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January 25, 2008

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amen. very nicely done.

"It's like the tobacco companies' attempts to confuse people by coming up with research that seemed to show that smoking was harmless."

Better: It's like the Bush administration's attempts to confuse people by coming up with alternative intelligence assessments showing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was in cahoots with Al Qaeda, sought plutonium from Africa ... etc ... etc ...

Thanks for this wonderful work, Hilzoy.

My mood is gloomier and gloomier by the day.

But when candidates tell the kinds of lies that the Clintons have been telling, they place citizens in a position in which the only way to know what is going on is to become political junkies.

This is, too, is a favorite tactic of some right wing elements. Biologists know well of the Gish Gallop, where the creationist offender throws out so many lies and warped half truths that the scientist spends 10 times as much time debunking the truths, leaving them little time to present a positive case. This doesn't seem to be much of a difference here.

This is depressing.

thanks.

It has been truly depressing not only to see this strategy, & see it working, but to see how many people whom I thought saw politics a bit like I did? Actually don't. The whole "contempt for the electorate" v. "not" distinction doesn't seem to be particularly relevant to a lot of people.

For me the worst thing is the way that the Clintons have reawakened the racist element of the Democratic Party. It was always there, but at least it was heavily suppressed.

For me the worst thing is the way that the Clintons have reawakened the racist element of the Democratic Party. It was always there, but at least it was heavily suppressed.

The thing that amazes me is that they're perfectly willing to damage the party's long term future just to get a nomination that may be no better than a 50-50 shot at getting back to the White House. If there's one way to get black voters to forget and forgive the Republicans' shameful use of the Southern Strategy, it's to use it yourself, with an added dose of "you'll come back to me in November" contempt.

Well that's the big worry amongst the Republicans isn't it? That someone might be muscling in on the racist voters on which they have depended these 40 odd years.

Without the racist vote what do the Republicans have left?

Zilch.

No, they've still got the misogynist vote and the homophobic vote and the class vote.

"Well that's the big worry amongst the Republicans isn't it? That someone might be muscling in on the racist voters on which they have depended these 40 odd years.

Without the racist vote what do the Republicans have left?"

Huh? Are you arguing that the Clintons *should* be trying to appeal to racism first against Obama and later in the general election?

I will admit it is an interesting application of "Democrats have to do what Republicans do in order to win". But by 'interesting' I mean "in an appalling way".

Huh? Are you arguing that the Clintons *should* be trying to appeal to racism first against Obama and later in the general election?

I'm saying what I'm saying. I'm not saying what you're saying.


Without the racist vote what do the Republicans have left?

Zilch.

Denial - not just a river in Egypt.

No, they've still got the misogynist vote and the homophobic vote and the class vote.

Elevating the level of discourse as always, I see.

Right on, Hilzoy. We live in the midst of a corrupt and degraded political discourse...but none of us is compelled to do our part to keep it running. We have to respond to it, but we can choose to respond with something other than more of the same. As for citizens, so for candidates. Clinton wasn't forced to campaign this way, and should face proper punishment for it, starting with criticism for the tactics and scorn for the stupid justifications.

I'm certainly not the first to point this out, but it really reflects badly on her qualifications for office at this particular time. We've got a president who takes all disagreement as attacks to be crushed by any means possible, who rejects diplomacy as a thing losers do, and so on. A big part of the new president's job will be repairing the damage from all that - giving potential allies and partners reasons to think we're trustworthy again. It seems really unlikely to me that someone who campaigns this way can go on to govern effectively in the diametrically opposite style, and I don't want to gamble on it.

Denial - not just a river in Egypt.

When you look up denial in the dictionary, the text reads:

If there's one way to get black voters to forget and forgive the Republicans' shameful use of the Southern Strategy

Figure it out, son.

A big part of the new president's job will be repairing the damage from all that - giving potential allies and partners reasons to think we're trustworthy again. It seems really unlikely to me that someone who campaigns this way can go on to govern effectively in the diametrically opposite style, and I don't want to gamble on it.

Agreed. One of my strongest objections to Hillary is that she has a bit too much in common with Bush personality-wise for my taste.

Figure it out, son.

Don't get me wrong, now_what. I'm not arguing that blacks will (or should) start voting Republican in large numbers anytime soon, given that the Republicans still are largely a white party and Democratic policies are still more friendly to most black voters. Using race-baiting campaign tactics and taking their support for granted isn't going to help, though. If the Republicans get smart and make a total break from the racist elements of their past (something there is good evidence they're doing), I don't see any reason why the next generation of black voters, for whom the Civil Rights movement is something in a history book rather than something they lived through, would be inherently loyal to the Democratic party. I certainly wouldn't expect it to continue voting Democratic at 90%+ rates the way the Civil Rights generation has. All I'm saying is, if Democrats think they can treat black voters with impunity on the theory that they'll always be loyal nonetheless, they're in denial.

I'm not arguing that blacks will (or should) start voting Republican in large numbers anytime soon, given that the Republicans still are largely a white party

That's where your argument goes off into the weeds. It's not about color.

What really pisses me off is that, to me, Obama represents the end to this style of politics, and Billary has utilized all the scumbag Repub tactics to muddy the waters and drag us back down.

And it pisses me off that it seems so obvious and apparent in every word they say. They know they are squeezing every once of sentimentality out of every distorted representation. It's insulting upon insulting upon insulting.

To wit
:

“If [Barack Obama] wins this nomination, I’m going to do what I can to help him become president. After all the mean things they said about me, I can’t believe I’m saying this.”

Bill Clinton - January 23, 2008

Great article Hilzoy.

One point I disagree with you on is supporting Hillary in the general. Against some republicans I would support her, but against most, I don't think the effects of her election will be better in the long run.

(1) It will lock in this style of politics for both parties. It will be a prisoner's dilemma where neither side will risk cooperating. With our politics ruled by lies, we'll lose the most basic electoral check.

(2) Her election will reinvigorate the republican party. She's the only thing that can do this.

(3) Her election will lock in her sick cabal into power positions in the democratic party for another decade or two. Stare long and hard at Mark Penn's leering face. That will be the face of the democratic party if Hillary wins.

(4) Hillary is the least likely candidate to take a political chance in order to do what's right in Iraq (whether that means withdrawing or whatever else is tactically required to give the best chance for as many Iraqis to survive this as possible). Between the hatred she generates in republicans and her craven pursuit of power, she simply won't have the political flexibility to do anything but drag out the status quo.

The republican candidates are bad top to bottom, but many of them would be better able to actually make positive changes than Hillary. Presidents from weakened parties reach out for support (unless they're run by people who think they're on a mission from god).

I may well end up supporting Hillary in the general, but it depends entirely on who the republicans nominate.

Bruce said:

It seems really unlikely to me that someone who campaigns this way can go on to govern effectively in the diametrically opposite style, and I don't want to gamble on it.

I think it's almost certain that the Clintons' governing style will involve lying and cheating. However, in the best-case scenario, they will lie and cheat in pursuit of a progressive agenda.

But that's not what really appals my conscience. What appals my conscience is that progressives will make excuses for them.

On the upside, Jonah Goldberg's book should sell well. Just wait for the 2012 'Clintonian Fascism' edition!

However, in the best-case scenario, they will lie and cheat in pursuit of a progressive agenda.

I'm curious to know progressive reasoning for hoping for this. Bill accomplished a few things, but could any of them really be called progressive? As soon as the progressive reforms he did attempt (healthcare, gays in the military) failed, he pivoted and started stealing Republican ideas (welfare reform, DOMA). History suggests that the Clintons' primary allegiance is to the Clintons - not to progressivism.

With the stock market woes, if you’re looking for a good stock see who makes/sells popcorn. Many on the right are consuming large amounts as they kick back and watch this show.

As more and more Democrats/liberals/progressives express these thoughts on the Clintons there seems to be a lot of “Hey – welcome to 1992!”.

It seems more and more likely they will be the final two, and there will be a lot of pressure for the winner to choose the loser as VP. The only question remaining is if it will be a black/female ticket or a female/black ticket.

So the next act (and increase in popcorn sales) will be watching these two kiss and make up and have to start extolling each others virtues.

You think there’s lying going on now… ;)

It seems more and more likely they will be the final two, and there will be a lot of pressure for the winner to choose the loser as VP.

If Hillary wins the nomination, I could see her offering the VP slot to Obama - it'd be a good peace offering to the African-American community and might help her a bit with the wine track set. It makes at least tactical sense for Obama since it'd leave him in great position to run in 2016 assuming Hillary gets two terms - though it would undercut his whole persona of the above-the-fray outsider.

If Obama wins, though, what's the pressure on him to pick Hillary? She'll be old news, and adding her to the ticket would weaken the "candidacy of change" thing. Plus, she seems to want this so bad I have a VERY hard time seeing her swallowing her pride and settling for #2.

If either of them win, they'd do well to pick John Edwards, IMO...


Thanks for this wonderful work.

My mood is gloomier and gloomier by the day.

Thanks.

politicians are liars, and more often than not, lying works. obviously.

People who do that have no respect for voters, no respect for their right to make up their own minds, and no respect for our democratic system.

respect for voters? our 'democratic system' is broken. a candidate has to successfully appeal to voters only once, and then there's zero accountability (ex. Bush). there's nothing to lose by slatherin'-on the distortions and misrepresentations. lie lie lie and hope the press likes your tour bus better than the other guy's because if the press doesn't call you out on your lies, you're golden; and if you're really good, your lies will have made a new realty and left everybody else arguing about the way things used to be.

Bravo! Wouldn't change a word.

"I think it's almost certain that the Clintons' governing style will involve lying and cheating. However, in the best-case scenario, they will lie and cheat in pursuit of a progressive agenda."

Well, always assuming they're not lying about what agenda they're lying in order to advance...

But it also undermines democracy by placing intolerable burdens on citizens

I have an idea! Let's establish freedom of the press, so that there is a public institution dedicated to investigating and publishing the basic facts of the matter for others to read.

Then, I woke up...

If the Republicans get smart and make a total break from the racist elements of their past (something there is good evidence they're doing)

I think it's fair to say that there is good evidence that Republicans are beginning to figure out that a total break from their racist elements might be useful.

I don't really see a lot of good evidence that they're actually *doing* much about it. On the contrary.

Re: the Clinton campaign -- I think taking the low road is going to blow up in her face. The word that comes to mind is "unseemly".

I also think Bill is doing her no favors. She would be better off with him in the background quietly raising money.

Thanks -

I don't really see a lot of good evidence that they're actually *doing* much about it. On the contrary.

Well, I think they deserve some credit for appointing the highest-ranking minorities in U.S. history. They've still got a ways to go in terms of outreach to blacks. But the Tancredo wing aside, they've made a lot of inroads with the Hispanic community - Bush won a majority of the Hispanic vote in Texas, if I recall correctly.

"Let's establish freedom of the press, so that there is a public institution dedicated to investigating and publishing the basic facts of the matter for others to read."

Have you ever taken a gander at what passed for a 'press' at the time the 1st amendment was written and ratified? The founders had a rather less lofty goal: Just making sure the government couldn't silence opinions it didn't like. Press objectivity wasn't even a concept back then. (Of course, it's never been more than a concept, it was just easier to pretend they were objective back when they had a stronger lock on public discourse, and a more united front.)

"I think it's fair to say that there is good evidence that Republicans are beginning to figure out that a total break from their racist elements might be useful."

Cool, that puts them ahead of the Democrats, who still think you can promote racial quotas without being racist, if you define "racist" in just exactly the right way...

On a similar vein to this essay, I urge everyone to join my crusade against "voice" votes. The practice has no positive justification since electronic tally machines with keychain remotes were invented, it's only purposes are to allow legislators to lie about what they voted for, and to permit the leadership to 'pass' legislation by assembling only supporters in the chamber, at the cost of the constitutionally mandated quorum. The practice is today indefensible.

Great post.
World of politics. They are all dirty. People who own plenty of money and posses great power will win eventually.

Xeynon, the appointment of so many high-ranking minorities would be more impressive if any of them managed to be both honest and competent.

Well, I think they deserve some credit for appointing the highest-ranking minorities in U.S. history.

OK, I'll give them that.

They pursue voter registration initiatives that are, clearly, intended to make it harder for minorities to vote. Most likely nothing personal, just business. But still.

Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and Thompson took a pass on the Morgan State debate last September. Scheduling conflicts.

And, as you note, they do still provide the "Tancredo wing" with a home.

More importantly, IMO, the conservative answer for the problems facing minority communities seems to be "pull yourself up by your bootstraps". That's a worthy ethic as far as it goes, but it ignores real, historical, structural issues that make it, basically, about 10 times harder for people with dark skin to do so.

I don't really see Republican initiatives to address those. On the contrary, the standard conservative position seems to be that such initiatives are illegitimate.

Thanks -

Xeynon: Well, I think they deserve some credit for appointing the highest-ranking minorities in U.S. history.

I suppose George W. Bush is a minority of sorts...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I agree with hilzoy that, given the choice, Hillary is the one to support in the general (with my vote at least, at this moment I don't know that I could bring myself to volunteer or give money). But I'm under no illusions about what I'd be supporting. Hillary has become what we used to call a liberal Republican, back before that sub-species died out.

There's no question that she'll have a greater engagement with reality that would be a substantial improvement over any possible Republican opponent on its own. And there are positions on specific issues (e.g. abortion, gay rights) that are worth supporting. But her entire campaign is an object lesson in how hard entrenched interests will fight to prevent real change. She's the true candidate of "false hopes". She'll get SCHIP expanded, but she's not even trying to build the political coalition required for health care reform (and I'm not convinced she'll care outside of a primary race where supporting reform is a political necessity rather than a political risk). And I don't even have words for how depressing I expect her Middle East policy to be. At least my expectations are so low that I might be pleasantly surprised.

I've been disappointed in Democratic nomination fights before. My first choices over the past 20 years are certainly the wonky, wine-track All-Stars (Dukakis, Tsongas, Bradley, Dean, Edwards, ...). But at the end of the day I've always been able to pick myself up find some positive good in the winner to vote for. And I'm willing to admit my mistakes: choosing Bradley over Gore was short-sighted failure of judgment (it breaks my heart that Gore isn't running - ever again, it appears).

This time is different. Should Hillary win the nomination it will be the first time I'm voting for the lesser of two evils rater than someone I believe has good to offer the country. And should she win the presidency I'd be hoping for a primary challenger to support in 2012. I don't know what to do with that.

The Clintons' pollution of the campaign leads me to suspect that they know more about where this is going than we do, and they are desperate to alter its course.

Another, related observation. Obama and Clinton are extremely well spoken. The clarity of their presentations has itself highlighted the mendacity of the Clinton campaign. And, it occurs to me that this creates a problem for the Clintons. In past Presidential campaigns, once the mud started flying it became impossible to sort through the mess, and the public just tolerated the condition until the election. Bush/Gore; Bush/Kerry - once the two campaigns started shaving the corners off the facts, the dialogue became incomprehensible, and everyone just tuned the prinipcals out.

Not so here. I think the precision that Obama and the Clintons bring to their words highlight the Clintons' mendacity. (I also hoe that is the case.) IOW, they won't get away with this. Say anything; change nothing.

Thank you for sorting through this issue.

Xeynon, the appointment of so many high-ranking minorities would be more impressive if any of them managed to be both honest and competent.

Well, I think that's a bit hard on Powell, and to a lesser extent Rice, but yes, the Alberto Gonzaleses of the world hardly deserve to be praised for anything other than setting a good precedent.

don't really see Republican initiatives to address those.

How about 1.)lower taxes and deregulation to lure businesses back to the inner cities and create job opportunities for minorities, 2.)more effective crime prevention in inner city neighborhoods? Both of these have been pushed by municipal level Republican governments in various places. Because there aren't national initiatives doesn't mean initiatives don't exist, but I agree, I'd like to see the Republicans do a bit more on the national level.

On the contrary, the standard conservative position seems to be that such initiatives are illegitimate.

Well, insofar as there is a "standard conservative position" on any given issue.. A lot of objection to such initiatives is, I think, rooted in big government skepticism rather than racism. I agree with you that there are still structural hurdles facing minorities which need to be addressed, though.

What we are seeing is evidence of the VCWC (vast Clinton wing conspiracy). IMO the Republican party (specially with this administration) had become the party of the ends justify the means.

It appears Clinton has taken on that philosophy. And like others above, it makes me worry about how they would govern. Yes, by they I mean both Clintons in tandem.

Although I do think she would roll back some of the more egregious excesses of the Bush administration, i.e. torture, I can see her willing to keep some of the executive powers that Bush has assumed. And it doesn't matter if she uses them for good or evil, they are powers that no President should have.

One thing about the Obama Iraq quote form above. I wish, when Bill had talked about it that Obama had come back and pointed out that basically he had the same info Senator Clinton had since she admitted not reading the NIE. And challenging her on being willing to send Americans to war without making sure she had all the information available.

It is not just her yes vote that bothers me, it is that she admits making that critical a vote without taking the time to get as many pertinent facts as possible. And she has yet to say that her vote and invading Iraq at all was wrong.

The obvious side point is that if we had a functioning press corps, they would be calling her out on truth-challenged statements, and holding her feet to the fire...instead of sitting at their lunch table smirking and going "Ooooh...good one....!!!"

The Republicans caught on years ago that they could say anything and the media would report "The Republicans today said X. Democrats disagreed. Now here's Pat Buchanan for the right and some apologist for the left..."

The Clintons are playing the same game, and it's stupid and sad. I refuse to believe we're locked into either Clinton or Obama (who's not all that he's been built up to be) yet. I continue to believe that the convention will be open and Edwards still has a small chance, or even a draft Gore movement.

If the convention is open, there will be no narrative to fall back on. There was an open convention in 1960, and in 1968 (when one of the leading candidates was assassinated), but not really since then. Nobody knows what will happen if (and when?) a bunch of delegates take the first few votes and find themselves deadlocked.

Really, suppose you're on the fifth ballot, and neither Obama nor Clinton is getting enough votes. The Obama people will not want to switch to Clinton, I daresay, and the Clinton people will probably not want to switch to Obama. Something will have to give....

Well, I think that's a bit hard on Powell, and to a lesser extent Rice

Powell didn't resign over the US's aggressive war on Iraq, when he knew that Iraq was no threat to the US. (Nor did anyone else, mind you, but Powell's I think the only one who'd gone on record, only a year or two earlier, as saying that Iraq was no threat.)

Rice lied to the 9/11 Commission. Not that she was unique there, either.

They're high-ranking members of the Bush administration, therefore we do not expect them to be either honest or competent: it is a bit unfair to pick them out as examples of dishonesty and incompetence when there are so many so much worse.

Gonzales, on the other hand, I would say is perfectly competent at what he does: he sat there and went "don't remember" to all questions to which honest answers would have incriminated both himself and his clients. A competent defense lawyer - even a brilliant one! Of course, I do believe the Attorney General was once supposed to be a bit more than the President's defending attorney, but who can keep track of these hoary old traditions?

Jes, I think the word you want in the last sentence is "quaint".

The founders had a rather less lofty goal: Just making sure the government couldn't silence opinions it didn't like. Press objectivity wasn't even a concept back then.

Yes, I agree. And although it's a concept now, it's not much of a reality. That's kind of where I was going with my comment, sorry if that wasn't clear.

Cool, that puts them ahead of the Democrats, who still think you can promote racial quotas without being racist

In my mind, I'm imagining the 4,028 posts that will go back and forth arguing about whether affirmative action is, or is not, racist.

Now, using my amazing yogic powers, I'm dissolving the heavy karmic weight of those posts, and making them disappear into the ether with a mighty blast of pure light consciousness.

Poof!

Now we don't have to have this argument again. No more trips around and around the same wheel. Doesn't that feel better?

Brett, your position on affirmative action is, with respect, noted and acknowledged.

Both of these have been pushed by municipal level Republican governments in various places

That's great. Both sound like constructive initiatives.

A lot of objection to such initiatives is, I think, rooted in big government skepticism rather than racism

I'm sure that is so. It does, however, yield the same effective result.

To my mind, that is placing an ideological stance above what really ought to be seen as a legitimate function of government.

The bottom line, to me, is that the US is still a pretty tough place to have dark skin, and there's a lot that can be done at a policy level to make that less so.

Thanks -

.....Oh....and Bill Clinton now looks a lot like W.C. Fields with the potato nose and all...Godfrey Daniels!

yurt: "many of them would be better able to actually make positive changes than Hillary."

Able, perhaps, but which of them do you think would be willing to?

We have desperately needed, for quite a while, someone who had some clue about economics, foreign policy, and the Constitution. I'm not asking for massive expertise, though that would be nice; just a clue. Republicans have had a clue before. (I think Dole did.) But none of the ones running this time seem to. Clinton does. For me, that's what will matter if she is nominated.

As I said, I don't have to just accept that she will be, though. Not when there's an alternative we might yet choose.

Shorter Hilzoy:

Barack Obama does not have to held accountabe for his words or for his record.


"I'm dissolving the heavy karmic weight of those posts, and making them disappear into the ether with a mighty blast of pure light consciousness."

Kucinich should have tried this at the debates.

ken, what took you so long?

At least this time you are not denying that the Clintons are lying about what Obama really said. I guess that is some progress.

To my mind, that is placing an ideological stance above what really ought to be seen as a legitimate function of government.

Well, whether it's a legitimate function of government is the big question. Personally I think it's difficult to legislate prejudice out of existence, so I'm not convinced the government should try.

The bottom line, to me, is that the US is still a pretty tough place to have dark skin, and there's a lot that can be done at a policy level to make that less so.

I'd argue that it's one of the easiest places in the world to be a minority on the whole, given that citizenship is guaranteed by native birth, civil rights violations are in general zealously prosecuted, anything even approaching outright racism is considered unacceptable by cultural consensus, advocacy for minority rights is strong, immigration quotas are high, and many academic and government organizations practice affirmative action. The only first world countries which are in the same class as far as minority rights (and not in all cases) are the UK and the former commonwealth nations.

In mainland Europe citizenship laws which are much stricter than the U.S.' and have a racist tinge ("French, German, etc. blood") disenfranchise dark-skinned people who've in some cases lived in their country of residence for generations - we may bemoan the relative shortage of minorities in government and other positions of power, but in Europe the number is between few and none in most countries. Anti-immigrant sentiment against various groups (Algerians in France, Turks in Germany, Albanians in Italy, north Africans in the Netherlands, etc.) is just as fierce as in the U.S., and in some cases fiercer - consider that Tom Tancredo is a fringe figure in American politics whereas equivalently anti-immigrant politicians like Le Pen or Pim Fortuyn actually have national clout in Europe. We're dealing with the ugly legacies of slavery, which ended 140 years ago, and Jim Crow, which ended 40 years ago, and which, while abhorrent, pales in comparison to the racially motivated GENOCIDE which took place in Europe only 60 years ago.

In Asia, Japan only recently rescinded literal second-class citizenship for zainichi Kankokujin (Japanese citizens of Korean descent), and Korea doesn't allow ANYBODY not of Korean blood to obtain citizenship. China and Russia literally have to deploy armies to maintain the peace in minority-dominated regions.

Let's not even discuss the developing world...

By no means is the U.S. perfect on the question of ethnic minorities. It is, in my opinion, far better than almost any other society in the world on that score, however. And I say that as someone who's got a lot of beefs with American culture and society.

Too self-congratulatory, Xeynon, I think. We're really really crappy on class & we haven't broken the correlation between race & class.

"I will support Clinton if nominated, because I think that all the Republicans would be vastly worse. (Lies in campaigns versus selling out habeas corpus, or a hundred years in Iraq, or remaking the Constitution according to Biblical principles? Not a close call, for me.)"

I respect this stance. I do not, however, share it. If the Democratic candidate gains the nomination by such tactics OR uses them against the Republican nominee in the actual election, I will find a third-party candidate and send local and national Democrats a letter telling them why they've lost my support.

I agree that the Republican platform is horrifying. But I believe it got that way because the Republican electorate has grown to accept the tactics you dissected so eloquently. Once people care more about victory than reality, it becomes easy to sell them on the plausibility of convenient threats and easy solutions, and it becomes almost impossible to hold anyone accountable for results. I think the Republicans reached their current nadir by constantly saying "I don't like the lying and corruption, but I like tax-and-spend, pro-abortion, God-hating, anti-military Dems even less." Which makes sense superficially, but look at what they've actually been getting in return.

I don't think four more years of a Republican executive will be a good thing, but I don't think they'll manage to institute a true dictatorship or revoke any of the nicer Amendments in that period of time either. I also don't trust an anti-democratic, selfishly mendacious organization to only use its evil tactics in pursuit of good, progressive goals.

America has no real conservative party right now. It has a corrupt, destructively selfish and short-sighted group with a proven ability to win by lying to the uninformed middle and taking the party loyalists for granted. The Democrats have been moving in that direction for a while, seeing the success the opposition has had. I believe that movement is a slower but much greater existential threat to our freedom and democracy than even the most deranged Republican president could manage to be.

Great article as usual, Hilzoy.

The New York Times endorsed Hillary today. Very depressing to me that it seems more and more likely that Hillary will get the nomination and I will once again be forced to choose between the evil of two lessers.

And if Hillary wins we can look forward to at least 4 years of divisive and cynical politics. It will be exactly what the Republicans would hope for. Issues won't matter. Investigating the Clintons will be back in fashion.

This country depressing me so much.

Raka--I kind of see where you're coming from, but I think that losing presidential elections to the GOP just reinforces all the Democratic pathologies that you worry about. Progressives' demands for change in the party are most effective when people notice that we've WON the election & we're still getting ignored or sold out by our nominal leaders.

Too self-congratulatory, Xeynon, I think.

I'm not congratulating - merely offering my opinion. As I said, I've got mixed feelings about America, on a lot of scores. I have lived abroad for five years and traveled quite a bit, though, and I'd say I've encountered more (and more overt) racism in pretty much every other country I've visited, with the exception of Canada. Leaving aside all the concrete differences I listed...

We're really really crappy on class & we haven't broken the correlation between race & class.

There are some class issues, yes, though I think the extent to which the U.S. is worse than other nations on that score tends to be exaggerated. Also, there are a lot of poor white people in Appalachia who wouldn't understand how class divides are necessarily a racial issue.

The correlation between race and class is an ongoing problem, but:

1.)The correlation has weakened significantly over the past 40 years - there are a LOT more middle and upper class blacks and Hispanics than there used to be, even if they're still underrepresented.

2.)I think the continuing disparity is less and less due to continuing racism as opposed to the vestigial effects of racism - blacks and Hispanics started out at a lower point 40 years ago and would have had to move up faster than whites to have leveled the field by now - a tall order.

Is there still racism in American society? Yeah, no question. The country still has a ways to go in some ways. And even as old forms (anti-black) die out, new forms (anti-Mexican, anti-Arab) rise up to take their place. No society will ever be free of prejudice - it's part of human nature. As I said, though, I think the U.S. is a lot better than most on this score.

Well, whether it's a legitimate function of government is the big question.

Yes, exactly right. I'm a big lefty, so I think it is. No apologies.

I'll support folks who think like me. You can support folks who think however it is that you think. Whoever comes out on top gets to set the policy.

citizenship is guaranteed by native birth, civil rights violations are in general zealously prosecuted, anything even approaching outright racism is considered unacceptable by cultural consensus, advocacy for minority rights is strong, immigration quotas are high, and many academic and government organizations practice affirmative action

Great. Obviously the problem has been solved.

blacks and Hispanics started out at a lower point 40 years ago and would have had to move up faster than whites to have leveled the field by now - a tall order.

Your time frame's off a bit, but basically, I think we've just arrived at the "Aha" moment.

Thanks -

I don't think four more years of a Republican executive will be a good thing, but I don't think they'll manage to institute a true dictatorship or revoke any of the nicer Amendments in that period of time either.

I agree that there won't be a literal dictatorship, but they'll take us significantly further along that path, especially with a few more Supreme Court appointments, and with every year the electoral process will be tilted further and further against the Democrats. I'm not buying the "It has to get worse before it gets better" argument, and I don't want to live through that "worse" if I can help it.

And I think the probability of a new disastrous war and turning more and more of the rest of the world into our enemies is *much* higher if a Republican wins the presidency. That's a huge consideration.

John Miller, you got me wrong.

What I am saying is that Hilzoy is wrong about the Clinton campaign.

But there is no use arguing with her about it. She is way too self rightous to be swayed by anything as mundane as facts.

I said nothing about the Clinton campaign. But since you brought it up, I will say that everything that the Clintons have said is backed up by facts.

If I were to use the same stardards as Hilzoy uses I would say that there can be no doubt that Hilzoy is intentially lying and misrepresting the Clinton campaign. But I don't think her standards, to the extent I can decipher them, are reasonable. They seem to be personal to Hilzoy, strongly held, and selectivly applied. So my using her own standards against her would seem unfair, in my opinion. I think standard we use to judge peoples truthfulness should be reasonable enough to be useful and should be applied evenly.

Outstanding post. In a very short time this has become one of my favorite blogs--even if, as others have pointed out here, the conclusion is profoundly depressing to those of us who wish for a progressivism of both reliable substance and admirable style.

Those adjective are necessary because, as many have pointed out, there isn't a great deal of daylight between Obama and Clinton in terms of the policies they've proposed and the priorities they've suggested they would emphasize. So character counts; leadership style counts; transformative potential counts.

hilzoy has it exactly right that the Clintons' tactical approach is geared toward the non-obsessive voter. They assume, almost certainly with justification, that the average Dem primary voter has vague warm feelings toward the Clintons based on the '90s, but might be drawn to Obama's idealistic appeal and powerful life story. So they distort on small points, exercising the powerful media megaphone of an ex-president and their legendary message discipline, and instill just enough doubt that the relatively low-information voter goes with Old Reliable.

This approach, combined with Hillary Clinton's secrecy, self-righteousness and demonstrated bad judgment, renders it impossible for me to give her my vote. Then again, I'm a New Yorker, and my vote doesn't matter anyway.

Were I a resident of a state like Ohio or Florida, I'd like to think I would suck it up as hilzoy suggests she will. Repellent as Clinton is, she would command a vast governmental apparatus and, probably, staff it mostly with good people. And then there's the Supreme Court, of course. Securing the judiciary against the right-wing assault is worth putting up with a great deal indeed.

Let's see. Hilzoy's standards: Look into whether a statement matches reality; if so, it's true. Ken's standards: If a statement reflects badly on Obama, it must be true. I know which I consider reasonable.

Interesting first-hand report from Jim Addison at Wizbang on a Bill Clinton event he attended yesterday. Short version – Bill’s still got it.

So they distort on small points ...
Painting Obama as anti-choice is not a small point for lots of people.

Oh great. Ken is hear to spin the argument.

Hilzoy provides a detailed essay supporting her points with actual links to prove her points.

Ken's piercing rebuttal? "Hilzoy is wrong!"

Honestly, who can argue with that logic?

Whenever candidate A says something about candidate B's record, I assume it's a lie until I can verify it myself. (Likewise with candidate B's defense, of course.)

Do you honestly think that the Clintons' distortions are anything new?

Mike,

That is a good point. That is also why I generally dislike candidates that focus on their opponents rather than themselves.

We have desperately needed, for quite a while, someone who had some clue about economics, foreign policy, and the Constitution

Chris Dodd.

Oh well.

the wonky, wine-track All-Stars (Dukakis, Tsongas, Bradley, Dean, Edwards, ...).

I'm not sure exactly what "wine-track" means, but it's hard for me to fit a reasonable interpretation of that phrase around either Dean or Tsongas.

Tsongas was from Lowell, for crying out loud.

But there is no use arguing with her about it. She is way too self rightous to be swayed by anything as mundane as facts.

When I look at this thread, I see that hilzoy presented five -- count'em, five -- specific, concrete examples of what she claims are lies made by the Clinton campaign about Obama. Her examples are backed up by extensive cites and other documentation.

When I look at this thread, I see that you have presented zero -- count'em, zero -- similar demonstrations of how hilzoy has lied.

Advantage, hilzoy.

Plus, not for nothing, but this is a statement that is unlikely to get any traction whatsoever with anyone who is familiar with hilzoy or her work, here or elsewhere:

She is way too self rightous to be swayed by anything as mundane as facts.

As far as I'm concerned, you need to bring your game up a notch, or go home.

Thanks -

"wine track" means "educated voters aren't real Americans or real Democrats", russell. Because, you know, exploiting divides between the students & the workers works GREAT for progressives.

with the exception of Canada.

YEAH! SUCK ON THAT, YANKEES!

Mike S: "Do you honestly think that the Clintons' distortions are anything new?"

Well, no, but I don't see any reason why I shouldn't still be outraged.

Just to throw 2 cents in, re: nose-holding/Clinton-voting.

I'm a strong pro-Obama partisan, and a life-long lefty (don't get me started on my substantive policy differences with Pres. Clinton's legacy). Loved Kucinich, Dodd, Gravel (and, in his way, Nader), but, let's face it, they've always been fringe candidates. Obama's the first candidate in my lifetime that's demonstrably liberal and actually electable (okay, okay; Edwards too, but that's another argument). Hillary Clinton's my Senator, and I strongly disagree with much of her voting record. Plus, I despise the Clintons' political tactics.

However, despite all of this, I will unquestionably vote for Clinton against any Republican candidate whatsoever (even if, oh, say Hagel or Chafee, or whoever ran). I would vote for a dead rat against any Republican. Seven words:

The Supreme Court of the United States.

Those folk are old, people. Stevens is, what, 147 years old or something, right? And Souter desperately wants to retire and die in peace (you can see it in his eyes, poor guy).

Yeah, I didn't like Bill Clinton's presidency. But we have Justice Ginsburg. I'm willing to accept that trade-off.

flyerhawk: "The New York Times endorsed Hillary today"

Yes, everything they said was spot on.

They rejected Obama because he isn't ready for prime time, and recommend Clinton because she is:


The sense of possibility, of a generational shift, rouses Mr. Obama's audiences and not just through rhetorical flourishes. He shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship. We hunger for that, too. But we need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern.

The potential upside of a great Obama presidency is enticing, but this country faces huge problems, and will no doubt be facing more that we can't foresee. The next president needs to start immediately on challenges that will require concrete solutions, resolve, and the ability to make government work. Mrs. Clinton is more qualified, right now, to be president.


Oh, yes. I don't trust Clinton much at all on my issues, but they're issues where the judiciary matters a great deal, & her appointees would help an awful lot. It's not just the Supreme Court either. You think the primaries are depressing? Try going before the D.C. Circuit yet again on detainee issues, knowing that if you don't manage to draw a highly disproportionate # of Democratic appointees on your panel, you're basically f*cked. I've never trusted the Clintons & this month I can't stand them, but I couldn't stand John Kerry at this point in 2004.

I find this tact that you and Publius have taken in which you are offended and outrage that politician like to win elections baffling.

Yes, its awful. Yes it shouldn't exist. But then neither should poverty, war, and famine. Railing against its existence and suggesting what the alternative is are two different things.

Now I imagine, you'd argue that Obama is the alternative but that merely reinforces the argument against him. Because if it takes lies and distortions (which it probably will) to pass environmental legislation and health care (so for example monkeying with the numbers to minimize the cost to consumers) then I want the Democratic president to lie and distort.

If you are arguing that not only Obama shouldn't lie to get that done but wouldn't, while Hillary would then I think you have just made an extremely compelling case for Hillary's presidency.

I suppose you could argue that Obama will create such an up swell of popular democratic support that politicians will be forced to go along with his legislation making lies unnecessary. But I find that extremely unlikely, those are very, very rare exceptions to the rule. And its not the kind of gamble I'd be willing to make.

lie not like...oui.

Jay,

When I read their endorsement and they acted as if they were an opponent of the invasion I realized exactly what was going on here.

Hillary represents a continuation of the current foreign policy dogma, which should not be confused with the Bush Doctrine. She offers no real solutions for Iraq but since she won't commit to anything other than vague promises she represents a continuation of current foreign policy. Great.

The Times seems to believe that Hillary will be able to enact changes when, in truth, her election will almost guarantee that Washington will grind to a halt AGAIN.

I don't need a President that understands the minutiae of policy details. The President has 5000 people that work for him that are responsible for working on the details.

The President needs to sell his or her message. THAT is, by far, the most important task of a President.

The moment a new President sits down in the Oval Office everything changes. And while people seem to think that Hillary understands this because her husband did it, I reject that notion. She did NOT walk into the SitRoom. She was NOT advised by 4 star generals on what we should do.

FDR didn't give a crap about policies. He would have implemented ANY policy that he thought would work and he left it to people that spent a great deal of time working on policy to come up with the great ideas. What he DID care about was convincing the American people that his policy prescriptions were the right solutions.

Who are the Republicans that Hillary will get on board? Who are the conservative Democrats that Hillary will get on board. How will Hillary get the military brass, which is extremely hostile to the Clintons, to toe the line?

Qualifications don't mean squat to me. HW Bush was qualified. Nixon was qualified. Taft was qualified. If you want qualified vote for McCain.

Why are we so afraid of trying to change the agenda of this country? Why must we continue to vote for the same candidate(Bill, 2000 Gore, Kerr, Hillary)?

yurt: "many of them would be better able to actually make positive changes than Hillary."

hilzoy: "Able, perhaps, but which of them do you think would be willing to?"

Honestly, none of them. There are some I would take as more willing on particular issues, but none across the board.

However, while I think she might be more willing, I think she'll be less able to accomplish what absolutely must be done. With Hillary as president, congressional republicans will completely unite to stop anything she supports, just because she supports it. For them it's a political necessity. Any of them who work with her will have successful primary challenges the next election. (and I'd bet that, if she's the nominee, they will have taken back at least one house)

More, I view taking serious action on these problems as partly a matter of building a new base of public support for that. Once again, I view Hillary as simply incapable of bridging those public divides.

Some (not all, as I said this will depend on who the republicans put up) of the republicans would aim lower, but accomplish more on these critical issues.

Combined with the damage I think her election would do to the future of the electoral process in this country and particularly to the future of the democratic party, it at least leaves me unwilling to commit to supporting her without knowing what the options are.

Sorry, I garbled my point at the beginning. Let me try again:

While I think she might be more willing to make changes, I think at the end of the day she'll actually accomplish less. In some ways, I think she'll do more harm than good due to her ability to lock in opposition on issues where there should be none.

Russell, if you would click on the link Hilzoy supplied regarding the 'e-mail' story you would see for yourself that Hilzoy can be accused of using distortion and deceit. She even gives you the evidence herself.

As I see it, if you were to apply Hilzoy standards to this you would be fully justified to say that there can be no doubt that Hilzoy is intentionally lying.

But the Hilzoy standards are not reasonable standards so I would ask you not to go there.

It's possible for morally questionable means to serve one set of ends better than another!!!!! Jesus F. Christ, liberals are supposed to understand this. For instance: killing civilians works serves Al Qaeda's strategic interests but it DOESN'T serve the strategic interests of the United States. Not that lying about your opponent during an election is an equivalent, at all, but, in general: bad means serve bad ends better than they serve good ends. If you support policies that are bad for the majority of the U.S. electorate, it's in your interest for the electorate to believe false things & assume that they can't trust any politician. But if you don't? It's NOT.

Liberal advocacy groups face this dilemma all the time, & the good ones have correctly concluded: in the short term, lying might work; in the long term, credibility matters.

But the Hilzoy standards are not reasonable standards so I would ask you not to go there.

Yes, about 99% of the people of the world can't meet them, so I can see why you're reluctant to go there.

Please. No innuendo. If you're going to accuse hilzoy of deceit and deception, lay it out clearly and boldly.

Ken, you need to either be quiet, go away or change your attitude. Currently you are adding nothing to the discussion, and are subtracting significantly from it. If you're going to attack someone for deceit and dishonesty, at least TRY to explain slightly. Telling us to read the link does nothing. Please explain what you are referring to when you accuse others of deception.

Mike S: "Do you honestly think that the Clintons' distortions are anything new?"

Hilzoy:
Well, no, but I don't see any reason why I shouldn't still be outraged.

Because that's how the game is played these days. It's like watching a basketball game and being outraged every time someone isn't called for traveling.

From the WaPo article you linked:

"Norelli, the [NH] House Speaker, said she had been aware of the Planned Parenthood defense of Obama's Illinois record at the time she signed the critical e-mail but was comfortable with the letter's attack against Obama nonetheless, noting the concerns of the Illinois NOW chapter had raised about the votes. "I would say that the record is clear that he voted 'present' seven times. Planned Parenthood, some of the time at least, says it was part of a deal. Well, NOW says that in 2004, they chose not to endorse Sen. Obama" because of the votes, Norelli said."

That seems different from what you've described as an obvious attempt to twist the truth. Did NOW choose not to endorse Obama in 2004 or not? Were all 7 of those "present" votes part of a deal with Planned Parenthood?

It feels as if the charges leveled against HRC often boil down to the same thing: she cynically gives the voters selective information designed to fool them.

And yet when I follow the charges all the way back to see exactly what she selected and how it was designed to fool the voter, I land on information that wasn't given to me. (NOW declined to endorse Obama in 2004, e.g.) Does this prove the writer is a ruthless liar? Not to me.

The whole exercise starts to feel pointless, and I'm back where I started. One of these people is going to be our candidate; all of them are qualified and competent. I'm voting for whoever wins with complete enthusiasm.

Ken, you need to either be quiet, go away or change your attitude. Currently you are adding nothing to the discussion, and are subtracting significantly from it. If you're going to attack someone for deceit and dishonesty, at least TRY to explain slightly. Telling us to read the link does nothing. Please explain what you are referring to when you accuse others of deception.

It just seems a very Rove-esque kind of tactic to muddy the waters, throwing up indirect accusations, hoping something will stick. Standard political tactic these days...

"Because that's how the game is played these days. It's like watching a basketball game and being outraged every time someone isn't called for traveling."

It's not a game, & citizens aren't supposed to be passive spectators.

Anybody interested in hearing the other side of these arguments should check out TalkLeft, as I've urged before, or TheLeftCoaster, e.g. here or here or here . The former presents a balanced view of the strengths and failings of both candidates (something I've repeatedly argued is plainly lacking here), the latter is pro-Clinton. Catch you again after the dust settles.

TalkLeft is absolutely not neutral. I'm not even finding them trustworthy; mileage may vary on that.

There are lots of objections to the whole "must get worse before it gets better" line of thinking, but the one that matters to me most these days is that it's a young person's argument. My father died in 2006 in his late 70s; Mom's in her late 70s now. They came through the Great Depression, World War II, and all the rest, and worked very hard indeed to be good citizens as well as good parents. I simply don't think anyone's entitled to tell Mom that now, at the tail end of her long and often hard life, that it's her responsibility to die without prospect of seeing some of the country she loves restored, for the convenience of elections eight or twelve or twenty years from now. Dad deserved a better world to pass away in than the one he got, where cowardly bullies had the gall to claim that they were, among other things, honoring the sacrifices men like him had made in earlier wars and where his own government was doing exactly the things given as justification for war in his instructional manuals from World War II. (I don't exaggerate. I need to get those scanned and uploaded sometime.) Mom deserves better than that now.

And so do all the other mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, of every age. Demanding that they all wait for the sake of a possible future is...well, I might buy it from someone who accurately predicted this year's state of affairs in 1998. But true prophets seem in about as short supply as ever, and I'm not going to surrender my family's hopes for a better America to someone's guess that isn't backed up by a very good record of prognostication. Letting things get worse is a luxury for those who have long years ahead of them. But those who don't are just as real and important.

flyerhawk, FWIW your paragraphs 4-9 are the best short-form argument for Obama that I recall seeing. I'm not convinced that Obama's "bipartisan persuasion" strategy is preferable to Edwards' "aggressive populism" strategy in terms of actually managing the changes* ahead, but that position was very nicely put and I hope I can borrow it for devil's advocacy purposes.

(*I also think that the whole "platform of change" business is just so much shiny mind candy on everybody's part. Dramatic geostrategic, socioeconomic and environmental changes are all looming whether anybody wants any of them or not. The issue in my mind is how the next president is going to guide/manage/mitigate those changes to make them less destructive and more creative.)

What Clinton is doing undercuts the long-term survival of the Democratic party in a really dangerous way. Over the past 15-20 years, the Republicans have performed the amazing feat of getting a large proportion of working-class Americans to vote against their own interests. They have done this by telling outrageous lies and dangling "bogeymen" which they associate with the Democrats (e.g. gay marriage, "Democrats hate the troops").

To survive as a viable party, the Democrats have to do two things: educate many more voters about the actual consequences of Republican policies, and also create an atmosphere of accountability where campaigns that use outrageous lies pay a price.

This includes encouraging the media to do more fact checking- all too often, they simply report conflicting claims when they could easily determine what is actually true. It also means pushing back immediately when the other side lies- I will never understand why the Kerry campaign didn't do that.

Using Republican tactics, against them or in Democratic primaries, may lead to short term gain, but in the long run will create a permanent Republican majority. Republicans do that kind of stuff better than Democrats, and they have talk radio and Fox news.

ken: "you would see for yourself that Hilzoy can be accused of using distortion and deceit."

I hate to police accusations against myself, but: if you're going to accuse me of deception -- not just being wrong, but deception -- then please tell us what your grounds are. Not just "click the link", but what claim I made that you take to be false, and what your reasons are for thinking that I am not just wrong, but actually lying. Otherwise, feel free to go on in nonspecific ways about why I'm wrong, but don't call me a liar.

To be clear: I thought that the emails themselves were deceptive -- i.e., intended to deceive pro-choice voters about Obama's commitment to choice. I did not claim that withholding that information from the people who signed the emails was necessarily deceptive. Not particularly nice, but not necessarily deceptive either. (That would depend on how the Clinton campaign represented Obama's record to the signatories, which isn't made clear enough in the article, imho.) -- I mean, it's not as though grown men and women ought not to check things out for themselves before signing them.

Sorry to throw a monkey wrench in the discussion. The Clinton bashing was going so well before I came along.

gwanggung is right when he says about that 99% of the people in the world cannot live up to Hilzoy's standards.

I agree, at least as far as I can tell what they are. I am just pointing out that Hilzoy herself does not live up to those standards (in the case if the campaigns of Clinton and Obama) and that it would be unfair to apply them to her.


Joseph wrote:
"Because if it takes lies and distortions (which it probably will) to pass environmental legislation and health care (so for example monkeying with the numbers to minimize the cost to consumers) then I want the Democratic president to lie and distort."

This is exactly the type of certainty that scares the hell out of independent voters like me. You are so certain that you have the answers and that no one has better answers or additional information that you are willing to lie to implement your answers. The concept of actually convincing people to go along with you on the merits of your position is an afterthought.

Your argument amounts to saying that "lies are bad, except when they favor my side."

ken: like I said, back up your claims of deception, or stop making them.

All I want to say is if Hillary gets the nomination, the democrats will lose the election. I just want the Clintons to go away, they had their turn and it is time for somebody new

Also I am disgusted that an ex-president is campaigning this way, generally they deserve respect but Bill Clinton is changing that, he does not have my respect.

Finally if you are curious, I am a retired senior citizen.

... if it takes lies and distortions ...
And that's the fundamental point of disagreement you have with Publius and Hilzoy (and me), Joseph. We reject that premise, just as we reject that it takes torturing people in secret prisons to protect us from terrorism.

Exactly how far are you okay with Hillary taking Rovian tactics? If she copied his technique of planting bugs in his candidate's office so that he could accuse the opponent of doing it, would that be fine and dandy? If her campaign copied Rove by spreading word that Obama is a pedophile, is that acceptable behavior, as long as it gets results?

I have to disagree with you about voting for Hillary in the general.

What was the primary evil of the Bush presidency? It's hard to narrow them all down to one single principle, or pick out one greatest evil, but if I had to, i'd pick the fact that the Bush administration lied to the American public to get us into the war in Iraq.

Specifically, the lie about WMD's, that built the case for the war.

If Hillary will lie so blatantly to build the case for her candidacy, how is that any different? How is it any better?

What does that say about her projected conduct while in office? How many Iraqs will she lie to start?

This nation simply cannot afford another four years of a liar's presidency.

It's probably worth repeating Daniel Davies' "Avoiding Projects Pursued by Morons 101", or at least some of the highlights:

* Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance.

* Fibbers' forecasts are worthless. "If you have doubts about the integrity of a forecaster, you can't use their forecasts at all. Not even as a 'starting point'."

* The Vital Importance of Audit. "Basically, it's been shown time and again and again; companies which do not audit completed projects in order to see how accurate the original projections were, tend to get exactly the forecasts and projects that they deserve. Companies which have a culture where there are no consequences for making dishonest forecasts, get the projects they deserve. Companies which allocate blank cheques to management teams with a proven record of failure and mendacity, get what they deserve.

"I hope I don't have to spell out the implications of this one for Iraq. Krugman has gone on and on about this, seemingly with some small effect these days. The raspberry road that led to Abu Ghraib was paved with bland assumptions that people who had repeatedly proved their untrustworthiness, could be trusted. There is much made by people who long for the days of their fourth form debating society about the fallacy of "argumentum ad hominem". There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of "giving known liars the benefit of the doubt", but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world. Audit is meant to protect us from this, which is why audit is so important. "

Relevant for this year's campaigns just as they were for the march to war.

Hilzoy, Sure.

One of your standards seems to be that nuance counts, sometimes. An example would be calling Clinton a liar for her using Obama's own words against him without any mitigation that might be derived from the context.

In the e-mail example you are condemming Clinton as by taking a paragraph from an article without any mitigation that might be derived from the entire context.

So if one were to claim that that nuance counts and pointing to your leaving the mitigation out of your indictment one can say you are being dishonest.

But in a broader sense your whole stchik is nothing but another form of campaigning. You selectively pick and choose among the information coming in to make an argument that supports your personal bias towards one candidate.

You don't come across as an objective seeker of truth but as a prosecuter seeking to indict on whatever evidence, however slim, will work.

I made this comment on another thread, but it bears repeating. Why the lies? (And yes ken, they are demonstrably lies.)

If they really feel that she is the best qualified, with the best policy proposals, then why lie? Are they afraid that they may lose if they don't?

ken, FWIW, the bashing is not Hillary bashing per se, but rather bashing a technique used in her campaign.

Re Obama, I know he's not perfect, and he has probably said some deceptive things about Hillary as well. He may even have told a lie. But there is a distinct difference between misinterpreting someone and telling a lie about what that someone said, and the Clinton campaign has definitely done the latter.

And her condescendingness aftre the last debate "I think he was frustrated" was almost enough to make me vomit.

I will probably vote for her if she is the nominee, but it will be with the recognition that for at least 8 years, we will live in the same atmosphere of mistrust of the WH.

Ken: I do want to be clear on this. Take the Reagan quote case, for instance: in that case, Obama said that the Republicans were "the party of ideas". Not "good ideas", not "ideas I agree with", but ideas. Clinton glossed this as: " he really liked the ideas of the Republicans."

In this case, the only way for Clinton, or a supporter of hers, to make the case that Obama said something that could be interpreted that way would be to produce the context. There is no such context: nowhere in that quote does Obama say any such thing, despite Clinton's offer to produce "the exact quote".

In the Vietnam case, again, the Clintons not only produced a quote, but drew conclusions from it that were plainly at odds not with some nebulous "larger context", but with the sentences that preceded and succeeded "I don't know." They were the ones who glossed this as: Obama's record does not differ substantially from Hillary's. They therefore made an appeal to context necessary.

Please point out to me what claim I make that is in some similar way falsified by the context from which I drew it.

I guess that HRC is not allowed to say that NOW Illinois endorsed her over her opponents, or discuss their stated reasons for doing so, or invite undecided voters to consider those reasons.

She's exactly like W if she does, and she's destroyed the Democratic party by daring to mention that NOW Illinois thinks she would be more reliable on the subject of choice than her opponents.

Mentioning NOW Illinois' reasons for endorsing her over her opponents is just what Karl Rove would do.

The women at NOW Illinois are not to be trusted; possibly HRC got to them and convinced them in 2004 that they should stay from Obama in his run for the senate.

This is the weirdest primary I've ever seen.

Preying on the ignorant is what dirty campaigning is all about. That's why it's so objectionable to intelligent, well-informed voters: because it relies on the votes of the ignorant and poorly-informed to nullify the votes of those who actually care. George W. Bush went dumpster-diving for the trailer park evilangelicals (hey, a vote's a vote). Bill and Hillary are going after people who either don't like blacks, don't trust them, or don't think a black man could beat the Republicans. It's a filthy tactic because it relies, essentially, on racism. Bill Clinton may claim that he was "America's first black president," but the truth is, Bill doesn't have the slightest clue what it means to grow up black in America. Bill's a con man. A carnival huckster. A phony. But he may get away with it because he may just find enough rubes who are willing to buy his particular brand of snake oil.

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