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February 07, 2008



What exactly are Hillary's achievments? Hasn't she just voted for and against policy while in the Senate just like Barack?

Get Real. No president will be prepared for every situation. No president has the experience for every experience. What matters is character. Plus the President of the United States has access to the greatest minds in the world. What makes you think that they don't get advice every minute of the day? In the end the decision is theirs but they can get the best minds to boil issues down for them. If you think that Presidents research and apply logic to every issue and decision, you are deluded.

Both Hillary and Barack are equally qualified. In reality, it comes down to who we like better or trust more.

Bill Baar

I remember my Dean supporter friends reconciling themselves to Kerry telling me he'd be a great candidate because he was a Veteran. My response was I remembered Kerry on TV during Winter Soldier and then the Congressional Hearings. I said Kerry would be a disaster because those videos would reopen all the old wounds. Everyone discounted that thinking Kerry would seem a hero now... that everyone would forgetton Winter Soldier.

No wonder Democrats get swift boated.

Same is happening now with Obama. All the warning flags are out there. Obama won't address them, and for one reason or another HRC won't use them.

Rest assured McCain will (and should).

Artificial Intelligence

Please visit my new blog RezkoWatch at


It is hilarious to watch supporters of Clinton try to sling mud about finances. Anyone but me notice Bill's Kazahkstan deal? $130 million? Are you kidding me?

The line that Hillary has already been vetted is a joke. There have been eight years since The Clintons left office. If you doubt there has been plenty of financial wheeling and dealing, not to mention Bill's other little problem that we all know about, you are a fool.


Pug, I'm so glad I was able to amuse you!

As for calling me "a fool" for having an opinion different from yours: that's certainly a foolproof way to persuade me that you've objectively thought this through.

"You're too much of a moron to like my candidate!" is always a great argument.

Leo T


So you're saying that Obama isn't worse than somebody else... wow, that makes me want to run out and vote for him right now!


So a Hillary supporter belittles Barack supporters and challenge's Barack's record. What else is new?

More dirty politics as usual from Hillary's side.

Obama gave a speech in 2002 opposing the war. So he says he opposed the war from the start. Where's the disconnect? Just because he didn't give a vote on the floor of the Senate does not mean he didn't oppose the war. In 2002, 100 million americans opposed the idea of a war in Iraq. Are their opinions also invalidated because they were not US Senators at the time?

Hillary voted for the war. She didn't bother to read the Senate intelligence report that swayed other democratic senators to oppose it, and the worst thing is she can't admit she made a mistake. That's Hillary's biggest weakness, her inability to admit that she screwed up. In the last debate, Hillary's answer about why she voted to authorize the war was just as muddled and confounding as every answer she's ever given on the matter. She simply needs to say, "I was wrong." Had she said this, it would be a non-issue now. Even her top supporters have urged her to do this. But she's too stubborn to do it.

As far as distorting Barack's record, the Kenya comments are a new low. Obama has promoted the idea of a free and democratic Kenya, and he has lent his support to those who are committed to bringing that to fruition. Obviously, the reality of Kenyan politics is brutal, and both sides have resorted to violence to further their cause. But this can hardly be blamed on Obama. He has repeatedly urged both sides to end the violence and work together to create a democratic Kenya free from corruption.

As far as Obama's achievements, he has spent the last twenty years working to improve the prospects of those less fortunate than him. As a community organizer, he worked to lower crime and unemployment rates in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. After graduating from Harvad law, he didn't take a high paying job as a corporate lawyer (like the one Hillary had for 16 years). Obama again exemplified his commitment to strengthening communities and promoting equality by working as a civil rights attorney and teaching constitutional law.

As a state senator, Obama led a bipartisan effort to lessen the risk of innocent people being sentenced to death. He passed legislation that required the videotaping of police interrogations in capitol cases. He passed an earned income tax credit for the state's working poor.

In the US senate, Barack has championed ethics reform and called for more transparency in government, believing that, if people could see their government in action and see where their tax dollars are spent, elected officials would be held more accountable and would be less likely to engage in corruption, cronyism and special interest politicking. Obama has also worked to get veterans their disability pay and to improve the dysfunctional VA hospital system. Barack has been a leading proponent of new treaties for nuclear non-proliferation to ensure that nuclear weapons stay out of the hands of those who would do us harm.

In his three years in the senate, Barack has written and passed far more legislation than Hillary has in six years. Barack has a proven ability to build coalitions and get things done.

In the last 20 years Barack has been:

A community organizer on the streets of Chicago, working to improve conditions for the working poor.

The President of the Harvard Law Review, a position he attained because his peers recognized his ability to get people who disagreed with one another to work together.

A constitutional law professor.

A civil rights attorney, advocating equality and fighting discrimination.

An Illinois state senator for eight years.

A US senator for three years.

In the last 35 years Hillary has been:

A lawyer for the Children's defense fund for 1 year.

A corporate lawyer for 16 years, representing corporations like Tyson foods and serving on the board of Wal-Mart.

First lady of Arkansas.

First lady of the US, setting health care reform back a decade by arrogantly taking on a cause she was not ready for and alienating the very people whose support she needed to build a coalition.

A US senator for six years.

The experience argument is a red herring. Barack has held elected office for longer than Hillary. He's gotten more accomplished in the Senate than she has. He's more electable and less divisive. But what do I know? I'm just another ignorant Barack supporter.

Barack the Vote.


Pug, I just want to say everyone has addressed your personal comment, no one, has looked into the Kazahstan deal....and Senator Clinton supporters speak about Senator Obama's supporters not wanting anyone to research his me understand why on the surface you have issues in the Senate around Kazahstan's human rights policies, while your husband in is Kazahstan brokering a deal that landed his Foundation 31.5mill and an additional 100m days later to wonder you can lend your campaign 5mill of your "own" money.


Shawn, Shawn, Shawn.

Um, I am not Hillary. I don't speak for her. I speak for myself. My comments aren't on behalf of her, but on behalf of myself. They're questions I have. They can't be attributed to her or her campaign, with whom I AM NOT ASSOCIATED. You seem confused about this.

I raised some concerns about Obama that might---or might not---be groundless. instead of getting mad at me for daring to raise them, ask yourself what the consequences will be if the Republicans raise them (and they will).

I am not a passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton. I wanted John Edwards. I haven't bought into Obama's campaign because I am waiting to see if he'll ever get specific on issues of concern to me or retract his ridiculous position on health care.

I don't see how you think lashing out at me is helping your candidate (?)

StoptheMadness, are you talking to me or to Hillary? SHE CAN'T HEAR YOU. I don't speak for her. I'm an Edwards supporter who at different times has leaned toward BOTH remaining candidates. I don't especially like or trust either one. But at least with Clinton I know what I'm dealing with.

I am raising the question of Obama's past because---HELLO???--- THE GOP WILL RAISE IT AS WELL.

Hillary's stuff is right out there.

When are Obama's supporters going to deal with the fact that they need to deal with the facts?

And how obnoxious are they going to be to anyone who dares to disagree? It's like Ron Paul's people, only angrier.


It's hopeless (heh). You can't reason with these people. They have their fingers in their ears going "lalalalala, I can't HEAR you!"

I posted a link to Salon TT, normally a place of reasoned discussion among Dems (with a few trolls).

You don't even want to know how it was received - but I'll bet you can guess.

If you ask why they are taking so much on faith, you're attacking the demigod. Meanwhile, Hillary supporters have to answer - and DO answer - the same questions over and over and over - what about her Iraq Vote? is the biggie. Cattle futures! Blue dress! There's gotta be SOMETHING sleazy about her years in the Senate!

I'm not saying there isn't potential dirt on Hillary. But unlike Obama supporters, I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT. Maybe it would change my mind. I'd have to look into it, at least.

These people don't have minds to change, or they're not using them. It's truly weirding me out.


Well, I've looked at the specifics of both candidates proposals, legislation records, and finance/influence concerns. I also looked at the Republican candidates. ALL of them have strong arguments and compelling points in both parties. Critics, supporters, the media--everyone lays claim to being level-headed. But, I just don't buy it.


The "lack of accomplishments" theme just doesn't hold up. Shawn has a good list, but it's hardly exhaustive; it doesn't mention, for example, that Obama expanded health care in Illinois, expanded the child chare credit, and helped improve welfare laws, or that he's worked to improve our readiness for an avian flu epidemic in the US Senate. Nor does it mention that some Harvard law professors have described him as one of the most brilliant students to come through in the last few decades, or that he improved housing conditions on the South Side as a community organizer and registered thousands of new voters.

Nor does he mention that he's done all of this despite growing up raised by a single mom, going to school on a scholarship, and fighting for everything he's ever earned.

By the way, you completely destroy your credibility when you quote Obama saying he "didn't know" whether or not he would have voted for the war. He was declining to criticize the Democratic nominees, Kerry and Edwards, who had voted for the war, and his very next sentence was, "What I know is, from my vantage point, the case was not made." In other words, he was actually re-stating his opposition to the war.

It seems that all the Clintons have to run on is the speculation that it's not inconceivable that Obama has done something wrong at some point. Especially in light of everything we already know about the Clintons, that's simply not enough to convince this voter.


Seriously, Seriously: I'm merely raising questions that other people have pointed out. I don't care all that much whether he or Hillary is the nominee. Both of them start and finish about equal with me. I feel more comfortable with her for now and I've said why.

Obama may well be the better candidate. But we won't know that till he's cleared up some of these questions. I PERSONALLY recognize that he's achieved some things or else he wouldn't be where he is. I just don't think most of his supporters---obviously you're an exception---know or care. That's not why they're supporting him. Ask around; you'll see I'm right.

I am asking one question: is he the right candidate NOW? I am open to persuasion.

And I'll say it again: why do all of you advocates for Obama find it necessary to insult me for raising these questions? Why can't you answer them without attacking me?

"You're too stupid to be an Obama supporter"---way to win friends for your candidate.


I'm an independent and I haven't decided whether I'll vote for McCain or Cli-bama. But as an outsider, it seems crazy to me that so many committed Democrats are supporting Clinton over Obama.

Let's be honest here. On most major policy issues, there's not an enormous difference. Both are going to get most combat troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible, repeal a lot of the Bush tax cuts... they have similar environmental plans, et cetera. Obama's health care plan is more conservative, sure, but in the end either a Clinton or Obama's push for health care is going to be dictated by what they can get out of congress.

And as Shawn laid out pretty clearly, the experience issue is a bit of a red herring. Obama has done quite a lot. I don't have any doubt that Hillary could be an effective administrator, but I believe the same of Obama.

Given how similar they are, the big difference is electability. Worries about skeletons in Obama's closet are pushing you toward Hillary? Good grief. That's like eating McDonald's because you've got concerns about how healthy the food at your local supermarket is.

Democrats are right to be concerned about Obama facing attack ads about various past actions. But we KNOW, with absolute certainty, that in the general election Hillary will be slammed for Whitewater, slammed for her old healthcare plan, and so on. It's not fair, but it's certainly true, and plenty of undecided voters (not including myself) will be swayed by these ads.

On top of these issues, Clinton simply rubs a lot of moderate Americans the wrong way. Is this unfair, and the result of years of attacks from the right? Sure, but it's the reality. Meanwhile, Obama has that undeniable Reagan/JFK charismatic aura about him. It matters.

From an electability standpoint, the only argument for Clinton is that she's polled better in Florida and Ohio, and this election will probably be won or lost in one or both of those states. Honestly, that's a pretty good argument for Hillary. But it doesn't overwhelm everything else I said, in my opinion.


You're confusing my argument for supporting Obama over Hillary with other, possibly quite common, criticisms of Hillary. I can't comment intelligently on the tactics Obama supporters have used, so I won't.

I'm not trying to convince you that you should like Obama more than Hillary. Personally, I like them about the same. That's probably because on my top two issues (protecting the environment and reducing the budget deficit) they are pretty much identical.

I acknowledge that they have different health care plans, although I expect that any health care plan either would manage to pass through congress would look awfully similar. But if you like Hillary's plan more, and that's a key issue for you, then yes, you have a perfectly good reason to like Hillary more.

I don't dispute that Hillary has good committee experience, and that she was the most politically involved first lady in history. I also think that Obama's experience is pretty solid, and moreover he's generally regarded as a brilliant person. To me, experience/competence is not a major issue between the two of them. But again, if you disagree, then you have another perfectly good reason to like Hillary more.

My argument basically breaks down like this:
1) I think a Clinton administration and an Obama administration would, in practice, be pretty similar.
2) I think Obama is much more likely to defeat McCain in the general election than Clinton is.
3) If you agree with points 1 and 2, then even if you prefer Clinton to Obama to McCain, you should hedge your bets and support Obama, unless your preference for Clinton over Obama is very large.

When I compare Obama to JFK and Reagan, I don't mean to imply anything about their politics or the nature of their administrations. I am referring to their charisma. Like it or not, the Republican attack machine has made Hillary Clinton damaged goods in the eyes of a lot of uncommitted voters. Obama has a shot at a lot of voters that I don't think Hillary does.

Will the PACs run attack ads against Obama in droves in the general election? Yes, of course they will. But barring major, major revelations that I haven't seen, nothing is going to make up the 16 year head start they have at throwing negativity towards Hillary.

Another advantage is purely tactical - Obama never voted for Iraq, so he has a much easier time making the election about whether we stay in Iraq. As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't care less that Clinton voted for Iraq or that she won't apologize for it. (What's she gonna do, build a time machine? Who cares.) But it makes for a damning soundbite, and it opens her up to the dreaded flipflopper attack. Again, it doesn't matter to me and it probably doesn't matter to you, but it may make a difference in the election.

Again, it's not a big deal to me, as I am fairly comfortable with all three surviving candidates. No matter what, I'm getting a better president than I had the last eight years. If Romney or Huckabee still had a chance, I would be screaming for Obama, though, because I consider them unacceptable.


Obama is an opportunity that can be missed. I heard him speak in rallies and reporters. WOW. Astounding abilities (as Bill Clinton put it).
Harold Varmus ( a most respected Nobel prize US scientist)endorsed Obama ( Doesn't that make you wonder why?


Yes. I wonder why.

If he gets the nomination, I'll get behind him. But that still doesn't address the questions I've raised. God himself could endorse Obama and I'd still want to understand more about him before I did.


Let me get this straight. People support Obama because they like him. And that's a bad thing?

Some voters don't study the voting history of their favorite candidate. This is news?

Then your specific criticisms. Basically, I see it as weak tea. For every vague aspersion you cast one way, I've heard 3 in the other direction (and not from Obama); until I hear some substance, I'll ignore both sides. If you want to make an argument, at least make an attempt to do some muckraking and dig it up, don't just stir up the mud and assume that something might be down there. And following your links, I just find more of the same. (Especially the Kenya thing, that really is a just a load of FUD, shame on you.)

Essentially, you are making a "devil we know" argument. On scandals, I have to agree with the MacDonalds analogy, though perhaps Obama is Wendy's. So what do we really know about Obama? His accomplishments, detailed by other posters; his ability to take a stand on principle, on the war (and, by the way, on cluster bombs); and his ability to move people, even people who don't really know him (coattails, anyone?). That's enough to get my vote. And vague aspersions about scandals, which could be thrown just as unfairly in the other direction, are not helping.


My "aspersions" are vague and are weak tea BECAUSE I don't know the facts. I am "stirring the mud" because these allegations are out there hanging around unanswered and unexplored in the media. My final point was that Obama's supporters not only don't know about these "aspersions"---which, incidentally, are not in any sense "mine"---they also don't WANT to know.

So far his supporters have managed to win on the "my candidate smells better" argument. This is because they don't really know a thing about Obama. This is blind partisanship, not a persuasive argument in his favor.

By all means, support the candidate you like. But if you want to convince me---and I would be happy to be convinced--- I need to hear about his specific qualifications. I need to hear why I should assume he will be a better commander in chief or make wiser, more politic decisions than Hillary.

The "disqualify dirty Hillary" arguments don't persuade. Neither does the "dirty Hillary"/pure Obama one. He's got his own past and his own mistakes, like everyone else in politics. But his supporters want to portray him as "the alternative to corruption" and Hillary as a person whose past is filled with mistakes, missteps, etc. If true, these would be arguments in his favor. I'm not persuaded---because nobody has squarely addressed some of the worrying aspects of Obama---that these arguments are true.

He's an unknown quantity. That's NOT a qualification for the highest office in the land. We should all demand that Obama account for himself and his past. But his supporters? DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

As for you and me and everyone who has responded angrily to this piece, we're on THE SAME SIDE.

We should all want to choose the candidate who would do the best job as president. That's got to do with a lot more than how much we like the person. In fact, whether we "like" him or her is the 'weak tea' part of the argument. The next president's job is going to be a hideous slog involving unpopular choices and damned if you do/damned if you don't decisions.

Is glamorous Obama up to the job? I think Hillary is. Is he?

I am charging Obama with hypocrisy---not the greatest sin in a political campaign, I grant you--- and his supporters with a form of selective blindness.

Two weeks ago I didn't see much to choose between them. Bill Clinton really pissed me off by his "negative campaigning" and this gave me negative feelings for Hillary But "negative feelings" shouldn't weigh much in comparison to experience (e.g., powerful Senate committees). I wanted Edwards; I subsequently went with the experienced candidate. despite my increasingly negative feelings. I felt very critical of Hillary's campaign and of Hillary herself for not reigning in Bill. It made her look weak.

Then Obama went negative---and his supporters started getting ugly anytime anyone said a word against him.

I suppose I always have a tendency to push back against people who strike me as too blindly partisan to be looking at the facts.

As to Obama himself, I like him. His speech Tuesday---aside from the mistaken allegations about Clinton---gave me chills. IIf--or WHEN--he gets the nomination, I'll jump in behind him and defend him from Mccain supporters with these words: "Keating Five." But it sickens me to see the bashing Hillary is getting from Democrats who support Obama. Someone who isn't under Obama's spell (yet) should speak up for her. That's what I have done.


Fact is Obama NEVER voted on the war. His vote was ABSENT an automatic no vote. He made speeches but when it came down to put your money or career on the line he stayed away. The question that no one is asking is where was Obama during one of the most important votes in senate history? I don't think that is an inappropriate question it is his job. I have yet to hear this question asked of him. I also can't understand how he gets credit for passing legislation all by himself. Everything Obama has done in his political career has been as much about him as anything else just like every politician. Right now he is running within his own party and he is holding his own. However you can bet the GOP will be out for blood and they WILL be asking these and other questions of him. I am afraid his spin campaign won't be able to stand up to the facts. When you get right down to it they will show he has benefitted either politicly or personally from every thing he has ever done just like everyone else. No better no worse. Remember HE is taking credit for a NO vote and for being right about it when he was not even there. All I am saying is he has some tough questions to answer before he gets my support.


Obama has been releasing his actual tax returns. Most politicians do not. They usually fill a vague form giving the range of income etc. Hillary has not released her returns. Clearly there is something to hide. This does not have to be illegal. We know that smoe of Bill's income is from financial dealings with the Gulf shiekhs which will not sound negative.
The point is that Obama so far is leading a transparent political life. Indeed his major income has been from his books which I personally admire. Hillary's personal income is also from books but Bill's business is a liability.

He is not taking credit for NO VOTE. He did give a clear speech agaisnt the war. Clintons claim that he then kept quiet and took it off his website as a political move to help Kerry and Edwards (who voted for the war). When in the senate, he voted for extra funds etc to the support the troops.


He was not absent. He was not yet in the Senate.


My 2 cents:
The American electorate is superficial. They tend to vote for the most charismatic candidate. They voted for Reagan twice, Bill Clinton twice and Bush twice. When Reagan was nominated, many Democrats mistakenly thought he would be perceived as a substanceless lightweight and would therefore be easy to beat. Remember how that turned out?

Obama is more charismatic than Hillary.
RCP poll averages show that Hillary loses most head-to-head polls against McCain, while Obama wins most. And, I predict he will have the same sort of Teflon-like quality as Reagan did. People like him. He's likeble.


I think Tim nailed it. A politician does not have to be a good economist, scientist, historian, scholar, philosopher etc. This true everywhere but more so in the U.S. I did not beleive that Bush could even come close to Gore.


You're so right. Look at George W. Bush. A politician can even turn out to be incompetent, unexpectedly venal, and corrupt, so long as voters "like" him.

We don't give a damn here in the US about credentials, experience, wisdom, or even intelligence. If we "like" the "charismatic" contender, we're content to take it all on trust, and cry like little babies when that "trust" is betrayed.

Though I wouldn't say---based on recent history---that that's a GOOD thing.

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