapple with the chess moves of Hu Jintao or Medvedev & Putin, the threat of global-warming, and the awaiting terrorist groups looking for weakness.

So while both Clinton and McCain throw red meat to their base and campaign on fear, Obama is better suited perching the watchtower.

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Zengerle is obviously not very Zenger-ly.

Posted by: Cap'n Phealy on February 29, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: "perching" to "perched on".

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

All this talk about Zengerle is making me think of Zingerman's... mmmmm. Is it dinnertime yet?

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

"This is called effective advertising.."

Really? How many votes has it swayed?

"I know because the 'Obama for God's' are knocking themselves out over this."

ROFL... Dear heart, we're mocking its silliness and its deference to a Republican meme, not it's "effective[ness]". A pity you can't actually read and respond to the criticisms that have been offered.

"Yeh women can answer the phone in the middle of the night and TAKE CHARGE. (Guess what, they usually do)."

Yes, dear, and if anyone had argued otherwise, you might have a point. Sadly for you, nobody did, which means that you just knocked down a strawman of your own creation. Bravo! I'm sure that felt really good.

"So much for the 'we can do it candidate' who can't figure our how to do universal coverage when most of the industrialized nations can."

Um ... You do know that Hillary's plan isn't much better than Obama's when compared to "most of the industrialized nations," right?

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

All this talk about Zengerle is making me think of Zingerman's... mmmmm. Is it dinnertime yet?

It's making me think of Zinfandel. Is it 5:00 yet?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

MsComment on February 29, 2008 at 4:44 PM:

Yeh women can answer the phone in the middle of the night and TAKE CHARGE.

I don't recall that the ad mentioned anything about which gender is more likely to wake up to answer the phone...Funny how Clinton supporters, like right-whingers, keep bringing gender and race issues up.

Actually, if anyone's gonna be awake at that hour, it's probably gonna be McCain...sleep habits change as you get older...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 29, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Even some of the old politicorp get it: Senator Jay Rockefeller endorsed Barack Obama.

"I am all too aware that the threats we face are unconventional. They are sophisticated. They are constantly changing and adapting. And they are very serious. What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It's about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time - and every time."

boo-yah.

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Obama supporters always sound so smug and sneering? I want a Dem in the WH, period. HRC has problems/weaknesses, true, starting with this wobbly campaign she's run. BHO has weaknesses as broad as a barn door, too, but most of his supporters just can't seem to ADMIT that, even though HE DOES in his books. Or, when he does that, is it just the "inoculation" effect? I.e., if one admits to an incremental fault, like, "I'm not big on paperwork," no one will be able to address the much larger one looming right behind it, like, "I have no executive-type experience. I'm just the sum of the people that work for me. Just like a certain Texan we all know."

Posted by: Seth on February 29, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the ad instantly reminded me of the scene in Dr. Strangelove when President Merkin Muffley + the Ambassador from the USSR phone the Soviet Premier in the middle of the [Moscow] night + discover that the Premier is drunk.

Posted by: genome on February 29, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

You have no idea how relieved I am that my candidate withdrew and I made the conscious decision to not switch allegiance, but instead to get behind the eventual nominee.

I am thrilled to see the level of passion and involvement, but I am cringing at the internecine sniping.

And yes, there is plenty of irony there, because I can be a real uncivil, knee-capping bitch with minimal provocation...But if I am cringing, how is the mushy middle (let's face it, we need their votes) perceiving this?

And now I guess I'm a concern troll?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Before I started reading blog posts, I never realized how many people in this country were filled with hate. I was raised thinking it was only stupid white southerners and the uneducated who were that way. It's been educational to find out that progressives are just as hateful. Education doesn't seem to make a difference. Hate for dissenting views seems to function like spousal abuse - it crosses all economic boundaries and it's always the other person's fault.

Posted by: searcy on February 29, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK
The ad doesn't say "red phone" it says "phone." I see this as Clinton positioning the job as one that women have already been doing -- getting up in the night to take care of things while children and men sleep. She is normalizing the job for her gender.

Huh!?! I don't know when you were born Mary, but I was born in the early Sixties and any phone calls that came in after my parent went to sleep were always answered by my father, not my mother.

My mother answered the phone during the day. Not to say she was incapable of handling it any other time, but your bias is obviously creeping into your perception of reality.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 29, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK
"I'm not big on paperwork,"

Seth you're taking his innocent answer and running too far with it:

"Because I'm an ordinary person, I thought that they meant, 'What's your biggest weakness?'" he said. "If I had gone last I would have known what the game was.
"And then I could have said, 'Well, ya know, I like to help old ladies across the street. Sometimes they don't want to be helped. It's terrible.'"

Obama took it literally, gave a common-sense answer, while Hillary gave the high-school-crowd-pleaser ("too impatient to change America"). Pretty funny if you ask me. I see where you're getting at, but your paraphrasing doesn't help.

Posted by: Boorring on February 29, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

ken wrote: "The problem with Obama for liberals ... As a liberal .. Obama is the worst thing that has ever happened to the democratic party."

You are not a "liberal". You are a phony. You are a weak-minded, ignorant mental slave of Rush Limbaugh, regurgitating scripted Republican Party talking-point drivel.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 29, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Is it 5:00 yet?

Much like fear, happy hour doesn't have a time of day. It stares at you from across the room, at all hours of the day & night (that's AM & PM, biotches!), with an irresistible come-hither look, and it's the solemn obligation of every red-blooded American to drop everything s/he's doing & exploit the moment like a virgin on prom night. Times a wastin'.

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK
I'm a pretty enthusiastic Obama supporter and not a particular enthusiast for Hillary (which, on certain days, is putting things mildly). However, I thought this ad was fairly subtle and not really illegitimate. All it's really saying is that she's had more experience in the upper echelons of power, which is the one and only basis of her entire campaign.

I'm not saying this ad is illegitimate, by any means. I just think it's not an effective add for her to run because it's appealing to the same base emotions that Republicans have been doing for decades.

And people who respond to that kind of appeal (emotional rather than rational) are more likely to vote Republican out of unthinking habit.

In other words, I think the ad may backfire on her and not because she's not capable, but rather she's appealing to a segment of the voters with a message that doesn't do her any good.

I just want to end saying that I don't support Hillary not because I think she's incompetent or anything. I just think that her Senate voting record and the way she's handle her campaign and the way she's handle the negative media pile-on is proof she wouldn't be as effective a President as her supporters think.

On the other hand I fervently dream of her replacing Harry Reid (that incompetent blow-hard). I think she would be light years ahead in effectively managing the Senate Democrats that that jellyfish.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 29, 2008 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug, you are so right! I'm off like a prom dress to Gomer's.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

[Obama] can't [run on national security]. He's weak in this area, compared to both McCain and Clinton. He'll get creamed.

McCain and Clinton thought it was a great idea to invade Iraq which would really pay off big for us, and Obama thought it was a terrible mistake which would haunt us for years to come, and it's Obama who's weak on national security?

Isn't that kind of like saying that the guy who tried to take the car keys away from the drunk, rather than the drunk who took the car and crashed it head on into a wall, is the one weak on automotive safety?

Posted by: Stefan on February 29, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

**

Posted by: mhr on February 29, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

searcy: I was raised thinking it was only stupid white southerners and the uneducated...

Where were you raised? I was raised in the "liberal" Northeast and I've been seeing ignorant haters all my life. And yes, some of them vote Democratic.

Posted by: thersites on February 29, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Clinton campaign didn't use these ads as their inspiration: http://tv.4president.us/1980/carter1980ovalext.htm

Posted by: Zathras on February 29, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Most non-liberal males (and females) would still really prefer that a man respond to a distress call - despite all the liberal propaganda.

You are a moron. By your logic the men deployed to war zones around the world are hampered by worry that their weak little wives can't handle the homefront. You really are a waste of skin.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Why do Obama supporters always sound so smug and sneering?"

Maybe because people like Mary are idiots who deserver all the mockery they get?

I like both candidates and will happily vote for whomever wins. I'm not anti-Clinton; I'm anti-stupid.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Effective? Maybe, though Obama's comeback was excellent, and, anyway, the whole "it's about the children" argument turns me off.

Below the belt? Not at all. Elections are competitions, and both Clinton and Obama should be campaigning hard.

So, for my 2 cents, the Clinton campaign tried to land a hard, but fair punch; Obama's counterpunch was better.

Posted by: HS on February 29, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Let me put it this way: I would pick BGRS to respond to a distress call over a million morons like mhr.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why thank you, PaulB. I would do my best to handle the situation, whatever it was.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Bush wasn't elected because we wanted him answering our phone, but because we wanted to have a beer with him. Or so we were told.

Posted by: AJ on February 29, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's making me think of Zinfandel. Is it 5:00 yet? - BGRS

You don't have to wait till 5:00 - wine-thirty comes at any time of the day, you just have to morph yourself into a different time zone.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 29, 2008 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

I came here thinking this was cat vlogging. Eeekk!

;o)

Posted by: david in norcal on February 29, 2008 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

I would do my best to handle the situation, whatever it was.

Um, the situation was happy hour, and you said something about a date with Goober... yet here you are. Look, BGRS, I'm a Democrat, so I get this all-talk-no-action bidness all the time, but I'm warning you -- there are some things about which we just don't double talk. Now don't make me get out of my chair.

Posted by: junebug on February 29, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

That has been handled, Junie! ;)

I walk out of my apartment, go one block, catch a southbound and go six blocks, hop off at Gomers, make my purchase, walk across the street and catch a northbound. I am home before I could get the Explorer out onto my arterial street.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 29, 2008 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why do they keep listening to Mark Penn? WHY?!

Posted by: parrot on February 29, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help thinking "Get Off My Cloud" by the Stones belongs in this discussion; after all, a phone actually rings at 3 am:

The telephone is ringing
I say, "Hi, it's me. Who is it there on the line?"
A voice says, "Hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess I'm doin' fine"
He says, "It's three a.m., there's too much noise
Don't you people ever wanna go to bed?
Just 'cause you feel so good, do you have
To drive me out of my head?

Posted by: kth on February 29, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

thersites I'd have had a more cogent response sooner, but I had to go home and change my underwear.

Hehehe

Posted by: dagome on February 29, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Why thank you, PaulB."

Considering the quality of your competition, I would have to say that probably qualified as damning with faint praise. :) Nonetheless, the point still stands. I'll take a component individual with a proven track record, of any sex, gender, race, or age, over an incompetent moron who is barely intelligent enough to figure out how to write a blog post without drooling.

And those individuals who let their own idiocy and prejudices get in the way of such judgment deserve to drown in their own bile.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.... Obviously, "component" should have been "competent."

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Did Hil get the call on a bedside phone, then dress in a nicely feminine business suit, arrange the perfect coiffure, and get herself all spiffed up with jewelry, the whole shmear--just to run down to the red phone and answer like a private secretary to a big executive: "Yes, how can I help you?"

Verisimilitude. How about a little of that stuff in these red phone ads?

Posted by: jimboman on February 29, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

FYI, here's Obama's own ad responding to this one.

Seems good to me, especially for a quick response, and makes the case for why people should be comfortable with Obama answering the phone, which is what I didn't get from the Hillary ad. She didn't explain why we should be comfortable with her at the helm, aside from the rather generic claims that she "knows the world's leaders", "knows the military", and is "tested".

Of course, when asked for an example where Hillary was tested in a crisis, her campaign came up with nada.

Posted by: Joe on February 29, 2008 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why do they keep listening to Mark Penn? WHY?

It gets worse. The latest from the Hillary brain trust is that they may mount a challenge to the process by with Texans award delegates via the caucuses. I hope they do.

Our unofficial state motto is don't mess with Texas and if HRC were to engage in such silliness I wager that she may well lose some of the delegates that she won in the primary voting.

Many of those delegates will be local power brokers and political leaders who would be held to accounts by miffed neighbors and constituents angered that Sen. Clinton took their state party to court.

Mark Penn is a genius alright and HRC is showing that she can barely run a campaign much less successfully deal with that early morning phone call.

While I immagine this trial balloon will be quickly popped, the mere fact that this is/was considered is just plain mindless.

Posted by: Keith G on February 29, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see some alternative endings:

No, I don't want to swicth phone plans!

No Monica, Bill can't come to the phone now.

Sorry, you must have the wrong number. This isn't the White House

and my personal favorite ending:

President Obama, Call on Line 1.

Posted by: Terry on February 29, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin said: There's something wrong with that response. Why is it somehow OK for John McCain to run on the basis of being the guy who can protect America while Hillary shouldn't?

Because, Kevin, Hillary explains in this ad why she is more qualified than Obama. She says: someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military. And, by these metrics, it's obvious that McCain is more qualified than both herself and Obama.

Also, using fearmongering to win an election? Since when is this the Democratic party's way? Haven't we been saying that it's a Republican trick to fool the people?

The only rational explanation of all this is that McCain has infiltrated Hillary's campaign.

Posted by: JS on February 29, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, all you Obama fans, this is an awesome ad! Fear works! JFK used the idea that the US had a missle gap with the Soviets in the 1960 campaign, as a fear tactic. He didn't back down when he was told privately during the campaign that we had much more arms than the Soviets. Jack knew people responds to fear in campaigns! Once in office, he waited like a year or so before he admitted that we were far ahead. And, oh, he had one of his Cabinet secs say it. :)

Posted by: KYDEM on February 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies in advance for interrupting the flow of your righteous hyperventilation and dramatic swooning.

From politico.com (see original Mondale ad there if you want):

Here's the original "red phone" spot — for Mondale, and by Roy Spence, who is now supervising Hillary's ad strategy. (The ad starts 10 seconds in.)

The script:

The most awesome, powerful responsibility in the world lies in the hand that picks up this phone. The idea of an unsure, unsteady, untested hand is something to really think about. This is the issues of our times. On March 20, vote as if the future of the world is at stake. Mondale. This president will know what he's doing, and that's the difference between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale.

It's the template for dozens others over the year, not just today's Clinton spot. Indeed, a GOP media consultant who's made his share of red phone spots over the years e-mails that he found Clinton's a bit soft — long on children, short on direct contrast.

You may now return to your hysteria over Hillary's shocking, unprecedented, vicious "Republican" ad. Heaven forfend that I should stand between a mob and its pitchforks. Posted by: frankly0 on February 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I like Clinton, I really do, even though I've been making fun of some of her more mindless supporters. And I'll cheerfully vote for her in the general election if she wins the nomination. But, damn, she's been surrounding herself with idiots. And, worse, she hasn't fired them for being idiots.

Man, if anyone hires Penn after this debacle, they'll richly deserve their likely defeat and the mockery that will result.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

"My apologies in advance for interrupting the flow of your righteous hyperventilation and dramatic swooning."

LOL.... Oh, the irony....

Dear heart, how did that ad work out for Mondale? All you've done is demonstrate that Clinton's campaign advisors are idiots.

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, frankly0, there is some substantive discussion going on in this thread, as well, along with the usual crap. Interesting that you chose to not acknowledge those substantive posts and deal with the issues raised. Why is that?

Posted by: PaulB on February 29, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tactically speaking, Mondale had already served as VP as well as in the armed services -- so he wasn't handing over an easy point to the eventual Republican nominee.

Substantively, he was talking during the Cold War when Soviet missiles were targeted against the US.

On both counts, Hillary's use of the material fails the test.

Posted by: JS on February 29, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's response to the Clinton ad is worth watching.

Posted by: JS on February 29, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

So is Obama's counter-ad.

Posted by: JS on February 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Can Obama ever come up with an original idea? I mean, does he have to plagiarize everything? I mean really!?! First the massa=cuz=your=nuts copycat and now this mocking of Hillary's ad? Does the dude actually have an original thought of his own or what?

Posted by: elmo on March 1, 2008 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

The people that protect us go unknown and unnamed. Politicians, as was shown during 911 are the first to head to bunkers. Enough of this Superman/Woman political nonsense.

Posted by: Jet on March 1, 2008 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Re Hillary's ad who do you want to get the 3:am phone call

A reporter asked whether Clinton should drop out after Ohio and Texas. Obama adviser Richard Danzig responded:

"I would encourage you on March 5 to call Sen. Clinton at 3 a.m. and ask that question."

Posted by: Craig Johnson/ cognitorex on March 1, 2008 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

I like Clinton, I really do, even though I've been making fun of some of her more mindless supporters. And I'll cheerfully vote for her in the general election if she wins the nomination. But, damn, she's been surrounding herself with idiots. And, worse, she hasn't fired them for being idiots.

Man, if anyone hires Penn after this debacle, they'll richly deserve their likely defeat and the mockery that will result.

This pretty well sums up my view, with the difference that I like Clinton quite a bit less now after watching her Superglue attachment to these idiot staffers (and her willingness to go along with their more humiliatingly bad suggestions). More to the point, this campaign has made me trust her judgment considerably less. Still, I'd vote for her without grumbling if she won the nomination.

As for Penn, isn't it funny to contemplate that someone will hire him; he'll keep doing this stuff and wrecking other people's political careers? That's the Democratic way, recycling incompetent strategists. But perhaps not--though he might get future gigs, it's doubtful that anyone will blindly trust him as much as the Clintons inexplicably still do.

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2008 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Are there any political consultants that you guys actually like? It's never pretty.

Personally think that Clinton had a lot of disadvantages from the start. Basically playing defense.

1) Leadership assumptions about women

2) Front runner status. I actually think Obama low-balled it prior to mid-December. His early debate performances were lack luster and he played nice guy in the background for a long time. Timed a lot better than Howard Dean.

3) Name recognition and willingness of public and media to reinforce 1990's conservative memes (rhymes with witch). Very hard for her to define herself.

4) presumed competency of her campaign. A lot of small time stuff was amplified because of the meme that anyone speaking for the Clinton campaign (surrogates, low level staffers, Karl Rove, etc.) had it vetted and approved by some team of boy geniuses.

5) Bill Clinton is a bit of a loudmouth and does have a sense of entitlement and a sense of being a media victim.

6) In games of racism, sexism, scissors the target of sexism gets sympathy from ~25% and those accused of race-baiting get tainted to 80%. Personally think she lost the election in SC with Clyburn.

So while I despise Penn, Trippi, and Rove. I also dislike Axelrod, in this race largely because of a few instances where the team pushed conservative memes about Hillary and especially the divisive racism charges post NH.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

The "experience" massage!

You know, it's just ain't working but that hasn't stop Hillary from pushing away with it, over and over again.

The fact that Hillary said she would get us out of the war in Iraq BUT then told us she'd always protect our "national interest" in the region of Iraq - no mention about any of that lately, right.

Hey, it's the war stupid!

It certainly isn't more of Karl Rove's fear tactics. That's old hat BS and people want answers. Of course the pro-WMD Clinton's aren't really going to say anything about that, are they?

Posted by: me-again on March 1, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

B, I think you're confusing whether we like political consultants with whether they're competent. Axelrod and his team have done some things I, like you, deeply disapprove of, but one would have a pretty hard time making the case that they're running a bad campaign. Clinton's team, on the other hand, keeps doing things that simply don't work--and that failure to work can't entirely be blamed on media bias or sexism.

When you know you have certain weak spots or are subject (fairly or not) to certain public perceptions, you don't angle your campaign to reinforce those perceptions. Obama's people recognize that there are certain things he cannot do as a black man and get elected in the U.S.--for just one example, he cannot get publicly incensed because of white perceptions about "angry black men" or "militant black men." His campaign hasn't gone on about how unfair it is that he's being held to this standard when a white candidate isn't; they just work around it and do what they need to do.

Clinton's campaign, on the other hand, keeps playing to her weaknesses. For instance, why in the world would they stage that temper tantrum last weekend when they know that she's (misogynistically) viewed by so many as bitchy and carping?

Racism and sexism aren't fair. But they're out there in the electorate and the media, the candidates know it, and what they do about it in terms of shaping their campaigns is totally up to them.

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2008 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on March 1, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

What shortstop said!

Posted by: Lucy on March 1, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Can Obama ever come up with an original idea? I mean, does he have to plagiarize everything? I mean really!?!

It was a rapid response ad, what more do you want? Also, as someone else pointed out, Hillary's ad is actually plagiarizing Mondale's ad from 84...not that it matters either way.

What does matter though is whose ad makes the most sense. And Hillary's claim that she's the most capable of effectively handling a crisis doesn't make much sense to me. The only reasons given in the ad were the claims that she "knows the world's leaders", "knows the military", and is "tested"...three pretty generic arguments that probably won't hold up upon close inspection (Her campaign already stumbled when trying to come up with an example where she was tested in a crisis).

Posted by: Joe on March 1, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

1) Leadership assumptions about women

Definitely an important and underconsidered facet of this contest. This thread is already about 100 comments too long, but: It's obvious that Obama's historic candidacy is being invested with epic grandeur by the MSM, while Clinton's equally historic candidacy is not being treated as an epic event.

One's first response is to attribute Obama's more admiring treatment to his obvious charisma. But doesn't that beg the question: what would a charismatic female candidate look/sound like? i.e., aren't our notions of charismatic, idealistic leadership shot through with masculinist assumptions? (disclaimer: on balance I hope that Obama wins the nomination)

Posted by: kth on March 1, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

what would a charismatic female candidate look/sound like?

Ann Richardson

Posted by: Lucy on March 1, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Richards

Guess I had Bill R. on the mind.

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

Barbara Jordan, as well, perhaps?

Posted by: PaulB on March 1, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

"while Clinton's equally historic candidacy is not being treated as an epic event."

You can think Bill for that, I think. There was an air of inevitability about Clinton's candidacy, so she was robbed of some of the mojo that would have otherwise come to her.

Posted by: PaulB on March 1, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's campaign, on the other hand, keeps playing to her weaknesses. For instance, why in the world would they stage that temper tantrum last weekend when they know that she's (misogynistically) viewed by so many as bitchy and carping?

shortstop, I'm just saying they're fighting different battles. I suspect that Hillary's team has known that they're going to lose for at least a month. She's just been waiting around for a momentum changer that doesn't come.

I have no idea how graceful Obama and Axelrod would be while losing. I do remember him being pretty bitchy in NH. Maybe that's how it would look.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

And thanks for those of you who are keeping it civil. I can almost imagine having a conversation again.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have no idea how graceful Obama and Axelrod would be while losing. I do remember him being pretty bitchy in NH. Maybe that's how it would look.

I think you've missed my point, B. An analogy would be Obama violently losing his temper in public, which would play into the white stereotype of angry black men. He knows that McCain can do this every day with little penalty, but one time would finish him if he tries it.

My point was that when you are subject to certain narrow-minded stereotypes (black men = angry, strong women = bitchy), and you know these public (mis)perceptions are out there, you structure your campaign so that you don't reinforce those perceptions. Clinton often seems to be going out of her way to fulfill the nasty sexist stereotypes.

(There are lots more ways the two campaigns are performing at different levels, BTW, and we've discussed a lot of them in these threads. I'm only referring to the racist/sexist stereotypes because these were points from B's post I wanted to address.)

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't really been paying attention. Are you talking about her SNL reference? Maybe I haven't been paying attention enough after South Carolina to really discuss the last few weeks.

Clearly Hillary hasn't been running a great campaign. She lost and she's lost a lot of respect in the process.

I see the smarts behind the Obama campaign, but I don't think it took genius to fight the battle they fought.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

OK, my wife says you were talking about the flyers thing. Yeah I guess it didn't play well. I think she was a bit out of control but I don't think it was insincere. I think she actually cares about health care and her team has given up trying to win.

Better than Dean's Yarrrggggh?

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I generally try to see the candidate through the filter. The face of the campaign is the PR people. The executive branch is run by the experts and the wonks. People like Rove don't usually pull the levers in the white house.

I liked Dean in spite of his campaign. I liked Gore in spite of his. I like Hillary. I like Obama. I would hope that they'd all rise above the level of their campaign organizers.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I watched Hillary on c-span gamely give her stump speech today in Texas, although she was hoarse. She continues to carp about Obama, even though this tack has not worked in the past. She's sarcastic, but not witty or funny, about Obama's soaring rhetoric. The effect of this is to draw attention to the fact that Hillary is entirely bereft of soaring rhetoric and that she has a chip on her shoulder about it.

On policy Obama and Clinton hit the same notes, with the exception of health care, of course, when Hillary pours more unfunny scorn on Obama. Hillary's forte is her mastery of policy detail. She should ditch the bitching at Obama, hone her policy pitches (she was creaming Obama at the debates last year), and stop make viewers like me feel like they have done something terribly wrong.

There, can I have a million dollars just like Mark Penn?!

Posted by: Lucy on March 1, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

OK, my wife says you were talking about the flyers thing.

I was, although the sniping about first questions and pillows didn't help, and I'm not sure the heavens-will-open-up-and-everything-will-be-perfect routine did, either (it made me laugh, but I don't think that was a very typical reaction across the board). Like everyone else who's met Hillary, I found her capable of real warmth and wit in person. I wish she were able to translate that more engaging humor to her speeches, rallies, ads, etc. Instead, it comes off as unamused sarcasm, as Lucy says, and that only reinforces the "bitchy" meme.

I generally try to see the candidate through the filter. The face of the campaign is the PR people. The executive branch is run by the experts and the wonks. People like Rove don't usually pull the levers in the white house.

But the candidate/president hires both kinds, doesn't she or he? Makes the decisions on whom to listen to, whose advice to take and whom to fire, too. So it's not at all out of bounds to form some opinions on the candidate's judgment based on campaign personnel patterns.

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

So it's not at all out of bounds to form some opinions on the candidate's judgment based on campaign personnel patterns.

OK, but I still don't like any of them or what they have to do. Besides, it seems anytime you fire them your desperation becomes the story for the next week. Hillary has been in the death throws and while I wish she'd lose gracefully it's pretty rare that that happens. I think it could have turned out better but it's close enough that Obama's team feels they have to go for the kill. I wish they'd both save their money and their fight.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

OK, but I still don't like any of them or what they have to do.

What, you don't want to have a beer with any of them? LOL--fair enough.

(And for my money, BTW, you're one of the funniest posters here. I don't think I've said that in a while--we've all been so serious lately.)

Posted by: shortstop on March 1, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Here's to better days ahead shortstop.

Posted by: B on March 1, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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