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June 04, 2008

Comments

Right on!

I've repeatedly made reference to your "Age of Irony" post at your old place as a reason for my support for Obama, and I think you encapsulate some of that here. It's not just the aspirational rhetoric, it's the aspirations themselves.

true, publius, there is a lot to be said for living for the possibilities.

and doing so is one better than the cynics. cowards, really.

but even living for the possibilities is boring and unsatisfying compared to experiencing the actual thing.

I say raise the sails!

I am 42 and a confirmed political junkie. I followed my first election aged 10 in 1976. But I had never, before this year, ever given my cold hard cash to a candidate. Obama inspires me like no one has before. Maybe I am naive, but my it feels good to have him as a candidate. I love the aspirational stuff. And maybe now I can sort of understand what the big deal was about JFK (i never got it before).

To be sure, Clinton and Clinton’s supporters will play an important and necessary role in making all this happen. That’s why I hope that personal anger will soon give way in the face of the more promising future that is within reach.

Yes - it would be really nice if the Obama supporters apologized for all the horrible ways in which their campaign attacked Clinton and dissed Clinton supporters, but I'm hoping that Clinton supporters can rise above that... since my impression is that Obama supporters saw nothing wrong with attacking Clinton and the large number of people who wanted her to be President.

But, cheers for the primaries finally being over! Now can all the Democrats who were attacking each other move on to attack McCain, please: and instead of worrying about the next Democratic primary season, worry about whether the elections in November are going to be free and fair?

Remember, on past showing, the Republican candidate doesn't actually have to win: he just has to have a plausible media narrative to explain how the election count gave him the victory while the exit polls put him 6 points behind.

I wish I could be a rosy as you, Publius. By far the greatest asset the democrats had this year was unity, 8 years in the wilderness etc. Clinton has very clearly decided to throw her toys out of the pram. I can forgive her pushing it hard until last night - just - as the race seemed close enough to keep going even though objective observers recognised that Obama had actually won it by March.

Instead of a united party selling Obama in places like KY, Clinton breezed through to tell folks there, with a nudge and a wink, that it's ok to not like his blackness because, well y'know that's just what working class whites do.

But last night's speech... well, i dunno. She's got all these people for whom identification trumps objectivity all riled up, and shows no sign of wanting to let that go. Is the 2012 idea not so crazy after all? Or is it just a plague on both their houses?

I have the impression she continues to be dis-served by the sycophants around her family.

it would be really nice if the Obama supporters apologized for all the horrible ways in which their campaign attacked Clinton and dissed Clinton supporters, but I'm hoping that Clinton supporters can rise above that... since my impression is that Obama supporters saw nothing wrong with attacking Clinton and the large number of people who wanted her to be President.

It would be nice if Clinton supporters would take one opportunity to congratulate Obama, to recognize a hard-fought and, above all, decent campaign. I'm hoping that Clinton supporters can be glad that a good, strong candidate -- already making strides against McSame -- is the nominee.

I'd like to welcome you back to the Democratic Party, if you're done with your little snit-fest.

Jesurgislac is a citizen of the UK, Jeff. I mean, if you've been posting here for any length of time, I don't know how you don't know that. She's not a member of the Democratic Party, nor would I expect her to be at any point in the future.

But, hey, get your little dig in if it makes you feel better,

On the other hand, I don't know how anyone can read a href="http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/05/ummm.html">this, for example, and contemptuously insist that Obama supporters have something to apologize for.

And all of this was accomplished by a black man named Barack Hussein Obama, in a nation of former slaveholders in a post-9/11 world.

We are a former slaveholding nation, but are we really a nation of former slaveholders? What percentage of the American public is descended from people who held slaves in the US or colonial North America?

As for Obama's inspirational qualities: clearly he has had that effect on many people. I'm not sure how old you are, publius, but Ronald Reagan certainly had that effect on millions of Americans (though not at all on me), so we are not so far removed from this phenomenon.

Two points here:

1) Inspiration, alone, is not enough to govern well, though it certainly helps selling your agenda. Don't get me wrong, I'm not of the "Obama is an empty suit" camp. But I do believe that Obama is yet another "New Democrat" centrist who will help Wall Street and the military-industrial complex more than he will help the average American. I hope I'm wrong.

2) There are many people who Obama fails to inspire. This was an incredible victory, I agree. But I also agree that the below-the-water aspects of the campaign were key. Inspiration helped, but Obama didn't win this on inspiration. And he won't win in November on inspiration. Even more than in this primary, Obama is going to need to come up with ways to convince people whom he does not touch in the way he has touched you and his other core supporters to nevertheless vote for him. Increasing the number of reluctant Obama supporters may turn out to be the key to victory.

Close tags?

BOSHAMO!

Let the Muslim-boating begin!

I suspect he's got more to fear from "Typical Chicago machine politician" boating, frankly. It would be a very rare politician who got out of that sewer clean, and Rezko suggests that Obama didn't pull it off.

Maybe a bit of "extreme left winger who changed his tune just to run for President" boating, too. In particular, his stands on gun control are going to absolutely ruin the Democratic party's efforts over the last few years to mute it's anti-gun stance.

It's going to be entertaining: Given McCain's positions on campaign censorship and border security, I don't have a dog in this fight, but it's going to be very entertaining watching him and Obama tear each other up.

Rezko suggests that Obama didn't pull it off

cite please.

I suspect he's got more to fear from "Typical Chicago machine politician"

They'll try that too. But what will really resonate with the jury in To Kill a Mockingbird 'Merricun people is that Obama is an angry black man (and possibly muslim).

Phil, anyone on either side who chose to campaign for their chosen candidate by attacking the other Democratic candidate has something to apologize for. Which, in the blogosphere, was primarily Obama-supporters attacking Clinton, just as the mainstream media primarily attacked Clinton.

In a perfect world, everyone would now apologize to each other and move on: though it would be gracious for the winners to apologize first.

In an imperfect world, as Obama won, the Obama supporters need to apologize to the Clinton supporters, admit they shouldn't have trashed Clinton, ask the Clinton supporters to overlook their behavior and join them.

In America, probably large numbers of Obama supporters will still be pouting come November that they haven't got more enthusiasm from the people whom they trashed and then refused to apologize to.

Phil's right, Jeff: I'm a Brit. I thought you knew that.

Don't know about that, Ugh, I know plenty of single issue 2nd amendment voters who care a lot more about a Presidential candidate's expressed desire to ban their guns, than rumors about his religion.

Cleek, this, for instance:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/obama_rezko_purchase.php>Talking points memo

I personally don't see a lot of hard evidence there, but I'd suspect there's a lot of stuff of a similar nature they could hunt down. Even a clean pol in Chicago is going to be associating with some pretty scuzzy people. Good stuff to base a smear campaign on, and they might hit something solid.

in a nation of former slaveholders in a post-9/11 world

I don't know of anyone who is a former slaveholder. Former slaveholders would have to be...oh, I don't know...160-odd years old.

I sincerely hope that it is possible to win a Presidential election without trashing your opponent, as Obama pledged last night. I also think that if any republican can run a clean campaign, McCain might be the man. On the other hand, there are enough swift-boaters on the republican side and fervent democrats who saw how successful the swift boaters were that the dirty tricks might be out of the candidates' control.

Don't know about that, Ugh, I know plenty of single issue 2nd amendment voters who care a lot more about a Presidential candidate's expressed desire to ban their guns, than rumors about his religion.

I was thinking more of the sleaze, I wouldn't call a position on gun ownership sleazy (or at least not Obama's position). We'll see if SCOTUS does him a favor and takes that issue off the table this month.

I would like to delve more into the mindset of "single issue 2nd amendment voters", though perhaps probably not a topic for thise thread.

I don't know of anyone who is a former slaveholder.

Just a semantics observation, but contra that,

A nation of pioneers
or
A nation of immigrants

Both of these could be (and I imagine have been) used to describe the US, even though the person may not actually know any pioneers, or only a handful of immigrants. Similarly, "a family of xxx" doesn't seem to imply that the current crop are xxx.

I personally don't see a lot of hard evidence there

precisely my point. there isn't any soft evidence - it's just guilt by assumption. so what didn't he "pull off" ?

I also think that if any republican can run a clean campaign, McCain might be the man.

Yeah, an honorable man like McCain would never tell a nasty joke about an opponent's teenage daughter in public. And certainly St. John McCain would never do anything like publicize a political enemy's medical records (and a misleading selection of them at that), an action that he escaped prosecution for by being a member of Congress.

I'm an Obama supporter. Let me now apologize for, um, I don't know, whatever it is that I did.

Although slavery is illegal and unconstitutional in the US today, there are now and then cases of what by all but name constitutes slavery. Sex trafficking is the most public face but there have been cases of US citizens on US territory using immigrants of doubtful legal status (some self-imported on false promises) as house slaves. This is of course irrelevant here because this is criminal behaviour on a limited scale*.
---
The general impression I got from the campaign until now is that, after subtracting legitimate attacks, Obama's campaign was more civil than Hillary Clinton's and that "rabid" supporters had a greater distance to the candidate in the BHO campaign than in that of HRC. But except for the "Obama murdered gays to cover up a gay affair of his own"-loonies neither campaign went low enough to qualify for even basic Republican campaigning standards.
Now a lot depends on HRC's further behaviour.
Btw, I think it would be suicide to name her the VP candidate for the GOPsters could milk the resentment of even more people that would at least tolerate either the [n-word] or the [b+c word] (e.g. by not going to vote) but would go over to the other side, if both were combined. In Obama's position I'd consider to secretly offer her a prominent post in the cabinet, if she would be silent about that until after the election (otherwise the deal would be off). This could be her springboard for a later (renewed) campaign of her own but without giving her an incentive to undermine Obama.

*Clarification: limited not in what is done to the slaves but the number of cases.

"I would like to delve more into the mindset of "single issue 2nd amendment voters", though perhaps probably not a topic for thise thread."

To be sure, a topic as interesting as the mind set of gun banners.

It's not a subject Obama will be able to avoid in the general election, having a particularly bad record on that score even for a Democrat, and not getting to run against a Republican whose record isn't any better. Guliani would indeed have taken the issue off the table.

And I doubt that the Heller decision is going to take gun control off the table as a subject. Either D.C.'s law gets struck down, and numerous lawsuits are immediately commenced against other gun laws, (They're not planing on even waiting for the ink to dry.) or it gets upheld, and the whole pro-gun community will be activated like they haven't been since the '94 gun ban.

Either way, gun control is absolutely going to be a topic of the fall campaign.

I'll be 62 in a few days (eligible for social security - how'd that ever happen?), have never really been a political junkie, and prefer to think of myself as skeptical, trying pretty hard to be not cynical. And like Kate above, this year for the first time I gave money to a politician. Everybody (well, any reasonably sentient being) recognizes that Obama gives wonderful speeches, but I've been more impressed by two other details. First, as mentioned above, his organizational skills must be tremendous; and part of that is the ability to recognize and use talented people. Second, for the few unanticipated "crises" he has had, he has come up with very capable responses. The speech on race was one example of this. The ability to do that tells me that either he is really quick on his feet, and/or that he has already thought through many of these issues in depth.

While I probably don't match Publius's enthusiasm (I think I'm past the giddy-able stage), I have to admit I'm impressed.

I join hairshirthedonist in apologizing. In my defense, when the skies opened and the light came down, and celestial choirs were singing, I really thought voting for Obama was the right thing and that the world would be perfect. I see how offensive that could be to some people who have lived long enough to know better--cw excepted.

Both of these could be (and I imagine have been) used to describe the US, even though the person may not actually know any pioneers, or only a handful of immigrants. Similarly, "a family of xxx" doesn't seem to imply that the current crop are xxx.

I don't think of myself as a former pioneer, or a former immigrant. I'd have similar issues with characterizing the US as a nation of immigrants, but "slaveholders" has a bit more accusatory nature than "immigrants", even of late.

Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.

have i become unhinged -- or is clinton's speech actually the most outrageous, disgraceful act of her entire campaign? i'm toying around with a post basically laying that out, but i maybe i've just lost a sense of perspective.

It really made me mad though -- i agree with dana goldstein that it seemed purposely designed to rile up her supporters, and nothign more.

I'm reminded of a moment I saw in 1994's Ken Burns PBS series Baseball, when they focused on the arrival of Jackie Robinson. I looked about online for a quote, and came up with a Google Books entry from the book Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports and the American Dream written/edited by Joseph Dorinson. It's in Chapter 9, Mah Nishtanah, by Henry Foner, who remembered watching Robinson come to Ebbets Field to play an exhibition game near about Passover in 1947. That Passover, as the youngest son in the family, it was left to Henry to invoke the four questions (fir kashes) that are asked of the holiday. He asked the first one, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" But before his father could answer, Henry provided his own answer, "Because today, a black man is playing major league baseball."

After 260 plus years, starting in 1619 with a Dutch ship reaching Jamestown with 19 indentured Africans and ending in 1865 with the fall of the Confederacy and an end to slavery, and after 100 years of Jim Crow, segregation, and lynch mobs, and after 40 plus years of fighting over affirmative action and entrenched racism we still find today in pockets of our nation (see the current lawsuit regarding the Atlanta office of the Secret Service), today is different from all other days. Because today, a black man is an official candidate for the office of President of the United States and unofficial Leader of the Free World.

Depending on how the election turns out, the night of November 4 2008 promises to be an even bigger moment than today.

"I don't know of anyone who is a former slaveholder."

Hey, anecdotes aren't data! ;)

"have i become unhinged -- or is clinton's speech actually the most outrageous, disgraceful act of her entire campaign?"

I actually think that the Jesse Jackson comment by Bill Clinton was the most outrageous act of the campaign, but this speech is probably the most outrageous act that she has personally done. At this point she is just being a jerk.

Brett:

"the whole pro-gun community will be activated ...."

I suspect not.

Some will give it a shot, so to speak, but like many of the "communities"
activated in 1994, a good many folks have grown up since then.

On both sides.

I was a member of the pro-bong community in 1969, but I find the entire subject boring today. I will say that activating the pro-bong community was tough even back then, given the difficulty of being "activated" and sustaining a bong habit at the same time.

As an aside, if the "whole pro-gun community" moved into a compound together, who would they shoot at besides each other, given that the "whole anti-gun community", not to mention the "whole who-gives-a-crap-about-guns community", also not to mention the "whole banana-cream pie and rubber chicken community" would be living outside the compound .... without guns?

Then again, I look forward to John McCain running on a Rambo/bandolero/weapons with big clips platform.

I wonder if his ad people will hire a black actor or a white actor to play the criminal in the ads. Hispanic, maybe, for a change of pace? It would dovetail nicely with the immigration issue.

I can see a grainy video of a tall, slim, big-eared man, his race a little hazy because of bad lighting, breaking into an upscale house. The final shot is of two black hands jimmying open a glass gun case.

Overvoice: "Barack Obama wants to take your guns away from you."

If I were McCain though, I'd wait until June is over to unveil that ad campaign, given his running mate Hillary Clinton's observations regarding the longevity of the 1968 Democratic primary and the brevity of Robert Kennedy's primary bid.

Brett, I'm not anti-gun and I respect your views, but the issue is bogus.

If it's not bogus, and you are right, then America is just not a "community" of serious people.

seb - exactly right. i htink a lot of bill's stuff has been overblown, except for that. but i really think clinton's speech was beyond the pale. i don't expect the TalkLeft people to come around on that, but hopefully there are least some clinton supporters who thought so too

though maybe tribalism has dug its nail in too deep

Sebastian: I actually think that the Jesse Jackson comment by Bill Clinton was the most outrageous act of the campaign

Must have been a fairly bland campaign, then, if the most "outrageous" comment was a relevant reference to a past primary winner...

To be sure, a topic as interesting as the mind set of gun banners.

I'd agree with that if you'd said "single issue pro-gun ban voters".

mmm. bait.

Jes -- this has been gone back and forth on several times, but recollection from previous discussions is that there were *plenty* of other relevant examples that Bill Clinton could have referred to (including his own) involving candidates who weren't ... what's the word ... black. The former president was being dismissive, and along racial lines. It wasn't groovy.

"Must have been a fairly bland campaign, then, if the most "outrageous" comment was a relevant reference to a past primary winner..."

I don't think you really understand American politics if you think it was a relevant reference. Furthermore it was baldly racist (couldn't think of anyone else to compare Obama to?) Heck, Bill could have compared Obama to himself if his mere point was to congratulate Obama for running a good campaign. Clinton's point was to trivialize Obama's accomplishments by comparing his win to someone who at this point is practically a joke on the national stage.

I don't know who the equivalent figure would be in the UK. A person who had a short moment of apparent seriousness on the political stage 20 years before, but has pretty much been a joke ever since. And that is kind of the point. An outsider wouldn't know who that was. But the context of the comment made it clear that the message was "well of course Obama won South Carolina, any N!#@$%R would. Even the pathetic Jesse Jackson won South Carolina."

You're normally very attentive to racist and sexist slights, so I have to think you just don't understand the lingo on this one.

have i become unhinged -- or is clinton's speech actually the most outrageous, disgraceful act of her entire campaign?

With such an embarrassment of riches to choose from, that's a hard proposition to say yea or nay to.


i'm toying around with a post basically laying that out, but i maybe i've just lost a sense of perspective.

Hang on to your hinges, you may need them.

In other words, let it go. Focus on McCain and let Hillary and her voters make their peace with events in whatever manner best suits them. If they wish to play a constructive role in the campaign going forward then good for them, and if not then that is their right too.

"I'd like to welcome you back to the Democratic Party, if you're done with your little snit-fest."

Well, that's one way to lobby for magnanimity from your opponents.

Anyway: Congratulations from this HRC supporter to Obama for a hard-fought and, above all, decent campaign. May his supporters learn from his graciousness.

publius: I'm torn between, on the one hand, wanting to read what you'd write (plus being tired after several months of being told that we have to treat Clinton with kid gloves lest her supporters decide to express their feminism by voting for John McCain), and thinking: ah, she's had enough attention that you'd think even she might be getting tired.

i'm doing a waiting period just to calm down - i actually get physically angry when i think about it. even if she has demands, etc., she should have raised those earlier. the post-win is a key time -- it's imortant to get that bump. if clinton supporters think she was cheated, she's robbing him of it.

and, there's just the general ungraciousness of it -- attacking with all the BS talking points and pretending like she'd won.

i'm through with her.

so maybe the compromise will be a short post, that includes a "this is my last one for a while" pledge.

I'm with Sebastian on this one.

Bill Clinton knew exactly what he was doing and who he was talking to.

On the other hand, the Clintons have joined Limbaugh and company in the "politically incorrect community".

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the community of Sebastian and John will part ways and we will return to out regular programming --- the John and Jes show.

;)

farmgirl: Jes -- this has been gone back and forth on several times, but recollection from previous discussions is that there were *plenty* of other relevant examples that Bill Clinton could have referred to (including his own) involving candidates who weren't ... what's the word ... black.

Yes, that was the weirdest thing of all: the argument that because Jesse Jackson is black, it was racist for Bill Clinton to mention him when he was asked if Obama could win in Alabama. In order to not-be racist, people should avoid talking about Jesse Jackson?

I read the whole transcript. It was one of the most obvious whip-up-nastiness-against-Clinton dramas to turn reference to a past candidate who had won in Alabama but gone on to lose into "race-baiting".

plus being tired after several months of being told that we have to treat Clinton with kid gloves lest her supporters decide to express their feminism by voting for John McCain

Oh, if I'd realized your problem with Clinton was a shortage of kid gloves, I'd have sent you several pairs.

Look, thanks to the mainstream media (and most of the blogosphere) focussing all their venom and nastiness on Clinton, Obama got comparatively nice treatment, and he won. And you joined in the hate-fest against Clinton, albeit in a civilised kind of way by picking up the stories the mainstream media were pushing at you and re-pushing them here. Now you complain that you're "tired" of being told you had to treat Clinton with kid gloves?

I got tired of logging on to Obsidian Wings to see what was happening in the world and finding that someone on Obsidian Wings had decided to join the latest hate-fest against Clinton. Now I find you regard your joining the anti-Clinton mobs as "kid glove" treatment?

Good grief.

Yeah: everyone who campaigned for Obama by attacking Clinton, and yes that includes you, Hilzoy, owes the Clinton supporters an apology.

Not that I expect they'll get one, since for the most part, the Obama supporters who attacked Clinton seem to feel they did nothing wrong.

John Rogers has an interesting take on this:

(note: I made some minor edits to the quoted bits below out of deference to the maybe-not-really-necessary ObWings rules re: naughty-words-that-may-not-actually-matter-any-more-but-we-still-act-like-they-do-anyways)

http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2008/06/ask-not-what-your-country-can-do-for.html”>If ever there was a nation that needed 'It Is Not All About You' tattooed on the inside of their f^cking eyelids, it is the citizenry of United States of America.


All I see on every damn blog is "What can Obama do to win over Clinton supporters?" and "Why won't Clinton supporters snap out of it?" and we're both waiting for the other side to "validate" us. I swear, if I see the word "validation" in context to this race one more time, I will go on a neck-punching tour of America.

It is time to stop taking this stuff so personally -- and I'm not admonishing you (us) "like children" but exactly opposite. I'm saying it to adults. Adults who are able to separate their own personal pain, their own trials and tribulations, their own struggles, from those of the nice person who they will never meet, who have their own sh1t going on, and who occasionally convince you that their sh1t is really your sh1t, too, honest.

If we want our lives changed, if we want the world changed, we have to let go of that infantile need to assign such potent symbolic powers to our leaders.


But every discussion concerning this election about validation, and about whether the bad people on my used-to-be-favorite-web-site hurt my feelings, is another nail in the coffin of our emotional maturity as a society. (This is also tied into some age-oriented issues, but that's another post. This election's a bloody Gordian knot of transference)

As the Boomer-fetish president John F. Kennedy once said: "... ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. " That call to sacrifice has led generations of Americans to fight and die for their country, to abandon comfortable lives and dedicate themselves to service or to the eternal struggle for justice and human rights. I would suggest that the least we can do, for our country, is to stop being so goddam precious. What we can sacrifice right now is our need for validation, our narcissm, our cultural addiction to weaving ourselves and our emotional journeys into some grand historical high-drama (and I mean that in the narrative sense, not in the perjorative sense) epic.

Go Tripod/Lord Whiskerkins '08! (you have to read the whole thing. Please. You won't regret it.)

jes - i really disagree with that. the message was that "oh, that's just black voters supporting the black guy, it doesn't mean anything." unfortunately, jackson has become a caricature, unfairly to him, yes, but still true.

ThatLeftTurnInABQ: If they wish to play a constructive role in the campaign going forward then good for them, and if not then that is their right too.

Looks like not. At least for some…

Matt Burns, the spokesman for the GOP convention in St. Paul e-mails to say that the RNC's convention office in St. Paul has received numerous telephone calls in the last few hours from people who identify themselves as Clinton supporters asking how they can help Sen. McCain.

I’m trying to imagine how for some people, their preferred candidate losing the nomination trumps everything they (supposedly) believe in as Democrats, but I’m not having much luck.

You're almost 62, cw? You type much younger.

Would it be okay to describe the USofA as a "former slaveholding nation?" (same country - different people)

George Washington (yeah, that one) is dead, but once was a slaveholder. Does that make him a "former slaveholder," or does one have to be alive to be something?

As a Clinton supporter until six months ago, I hereby apologize to Barack Obama and his supporters.

As an Obama supporter since then, I hereby apologize to Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

But all of the nastiness (pretty much par for the course to my mind) was good practice for sending the modern Republican Party to the far edge of the wilderness with their butts well-kicked in November 2008.

I'm not going to apologize for that.

BTW, only the first part of my last post was specifically for cw. I'm not asking questions of him or her that have nothing to do with anything he or she has written.

"Yes, that was the weirdest thing of all: the argument that because Jesse Jackson is black, it was racist for Bill Clinton to mention him when he was asked if Obama could win in Alabama. In order to not-be racist, people should avoid talking about Jesse Jackson?

I read the whole transcript."

No it isn't just because Jesse Jackson was black. It was because he is considered of something like a pathetic sideshow joke in politics nowadays. If Clinton had compared Obama to serious black figures that would have been different. Clinton's point was that Obama's win in South Carolina was trivial because any possible black candidate could win in South Carolina--witness even political jokes like Jesse Jackson.

That is why reading the whole transcript isn't helping you. You don't understand where Jesse Jackson fits in to the current political landscape so you don't understand that comparing him to Jesse Jackson can't be plausibly construed as a compliment.

Even John Thullen agrees with me.

Hold on a second, that is concerning...

John Thullen just apologized to himself. Must be a pro-bong thing.

Oh will you all please get the f@ck over whatever your gripe might be and quick. This 'he said she said' business isn't helping anyone except McCain. Yes, there's latent and not so latent racism and sexism in the US and I can assure you it'll be there for another couple of decades whoever the president will be - boohf@ckinghoo. Meanwhile we are facing a gazillion of pressing global problems, many of which can only be solved with a half-way sane US leadership that will change the course back to normal, which means a Democrat has to be elected in November. Please, if you're at all interested in solving these problems, leave everything that happened in these dreadful primaries behind right now and focus your energy on a Dem victory in the general election. Thanks and sorry about the language.

"It would be a very rare politician who got out of that sewer clean, and Rezko suggests that Obama didn't pull it off."

Rezko suggests exactly that Obama came out pretty clean, since Rezko's trial is over, and every political reporter in America and abroad looked through everything they could possibly find about Rezko and Obama and found nothing more than a dumb decision about whom he went neighbors with.

"I don't know of anyone who is a former slaveholder."

Haven't many Russian or other mobsters who import and keep women as slave-prostitutes, then, I guess. Fair enough; they're not our kind of people. But they are around. In America, and let's not get into the remaining slavery around the world.

I’m trying to imagine how for some people, their preferred candidate losing the nomination trumps everything they (supposedly) believe in as Democrats, but I’m not having much luck.

My theory is that politics is mostly tribalism in action. Ideology plays a peripheral role, mostly as a cultural marker we use to keep track of the tribes and understand which one we belong to and who "the enemy" is.

The underlying tribes are more stable than the ideologies they use as markers (e.g., read some books about where the GOP vs. the Democrats stood on civil rights as recently as the early 1960s).

What you are seeing is a tribal conflict within the Democratic party which was brought to the surface because this year we had two very strong and well financed candidates who don't differ very much from one another on stated policy grounds, so the contest was disputed mostly on demographics rather than position papers.

This fault line would not have been exposed if one of the candidates had been dramatically stronger than the other. In a normal year the establishment candidate would crush the grass-roots insurgency candidate by dint of money and organization and control of the media narrative. That didn't happen this year. Instead we are being treated to a reprise of the 1968 and 1972 elections (Nixonland is a good read on these), but with the difference that the GOP is so much weaker this year than it was back then that I think Obama may win despite these fractures.

Jes, the state in question was South Carolina, not Alabama. I value your participation in political discussions here, but you may wish to dial back on the suggestions that you've got a better handle on this than those who are immersed in the culture; as others have pointed out, it's not just about Jesse Jackson being black, it's his career trajectory as a national figure, which is probably not obvious via media sources. And, uh, the whole SC vs. AL thing.

If anyone is fuzzy on the entire context, as I was, here's the relevant portion of the trascript:

David Wright: What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?

BC: [Laughs] That’s just bait, too. Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in ‘84 and ‘88. And he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama's run a good campaign here. He’s run a good campaign everywhere, he’s got a, he is a good candidate, with a good organization.

I second novakant.

Every time I look in the mirror, the first words that come to my lips are "I'm truly sorry for what I've put you through".

It seems a little bizarre for the more extreme Clinton supporters to engage in selective amnesia and then demand apologies. However, they no doubt have some psychological needs that therapy or meds would sort out in due course. As for the tiresome claims that Clinton supporters will defect en masse, this is a story that has been heard after every primary, both Democratic and Republican, and which fails to be true with equal regularity. So no, I don't respect the attention-seekers with their desperate desire for five minutes or six months of appeasement. These are simply the more fanatical sore losers, and a very small, vocal and tedious minority.

Historically, about 5% of people desert their party in the general, and the trade back and forth more or less evens out. Sure, there will be some venting by the more extreme Clinton supporters, and the Democrats may lose them, but most Clinton supporters will come to terms with things just fine.

Clinton's speech last night was a threat, but one based on very little except her awareness that her influence will decrease with every day. Her supporters will begin shifting to Obama, and the tide has already turned. In a month's time, her leverage will be ebbing perceptibly. What she needs is to negotiate now and get what she can from the victor. Obama, reasonably enough, isn't going to make pledges or promises in a hurry, because time is on his side. He can wait and keep hammering McCain, Clinton can't.

Equally, Clinton as VP won't happen. There's no way she would agree to be fully vetted, with complete financial disclosure, listing of donors to the Clinton library etc. Buying her off will be cheaper than most people suspect, and Clinton knows it. What she wants is some symbolic victory to shore up the power and prestige she has lost. Obama can give her that now, and when he wins in the fall, relatively minor concessions will hardly matter.

Why do I have Dream On by Aerosmith stuck in my head?


No it isn't just because Jesse Jackson was black. It was because he is considered of something like a pathetic sideshow joke in politics nowadays. If Clinton had compared Obama to serious black figures that would have been different. Clinton's point was that Obama's win in South Carolina was trivial because any possible black candidate could win in South Carolina--witness even political jokes like Jesse Jackson.

That is why reading the whole transcript isn't helping you. You don't understand where Jesse Jackson fits in to the current political landscape so you don't understand that comparing him to Jesse Jackson can't be plausibly construed as a compliment.

I would not use the term "joke" to describe JJ (niche candidate would be better IMHO), but otherwise Seb is absolutely correct. Anyone who is familiar with the political context of Bill Clinton's remarks knew immediately what he was saying: that Obama (like JJ) was running a vanity campaign with a narrow demographic base which would doom him to failure even in the Democratic party, much less in the general election.

It was a political put-down, a bald-faced statement that Obama was simply not a serious candidate but instead was simply a flavor-of-the-month fashion statement being made by a small group of people not to be taken seriously.

Now there have been numerous other such candidates in US political history, Bill could have made the same point referencing them, but instead he chose to use the only such candidate who is both well known and African American.

It was a calculated political insult carefully tailored to emphasize that the lopsided support of Obama from the AA community was the only thing his campaign could claim as an asset, and then putting down the significance of that asset.

It was a dog-whistle comment, and if you don't get these nuances it is because you do not possess the very subtle understanding needed to decode how Americans talk about race indirectly and in code, because saying these things explicitly is taboo.

I went to HillaryClinton.com to try and give her the feedback she requested in last night's speech, but there's no way to enter something that's not encouraging her to stay in the race.

My feedback to her is: you are amazing. You have run a great campaign, and you have done great things for the democratic party and the country. However, you have lost the nomination. Give Obama, his organization and his vision credit, and get behind the decision of democrats from all over the country. Support Obama for president against McCain.

hairshirthedonist: I'm an Obama supporter. Let me now apologize for, um, I don't know, whatever it is that I did.

I too would like to apologize for everything that hairshirthedonist didn't do. Those actions were truly despicable and I hereby resolve that hairshirthedonist will not be not doing them again. Or something.

Seb: But the context of the comment made it clear that the message was "well of course Obama won South Carolina, any N!#@$%R would. Even the pathetic Jesse Jackson won South Carolina."

Seb, I just want to say that this explanation is beautiful in its simplicity and rhetorical power. Thanks for trying to explain this to Jes; I would join you, but the thought of engaging with her now wearies me unto death.

Jes: I call them as I see them. I have tried to maintain some semblance of balance. As I see it, Obama has been pretty consistently magnanimous. Clinton, for her part, has been pursuing a scorched earth policy long after she lost all hope of winning. It is of course your right to think I'm wrong, even badly wrong. But I don't see which bit merits not just a change of mind, but an apology. Perhaps if you pointed out specific cases in which I crossed the line into apology territory, it would help.

Every time I look in the mirror, the first words that come to my lips are "I'm truly sorry for what I've put you through".

Usually when I'm looking in the mirror I just say, "ugh."

To be clearer about what lies behind my anger: This is, to state the obvious, an immensely important election. Absolutely everything is on the line. The Supreme Court, reproductive freedom, Iraq, the rule of law, torture, the economy, health care, global warming, everything.

Under the circumstances, which candidate won the Democratic primary (OK, leaving out complete lunatics like Gravel) has always seemed to me vastly less important than that the Democrat won over the Republican. I thought: whoever wins the primary, the other people should just rally round and work for the general. That's why, early on, I was writing to Obama supporters: stop it with this "I can't ever vote for Clinton" stuff. If she wins, you have to.

It had become very, very unlikely that Clinton would win as of Wisconsin. It was close to impossible as of TX/OH. Obviously, I didn't expect her to drop out immediately; I actually felt pretty badly for her, as I think I said in comments. But at points like that, candidates do normally drop out pretty quickly, unless they are either vanity candidates or candidates with a very distinctive ideological message that they want to carry to the convention. Clinton is neither. And just as Edwards didn't stay in on the grounds that it would be mathematically possible for him to win, the normal thing would have been for Clinton to drop out some time back.

Had she not done so, that would have been OK as long as she didn't actively work to undermine the winning candidate, and do things that made it harder for him to win in November. Again: I was saying to Obama supporters that we should completely support Clinton if she won. I haven't said that recently, but that was because I didn't think she was going to win, so it didn't seem necessary.

Instead, she has had a scorched earth policy. She has questioned Obama's fitness to be Commander in Chief (and this has already made it to Republican ads.) She has sowed doubts about whether he is the legitimate nominee. She has basically done nothing to try to convince her supporters to back him, and everything to stoke them up and make it harder.

The reason this angers me is because of what's at stake. Roe v. Wade overturned; and a radically conservative majority on the Supreme Court; executive power not pulled back; torture still going on; the 2012 election focussed on what to do about Iraq; the Bush tax cuts made permanent; our deficits continuing to explode; no discernible progress on health care or the environment -- all this and more could be ours!

As I said: I thought that whoever won, the others should back that candidate, because the stakes are so high. Back when it looked as though my candidate might lose, I said as much to other Obama supporters. But it's the stakes, and Clinton's apparent disregard for them, that make me angry.

Usually when I'm looking in the mirror I just say, "ugh."

when i look in the mirror i say "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary..."

When I look in the mirror, it breaks.

For a while Garrison Keeler had a "we're all Republicans now," schtick going on a Prairie Home Companion. [Complete with a song.]

To my mind, this has been about whether the Democrats will become Republicans and the answer is (thank goodness), no!

That is, the tactics Hillary Clinton used precisely mirror those adopted by the Republicans.

A mirror crack'd.

DatLeftToin--

re your 12:41 -- you've reminded me of that research which I don't have the time to find right now, that shows that political affiliations are generally fixed _before_ people really understand what the parties represent. Relatively early, people choose their party and then find post-hoc justification. (The usual caveats, like this is not true of all, especially of anyone who might read this comment.) Suppose, then, you identify with your "race" (quotes to indicate my acceptance that it's a social construct) and gender even more strongly (which seems natural). The dissonance caused by fracture between those different character associations could cause a lot of pain. Or so it seems to me.

I'm fine with mirrors, but when I gaze into the abyss, it gazes back at me. Anybody else notice that?

hilzoy--
that's because you're the Lady of Shalott of the Internet.

trilobite--
really? I thought it was the Eye of Sauron.

“An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good.

and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.”

-Another http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa01.htm ">Publius

I agree that America might just be on the verge of something quite special. I believe that there very well may be change. That is why I have a large garden.

My cursory inspection of foreign newspapers in the languages at my disposal indicates that they pretty much all share my own mostly-disinterested take: Clinton's campaign has been measurably nastier than Obama's. Even if you don't think there is anything inherently different in earch character's moral compunctions, there's perfectly logical reasons why this would be the case:

Numerically, playing the race card will not get Obama elected. Numerically, playing the gender could get Clinton elected.

Obama was a newcomer who could not afford to offend party mandarins. Clinton is (was) THE democratic establishment, and therefore could expect to demand fealty and tribute.

From mid-February, Obama was the frontrunner, Clinton was the chasing candidate with time against her - you would expect the chasing candidate to get tough in these circumstances.

American social realities being what they are, as a young(ish) black mail, Obama cannot afford to be as aggressive as a white candidate -- particularly when matched against a white woman. In contrast, as a woman, Clinton needs to be somewhat aggressive to show her 'toughness'.

Clinton is already the current face of the most divisive brand in US politics, she's never expecting to convince 60% of the people, she's always been aiming for 51%. She cut her teeth on the divide-and-conquer school of US politics.

Haven't many Russian or other mobsters who import and keep women as slave-prostitutes, then, I guess. Fair enough; they're not our kind of people. But they are around. In America, and let's not get into the remaining slavery around the world.

Context: And all of this was accomplished by a black man named Barack Hussein Obama, in a nation of former slaveholders in a post-9/11 world.

So, sure, there are probably a tiny fraction of Americans who have in fact owned other people. There's a lot of open field between that and a nation of former slaveholders, says I.

YMMV, natch.

this might be a misplaced modifier issue. how about "a former nation of slaveholders"?

or: a nation founded by slaveholders? a nation many of whose people are descended from slaveholders? a nation that had slavery written into its constitution?

In any case, I think the point is probably clear. ;)

Hey, I covered this stuff at 12:32.

Under this post I can write about how proud I feel that Obama made it through and relieved that it is finally over, in equal measure. The campaign will not exactly be a cakewalk. I am worried about how many Hillary supporters will not even vote for McCain, but stay home.

In 2004 I was happy that Kerry had gotten the nomination, but we could already see weaknesses in the campaign he would run. First of all, even Democratic voters didn't really believe he said what he believed. Second of all, he had real trouble communicating how he would, not protect the country so much, but handle the problem of Islamism. We winked at these awful regimes for such a long time it is part of our responsibility to defeat them. Obama has neither of these problems. I will riff off Chris Bowers's post saying that Obama won because of activists. Obama has to create enough activists among groups he has not been able to reach and to build trust among general election voters so that they do not feel he is too inexperienced or risky. If he gets his people out and does that, he should win, because in an election against McCain he can discuss specific policies perfectly well.

Hilzoy wrote things about Obama which were consistently insightful. It was clear even to a semiregular reader of this blog that she was for Obama because he was Obama, not because he was not Hillary or because he would sweep away all our problems with his vision.

thullen: Every time I look in the mirror, the first words that come to my lips are "I'm truly sorry for what I've put you through".


I thought that was supposed to be the first thing you said to your wife in the morning. Maybe that's the trouble...

I suspect he's got more to fear from "Typical Chicago machine politician" boating, frankly. It would be a very rare politician who got out of that sewer clean, and Rezko suggests that Obama didn't pull it off.

I really don't understand how we always end up on the defensive against stuff like this. We got out-warmongered by draft dodgers, and now we're going to lose the corruption fight to a member of the Keating Five, through innuendo no less?

Bah. I hope Obama's talent at framing is able to overcome this nonsense.

And just as Edwards didn't stay in on the grounds that it would be mathematically possible for him to win, the normal thing would have been for Clinton to drop out some time back.

This is what really gets to me at the end of the day. There's no dishonor is conceding graciously, and increasingly I see Clinton's position as a slight against Edwards, Dodd, Richardson and the other previous candidates, as well as their supporters.

Notably, I think Edwards supporters most of all could argue that the media coverage cost them the campaign, as a direct result of the freeze-out he faced after Iowa and New Hampshire. If anyone has grounds to complain about the media "anointing" a candidate, it's Edwards. He got boxed out because of the focus on Clinton and Obama, despite the valuable contribution he was still brining to the primary, and that result was much more direct than the backhanded claims of "media bias" the Clintons have been making.

But Edwards had the grace and class to drop out rather than stoke conflicts, as well as to remain neutral for a long time rather than trying to manipulate the process. He took flack for that from both sides, but in retrospect, that was a noble thing to do.

Clinton deliberately chose a divisive strategy around the same time, and she's still trying to reap dividends from that strategy, despite that it failed. I fail to see why she should be rewarded for sowing discord when, at the very least, every other candidate had the graciousness to put party over campaign. Narcissism is an apt term, I think.

I agree that America might just be on the verge of something quite special. I believe that there very well may be change. That is why I have a large garden.

Personal disagreements notwithstanding, I LOLed.

"I would not use the term 'joke' to describe JJ"

Say, where is Jay Jerome, anyway?

"Thanks for trying to explain this to Jes; I would join you, but the thought of engaging with her now wearies me unto death."

Seb and Jes have been... "bouncing off each other" is perhaps closer to accurate than "engaging" each other -- for years here; you haven't earned the right to be weary, yet.

;-)

Hey, let's all discuss abortion again, and then we can talk about who won the 2000 election! Won't that be novel, everyone!?

[gary flees, stage right, dodging rotten fruit and bricks]

Dutchmarbel, can you come back to ObWi now, please? Please?

"plus being tired after several months of being told that we have to treat Clinton with kid gloves"

Yes, Hil, it's definitely asking for kid-gloves treatment to request the privilege of not being routinely (and falsely) called a racist, say, or the privilege of not having your historical musings (falsely) be construed as an incitement to assassinate your political opponents. Such delicate sensibilities should not be indulged.

I like farmgirl's the best, only I'm not sure we're a former nation.

8)

To the extent that the party must come together, much of that may have to come from the Obama supporters' side as gracious victors; but the Clinton supporters are at least going to have to move enough to accept that for many Obama supporters, some of the Clinton campaigns' actions seemed profoundly racist. It's going to take movement form both ends, not just begging and apologizing from one.

As an Obama supporter (formerly an Edwards supporter, formerly a Kerry supporter, formerly a Dean supporter, and formerly a Gore supporter, and formerly a Bill Clinton supporter (twice)), I'd like to offer my apologies to Hillary Clinton.

Dear Hillary,

I'm sorry you lost. Has to suck, I know. You had a darn good chance at the gold ring, and you didn't get it. I'm sure you felt you were the victim of unfair attacks -- you sure were. Some were the results of petty media, some were the results of overzealous opponents or old enemies, some were the results of random idiots.

However, and here's the big one -- GET OVER IT. You're not the only one. You think you're the only person who EVER ran for President and got hit with unfair attacks? I'll give you a hint: This year alone, you shared that distinction with almost half-a-dozen people. Obama got hit with them, Guiliani got hit with them, McCain got hit with them, Huckabee got hit with them.

People not even RUNNING got hit with them. That's politics. It sucks. It's full of unfairness and it involves millions of people, so yeah -- there's going to be vileness.

You weren't the "victim" anymore than Obama was, than Huckabee was, than anyone else was. Politics is a full contact sport, and you of all people should know this.

I'm sorry you suffered all that and lost. But that's what happens to 99% of all Presidential candidates. They go out there, they get blasted, they lose.

Most tried to lose with dignity. Some didn't.

It's sad that that's the choice you have -- lose with dignity, or not. I suggest the former, but you're your own person. Make the choice.

And just an FYI -- had you won, and had Obama been travelling the same path -- I'd have the same advice for him. This isn't about teams, or supporters.

You didn't win. I'm sorry. And you know what? On behalf of humanity, I am personally and deeply sorry for any unfairness you may have suffered. But I'm also sorry for the unfairness Obama suffered, that Huckabee suffered, and heck -- even the occasional unfairness George Bush Junion suffers.

Sincerely,

Random Guy on the Internets.

Arrrrgh! Trib, you stoleded my mirror comment!

Well, given my handle I suppose I still need to assert that when I look into the mirror, the mirror looks back into me...

you haven't earned the right to be weary, yet.

Comment on any specific poster belongs on TIO, but in general I think that the "wearying" factor is quite variable and is based on a number of factors with approval of style being fairly high and approval of opinion expressed being much lower.

So I would be less weary with a commenter with whom I disagree but whose posts are fun to read than the other way about. Or so I've found anyway.

Anyone who is familiar with the political context of Bill Clinton's remarks knew immediately what he was saying: that Obama (like JJ) was running a vanity campaign with a narrow demographic base which would doom him to failure even in the Democratic party, much less in the general election.

Well, Clinton didn't say--you are parsing his remarks to reach that conclusion. Clinton's long history as a politician refutes any notion that he's a racist. At most, what you have shown is that he made a sloppy extemporaneous remark.

You can take most of the allegedly misogynist or racist remarks by either side over the last 8 months or so, and reach the same conclusion. Neither candidate is misogynist or racist, and darn few of their supporters are, either.

This sort of thing has been a standard Republican tactic at least since '94, and it is distressing to seem Democrats using it against each other. A great deal of it, I suspect, is egged on by people who are really Republicans . . .

Missing a "that" after "say" at 6:52 . . .

Well, Clinton didn't say--you are parsing his remarks to reach that conclusion. Clinton's long history as a politician refutes any notion that he's a racist. At most, what you have shown is that he made a sloppy extemporaneous remark.

Which is odd for a person who is not that known for sloppiness.

Say, where is Jay Jerome, anyway?

At his local GOP headquarters picking up "McCain '08" signs.

"Clinton's long history as a politician refutes any notion that he's a racist. At most, what you have shown is that he made a sloppy extemporaneous remark.

You can take most of the allegedly misogynist or racist remarks by either side over the last 8 months or so, and reach the same conclusion. Neither candidate is misogynist or racist, and darn few of their supporters are, either."

From Ampersand:

The bar for racism has been raised so high that one need be a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party to qualify. Had John McCain said that Hillary Clinton was only competitive in the presidential race because she was a woman, there’d be no dispute over whether the comment was sexist. And yet when the equivalent is said about a black person, it’s not only not racist, but any criticism of the statement is interpreted as an act of character assassination.

...

This is something I’ve seen more often than I can count. People’s logic goes like this:

1) Racists are monsters in their hearts.

2) I know that in my heart, I’m not a monster.

3) Therefore, I can’t be racist.

4) How dare you call me a racist!

In order for Clinton's comment to be non-racist, you have to believe that Clinton thought comparing him to Jesse Jackson was a compliment.

Rea, do you believe that comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson was a compliment?

I'm not judging Clinton 'racist' in some sort of "he is a neo-Nazi" kind of way. His comments were racist. He is willing to play on racism when he thinks it might benefit his wife's political fortunes.

"[Clinton's] comments [about Jesse Jackson] were racist.."

Well, Jesse Jackson didn't find "anything negative" in Clinton's comments about Jesse Jackson. Why don't you take it up with him?

(I realize that the "Clinton is racist!" meme is far too useful ever to go completely extinct, but, well, Hope for Change and all that.)

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