The Alan Grayson Page

The Anthony Weiner Page

Guest Contributors

Note

  • BN-Politics' administrators respect, but do not necessarily endorse, views expressed by our contributors. Our goal is to get the ideas out there. After that, they're on their own.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2007

Blog Catalog

  • Liberalism Political Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Blogorian!

Blogged


« Flag Officers Explain Why Hillary Would be a Better Commander-in-Chief | Main | Clinton's, McCain's and Obama's Passport Files Breached »

March 21, 2008

Comments

Adam

Right-wing pundits like Buchanan and Krauthammer are attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee. This is not news, and it is not a sign of anything except Obama's delegate lead.

I don't see rank-and-file Hillary supporters being opposed to Obama as having very much to do with Obama's tactics. Obama's campaign may have alienated some Hillary-supporting insiders, sure, but it has nearly nothing to do with Obama support among "Reagan democrats". Their (lack of) support for Obama has a lot more to do with Hillary.

It's tough for Obama to unite the party when the other candidate in the race pushes her supporters toward McCain. Obama's positives among Hillary supporters only really began to erode in the last three weeks as Hillary went negative. Hillary has committed the cardinal sin of primary politics - comparing the other party's nominee favorably to your opponent - multiple times in multiple ways in the last few weeks. That's your smoking gun. If you want an explanation for the change in support, there's no need to look further. Contrast this with Obama, who has consistently, clearly, and repeatedly stated than Hillary would be a better president than McCain.

Hillary's memo today (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=6663) is vastly more negative than the Obama memo you are still angry about. Moreover, Hillary's accusation that Obama is trying to disenfrancise voters is really the very same accusation as the one you bring up.

In fairness to Hillary, the erosion of Obama support from the "Reagan democrats" also has a lot to do with the Wright controversy. Hillary didn't foment that, and indeed she was wise enough to muzzle her staff and supporters and let Fox News, et al, do the dirty work. Judging by the rebounding tracking polls since the 18th, though, it appears that Obama's speech has effectively ended the attack.

Why does Richardson believe Obama can unite the party and create a broad base of support? Probably because he sees the partisan infighting of the last three weeks for what it is, and he's seen the bipartisan coalitions that Obama built both on Super Tuesday and in the senate.

Adam

Also, let's be honest. There are two main reasons that Richardson endorsed Obama, and neither had anything to do with whether Obama is a uniter, a divider, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

1) Like most observers, Richardson believes that the delegate lead is too large, and as such Obama is going to end up winning the nomination eventually. He's hoping that, as one of the most high-profile superdelegates, his endorsement will encourage other fence-sitters to move into Obama's camp and bring the nomination to a close more quickly.

2) Richardson wants to be Obama's VP. Now this idea is getting play in all the various media.

D. Cupples

Adam,

I agree with you about why Richardson endorsed Obama.

I also know why Krauthammer et. al. attacked Obama (though Buchanan initially attacked the media for biased coverage).

What IS news is the fact that many Hillary supporters are getting comfort from right-wing commentators. [Check the sky for pigs.]

It's NOT just Reagan-Dems that are turned off by Obama's campaign tactics. I'm NOT a "Reagan-Dem," yet I've felt increasingly negatively toward some of Obama's tactics -- especially the stealthier, passive-aggressive efforts to deride Hillary, which show that Obama IS pretty much like every other politician.

I would NOT mind Obama's being an ordinary politician IF he had not questionably tried to sell himself as above ordinary politics (and, by inherent implication, above Hillary in that respect).

It smacks of hypocrisy and false imagery, which a lot of other truly progressive Hillary supporters find offensive.

For evidence, cruise around No Quarter and Taylor Marsh -- both obvious progressives and Hillary supporters. More importantly, read their Hillary-supporting READERS' comments.

I'm telling you, a lot (though not all) of Hillary supporters are pissed, and they've been hardening against Obama since January or February.

Keep in mind that I'm not the typical politics follower. I tend to focus on root issues (where money is going and whether public policy serves the public), not campaigns. And yet, I find myself unsettled by the Dems' race.

That wasn't the case in December, when I was fine with Obama as an alternative if he won the nomination. My perception of Obama has grown increasingly negative since January -- and it's because of HIS campaign and the media (no, I don't hold Wright against him, but I do think Goolsbee and Power reflect poorly on him).

I don't know how I'll feel in November, which is at least 10 political lifetimes away.

I don't think that Hillary did push her supporters toward McCain (though, many Obama supporters think she did -- and called her a jerk for it). I wrote about that here: http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/03/hillary-what-ar.html

Even if she did, let's remember context. WHO STARTED down that path? Obama's own wife did, some weeks earlier.

Michelle has been a political wife long enough to know NOT to say such things off the cuff at a major network's interview. This makes me think that she ran it by a campaign strategist or two.

Even Hillary and Barack had NOT outright stated that they wouldn't support the other in November.

Incidentally, after the McCain-related statement, Hillary said that she "expects" her supporters to support Barack. I covered that at the end of the following post: http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/03/media-obama-goo.html]
Yes, I suspect that it was motivated by political expediency.

Perhaps Obama has done likewise, but I haven't heard. I did hear him say at a debate that Hillary would be better than McCain. When he said it, I think Hillary said likewise, but I don't remember. Do you?

I found the memo you linked to. Aside from overstating Obama's influence on Michigan (which really came down to the state lege), I don't see any falsehoods.

One major distinction: Hillary's memo attacks Obama for attacking her. The memo does NOT falsely accuse Obama of attacking her SUPPORTERS (which was my beef). Obama's email did do the latter.

Also, Hillary's memo came about 10 days AFTER Obama's fund-raising email, and about 2 weeks after Obama's email implying that Hillary should drop out of the race [covered here: http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/03/obama-campaign.html].

If Hillary had dropped out of the race, the result WOULD have been that votes would not have happened (or counted) in Pennsylvania, et. al.

Unless what I read over the last few days was false, Obama DID oppose a Michigan re-vote.

To me, it says that Obma's like any other politician, which is the opposite of what his campaign held out as a selling point.

I didn't like Hillary's suggestion that Michigan's original vote should be counted, either. I mean, Barack wasn't even on the ballot.

And I don't think Florida's original vote should count, but I certainly do support a re-vote (partly because I'm a Floridian, and Florida Dems had NO POWER to stop the Republican legislature from moving the election date). Florida Dems have been literally powerless since about 1999. I witnessed it myself on the state House floor in 2001, when I visited the minority leader.

Adam

I'm certainly not claiming that you or Taylor Marsh or commentators at her blog are "Reagan democrats". As I said, "Obama's campaign may have alienated some Hillary-supporting insiders". That's what you, and those people, are. You are important people, but you are a small segment and not the ones driving those poll numbers. The poll numbers are being driven by the "Reagan democrats", and I believe their changing positions have almost nothing to do with Obama's campaign tactics.

Hillary did not say anything at the debate directly comparing Obama and McCain that put Obama in a favorable light. Also, the "threshold" comment is not Clinton's only attack of this sort. She had the soundbite (this is from memory, and probably not 100% accurate) "John McCain is running on years of experience, I'm running on years of experience, and Barack Obama is running on a speech he made in 2002". These are the sorts of comments that have a good chance of screwing the Democrats in November, and Hillary is politically savvy enough to know that. She is well aware of what she is doing, has offered these comments unprompted, has done so repeatedly, and appears to not care about the consequences. (By contrast, Michelle Obama was prompted by a question from an interviewer, didn't seem to know what she was doing, and has been kept away from the mikes since then. I seriously doubt that gaffe was planned by the Obama camp.)

Obama may have run his campaign in a way you object to, but it's hard to argue he's provided any anti-Hillary fodder for the Republicans. Hillary, by contrast, is basically running an attack on Obama that could be parroted word-for-word by McCain.

As for the idea that Obama accused Clinton of attacking Obama supporters - it's the same issue, disenfranchisement. Obama's campaign argued that Clinton's effort to marginalize the importance of Obama's supporters in many states amounted to an attack on those supporters. Clinton's campaign now accuses Obama's campaign of doing the very same thing - trying to marginalize the importance of voters in the remaining states (plus MI/FL). It's the same accusation, and it's comparably inflammatory and tenuous both times.

Also, the Clinton claim that Obama's campaign has decided to "accuse our campaign of having something to do with Senator Obama’s passport file being breached, a reckless charge that has zero merit", is false. From every report I have seen, no such accusation came from the Obama campaign.

I would also argue that labeling Joe Scarborough a "top journalist" is pretty clearly objectionable.

I suppose you can claim that Clinton's accusation that Obama's campaign is "just words" is not a falsehood, but it's really just a cheap shot. They have nearly identical policy positions on their webpages, and Obama just released a big foreign policy paper. If his campaign is just words, then it begs the question of what a campaign must to to be more than words.

D. Cupples

Hi Adam,

You may be right about offended Hillary supporters' being a small number. That would be nice for the DNC. :)

About the McCain comment: you have it right. I mis-pasted the URL that has the video.

http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/03/hillary-what-ar.html

As I said in that post, I see 2 possible interps. And you're right that McCain can use Hillary's words against Obama. That was a bad move, which is why I titled the piece "Hillary, What are you Trying to Say?"

Maybe because I support Hillary I give her the benefit of the doubt. I really don't know what was on her mind, though.

About Michelle Obama: I don't think she is politically naive or got caught off guard, because her husband has been running for or in elected offices for a dozen years. She's dealt extensively with the media. That and she has a stellar legal education: lawyering is all about verbal gymnastics.

I also don't think that Hillary's memo was the same as Obama's email.

Hillary has NOT said that the caucus- and red-states' votes shouldn't count. Basically, she was arguing (after eing pushed to drop out before Ohio/TX) that she shouldn't drop out, because there were more states to come -- some of which would be more crucial in November than some of the red- or caucus-states had Obama won.

Obama recently opposed Michigan's having a re-vote. I'm not sure if he thinks the same of Florida, but I suspect he does.

Because the party divides delegates proportionally, chances are that NEITHER candidate will get a clean majority of pledged delegates; thus, superdelegates will decide the nominee.

We can thank the Dem party for coming up with that system.

S-delegates were not created to mirror the nationwide elected-delegate count. There's no need for that, of course: the nationwide elected-delegate count already mirrors itself.

Many Obama supporters think S-delegates should do that anyway (and they can if they want).

The popular vote is Obama's now, but we don't know if he'll still have it after the next 8 or 10 elections. If he does, that strengthens his argument that s-delegates should pick him.

By wanting Hillary to drop out weeks ago, Obama made it clear that he doesn't even want to give those other states a chance to become part of the popular-vote tally.

Why should Pennsylvania not even have a say, while Oklahoma or South Carolina do?

Obama's stance on MI/FL is far different from Hillary's looking back on concluded elections and saying that they don't necessarily indicate doom for her. (As I said in the last comment, I disagreed with her notion that MI/FL's original votes should count).

Some people think S-delegates should mirror what the people they represent think. How would their constituents feel if their S-Delegate decided to vote with the majority in some OTHER state or district?

There's no rule or consensus about what S-delegates should do. Period. Thank the DNC for that, too.

Every state party knows from the outset that s-delegates can overturn the pledged delegates.

A lot of people will feel cheated based on what s-delegates end up doing -- whomever they pick.

Back to my point: Hillary didn't argue that O's red- or caucus-states shouldn't count: just that they aren't the be-all-end-all. And they aren't, under the DNC's current system.

Obama's email didn't say: "hillary thinks your state's cauces/primaries aren't that important." It said:

"They're not just attacking me; they're attacking YOU."

There's a major difference between the two messages.

Obama's message basically says Hillary is your personal enemy.

That's not what I expected from a candidate running on a platform of changing and cleaning up Washington politics.

Here's where you and I disagree: you take Obama at his word and think that he is genuine. I still question that.

I've been questioning the substance behind Obama's words and image since January (before the Clinton campaign publicly did, I think).

About the passport: I covered it today, but I don't know what the Clinton memo is talking about re: accusations against her. I suspected that MSNBC might hint at it, but I haven't seen anything.

Lastly, I don't get what you're saying about Joe Scarborough.

Adam

RE: Scarborough: he's the "top journalist" being referred to in the Clinton memo, who called Obama's campaign "amateur hour". If Scarborough is a top journalist, then I am an NBA power forward.

I agree with you on S-delegates: every argument on them by both campaigns has been fundamentally self-serving. They get to make their own decisions, end of story. (And yes, that's more or less what Hillary's people are saying; my point is simply that both campaigns start with what they want the S-delegates to do and work backward to an argument.) The reality, though, is that they are going to be very reluctant to overturn the pledged delegates without an extremely compelling reason.

We've been over the Obama memo ad nauseum and there's no need to re-hash it any further. I understand your point and very respectfully agree to disagree.

Michelle Obama may be a veteran of many campaigns with a high-powered education, but she has a pretty solid track record for saying stupid things. Do you think the "I'm finally proud of my country" line was a calculated move? I mean honestly, let's give Axelrod and the real Obama strategists some well-deserved credit. They're way too good at their jobs to have come up with the "talking points" Michelle Obama has used.

I think it's very hard to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt on the pro-McCain issue when she's said it in multiple ways and at multiple events. Whether she ascribes a subtle alternate meaning to her statements is not really relevant. She's made a conscious decision to make an attack that could weaken Obama in the general election. Given that one of Hillary's primary strategies at this point is convincing the S-delegates that she's the stronger fall candidate, there's a rather obvious Machiavellian angle to these comments.

D. Cupples

Adam,

You may be right about the Machiavellian angle re: Hillary's comments re: McCain. That's why I admitted that the benefit of the doubt might come from my supporting her.

What are the other negative comparisons has she made between Obama and McCain?

Another point: let's look at this in context (including timing). January was when Obama started inherently comparing himself to all Dem candidates in the race (esp. Hillary) with the "Change" v. "Experience" and "New" v. "Old" politics.

From the get-go, the inherent implication was that H is old, wants things just as they are, dirty, and at the root of the problems in Washington.

He made her look not just different from himself but very distasteful to his supporters as an alternative. That's why (and when) I first started having issues with him.

About Michelle: no, I don't think the proud-of-my- country remark was calculated.

Michelle's support comment was VERY different: both Hillary and Barack had made special points to neither admit nor deny that they would support one another -- even at the debate that happened BEFORE Michele was asked on ABC.

Michelle no doubt knew that it was important for her husband (and his campaign) to NOT answer the question or even suggest an answer (positive or negative). This is very fundamental.

That and the fact that the answer was technically wishy-washy WHILE conveying a message of possible lack of support is why I think that she had run it by at least one strategist.

What's the inherent message in "I might not support Hillary"? It is that "McCain might be alright by me (or less distasteful than Hillary) ."

The press didn't focus on that nearly as much as it did on Hillary's McCain-experience comment, incidentally (though some blogs did).

This brings me back to my statement about context: Michele indicated that McCain might be okay weeks BEFORE Hillary said the thing about McCain's experience.

It's what litigators call "opening the door." (I'm NOT a litigator).

Given that an Obama surrogate (and Michelle certainly is the closest one to him) indicated that McCain might be ok, how should Hillary have responded?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)