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January 22, 2008

Comments

Obama is not a liar, and Hillary is not a liar.

The objectionable (and troubling) part of Obama's comment was the part about the last "10 or 15 years" -- a definite dig at the Big Dog, because, you know, he was in charge for more than half of the last 15 years. Reagan had descended into dementia by the beginning of that time period.

Hillary keeps coming back to the comment because it was stupid.

"I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10 to 15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.”

The Republicans were the party of ideas from 1992 through today???? That's not about Reagan, it's about Bill. What conventional wisdom have they been challenging in the last 10 to 15 years? That pre-emptive war is a bad idea. That the NIH should be allowed to do science with cast off IVF embryos. That schoolteachers don't need government-written tests to know if their students are learning. That atmospheric science is a real discipline. That evolution is solid biology.

Obama was clumsy. He was trying to draw a comparison between his own appeal and that of Ronald Reagan. He wandered off that path and into the weeds.

It's not about anybody lying--it's about who is better at creating a strong message and delivering it. He screwed up here, and she's not the sort of opponent who's going to let him get away with it.

Those look more like cow pies to me, gwangung.

Same general material....different source, Larv....

Jim Parish,

Barack Obama describes the school in Hawaii as a pretty elite school, saying his grandfather had to pull some strings to get him admitted. He described as being the school that trains the future leaders of Hawaii.

Is there a more elite school in Hawaii than the one you and Obama attended?

Anyway, Baracks family was not wealthy. But they did make sure he got the best education.

The school he went to in Indonesia was began by the Dutch for the children of the colonial upper crust. It was taken over by the Indinesean government but still had a certain cache attached to it back when Obama attended.

Is Obama running on his having attended crappy schools or something?

Anyway, Baracks family was not wealthy. But they did make sure he got the best education.

Oh.

Is this supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing?

ken, my objection was to the juxtaposition: attending that school did not require wealth.

I'm an Obama fan, but gotta say that it is fair to challenge him about his "present" votes. To judge by the NYT article publius linked to, "present" is the equivalent of "abstain" - a way to refuse to support a popular measure without catching political heat for a "no" vote. Now, I don't personally consider that a bad thing, if the difference between "present" and "no" does not change whether the bill passes. I don't think you're obliged to stand on principle on every single vote. Besides, on some of those votes, it looks as though he agreed in principle but disagreed with some technical wording or procedural point, in which case a "no" vote would actually be rather misleading to someone studying his record.

But it's definitely not a "yes," or a "no," and it is appropriate to ask him to explain why he didn't want to vote yes or no on important bills.

I don't see any reason to call ken a troll, either. He's not lying, he's on topic, he's polite. This is not trolling as I know it.

I think Ken and Hilzoy may not be as far apart as they think, as to Obama's remarks about the Republican's as "party of ideas." It was far from unmixed praise, since Obama continued on to say that the ideas turned out to boil down to endless tax cuts, which are not going to solve everything. But it was at least a conciliatory remark -- sort of, hey, I don't agree with the Republicans, but at least they were smart and active, and it makes sense that people (like, say, the people I'm talking to now) were attracted to that. If you demand partisan purity, you're not going to like that sort of remark, or Obama. And that's a fair point to make in a Democratic primary, too.

Oh, we're talking about PUNAHOU.

Jeez, I know several dozen grads from there. Some were from rich families. Some weren't. Great school (Iolani grads think different, though).

Thought we were talking about some place SPECIAL.

ken, you're the most ridiculous partisan shill I've ever encountered, even worse than this Petey person, who at least has the ability to string together some sort of argument occasionally - I don't know if you're getting paid for your valiant grassroots efforts, but it would certainly be money misspent

S Brennan seems to be just drunk or something

This thread is great! It's given me a name for my next pet goldfish: Pulis Hizroy, the Hysterical Supporter.

Ken,

You did some yeoman's work in creating a narrative out of whole cloth. I particularly liked how, when asked by Hilzoy to provide the exact quote that Hillary claimed she had, you moved on to a completely different tangent.

If you don't like Obama that's your right. But I fail to see why you feel such a need to play a spin game regarding his comments.

S Brennan,

You seem to be a little slow so perhaps it should be made clear to you. No one was asking you to provide links to Barack Obama's official biography. We all know that. What was asked for is a link that supports your claims which suggest that not only has Barack Obama blatantly lied about his life, the press has somehow not figured this out yet.

Your posting history here suggests that all that matters to you is smearing Obama with anything and that even a loose relationship with the truth is not necessary.

flyerhawk, good points, but your opening line to S Brennan is close to violating the posting rules, at least IMHO.

You're right, John. I am not one to go into attacks on other people. But his willful lying really bothered me and his attempt to legitimize his claims by linking to the ACTUAL biography of Barack Obama cannot be brushed aside as a minor typo error.

You're right, John. I am not one to go into attacks on other people. But his willful lying really bothered me and his attempt to legitimize his claims by linking to the ACTUAL biography of Barack Obama cannot be brushed aside as a minor typo error.

Yeah, but he's ON TOPIC for this thread.

john miller: Boy, because of F Grennan, ken and Jay Jerome, my admiration of and support for Obama continues to grow.

I admire Obamma-slamma too, john, and I'd support him to head up FEMA when Bill-Hill are back in office, or maybe even appoint him Secretary Of State (it would make good use of his talent to bring people together and bridge the gap between east and west, and we could all hold hands and dance and sing songs of peace and make the world a better place to live).

But supporting him for prez? Big mistake.

flyerhawk,

Hilzoy never asked me for a quote.

But more importantly you miss the point that the writer of this post and most of the commentary here in support of it is totally dishonest. It is factually dishonest. It is dishonest in exactly the same way that Obama was dishonest on the topic.

The complaint on Hillary is a false one. She never attached Barrack Obama for his praise of Reagan. She attacked him on his praise for republican ideas.

Now in the debate Obama tried to dodge this by claiming that she too had praised Reagan.

Hillary did not let him get away with the dodge and again attacked him for his admiration of republican ideas.

Then today publius uses the misleading Obama line of attack and makes a dishonest argument attacking Hillary Clintons credibility. I am just pointing out the fact that this is all boloney.

I have further offered two blatent in your face outright lies told by Barack Obama last night. One on health care and one on his voting record in Illinois.

No one here, who you might think would be so outraged at being directly lied to, has said so much as a word about these lies.

Don't you wonder about the credibility of the people here if they won't even address this issue?

Perhaps Hilzoy or Publius could do a post on the lies told by Obama some day.

Wow, this comment thread is depressing. Can someone please lock it or something? Usually ObWi has great comments, but what has happened here?? I noticed Digby deleted her comment features, it was getting too much. So trolls, go away, that can't happen here....

As they say, DNFTT.

Davebo:
Why do I get the feeling that would be a big no no in say Texas or California?

Why is it seemingly OK in Florida?

Because Cuban != Mexican. It may not be fair, but it is what it is.

ken:
Hilzoy never asked me for a quote.

Look again.

Or, in case you're too lazy to click that link or scroll up:

More to the point: if anyone can find the part of that meeting (or any meeting) that makes this statement, by Clinton, accurate, please do let me know:

"The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote."

Please, someone, give me the exact quote. Because from where I sit, that's just a lie.

Posted by: hilzoy | January 22, 2008 at 02:16 PM

I guess, technically, she didn't ask YOU for the quote; she asked anyone (including you) for the quote.

I wonder if anyone saw the woman in the gorilla suit at the debate...

ken,
As much as I want to like Obama every time I hear him tell blatent lies or use right wing talking points my stomach turns.

Yeah, every time you type I can positively feel the feverish desire to like Obama dripping from every word. It is palpable. I can *taste* it, in fact.
It approaches a sexual fetish, this need of yours to like Obama. This fixation of desire- but not for the *object*. Desire *for* desire! Lust in the service of lust!

You are just amazing

(Sorry, got cut off there)

-ingly full of cat crap.

tgrish, I see your point. But no I did not think she was asking me for a quote.

I think Hillary Clintons statement later indicated which words of Obama's she was referring to:

"...the republicans were the party of ideas ...they were challenging conventional wisdom.”

A conservative may not see this as a problem, But to a liberal the republican ideas were anethama, not something to praise.

S Brennan,
When you're forced to tar someone with the brush that 'their step-father is from Indonesia', you really need to take a step back. Several steps back.

Also, to my knowledge, HRC is not a proper address of a person, it is a crude effort to depersonalize a human being.

Yeah just like 'LBJ' and 'JFK'. These are obviously terms of derisive contempt, nothing more. I weep for these men, to be so abused by history.
[nb that last word is not a misspelling of hilzoy]

ken, I juxtapose hilzoy's 2:16 comment
Please, someone, give me the exact quote.
with
But no I did not think she was asking me for a quote.

And I think to myself- game, set, match. Thank you for playing.

For the record: HRC is shorthand. I can't call her "Clinton", since that's ambiguous between Hillary and Bill Clinton. I can't call her "Hillary"; the feminist in me refuses, though my tired fingers wish she didn't. I have to call her "Hillary Clinton". Sometimes, in comments, typing that over and over gets tiring, so i go for HRC, just as, in the last thread, I resorted to "fav/unfav ratings" instead of the more accurate "favorable/unfavorable ratings".

But if you'd rather think of it as an attempt to depersonalize her, be my guest.

Obama was not praising any conservative or Republican ideas. He was praising the effectiveness of their rhetoric in presenting their ideas to the public. It's a matter of branding, not of the product being branded.

S Brennan, When you're forced to tar someone with the brush that 'their step-father is from Indonesia', you really need to take a step back. Several steps back.

Precipice? What precipice?

The more I see of Senator Clinton, the more I *begin* to understand how Republicans become so unhinged at the mention of her name - she's really just another side of themselves.

And, ken: I still don't see why you think that anything in the passages you cite constitutes praise. But I suspect we've now reached the 'either you see it as praise or you don't' point.

Also, about the goat herder v. well off stuff: my understanding was that Obama's father did indeed herd goats with his father when he was a child, and became reasonably well off later (by Kenyan standards), though he was also frustrated by being blocked in his own career. Sometimes, oddly enough, people who herd goats as children become well off later in life. How odd.

I'd love to see actual quotes showing that Obama lied about his childhood. I do not recall his saying he grew up in desperate poverty, etc. He did say he didn't grow up wealthy; as far as I can tell, that is true.

The more I see of Senator Clinton, the more I *begin* to understand how Republicans become so unhinged at the mention of her name - she's really just another side of themselves.

He was praising the ability to come up with unconventional ideas and inspire the citizens of the US to go along with them by creating a wide consensus, not the ideas themselves. Had he praised the ideas themselves, it would have been wholly contradictory to mention both Kennedy and Reagan in the same breath.

That's not really very hard to understand.

And

"The facts are that he has said in the last week he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years"

is false, Hillary knows it's false, so she's lying, ken, to his credit, might have some comprehension problems.

I remember when you advanced the Iraq war using the same type of arguments

hmmm - s brennan. i think you're mistaking me for john hinderaker. easy to do - no biggie. but i'll give u a million dollars if you can find one shred of evidence that i ever supported this war.

i can send you copies of donations to howard dean if you'd like (my first ever)

heck ,i started BLOGGING b/c of my opposition to the iraq war. you;ve really outdone yourself on this thread. i remember a time when u would actually argue in good faith

Ken,

"I think Hillary Clintons statement later indicated which words of Obama's she was referring to:"

She said "The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote."

So what is the EXACT quote?

So tell me what words she was specifically referring to of his.

Instead of insinuation how bout your explain yourself?

As an anonymous friend of mine wrote me: there are two options.

(1) Clinton is lying about what Obama said. My preferred option, and one that just makes it that much less likely that I'll ever find a reason to rethink my view of her. But consider the apparently more flattering second option:

(2) She actually thinks he meant that Reagan had good ideas. -- Now imagine her taking this same ability to understand what other people mean -- this nuanced capacity to grasp what they're really getting at, and to appreciate subtle shadings of meaning -- and deploying it in the context of, oh, arms control negotiations.

Fun, fun, fun.

"heck ,i started BLOGGING b/c of my opposition to the iraq war. you;ve really outdone yourself on this thread."

He's actually john thullen playing an elaborate gag to illustrate the kind of lies Clinton tells in support of her causes.

Though usually he lets us in on it by now...

Hmm.

I think I should warn everyone that by referring to s brennan as "u", Purim is engaging in a subtle campaign of depersonalization. Eventually, Puling plans to use s brennan as a paperweight or a garden gnome, and hopes that by then everyone will be so desensitized that no one will notice.

Just saying. Putrid is up to no good. Neither are his henchmen: Pullman Porter, Punchinello, and Punchbowl. You have been warned.

This is getting tiresome.

HIllary did not attack Obama for his praise for Reagan.

Hillary attacked Obama for his praise of republican ideas.

Some people demand that I produce the words Obama used that Hillary was criticising.

I provided a quote from the debate that would lead us to think she was referring to these words of Obama:

"...the republicans were the party of ideas ...they were challenging conventional wisdom.”

Now I don't speak for Clinton so if she produces a different quote then that is the one we should refer to and not this one.

Hilzoy, if you don't think that the phrase 'challenging conventional wisdom' is a phrase commonly understood to be praise then we are at an impasse.

But to democrats and liberals it is clear enough. Hillary brought this up in the debate, Obama tried to squirm out of it, and Hillary didn't let him.

And so we will see Hillary's poll numbers go up as a result.

Hilzoy, why does the feminist in you refuse to call her Hillary?

Imagine for a moment if Bush took credit for the Iraq War as an example of his fine statesmanship. I really feel that HRC providing '94 as evidence that she can stand up to lobbyists is about as much a non sequitur, if not as anger inducing (because the consequences of '94 are not nearly as grave as the consequences of Iraq).

the exact quote:

"I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10 to 15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.”

Obama supporters, can you tell me what Republican ideas he was talking about over the last 10 to 15 years--the ones that challenged conventional wisdom?

End of the capital gains tax?
Pre-emptive war?
Democrats are all weak and most of them hate America?
Evolution is just a theory?

I'm saying, come on. It's obvious he got off the rails there in a clumsy attempt to diss Bill Clinton. Big deal, he's busted being imperfect. I think HRC is right to take this on, because how do read "the Republicans were the party of ideas" -- language that is undeniably positive --to mean he wasn't giving them a compliment.

hitchhiker: LET HIM COMPLIMENT THEM. Do you really think you are going to win over moderates if you've decided that there's not a kind word to be said about the other party?

Ara: "refused" is probably too strong. But something in me thinks it sounds off when the only person I call be her first name is also the only woman in the race. Even if I know that the reason why I do it (or would do it) is because she's also the only person who needs to be distinguished from a famous spouse with the same last name.

Isn't there something kinda sad when a one-tune hack gets called out & tries to keep on going? Tries to hold it together with sheer chutzpah?
It seems like a clown at a child's birthday party, but the child is frightened of the clown. So the clown halfheartedly tries a few funny faces, upsetting the child further. The clown pauses: his techniques aren't working, yet he knows nothing else. He makes another face.

hitchhiker,
Obama supporters, can you tell me what Republican ideas he was talking about over the last 10 to 15 years--the ones that challenged conventional wisdom?
....
I'm saying, come on. It's obvious he got off the rails there in a clumsy attempt to diss Bill Clinton.

Ill give you a twofer: Welfare reform. An area where the GOP challenged conventional wisdom & successfully sold their vision to America *and* an example of Bill Clinton buying into GOP ideas rather than implementing a progressive agenda.

It's misleading to claim that the 'ideas' Obama was talking about were things such as 'voter suppression in minority communities' and 'molesting House pages'. A great deal of BC's success was based on the co-option of Republican ideas- ironically, this is the "track record" that HRC is claiming as her own when she speaks of her vast experience.

hithchiker, please watch the video from 18:30 onwards for three minutes: it is perfectly clear what his point is

Publis,

I remember when you advanced the Iraq war

Brennan, as someone who started reading legal fiction about three and a half years ago I have to say that the idea that Publius ever supported the war is so preposterous as to render anything else you might say totally lacking even a shred of credibility.

but i'll give u a million dollars if you can find one shred of evidence that i ever supported this war.

Publius, I'm sure that Brennan will be showing up on your doorstep any day now to collect that million. I mean, he's already proven that you're an hysterical Obama supporter, so I'm sure he'll have no difficulty demonstrating that all of your writings were actually in praise of the providential sagacity of the adminstration's war. Better hope that your next lottery ticket pans out.

This issue speaks right to the heart of Obama's campaign theme and I wish he would address it as such.

It is precisely THESE TACTICS that have so bitterly divided our electorate over the last few decades. As a semi-uninformed high-school liberal in the 90's, I was all too willing to chalk up these tactics solely to the Republicans, especially in the wake of the whole Lewinsky debacle. Looking back, some of the Clinton's political shenanigans have been no better than Bush's...the presumptuous health-care bill, presented to their own congress on a take-it-or-leave-it basis (a la Cheney's energy bill) or the numerable indefensible pardons (most likely in return for votes in most cases) just to name a couple.

But the main problem is "The Rube Strategy" you described above, and the Clinton's have been deploying this one this entire primary season. The bigger problem is that the Rube Strategy has been in full effect on both sides of the aisle for years now, and it has produced an electorate with a complete intellectual-disconnect from the actual issues. Look at where we are with Iraq in terms of the public debate: "I'm against the war - Get out tomorrow" vs. "I'm for the war - Stay for 100 years". Neither seem like a very pragmatic strategy.

I look forward to a President like Obama, who doesn't turn his opponents into demagogues or twist their words. It will go a long towards advancing the general knowledge of the electorate, and thus enhancing the sphere of public debate.

"I have to call her 'Hillary Clinton'."

"Senator Clinton" is unambiguous, correct, and has an identical number of letters.

Hilzoy, if you don't think that the phrase 'challenging conventional wisdom' is a phrase commonly understood to be praise then we are at an impasse.

Given that biologists frequently characterize intelligent designists as challenging conventional wisdom, but in a derisive manner, then, yes, indeed, WE are at an impasse.

There's no help for you there.

hitchhiker: LET HIM COMPLIMENT THEM. Do you really think you are going to win over moderates if you've decided that there's not a kind word to be said about the other party?

Would it blow some gaskets even to hold out the possibility that they could be....right on one or two points? Certainly, the moderate voters may think that.

But, no, the Democratic candidate must be ideologically pure, rather than give a bone to the other side.

Obviously learning our lessons well from our Republican masters....

hilzoy: I see where you are coming from on this.

You'll notice I tend to use HRC when my tone is more neutral and Hillary when I mean to be disparaging. I'd like to think that sexism isn't involved in that.

But there are precedents. Oprah is Oprah and I wouldn't think sexism is involved. Saddam was Saddam. Some people are just famous on a first name basis. HRC has been around in the public eye much longer than anyone else in this election, except maybe McCain.

Now, that being said, Hillary's enemies call her Hillary, which is actually something I am trying to channel -- that tone -- because that tone will be heard again, and I'd like to remind people that it is still there, lurking.

I remember her beginning to use Rodham more often starting with the senatorial run as if she were trying to reinvent herself (and why shouldn't she, after all the vilification she had been through?), but between '92 and '00 she was just Hillary, for better or for worse.

Some people are just famous on a first name basis.

I use "Hillary" simply because it avoids potential confusion with her husband.

If there was another national figure out there named Romney or Obama, I'd probably be calling them Mitt and Barack.

Thanks, I've seen the video. Repeatedly. It is perfectly clear what point he was making: that people liked Ronald Reagan because he seemed to be pointing the country in a new direction, and that the country was ready to be pointed in a new direction, and that he-Obama--believed that his arrival on the scene was similarly timed.

All good.

But I think he stumbled when he kept going about how the Republicans were "the party of ideas in the last ten or 15 years, in the sense that they challenged conventional wisdom."

Doesn't that have to be a separate thought from the business about Reagan? Reagan hasn't been part of the Republican challenging of conventional wisdom in the last 10 or 15 years. Obama was talking about Bill Clinton and how he was, I guess, not challenging the conventional wisdom during his presidency.

And I love that in the same breath I'm getting all-capped to reach out to moderates while being given Bill Clinton's signature on the welfare reform bill as evidence that Democrats had no new ideas of their own.

The best new idea that Obama should have remembered from the last 10-15 years was a balanced budget. How's that for challenging conventional wisdom? Democrats can handle money.

I want that news front and center 24/7 from all of our candidates; it will pull more moderates our way than any weird compliments to the Republicans for their "ideas".

I think it is too bad about all the WalMart hate. WalMart has done more to make good things affordable to poor people than your average Democrat.

OK, I'm late to the WalMart party. But:

I'll entertain this argument when WalMart preferentially sources anything, at all, from an American supplier located in a poor community.

Until then, AFAICT they're a company that made a lot of money from being the only game in town in poor rural areas.

Bully for them. That was a great marketing insight, and I'll even bet that Sam, personally, meant well.

But the "WalMart, friend of the poor" thing doesn't do a thing for me.

That is going to come out at some point and Obama will have to answer for his pretences to the contrary.

Yes, we can all only imagine the day when Obama is forced -- forced! -- to confess to being the scion of canned hams, the son of a man with many goats, and a guy who went to a pretty good school.

I hope he can bear the shame.

the Hysterical Supporter

Isn't that something girls had to wear in gym class?

Thanks -

The best new idea that Obama should have remembered from the last 10-15 years was a balanced budget. How's that for challenging conventional wisdom? Democrats can handle money.

I want that news front and center 24/7 from all of our candidates; it will pull more moderates our way than any weird compliments to the Republicans for their "ideas".

Well said.

Thanks -

Geez louise.

Can any liberal/progressive honestly say that the Democrats have been the catalyst for change in this country, heck, for 30 years?

8 years of a Clinton presidency yielded exactly what progressive ideas? Don't Ask Don't Tell? Welfare Reform? Balanced budgets?

Maybe those are good ideas but they aren't exactly what I consider progressive ideals.

Hillary is attacking this because it impugns here husband's legacy. And it is her husband's legacy that justifies her candidacy.

Watch what the Clinton campaign is now doing about Florida: they accuse Obama of breaking the promise not to campaign in Florida because he airs television ads on national TV. It's pointed out that Obama tried to keep the ads off Florida's TV markets, but the cable companies said this was impossible.

Clinton campaign ignores this argument (a la "present", Reagan, etc.), insists that Obama's campaigning in Florida. They've now laid the groundwork for fully breaking that promise, campaigning a bit in Florida, and carrying it in a landslide because Clinton has greater name recognition and the Obama campaign has no time to mobilize there. Thus, whatever bounce Obama gets out of SC gets neutralized when Clinton carries Florida in a landslide.

Brilliant. Dismayingly brilliant.

at the very least, this whatever-it-takes spirit in HRC is, in a way, encouraging. a couple of weeks ago, i was asking people to point out any example of her oft-mentioned fighting spirit; but i got no answers. turns out she's answered it herself, in the meantime. and now, it's pretty clear that she (and her team) will fight for something she wants. so the next step is to convince me that what she wants is going to be good for the country, and not just for her.

since there's no chance of getting an honorable politician, we might as well have one who may fight dirty, but who at least fights for the right things.

since there's no chance of getting an honorable politician, we might as well have one who may fight dirty, but who at least fights for the right things.
Are you joking? This is one of the perverse lessons that many Democrats seem to have gleaned from the last twenty years or so, so it's hard for me to tell. Putting aside the ethical implications of condoning gutter politics, simply mimicking the GOP for the sake of schadenfreude isn't the makings of a sound strategy.

Fighting dirty isn't effective unless you can do it effortlessly -- without getting your nose dirty -- and whether it's because she's so intensely scrutinized, or because she's simply not very good at it, Hillary can't seem to do it without getting dragged down herself. And her surrogates look bad doing it, too -- even Bill, who's normally recognized as a fairly adept politician, looks bad when he tries to play this game.

Bush fights dirty -- and hell, lots of people know it -- but he's able to get away with it, over and over again. It sucks, but that's the way it is. But just because lying and slandering has worked for Bush and Rove doesn't mean that it's an effective tactic for every other candidate, nor that it's the only response to falsehoods and distortions.

As an example, I think that Obama's mode for dealing with slime politics is pretty effective, mostly because it plays to his strengths. He's quite good at getting jabs in here and there, and defusing underhanded criticisms, but Edwards' style, e.g., wouldn't suit him well, and he's clearly aware of that. Senator Clinton, too, has many, many strengths as a candidate, but none of them are well complemented by a dirty campaign, nor is she very good at it in the first place.

Sigh...The Reagan debate is amazing. I agree with the poster who said (l) either HRC is deliberately misinterpreting Obama's Reagan comment or (2) she actually thinks he meant to talk fondly and approvingly of the Reagan agenda.

If (l), HRC is engaged in the same kind of big lie politics that have become old hat under the current administration. If (2), HRC's reputation for intelligence is overrated. Obviously Obama did not mean to praise Reaganonics: Who but the brain dead could think such a thing?

Re. Obama's record in the Illinois Senate, the HRC campaign persists in distorting it. He has a stronger and longer record of legislative accomplishment than HRC. He has been resolutely pro-choice and progressive. The suggestion that he would be against the privacy rights of sexual abuse victims was a ludicrous untruth. The HRC website is not a reliable source of information on this subject. Go to the Obama website.

The poster who thinks Obama is the heir to some great fortune and grew up in privilege should really, as has already been suggested, provide a source for these extravagant claims.

The fallout from all of this will be that if HRC is nominated many feminists and traditional Democrats will stay home in November. If the first white woman to become President of the US has to get there on a river of lies and racism, let the election go to McCain. He wouldn't use thes e tactics.

Sigh...The Reagan debate is amazing. I agree with the poster who said (l) either HRC is deliberately misinterpreting Obama's Reagan comment or (2) she actually thinks he meant to talk fondly and approvingly of the Reagan agenda.

If (l), HRC is engaged in the same kind of big lie politics that have become old hat under the current administration. If (2), HRC's reputation for intelligence is overrated. Obviously Obama did not mean to praise Reaganonics: Who but the brain dead could think such a thing?

Re. Obama's record in the Illinois Senate, the HRC campaign persists in distorting it. He has a stronger and longer record of legislative accomplishment than HRC. He has been resolutely pro-choice and progressive. The suggestion that he would be against the privacy rights of sexual abuse victims was a ludicrous untruth. The HRC website is not a reliable source of information on this subject. Go to the Obama website.

The poster who thinks Obama is the heir to some great fortune and grew up in privilege should really, as has already been suggested, provide a source for these extravagant claims.

The fallout from all of this will be that if HRC is nominated many feminists and traditional Democrats will stay home in November. If the first white woman to become President of the US has to get there on a river of lies and racism, let the election go to McCain. He wouldn't use thes e tactics.

... let the election go to McCain. He wouldn't use thes e tactics.

Yeah, St. McCain is above all that. He'd never make an offensive joke about a political opponent's 18-year-old daughter or read passages from someone's psychiatric record into the Congressional Record.

"8 years of a Clinton presidency yielded exactly what progressive ideas? Don't Ask Don't Tell? Welfare Reform? Balanced budgets?"

Whatever progressive ideas President Clinton had, he wasn't able to put them into effect. But what he did do was take progressive action. That's the lesson of his administration. Working poor people's lives got better because the earned income tax credit was increased. Labor did better because of better people on the NLRB. Everyone did better because the country's fiscal house was put in order by raising taxes on those who could afford it.

I guess what I'm saying is, I think new ideas are kind of over-rated. We know what we need to do. A lot of it is just "small-bore" stuff, like making sure that the FDA and OSHA and EPA and CPSC etc. do their jobs. You know, stuff that saves people's lives.

Oh, yeah, and universal health insurance.

Mark Kleiman on the Clinton campaign:

"Like the Republicans, they want the voters to confuse lack of scruple with toughness, and honesty with weakness."

If we fall for it, shame on us.

Are you joking? This is one of the perverse lessons that many Democrats seem to have gleaned from the last twenty years or so, so it's hard for me to tell. Putting aside the ethical implications of condoning gutter politics, simply mimicking the GOP for the sake of schadenfreude isn't the makings of a sound strategy.

i said nothing like that at all. not even a little. this is not the argument you're looking for.

"condoning gutter politics" ? accepting the fact that HRC will likely be The One and that she is what she is and that, as long as she can fight, we can hope she'll fight for good is not "condoning" anything. it's trying to make lemonade.

I hate to go back to points made further up but the biggest criticisms of Obama seem to relate to his praising Reagan and is saying the Republican ideas were good.

Of course, neither happened.

Point one, he spoke about both Reagan and Kennedy as being transformative, which they were. Focusing purely on Reagan, he spearheaded a movement which ended up with a Republican power base in Congress which had not existed for years. He, at least as it was perceived, reached out to independents and moderate Dems to build a coalition. The face of the government was drastically changed. At no time did Obama say he agreed with or Approved the changes, in fact he did the opposite. Clinton, however (both of them) have been known to praise Reagan directly. And it should be noted that Obama's response was to a question about how he could affect Congressional races which is eactly what Reagan did.

Secondly, the Republican party has been the party of ideas, at least in terms of what is seen by the public. Does anybody remember "The Contract with America"? A major idea which worked. Forget policy for a moment, because ideas and policy are two different things. What ideas have the Democrats come up with?

One of the key elements of the Republican success from 1994 to 2006 was that Democrats tended to be policy driven (which most voters find boring) and the Republicans were idea oriented. And even more, they were able to present their ideas in such a way that it masked their actual policies.

If I said the Nazis were the party of social change in the 1930's in Germany, would I be wrong? No. However, would that be the same as saying I approved of those changes? Of course not.

The Clintons are mastering the art of misrepresentation at a level normally only seen by what the Republicans did to Kerry and Bush.

I don't know if they are afraid they would lose if things were presented in a fair and factual way (I think the Republicans felt that way) or if it is just ingrained in their blood.

And I am not saying Obama is perfect and pure. Nobody that survives in the realm of politics is. But he has definitely not gone to the extreme of the Clintons in this area.

Strikes me that the Clintin campaign has achieved exactly what Rove wanted the SwiftBoat Liars to achieve: distort the debate so that the false accusation about the other person gets repeated over abd over.

On of my neighbors told me that she had doubts about Obama. My response: I don't care what Hillary said Obama said. Hillary isn't electable. I don't want us to nominate a loser again.

Intraspecific agression, or attacks made from candidates in the same party, especially in the twisted, sound-bite context of these tv debates, is much different than the attacks that will come to Obama when he is the Democratic candidate in the general campaign. You see this in the world of animals, and we are animals. Josh Marshall is of Wash. D.C. He thinks in the tired way of Washington which is cynical, not imaginative, does not talk to people who are actually doing good because they are hopeful and believe their work will have a positive effect on the world, or at least the sphere in which they are applying their good works. That is what Obama is trying to do, in the face of cynics like TPM who would think want Obama to be another clone of HC or a hollow shirt like JE. He can't see beyond his own reflection.

john miller: If I said the Nazis were the party of social change in the 1930's in Germany, would I be wrong? No. However, would that be the same as saying I approved of those changes? Of course not.

If you said it to a group of Neo-Nazis interviewing you for an election endorsement, and remained silent about the other side of the Nazi coin (you know, all those concentration camps and invasions and bloody conquests, etc. which resulted from those policies of 'social change) don't you think that could be interpreted as an acquiescent approval of those policies?

And if you said to them Adolph Hitler had changed 'the trajectory' of Germany, and put it on a 'fundamentally different path' without pointing out that the path led millions of Germans of a particular religious persuasion into the ovens at Buchenwald and Dachau and Auschwitz, et. al., don't you think dispassionate observers of those comments might point that you were a wee bit unbalanced on the praise-condemnation scale?

Of course, I don't mean to impugn Ronald McReagan or the Republican party with comparisons to Adolph and the Nazis - I'm just exaggerating the comparison to indicate Obama while trying to curry favor with a Republican Newspaper used a whishy-washy ass-kissing assessment of the last quarter century of our political history to make points with them - similar to the kind of politely insincere platitudes you might offer to an overweight hostess who invited you to a party and answered the door dressed in a moo-moo the size of a circus tent, and instead of truthfully gasping that she looks like John Travolta in drag in the movie Hairspray, you temper your greeting with a noncommittal meaningless compliment about how stylish she looks: a contextually polite white-lie.

similar to the kind of politely insincere platitudes you might offer to an overweight hostess who invited you to a party and answered the door dressed in a moo-moo the size of a circus tent

Fat hate... that's going to make people believe your arguements, yessir!

Hillary Clinton is rapidly approaching the point beyond which I will find myself unable to vote for her in the general election. The ad described is one step above editing a quote to elide a negative. This is nothing short of contemptible, no matter how hard she and her supporters try to persuade themselves to the contrary.

Jay, Obama did point out thwe negatives.

So your question is irrelevant.

Of course, I don't mean to impugn Ronald McReagan or the Republican party with comparisons to Adolph and the Nazis - I'm just exaggerating the comparison to indicate Obama while trying to curry favor with a Republican Newspaper used a whishy-washy ass-kissing assessment of the last quarter century of our political history to make points with them -

I thought that was the point of getting things done on the national level. If he can win over Republicans, or at least, forestall attacks until AFTER he's made proposals, why not?
Are we so inculcated in attack politics that we disdain this type of strategy from the very start?

Gromit, your sputtering fury at a politician using their opponents very own words against them is funny.

"The Republicans were the party of ideas" said Obama, implying that the democrats had no good ideas.

Your anger is misplaced. You should be angry at your guy for seeking the endorsement of a conservative newspaper while in the midst of a campaign where he needs the votes of democrats.

That his words are used against him should be no surprise to anyone. Democrats are very upset at Obama for his embrace of republican talking points. The fact that Clinton is willing to call him on is going to score her big points among all voters disgusted by what the GOP has done over the last 10 to 15 years.

If this teaches Obama to keep his mouth shut about how much he likes republicans while seeking votes from democrats then more power to him.

But sadly, I don't think he is balanced enough to learn this lesson. He will be furious that someone challenges the wisdom of his words and will look even worse for it. Unless he can resist his impulses to exacerbate the situation the Obama primary campaign is over.

Your anger is misplaced. You should be angry at your guy for seeking the endorsement of a conservative newspaper while in the midst of a campaign where he needs the votes of democrats.

There are no conservative Democrats? No Democrats who hold opinions that could be considered conservative?

News to me. In fact, I'd be quite angry with people who would try to shut such folks out of the party.

Ken, i'm glad to see in your most recent post you have realized that Obama was not speaking favorably of Republican ideas.

yoyo,

Sorry if I led you to misunderstand me.

Obama certainly did praise Republican ideas. He said they 'challenged conventional wisdom'. Given the context in which the words were spoken, plus his past use of Republican talking points, there can be no doubt he was using language that implied approval.

If he misspoke then let him say so. If he didn't mean what he said let him first acknowledge how his words are harmful to progressives fighting those republican ideas, and he can retract them.

But until he addresses the issue Democrats will remain upset that a nomenee seeking democratic votes would say such a thing.

Some people might be interested in reading the "conservative" Reno Gazette-Journal's endorsement of John Kerry from October 2004.

I give up trying to get someone to see what is out there and continues in complete denial.

Sort of like those voters who continued to vote for Bush despite the obvious.

gwangung: I thought that was the point of getting things done on the national level. If he can win over Republicans, or at least, forestall attacks until AFTER he's made proposals, why not?
Are we so inculcated in attack politics that we disdain this type of strategy from the very start?


Well, yeah, it's good to win over Republicans (and Independents, and anyone else you can get on your side) but was he being sincere when he made those adulatory comments about Reagan and Republicans, or distorting the truth like a used car salesman selling a jalopy to promote himself?

Does Obama really think Republicans were the party of ideas over the last few decades? I mean really believe that? Or was he just patronizing the editorial staff, patting them on their little pointy heads with a lot of crap so they'd like him better?

Or was there a more sinister reason for his Reagan adulation, his Republican love-fest? Is he in fact a closet Republican? Or worse, a Republican mole? Does Red-State blood run in his veins?

Lets look at some of the other things he said in the interview, to test this theory.

Alongside the positive statements he made about Reagan and Republicans to the reporters who questioned him was an avowal that government had 'grown and grown" but there was "no sense of responsibility how it was operating," and he coupled those curious comments with a disparaging aside about the "excesses of the 60s and 70s." Contextually that sounds suspiciously like echoes of the mantras we've heard for decades, right out of the Republican play-book for ways to disparage Democrats: the Democrats-are-big-spenders-without-fiscal-restraint meme; plus other off-sounded negative Limbaugh-like criticisms from Republicans who constantly disparage the 60s and 70s for producing a culture of hippy-immoral-liberal-secularist-abortion lovers, responsible for the moral decline of the nation.

In fact, if you look at it objectively, Obama's the perfect Republican mole: a disruptive presence sent in to undermine what would have been a sure Democratic victory in 2008 by a liberal female US Senator whose husband was highly esteemed by Democrats in general, and by Black Democrats in particular, who herself would have locked up the women's vote, and who most likely would have carried large numbers of Democrats running on her coattails into office.

Now, thanks to Obama's entry into the race, you can kiss that opportunity goodbye. He's screwed up the Democratic political landscape in a way that will dramatically improve Republican chances to recapture the White House, and both houses of Congress as well.



Obama is a Republican mole for screwing up Clinton's chance at office? O-kay.

Hm, Ken seeing the context you made that post in I'm sorry i misconstrued your point. I'm glad we can agree that Obama was only speaking about rhetoric and narrative and not the policy implementation.

Call it “the rube strategy” – we’ll say what we want and most people will be too ignorant to ever figure out the difference.

Very good Publius. I personally call it ‘Demoligarchy’. And, guess what, it works!

The whole strategy is predicated on dumbing down the electorate, which is precisely why the Founding Fathers passed their electorate through a means test. Only 12% of Citizens could vote in 1789. The dummies who idealistically believe in universal voting rights and importing Democratic voters are really playing into the hands of the men who would make the vast majority of us wage slaves, or worse.

The ‘rube strategy’ or ‘Demoligarchy’ is probably ten years ahead of us in Central America. Eventually things get to the point where the winner of the election can out and out ignore the voters and cut a direct deal with the men who run the Country (usually countable on one hand).

We’d be headed there too if it weren’t for, I’d say, 30-40 million Americans who refuse to be easily governed. I’m shaky on Ron Paul, but some of those natives of his are starting to get restless.

"Or was there a more sinister reason for his Reagan adulation, his Republican love-fest? Is he in fact a closet Republican? Or worse, a Republican mole? Does Red-State blood run in his veins?"

I doubt he's even human, myself.

And obviously, if he's a Republican, he couldn't be.

I recommend worrying about all this, non-stop.

"He's screwed up the Democratic political landscape in a way that will dramatically improve Republican chances to recapture the White House, and both houses of Congress as well."

You've only scratched the surface. Once this is accomplished, Skynet will be in position to take over almost immediately.

Oh, totally. Someone who decided to be a community organizer out of college, and then after Harvard Law, when (as President of the Law Review) he could basically write his own ticket and take whatever Supreme Court clerkship or high-paying job he wanted, went back to the South Side of Chicago to work on voting rights because he had given his word, is totally a Reaganite.

Absolutely. No question about it. I mean, d'oh! That's what Reaganites always do.

I have yet to see anyone come up with any indication that he said that the Republicans had not just "ideas", but good ideas.

Sometimes the best treatment for ridiculous statements is ridicule....

While the Clinton campaign is slicing and dicing Sen. Obama's words for attack ads, to the point where they can't even quote the entire sentence and still maintain the lie that he's praising GOP policies, Obama's Georgia campaign is sending out the following email:

Dear *******,

As the Democratic primaries heat up, we're seeing a lot of the ugly Washington tactics right here in Georgia.

Most recently, we've heard a number of disturbing reports from metro-Atlanta residents who have received automated calls criticizing Congressman John Lewis for supporting Senator Clinton's campaign.

Congressman Lewis is an American hero, and we all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his courage and sacrifice. Senator Obama and this campaign respect his decision to support Senator Clinton, and we call on the source of these appalling calls to stop them immediately.

These kinds of misleading tactics are exactly what inspired Barack to run for president -- to put an end to the politics of saying and doing whatever it takes to get elected. And in these final weeks before the Georgia primary on February 5, it's up to us to show that anonymous attacks and divisive Washington strategies won't decide the outcome of this race -- the people of Georgia will.

If you have received one of these misleading negative calls, please contact our Georgia Headquarters at 404-688-1108 or email us at [email protected]

Let's stand up for a new kind of politics and show our opponents how things should be done here in Georgia.

Thank you,

Eureka

Eureka Gilkey
Georgia State Director
Obama for America

The contrast between the two candidates could not be more stark. Far from condemning the dishonest attacks against her opponent, Sen. Clinton is approving those attacks.

Bill, if you're looking for a disparaging term for mob rule, what's wrong with 'mob rule'? It's what the Founders used.

And goodness knows, we need a return to the Good Old Days when a small band of Virginia oligarchs could agree over dinner on what direction to take the nation in. So it's good that, as you say, we're almost back to that. Soon, we'll return to the wisdom of our Central American neighbors, to let the important men settle important affairs, while the rest of us use our valuable time to practice tugging our forelocks.

And don't we all miss the days when elections were conducted with stately calm and dignity among well-informed voters who carefully, rationally, judged among fairly-presented alternatives, and we never saw tawdry political deals for the Presidency? Like, say, 1800. Indeed, who can forget those logical debates in the newspapers over the merits of Citizen Genet's principled disputes with Washington? We hearken back to the halcyon 1820s when the courtly supporters of John Quincy Adams scorned to call Mrs. Andrew Jackson a whore, knowing as they did that such considerations could never affect the judgment of the select few who were granted the vote. Alas for our Republic, so diminished by letting women, Blacks, and other trash vote! O, tempora! O, mores!

Obama certainly did praise Republican ideas. He said they 'challenged conventional wisdom'.

Don't insult my intelligence.

The two are in no ways equivalent.

And stop acting like a Republican. These are the same quote mining, logic chopping arguments I get from creationists all the time.

No, no, Hilzoy, you're being distracted by shadows, missing the true depths of the deception. In 1969, Karl Rove, then 17 years old, went to Jakarta on a supersecret mission to recruit 8-year-old Barack Obama to be the perfect Republican mole to sabotage the 2008 presidential election for the Democrats. All that stuff about community organizing and voting rights and caring for the poor and his liberal voting record? Don't be so naive! It's all a cover!

Hmm, now I'm wondering whether I should have written that, since I don't want it appearing as fact in Clinton's next campaign ad.

Obama certainly did praise Republican ideas. He said they 'challenged conventional wisdom'.

know what else challenges conventional wisdom?

Time Cube.

More artful misrepresentation from ABC News.

Apart from teh YouTubes and teh blogosphere, is just like 2000 all over again.

/nauseous nostalgia

Are people here still trying to prove that Barack Obama was not speaking approvingly of republican ideas as he was seeking the approval of a republican editorial board?

Give it up people, you lost the argument, Obama is taking a beating over it, move on.

Are people here still trying to prove that Barack Obama was not speaking approvingly of republican ideas as he was seeking the approval of a republican editorial board?

Naw. But that Time Cube dude cleek linked to sure is. He’s talking all kinds of smack about the Clintons. I can’t link directly to where it starts but it’s down a little ways. Just start from the top and keep reading…

Are people here still trying to prove that Barack Obama was not speaking approvingly of republican ideas as he was seeking the approval of a republican editorial board?

Argument by assertion really doesn't fly anywhere.

And telling us white is black and black is white is STILL insulting our intelligence.

Try another tack.

"More artful misrepresentation from ABC News."

Whoa! I thought Obama was going to hulk out there, for a minute. Man, he's one scary scary dude when he's angry! I've never seen a politician so hysterical with rage!!!

Imagine what he'd be like with his finger on the nuclear button!

This shows he's just like OJ inside, which is something Obama supporters don't want you to know!!!!!

(Anyone else want to try for an entry in the ken-sound-alike pool?)

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