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February 06, 2008

Comments

hilzoy: I assumed (in retrospect) that it was a performance art piece inspired by the People's Front of Judea...

"I've gotten two reponses from you here and they were both substance-free ad-hominem attacks."

As it happens, "ad hominem" has a meaning, and it isn't "someone made fun of something dumb I said."

You wrote: "and I hope the capitalization persuades you."

That's worth making fun of. If you hadn't written it, I wouldn't have responded to it. If you don't want people to respond to dumb things, don't write them. It works well; ask Hilzoy.

"And McCain is 180 degrees from Bush."

Try 45.

What you don't realize is that if Billary is the Democratic nominee that will hand the Presidential election to the Republican's because former Republicans, now independents like me, will vote Red before we ever vote for a Clinton. And it is the crossover voter like me that gave the Dems their current majority. Nominate Hillary at the peril of the Dem party.

If it you makes you feel any better, Gary, what Ben wrote is an alternate form of the infamous (and personal favorite) "I'm going to type this really slowly so you can follow..." flourish.

Incidentally, Ben, let me help you with that reading problem; it might save you time.

I wrote: "Y'know, I completely agree with you on the larger point,"

So thanks for spending time trying to persuade me. But if you bothered reading what I wrote, you wouldn't have had to waste the time. Wouldn't you rather have been doing something more fun?

"Besides, if you really felt that way about respectfully convincing others of your opinions, you wouldn't be such a wiseass."

What way?

Anyway, sure, I'm famously substance-free. Because people can't be wiseasses, and substantive. I'm living proof. It's a sacrifice, but I do it for you.

"Anyway, sure, I'm famously substance-free. Because people can't be wiseasses, and substantive. I'm living proof. It's a sacrifice, but I do it for you."

Well, I can't argue with that one...ummm....thanks?

Doing some thinking. The brilliance of a two-person Presidency is that one spouse would retain the official political power while the other would be legally free to pursue ‘consulting’ contracts.

This couple has made $150 million in the last few months. $150 million. Just wait until she is elected. A $400,000 per year Presidential salary works out to thirty something thousand per month.

The game ends with the failure of the social safety net.

Doing some thinking. The brilliance of a two-person Presidency is that one spouse would retain the official political power while the other would be legally free to pursue ‘consulting’ contracts.

That's never been legal for any of the public disclosure commissions I've ever dealt with.

$6.34M for Obama since the Feb. 5th polls closed and counting. Wow.

I donated just to show up Ron Paul, personally.

$6.38 since I refreshed. Double wow.

I wondered if I could get the impressions of hilzoy and other posters on this take on whether to vote for Clinton. I am truly torn.

I have no doubt McCain would be worse than Clinton on most every issue that matters, especially the war. But I really believe Obama is on to something when he talks about the timing of his run for president. I believe his talk of the "fierce urgency of now" is not ambition, but rather a recognition that something really special could happen for the progressive agenda with the Republicans now at an historical low point. Electing Clinton would squander this opportunity and the animosity that flows toward the Clintons, fairly or unfairly, would poison the atmosphere so that this opportunity would not present itself again for decades. This isn't so much about Obama, as I thought Edwards could have taken advantage of this moment as well, except that Obama deserves credit for recognizing what the times call for and speaking to it. Surely the numbers showing up to vote in the Democratic versus the Republican primaries indicate that the moment is ripe for a paradigm shift rather than incremental improvements. This shift is desperately needed to move the country away from its rightward track.

McCain is not going to revive the Republicans standing in the country. Four more years in the wilderness might be worth preserving the moment for something bigger than 50 plus one.

NY Times: $130 million to broker ex-Soviet Dictator / Canadian Investor Uranium deal.

WS Journal: $20 million cash-out from UAE trust fund to clear up Hillary's name ahead of the elections.

God knows what else. Talk about a rogue Presidency before it even starts.

Probably all fully disclosed. But when 25% of the population can't find the Country on a map, who really cares? Got to give them their due, they are smart.

Bill, for god's sake, learn to link. You're not exactly revealing uncovered secrets. HTH. HAND.

Well, he's revealing he's part of the 25%, I think...

$6.416M -- jesus. OK, going to sleep now.

Triple wow.

Gary;

I’m going to set up a site to settle our squabbles because they don’t belong here. Not tonight, probably tomorrow.

People who care can make judgments, and we’ll have a written record. It might even be fun. How about www.billanswersgary.blogspot.com?

All the best;

I envisage the republicans being forced to deny half their own policies (or fail to support them) as part of an attempt to support a guy they don't want to support (like McCain), and then loosing anyway.

Then after that the Dems, the media and anyone else getting the Cheneys and various other people and hanging them out to dry without the cover of government. Maybe some infighting with moderate Repubs blaming some conservative republicans for not voting and otherwise generally being assholes.

After the election rewriting the history books such that the republican party is crippled for a decade and blamed for the coming troubles for the rest of the USA's life.

still, maybe that is an election or two in the future...

Obama is building movement-politics. It's taking on almost cult-like dimensions, and I say this as someone who just donated to him. Clintons negatives among them may not be that high, but if they feel thwarted in a way they feel is unfair-- then I think there's going to be some serious bitterness.

Don't forget that McCain has cultured an image as being a maverick-friendly independent. If he shifts left in the general, he could recapture some of that and become a much more attractive candidate to disaffected dems. With the base energized by Clinton-hatred, he'll have the leeway to do that.

I'm not sure if this has dawned on Hillary contributors yet (although the big ones probably realize) but now that the Clintons are *lending* money to their campaign, donations to Hillary 2008 do not increase the amout of advertising, etc. which the campaign can do. That will be determined by how much the Clintons are willing to lend the campaign. At the end of the day, the difference between what they spend and what they raise will determine how much of the loan they get back and how much becomes a contribution.

In effect, a contribution to Hillary 2008 is a gift to Bill and Hillary Clinton. They have a net wealth of $35 million, and the ability to earn much more by trading on their celebrity for directorships, advisory boards, speaches, etc. I can understand giving money to a campaign to make a difference in the election -- I've done that and will continue to do that. But do you really want to give up your hard earned money so that a very rich couple can get a bigger refund check?

Although I strongly support Obama, I'm starting to feel that I don't care about the whole "dynasty" argument against Hillary. As far as I know, there's no sign that Chelsea wants to go into politics, nor that any other relative of Bill and Hillary has any such plans. So any so-called dynasty would come to an end after Hillary's second term.

The Bush dynasty is different from the Clinton "dynasty." The Bushes include a father and some sons who have derived enormous benefits all their lives from their father's power and influence. Bill and Hillary are more like a team than a dynasty -- neither of them were born with wealth or influence, but working together they rose to power. I dislike them for other reasons, but the "dynasty" thing doesn't really work.

My personal estimate is that Hillary Clinton would lose against McCain. Disappointed Obama followers not voting would likely be compensated by evangelicals not voting because they think McCain is is not one of them. I see the main "asset" of McCain in that he could tap the Hillaryphobia of too many "moderates".
I won't dare any bets should McCain choose Huckabee as running mate though.
The silver lining would be in my view that the "newcomer" Obama would have a real second chance in 2012. To have been this successful with "no experience" and against the party establishment proves his potential. Edwards (or Kerry) on the other hand are truly "burned" now as presidential candidates.
In short, the Clinton-Obama factor lies in my view more on the GOP/Independent side than on any split on the Dem side.
---
Bets can be taken now on when the "Madrassa Veterans for Truth", the "Hawaiian Peoples Party"* and the "Black and White Purebreds united against the Mongrel" will make their first official stage appearance.

*a fake pro-Obama group that praises his commie credentials

Gary, I understand your personal passion for wanting to get out of Iraq. Every time I get an email that starts "The Commander Sends" my heart is in my throat wondering if I'm about to hear about a friend or coworker. I've found myself checking caller ID to make sure it's nobody's mother when I answer the phone. I grew up in the military, I work for the army and I've lost friends to the war. So don't try to pull the "how many dead soldiers are you willing to take" stuff with me. It might sway me if I thought for an instant HRC would do a better job of using the military well, but her record shows me she won't. At least John McCain knows you don't triangulate with soldiers.

Eric, you have a very good point about the supreme court, but isn't it congress's job to stop the Alito's?

Dean to save the day!

Dean said Democrats would look to “get the candidates together to make some kind of an arrangement” before the party meets in Denver this August to officially select its nominee.

Any suggestions on how to interpret this other than deciding which one gets to run for president while the other one runs for VP? Offer Obama the party’s full support in 2015 if he folds and goes back to the Senate?

“Because I don't think we can afford to have a brokered convention,” he said. “That would not be good news for either party."

Huh? That would be great for Republicans.

isn't it congress's job to stop the Alito's?

If McCain's the next President, you http://bench.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NGNhMjgyM2FhOTEzNmUwZWNkNGY2YWMzNzdmYWNkYTQ=>might not have to worry about stopping the Alito's.

femdem, but the current Congress hasn't exactly stopped any of those nominations has it? And what about all the Federal Circuit Court judicial appointments, both District and Appeals, which I would argue are equally important? Do you really want McCain to have four, or eight, years to fill all those future vacancies?

"There was Hillary's healthcare plan dumped on the Democratic Congress without being open for debate (Cheney's energy bill, anyone?), their cynical use of homosexuals (Bush and the religious right), Bill's Chinese influence (Bush's Saudi influence), Sandy Berger's documents down the pants, and on and on."

Ben, how exactly do you equate "Bill's Chinese influence" with the Bush family's arguably much more lengthy and intimate involvement with the Saudi royal family?

And why does Berger's extremely poor judgment, to be charitable, with regard to archived documents well after Clinton left office count against the latter.

The Senate cannot vote down every Supreme Court appointment the president makes for four years. It wouldn't be politically sustainable even if there were enough senators willing to do it. Once you've lost the presidency, you've lost the Supreme Court. People should have learned that by now.

It's because I think having 2 immediate family members run for the WH is a bad idea.

Would you rule out other members of political families like Al Gore, Mitt Romney, or John McCain (2 generations of 4-star admirals ought to count as political)? Should Bobby Kennedy have been barred from the presidency? How about FDR? Was the election of John Quincy Adams the fatal turning point in American history?

Why is HRC the establishment candidate after 1 term in the Senate?

She's in her second term, but who's counting?

The first is what kind of maneuvering it is, and in particular whether it involves either side doing something that is patently unfair. To pick a deliberately implausible example: suppose that one side were to discover some implausible interpretation of the rules that meant that some large chunk of delegates pledged to the other side could not be seated. Suppose further that the person charged with interpreting the rules was a vocal supporter of the side doing the excluding, and that s/he ruled that the implausible interpretation was, in fact, the right one. Finally, suppose that the fact that those delegates were excluded from the convention made the difference: but for this exclusion, the person doing the excluding would not have won the nomination. In that case, there would be bitterness.

Indeed. I'm struck by the parallels between the situation you describe and Florida 2000...

Voting for Clinton means dynasty, but only as president (Senators being family seems to be no problem). Yet you don't have to vote for her since the house and the senate will decide on policies (appoint judged, implement healthcare plans).

Claiming 35 years of experience is ridiculed, yet everybody seems more than happy to blame her for every wrong decision by Bill Clinton - even those she opposed. And all previous comments and posts about how the USA faired much better under a democratic president are strictly ascribed to Bill Clinton.

She can't work together with Republicans, unless as a senator (her approval in NY seems fine).

Her ambition is scary ("anyone who has structured their entire life around winning the presidency needs to be kept far far away from the Oval Office") but the fact that Barack Obama always wanted to be in politics is no problem.

She "didn't start to engage in rhetoric against the war for two years," yet in her October 2002 speech she said:

If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. In recent days, Russia has talked of an invasion of Georgia to attack Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat from Taiwan?

So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option.
...
“Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.
...
However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.”

Is that really very different from Barack's speech that month?:

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?

Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

Didn't Barack state in 2004 that his position was not very different from president's Bush's position on the war, and that he couldn't be certain about what he would have voted for in 2002?

Hillary is a hawkish warmonger, but nobody has a problem with Barack stating that he would bomb Pakistan?

As I said earlier: I think both are good candidates but the bias here scares me. I don't much like personality cults and I think it is a shame to see all the right wing smears repeated by democrats about democrats.

Dutch, all the points you make are try of one person or another, but superimposing those views creates a bit of a Frankenstein monster of sewed together parts, implacable in its hatred of Hillary. I think that two people who may not want Hillary as president may have internally consistent views, yet when they are superimposed on each other, they give the effect of someone being hypocritical.

With Hillary, I think of an observation by Shelby Foote, who wrote a multivolume overview of the Civil War. He observed that there were military leaders who performed at one level with distinction and creativity, but when promoted to a higher position, fell to pieces. I am left with the vague feeling that we have something similar here.

since that last paragraph was not supposed to be part of the quote I assume I made a typo in the html (didn't preview, had to run to get the kids from school). I hope that's fixed now.

'true of one person or another'

my fingers hate me...

dutchmarbel, a couple points, not to create an argument but to clarify.

At no time has Obama said he would "bomb Pakistan", adn definitely not in the article you linked to.

BTW, I was somewhat surprised that noby discussed the fact that when we took out the latest number 3 al Qaeda leader, according to news sources he was in Pakistan at the time. Hmmm.

Anyway, Obama also did not say he was unsure how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate. He stated that bsaed on the information he had at the time, he would still have voted against it, with the caveat that he did not have access to the intelligence reports that the Senate had. Of course, Clinton has already admitted not reading that information.

And regards Clinton's wonderful speech in 2002, why didn't she vote for the Levin amendment?

dutchmarbel, a couple points, not to create an argument but to clarify.

At no time has Obama said he would "bomb Pakistan", adn definitely not in the article you linked to.

BTW, I was somewhat surprised that noby discussed the fact that when we took out the latest number 3 al Qaeda leader, according to news sources he was in Pakistan at the time. Hmmm.

Anyway, Obama also did not say he was unsure how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate. He stated that bsaed on the information he had at the time, he would still have voted against it, with the caveat that he did not have access to the intelligence reports that the Senate had. Of course, Clinton has already admitted not reading that information.

And regards Clinton's wonderful speech in 2002, why didn't she vote for the Levin amendment?

I have no idea how that happened. I only hit post once and did the squiggly thing once.

I'm not sure how many are still reading this thread, but I'd just like to point out that thankfully Firedoglake has taken up the issue of HRC voting against any restrictions on the use of CLUSTER BOMBS, so maybe this will finally get some traction.

Sorry for being a nuisance, but we talk about torture a lot (which is good), but this issue affects the physical inviolability of millions of people.

I am left with the vague feeling that we have something similar here.

Ah, gut feeling aka visceral reaction. Can I juxtaposition that with my gut feeling that a lot of those 'gut feelings' sound awfully familiar? Especially when it concerns women in high positions?

Sexism seems te be less popular than racisms, but Hillary has broken through more ceilings ("first woman who") than Barack has. I would hardly call myself a diehard feminist (their attitude towards SAHM's who take their husbands name is often less welcoming) but the fact that it is hardly recognized bothers me.

I think there are plenty of good reasons to vote for Obama. Both candidates have things I agree with and things I disagree with, things I admire and things I dislike. But I really prefer honest comparisons.

Due to the role of the USA in world politics (and the foreign politics of my own country) whom you vote for will have a big impact on me, yet I have to stand by the sideline seeing intelligent and well informed people reduce themselves to squibling kids and one-sided maniacs.

You can do better, I've séén you do better and I wish that for these important current elections the level of discussion would be raised to the normal ObWi level again.

I might as well throw in my three cents:

1. Six months from now the economy is going to be so bad that I can't see any Repub getting elected no matter how much the Dems rumble.

2. The above will insure that whoever gets elected will be a one-termer, probably thought of as a failure (unless there's a closet FDR out there).

3. The sucky economy will probably insure that absolutely nothing remotely progressive will get done, no matter who's there. On the good side, it may force us to leave Iraq totally when the money runs out.

Will Obama turn into another political whore, if he supports Clinton wholeheartedly against McCain?

What kind of self-righteous Post-Racial/Political (whatever!) stance could Obama supporters take then? If the Savior of American Politics is supporting Clinton and his supporters are backing McCain, it really seems the whole logic of his campaign was a fluke.

I think there's something very different at play this time around compared with 2004. I voted for Edwards in the primary, and then was content to vote for Kerry in the general. It had nothing to do with Edwards being on the ticket either. Instead, I had calmly chosen Edward because he was the best of the available choices during the Primary. And then I did the same in the General. My only passion was anti-Bush.

This time around, though, many folks are incredibly enthusiastic about their candidate (record turnouts suggest this). I think it might be a mistake to translate all of that into anti-Republican sentiment. We have two historic firsts and the women and blacks I talk to are clear that they are incredibly enthusiastic about the very real opportunity to see their own in the Oval Office.

I voted for Obama in New York, and when Hillary won our state I have to admit I felt something akin to a resentment so strong I considered not voting in the general. Part of this was the rationale I had used to vote for Obama in the first place (i.e., Hillary isn't trustworthy, she represents extreme partisanship, there will be more of the same divisiveness under her, etc.), but part of it was the notion that there is only a marginal difference between Hillary and McCain.

I calm down when I realize, if one steps back that far, then there's actually only a marginal difference between Obama and McCain on many issues, but .... my initial dislike for how Billary treated Obama after New Hampshire does lead me to feel another Clinton administration will be unbearable by about day 4 of her administration.

I feel that thinking like this does stand a chance of dividing the party. Of course, I'm sure the first time Hillary or Barack go up against McCain in a debate, and he calls for 100 more years of occupation in Iraq, that may instantly melt away.

Someotherdude, what reason do you have to posit that "his supporters [will be] backing McCain"? A few blog comments from the most heated part of the primary? And many of even those few people may very well feel differently in a few months.

I've seen plenty of blog comments from Clinton supporters saying they'll stay home or vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee, but I certainly wouldn't claim "her supporters" would be backing McCain.

Anybody know off-hand, what happens with Edwards' delegates? If he endorses Clinton or Obama, do the delegates pledged to him flip over? Are they up for grabs, free to vote as they choose once he withdraws? It's not a lot of votes but could make a difference in a really tight race.

Marbel: Ah, gut feeling aka visceral reaction. Can I juxtaposition that with my gut feeling that a lot of those 'gut feelings' sound awfully familiar? Especially when it concerns women in high positions?

Aside from your nasty little snideness about "diehard feminists", which I suppose was inevitable - women get enough bashing for identifying with feminist positions without actually sticking their heads over the parapet and admitting to being a feminist and getting really shot at - I actually agree wholeheartedly with everything you've said in this thread.

But, I remember the interpartisan debates about who was to be the nominee back four years ago - and I decided a long time ago that I was going to do my damnedest to stay out of USian arguments about who should be the nominee.

Obviously, whoever the Democratic Party picks, I hope they both win the election in November and get to be President next January. And while it's annoying to see people being sexist about Clinton as a candidate who wouldn't be racist about Obama as a candidate, in fairness, that's the state of political discourse: misogyny is more acceptable than racism.

McCain let Bush and Rove use sandpaper condoms on him and his family. Bush and Rove talked racist smack against his daughter and wife. The man is so desperate to be President he allowed degenerates to degrade his family. McCain wanted to be President so bad he allowed the Republican base to do all sorts of things to his character, yet Clinton is the one who wants power so desperately.

Posted by: KCinDC | February 07, 2008 at 10:11 AM

You got me there.

At no time has Obama said he would "bomb Pakistan", adn definitely not in the article you linked to.

“If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act,” Mr. Obama said, “we will.”

It's either bomb or invade, isn't it?

BTW, I was somewhat surprised that noby discussed the fact that when we took out the latest number 3 al Qaeda leader, according to news sources he was in Pakistan at the time. Hmmm.

I can only speak for myself, but you've taken out soooo many number threes (twos, fours) that it doesn't have much impact anymore. I guess Al Quaida has a realy flat organisation. And the fact that it is Pakistan means that it is at least CLOSE to the war and in all likelyhood an operation that is sanctioned by the (dicatorial) government of the country.

Anyway, Obama also did not say he was unsure how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate. He stated that bsaed on the information he had at the time, he would still have voted against it, with the caveat that he did not have access to the intelligence reports that the Senate had. Of course, Clinton has already admitted not reading that information.

Yeah, her not reading it was dumb. But I thought he had said that he didn't know how he would have voted in 2004. Can't find a link quickly, have to search a bit longer.

About the Levin amendment: voting to make the USA wait for UN permission? Would that have made her stance more 'electable'? I thought she voted for an amendment that said that Bush needed Congress permission every year, but that Bush sidetracked that by claiming the 'it is for national security and thus I decide' option. Have to look up specific conformation though... I read and read, but don't keep proper track of what I read where.

Dutch, I don't think that is a fair reading of what I wrote. I am left with the impression not that a woman is unable to do the job of president, it is that HRC has demonstrated enough missteps and mistakes that I don't think that the presidency will make use of her strengths but will spotlight her weaknesses. The phrase 'vague feelings' could be taken as what you suggest, but is actually is shorthand for 'I don't want to dig up everything that I have read that gives me that feeling, but the weight of all of it gives me that impression', not only because of the time it would take to assemble all the links, but the hyperactive spam filter here. But here is one view, from Brad DeLong back in 2003

My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president.http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001600.html

Now DeLong has modified those views recently, but to me, that point made back in 2003 is telling. I think that you have tendencies that are part of you, and short of a brain transplant, people fall back on their tendencies. That I choose to take particular information as evidence of tendencies could be taken as unthinking sexism, but the alternative is to dismiss the information, which I think is worse.

To make an analogy, two people could say that they dislike Chinese food and present convincing reasons why that do not overlap whatsoever and may contradict each other. But if they are internally consistent, I don't think you have the right to cry anti-Chinese-foodism because one person's reasons don't correspond to another person's. Because one person chooses to focus on certain things (not taking difficult stands despite/because of increased visibility, the way the campaign has been conducted, the people she has hired to work that campaign) and someone may not like HRC for reasons that contradict those, I don't think you can try and accuse the first person of hypocrisy/sexism because there is contradiction in the full range of presented reasons.

I'm an independent turned democrat this cycle. On my instant messenger list and in the few offices around where I have an idea of how people will vote this is what I see:
11/20 buddies are pro-Obama. 7/10 coworkers are pro-Obama. But I think only 3 or 4 would vote for Clinton in a general election.

Most of those people tend towards conservatives (I've voted for Perot and Nader in the past).

Whatever that's worth, it seems to me that Obama will pick up huge swaths of new Democratic voters (my entire family would be voting for a Dem ticket for the first time, spread over Jersey, Virginia, Colorado and Florida).

If it's not Obama, I'd guess most would go to McCain / Huckabee (if that ends up the ticket) a few to Clinton and I'd hope Bloomberg entered the race.

lj, I get the feeling, and I may be wrong, that you don't think people can learn from their mistakes.

I think Clinton has learned a lot from the health care debacle and would approach it differently. (See, even an Obama backer can defend Clinton.)

Personality may be more hard-wired so to speak, and I do think that Clinton tends to be a little too arrogant, but I think her understanding of how politics is played have matured.

That being said, I do think Obama has honed those skills to a much greater degree than Clinton and would be better dealing with potential and real opposition to his plans.

Now DeLong has modified those views recently, but to me, that point made back in 2003 is telling.

From the comments of that post:

I remember lsitening to Capital Gang a year or two ago and Barney Frank said that although Hillarycare had been a political failure it had been a policy success, since about 70% of it was already the law of the land.

As I recall both Bob Novak and Kate O'Beirne agreed with him.

Can anybody shed any light on this?

and:

A question for Brad: those I know who worked on the Health Care effort hold HRC in relatively high esteem. Indeed, although my sample size is small, I haven't heard anything like your claims before. Most people I know felt that the problems didn't center on her. That, for example, moderate Republicans, especially Dole, essentially sucker-punched them (after promising to take the plan as a starting point for a compromise) and that HRC wasn't to blame for the larger political mistakes the administration and congressional Democrats made. Was your the view at Treasury, or are you just pasing off your own impression as some sort of "general view?"

About the sexism: In my experience most people have internalized values and judgements without being aware of it. If sexism was restricted to the people who actively felt men were better than woman there would be a lot less of it. But a lot of it is well intended caring for, or is not being aware that qualities are judged differently between the genders. For me "my boss is a woman and I have no problem at all with it" sounds a lot like "but some of my best friends are...".

Jane at Firedoglake had an example last month of a video where a lot of people didn't see anything sexist - but for me it rings too many warning bells. But I also don't like sexy girls in bikini's or tight, miniscule clothing advertising the qualities of their product, no matter wether it is a truck or a politician.

Dutch: the comment about how Obama would have voted is here:

"He opposed the war in Iraq, and spoke against it during a rally in Chicago in the fall of 2002. He said then that he saw no evidence that Iraq had unconventional weapons that posed a threat, or of any link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
In a recent interview, he declined to criticize Senators Kerry and Edwards for voting to authorize the war, although he said he would not have done the same based on the information he had at the time.

"But, I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports," Mr. Obama said. "What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made."

But Mr. Obama said he did fault Democratic leaders for failing to ask enough tough questions of the Bush administration to force it to prove its case for war. "What I don't think was appropriate was the degree to which Congress gave the president a pass on this," he said."

He has said that he was trying not to criticize Kerry and Edwards so soon before the 2004 election, and that quote, in context, reads to me as though that was, in fact, exactly what he was doing: saying that as far as he could tell, w/o having read the intelligence reports available to Senators, he wouldn't have voted for it, since the case had not been made, but also leaving some wiggle room for Kerry and Edwards by saying: of course, who can say what was in those reports, and how it might have changed my mind.

I don't think we knew then that Clinton hadn't read the reports either.

The bootstrap problem

Which delegates get seated in the event of a challenge is decided, not by some expert, but by the delegates themselves.

Worse, the idea that it would take an implausible interpretation of the rules to challenge even large chunks of delegates is unfortunately incorrect.

For one thing, delegate selection is governed by three different sets of rules (state election law, 51 different state party rules, and national party rules) which are often not in synch. This is how the MI and FL dilemma arose.

Even worse, the process of selecting delegates is very complex and ill-understood, with several stages, different in different states. I'm on a county Democratic Committee here in VA, and I could better explain the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation than I could exactly how folks get to be delegates from VA to the Democratic convention.

But worst of all is the simple fact that this bewildering and ever-changing set of conflicting rules has not had its discrepencies and kinks worked out in practical "case law". We haven't had a contested convention in 50 years. It hasn't mattered in 50 years who gets seated. There are no objective experts who can sit in judgment and apply interpretations of how to make it all work hammered out in previous, precedent-setting seating contests.

Instead, seating challenges will have to be settled by the delegates themselves, delegates who themselves could have their seating very plausibly challenged. Seating challenges will snowball if who is seated will decide who wins, because almost all the pledged delegates will be plausibly challengable, and will have to be challenged to prevent the other side from prevailing in the seating votes.

lj, I get the feeling, and I may be wrong, that you don't think people can learn from their mistakes.

Not at all. But I do think that, as was pointed out by someone else, that there are an enormous number of people who feel their political bread is buttered by a restoration of the Clinton administration. And people don't learn from their mistakes if they are surrounded by people who seem more concerned about how they come out versus how the country comes out. Perhaps it is unfair to hold HRC accountable for the sins of Mark Penn, but that clip of Joe Trippi eviscerating Mark Penn still leaves a strong impression on me. This is not some local campaign flak who is going off on their own, this is part of the inner circle. And there are any number of old Democratic guard who have demonstrated serial incompentency in the past. And even those who are competent generally reflect former mindsets. Ari Berman might have a been in his bonnet about HRC, but I'd be interested in what points he has wrong here and here. From the second
These names suggest that Obama may be more open to challenging old Washington assumptions and crafting new approaches.

Hillary Clinton's camp, meanwhile, is filled with familiar faces from her husband's administration, like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Unlike Obama's advisers, the top Clintonites overwhelmingly supported the war in Iraq. From the march to war onward, Clinton and her advisers have dominated foreign policy discussions inside the Democratic Party. After largely supporting the war, they resisted calls for an exit strategy until 2005, when the situation had become unmanageably bleak. After turning against the war the Clintonites argued retroactively that Senator Clinton had voted, in Holbrooke's words, "to empower the President to avoid war."

I have to admit, I admire Richard Holbrooke, and had he been in charge of foreign policy in the run up to the war in Iraq, things would have probably been way better. But our Iraq intervention makes it seem, at least to me, that we can't go back to a time when American intentions were suitably camouflaged and do what Holbrooke did in Bosnia.

The self-interest of refusing trying to triangulate support for the Iraq war suggests to me there has not really been a learning moment for HRC, at least in regards to Iraq. Certainly nothing like Edward's acknowledgement that he made a mistake. So it's not that I don't think she is incapable of learning from her mistakes, just that she hasn't done so yet.

Dutch, I tend not to read thru comments on other websites because it is difficult to know where people are coming from. But when the first comment says

although Hillarycare had been a political failure it had been a policy success

I really don't think we can afford to have any more political failures, no matter how much of a policy success they are.

As for the rest, I can't see what kind of reasoning against HRC would not be dismissed by your argument. If I haven't made myself clear, I think sexism is a pretty big problem, and we need to take steps to deal with it. But I also think racism (and its hidden sibling, classism) are equally problematic and perhaps are more pressing for the US. That Hillary has broken more ceilings could suggest that we are making more progress in fighting sexism than we are racism. Or it could reflect the fact that HRC has had 14 more years to break ceilings than BHO. I don't think anyone can present the 'truth' in regards to that and to other points that are raised. Perhaps in response to your comment, I should have simply written what Hilzoy wrote instead of identifying what I thought was a weakness in your comment, but that assumes a pretty big jump in my level of insight. I was simply responding to your comment that seemed to take every reason that people had stated to be against HRC and stitch them all together to suggest that they were contradictory. If you feel that reveals a level of sexism that is unstated and unconscious, all I can say is we disagree on that.

dutch: "But I also don't like sexy girls in bikini's or tight, minuscule clothing advertising the qualities of their product, no matter wether it is a truck or a politician."

Well possibly another era reflecting the Victorian ethos will descend upon us (these things seem to be cyclic) and once again society will insist on covering women from head to toe in shapeless clothing, with only a flash of teeth visible to allure the sexist instincts of the male population into buying autos and beer and shoes (oh, wait - that's Iran and Saudi Arabia right now - minus the beer).

By the by, do you think it's less sexist if the sexy girls in minuscule clothing are matched up with half-naked guys with rippling muscles selling coke--?

God, I wish I had words to express how much I hate the kind of sexist stupidity that sees no alternatives but either "Women are sexy properties to be put on display in bikinis or tight, minuscule clothing and used to sell beer, trucks and politicians" or "Women are sexy properties to be kept out of sight in shapeless clothing, with only a flash of teeth visible".

FWIW, in my experience, men who think nothing of having female sexy properties on display in the office, loathe having the exact reverse turned on them: loathe it enough that if they're faced with many pics of sexy, semi-naked men looking alluring and available, they will voluntarily get rid of the similiar pics of women they were previously arguing were harmless and unnoticeable.

There's a machiavellian aspect to Obama supporters sitting on their hands with a Hillary nomination:

If McCain gets elected he will be old, facing a relatively hostile Congress, and without a strong electoral base (his voters will be Republicans who hate Hillary more and independents who don't realize his real positions). The next president is also likely to inherit a problematic economy and McCain certainly won't fix that. He'll also be a warmongerer in a nation already tired of war.

In 2012 Obama would be unstoppable for the Dem nomination. Seriously, who would run against him? He would have access to his enormous volunteer organization, more money than any candidate ever had, and tremendous support from the party regulars. McCain will be weak, and on top of Obama's organizational advantage for four years he and McCain will have been tussling over issues, with American popular opinion almost always on Obama's side. The whole scenario would be a mirror image of Reagan 76-80 except even better for Obama in that Obama wouldn't have the "fringe" image Reagan had to overcome and would have the advantage of a split between Congress and President.

OTOH, with President Hillary, Obama probably won't run for the nomination in 2012. He could run in 2016, but that will be after 8 years of probably disappointing Dem rule and it's less likely to be as favorable as an anti-McCain 2012 run.

So while Hillary over McCain is better for the country, McCain over Hillary is better for Obama getting the presidency later. A lot of Obama supporters will realize this and be tempted to let McCain win. The big drawback is Roe v Wade, which is almost certainly doomed if McCain wins. BUT, African-Americans and many independent-leaning Dems are relatively conservative on social issues. Even young people are significantly more anti-abortion than the population as a whole. So for many Obama supporters McCain wiping out abortion rights is a plus.

So for a lot of fervent Obama supporters, there will be rational reasons not to support Hillary in the general. This will synergize with any bad feelings from the campaign. If she wins by methods that seem even mildly nasty I think she will have a nearly insurmountable turnout problem.

Curt: I don't think those are very rational reasons. It's pretty hard to predict the shape of a Presidential race four years out. Plus, four more years of the Republicans?

If something underhanded happens, I predict anger, which I will share. But part of the reason for my optimism about party fractures, etc., is that I have somewhat dim memories of '68-'72, and I don't think we're anywhere near that point.

Plus, 2000 is still too vivid for most of us, I think. We know what sitting on our hands can lead to. And it's worth remembering that it would have been pretty hard to predict what Bush would do on the basis of the campaign he ran in 2000.

I am a life-long Democrat (and a professional political scientist), and even I find the prospect of the "necessity" of voting for HRC profoundly unsettling (read: unmotivating).

Given that having HRC in the lead on the Democratic ticket would have the exact opposite effect on Republicans (if you don't believe this, you obviously don't spend enough time in "fly over country"), she strikes me as one of the weakest candidates we could run for national office.

That's not to say that she's not a competent politician - I believe she is very capable - it's just an acknowledgement that a large proportion of the American electorate have very strong negative feelings towards her. Not to mention concerns about Bill's role and the 22nd amendment...

If you still believe a black politician can beat a tough white straight-talkin’ maverick then you obviously don't spend enough time in "fly over country" as well.

LJ, dutchmarbel: I don't presume to speak for anyone else but I think, for me, it's important to note two distinct things:

1) I don't much like Hillary Clinton's policies and I am increasingly uncomfortable with her political tactics. This nothing to do with her being a woman; I'd feel exactly the same about Bill were he doing the same -- and my sense is that he would/is, which diminishes my respect for him, fwiw -- or Obama, or whoever. This is particularly unfortunate because I was a staunch supporter of hers during her Senate run.

2) Hillary's been on the receiving end of some of the most obvious, hateful misogynism I've ever seen in the US. My guess is that because it's socially acceptable to hate on Hillary -- and why that is, I don't really know (and I reject any simplistic explanation like "she's a woman" out of hand, ftr) -- a lot of inner ugliness is proudly being thrust to the fore, especially now, all the uglier because those lashing out at her seemingly feel that because it's socially acceptable it must be ok. It's not. It's despicable.

But

3) While I think Hillary is getting screwed by the media, and while I think those responsible should be forced to apologize (or cast out on their assses), the sympathy I feel for her as a person doesn't extend to support for her as a politician. They're different spheres for me. Should she win the nomination I'll probably vote for her in November -- I'd've said certainly, but it frankly depends on what shenanigans she pulls with Michigan and Florida -- but I'm not going to be happy about it, and it's questionable whether I'll help campaign for her.

Again, this has nothing to do with her being a woman. My local Congresswoman is awesome and I'd totally support her in the White House if only they'd let leftist lesbians in there. It has to do with what Hillary did and didn't vote for when she was in the Senate, her campaign since, her choice of advisors and advocates, and so forth. If she wants my support, she has to change those -- not her gender.

Dutchmarbel, you've gotten so much misinformation and falsehoods from the Clinton campaign, it would take quite a long comment to sort it all out.

"Anybody know off-hand, what happens with Edwards' delegates? If he endorses Clinton or Obama, do the delegates pledged to him flip over? Are they up for grabs, free to vote as they choose once he withdraws? It's not a lot of votes but could make a difference in a really tight race."

It's complicated, because of the different types of delegates.

Generally and loosely speaking, skipping over a lot of technical quibbles, most of the delegates would be pledged to support him in the first ballot at the convention, but free or semifree to switch afterwards, and then it depends on how bound they are to their own state delegation, or other loyalties. PLEOS are freer than bound delegates, but... it's a bit complicated.

Short answer: on a first ballot, most will do what the Edwards campaign tells them; after that, it's less sure.

"Even worse, the process of selecting delegates is very complex and ill-understood, with several stages, different in different states. I'm on a county Democratic Committee here in VA, and I could better explain the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation than I could exactly how folks get to be delegates from VA to the Democratic convention."

Maybe Virginia should switch to simple caucuses. I can explain how it works in a sentence, setting aside the PLEOs: you get elected delegate from your precinct to the County Convention, which elects delegates to the State Convention, which elects them to the National Convention.

Setting aside the PLEOs, it's very simple. If primaries are so complicated to understand, and too complicated to explain, in how they translate into delegates, why not switch, then?

"Instead, seating challenges will have to be settled by the delegates themselves, delegates who themselves could have their seating very plausibly challenged"

To clarify, the delegates who are challenged, will not, in fact, be themselves settling questions and deciding whether or not to seat themselves. The Credentials Committee of the DNC, and any other relevant committees, would rule.

Relevant links here.

although Hillarycare had been a political failure it had been a policy success

I really don't think we can afford to have any more political failures, no matter how much of a policy success they are.

I'm so happy to learn that I have health coverage now. Who knew?

Apparently I've had it for decades, and so have millions of other people. And all those other millions of people in danger of losing their health coverage don't exist!

Yay, success!

(This is like what Johnson should have done with Vietnam in '64, right?)

"FWIW, in my experience, men who think nothing"

For the record, I'm fine with co-workers putting up sexy pictures of men, women, gerbils, fish, cephalopods, cats, whatever. I'm not fine with it if it offends co-workers, but if you want to put up nudie male pictures, it won't bother me in the slightest.

Please not Fred Thompson, is all I ask.

Posted by: someotherdude "... a tough white straight-talkin’ maverick ..."

I'm sorry, I was referring to Senator Hillary Clinton. Which candidate are you talking about?

By the way, noticed this little nugget over at Raw Story:

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Limbaugh_wants_to_raise_cash_for_0207.html

The only thing HRC will unify is the Republican base.

Setting aside the PLEOs, it's very simple. If primaries are so complicated to understand, and too complicated to explain, in how they translate into delegates, why not switch, then?

I don't think there's much difference in the complication of how a primary or a caucus translates into delegates. The main complication is about how the percentages are translated into delegate distributions for the small numbers of delegates you have at the level of district (or other subdivisions), and those percentage cutoffs and viability rules are pretty much the same whether it's a primary or a caucus. The complication has to do with the unpledged delegates, which exist whether a state uses a primary or a caucus.

Also, PLEOs are not the same as unpledged delegates. Most of the unpledged delegates are PLEOs, and most of the PLEOs are unpledged, but there are also unpledged add-on delegates (which are supposed to help with balancing the representation of various groups) and pledged PLEOs. We have two of each of those groups in DC, and we'd have those even if we were having a caucus.

How Not To Have A Dead, Non-Working, Broken, Link, But An ACTUAL LINK:

Here is a handy guide to HTML tags.

You can use "find" to go to "link something."

Or read this.

There's no reason anyone should ever post a broken dead link. Especially if they want anyone to read what's there.

"The complication has to do with the unpledged delegates, which exist whether a state uses a primary or a caucus."

Oh, I know. I've posted lengthy explanations several time, with links to the full explanations, including yesterday.

But the fellow said it was way too complicated to explain. It would be rude not to take him at his word, if delegate selection via primaries is so dreadfully excessively impossible to explain.

Naturally, if someone tells me primaries have such terrible problems, I'll talk about the virtues of caucuses, which I prefer. I wouldn't want to be rude and argumentative about claims that primaries complicate things excessively.

I don't think it's difficult to predict that 4 years of McCain is likely to leave the Republicans in a very weak position for the Presidential race in 2012. It's not certain, but nothing ever is. McCain is likely to get a more conservative approach for the country than Hillary, but aside from judges, it can mostly be rolled back. For people in Obama's coalition who find repealing Roe v. Wade acceptable, it could well be worthwhile.

It's not certain, but nothing ever is. McCain is likely to get a more conservative approach for the country than Hillary, but aside from judges, it can mostly be rolled back.

Well, there is that judge thing to consider....

"Ben, how exactly do you equate "Bill's Chinese influence" with the Bush family's arguably much more lengthy and intimate involvement with the Saudi royal family?

And why does Berger's extremely poor judgment, to be charitable, with regard to archived documents well after Clinton left office count against the latter."

I wouldn't necessarily put them on the same level of severity, but they are nonetheless similarities. With regard to Berger, I wasn't charitable when it came to any of excuses of the Plame Affair, and had any of the Bush Administration been caught removing and/or destroying documents from the National Archives just before testifying before the 9/11 Commission, I would have been livid. And with regard to China, one could make the case that China was trying to influence it's way into the WTO, which depending on your perspective, might be the key to toppling the Chinese regime from the bottom up by virtue of a modern economy, or completely undercut any noble legitimacy the WTO might have had, or was supposed to have (I am still hoping for the former).

These both pale in comparison to the "excesses" of the Bush Administration, especially when you consider how the Saudi relations and the outing of Plame (and her cover organization, Brewster & Jennings) are in complete contradiction with the stated goals in the war on terror. The former case, them being the #1 terrorist producing nation in the world, and in the latter case, sabotaging a CIA organization designed to investigate rogue nuclear proliferation.

The Andrew Sullivan post I quoted above recognizes that the tactics (and implications of those tactics) of the Clintons, were minor compared to that of the Republicans in the 90's, and that rings especially true in light of the past eight years of the Bush Administration, but they must be at least be acknowledged by those of us on the left.

In watching the Bush Administration at work over the last eight years, I have come to the conclusion that their tactics more than anything have ripped this country apart. The bottom line is that their tactics fooled a lot of this country to pursue policies that they never would have supported had they been fully informed. And their rhetoric continues to prod their base and their opponents into opposite corners. I'm now seeing the same tactics and rhetoric used against Obama to the same effect, in an effort to confuse the electorate enough to come out ahead, and I'm not going to take this shit anymore.

I think this is the core reason why there are so many people who like both Obama and Ron Paul, despite the fact that they have nearly complete opposite platforms.

In watching the Bush Administration at work over the last eight years, I have come to the conclusion that their tactics more than anything have ripped this country apart. The bottom line is that their tactics fooled a lot of this country to pursue policies that they never would have supported had they been fully informed. And their rhetoric continues to prod their base and their opponents into opposite corners. I'm now seeing the same tactics and rhetoric used against Obama to the same effect, in an effort to confuse the electorate enough to come out ahead, and I'm not going to take this shit anymore.

Yes, this is the point I've been feebly groping toward. Well put.

I wrote:

[...] And the more people learn about Obama, the more people like Obama. That's as true of Asians and Hispanics as anyone else, so far as I know, unless you have proof otherwise.
Illinois exit polls: Latino men, at 8% of the total vote, went 38% for Clinton, 1% for Edwards, 60% for Obama.

Latino women, at 9% of the vote, went 58% for Clinton, 1% for Edwards, and 42% for Obama.

White women, at 34% of the vote, went 43% for Clinton, 1% for Edwards, and 56% for Obama.

So you can make a case, if you like, that Obama still has a problem, in a race with Clinton, with Hispanic women, but on the point that when Hispanic men, and pale women, get to know Obama, they still prefer him over Clinton, I rest my case.

Maybe there's something unusual about Illinois, to be sure.

If anyone is wondering, but too lazy to click the link, the size of the Asian vote in Illinois was too small to be measured, at only 1% of the vote, curiously enough.

I say "curiously enough," although I know it makes sense, because I grew up and have lived most of my life in NYC, with the major exception being eight years in Seattle, so the idea of so few Asian-Americans is totally outside my experience.

And given that Boulder is the primary university town of Colorado, and my only other long-term living situations were a year in Boston, and half a year in East Lansing, MI, it remains so.

It's not certain, but nothing ever is. McCain is likely to get a more conservative approach for the country than Hillary, but aside from judges, it can mostly be rolled back.

What about various statutory regulatory bodies, whose members serve for fixed terms? And what of the thousands of administrative decisions the federal government makes every year, buried in the back pages of the Federal Register, that affect everything from product safety to the environment? The consequences of such decisions, clearcut forests for example, frequently can't be reversed easily, it at all.

And what about the big decisions, the sort that make the front pages of the NYT? An attack on Iran can't be rolled back.


I'm now seeing the same tactics and rhetoric used against Obama to the same effect, in an effort to confuse the electorate enough to come out ahead, and I'm not going to take this shit anymore.
Nor should you, but what if Clinton wins anyway? In my view, the country can't afford another four years of GOP governance, four years that could very easily become eight years. I voted for Obama, but the choice between Clinton and McCain would be clear cut to me. Others upthread evidently think otherwise.

Well, there is that judge thing to consider....

Considered in the sentence after you ended your quote. An important aspect of the Obama coalition is that it reaches beyond the core Democratic voters, and thus includes people who don't agree with all the standard Dem positions. Many of these people are going to be quite content with Roberts and Alito. The wide reach of Obama's coalition is one of the reasons I find him an exciting candidate, because I think he markedly ups the chance of a genuine realignment. The flip side, though, is that many Obama supporters are less tied to the Dems. Indeed, many are the swing voters that Clinton tries to reach with her triangulation strategies. If Obama gets a raw deal, they will be upset, and the very people Hillary's strategy depends on reaching will be much more hostile to her.

And what about the big decisions, the sort that make the front pages of the NYT? An attack on Iran can't be rolled back.

Yes, that would be a big issue. At present, though, I don't see any evidence that people beyond Dem partisans are concerned about this. So the swing voters in Obama's coalition will not consider this a reason to support Hillary, and are still highly susceptible to supporting McCain. If McCain, as many here fear, then goes to war with Iran we will be seriously s*****d. But he'll still be president.

Nor should you, but what if Clinton wins anyway? In my view, the country can't afford another four years of GOP governance, four years that could very easily become eight years. I voted for Obama, but the choice between Clinton and McCain would be clear cut to me. Others upthread evidently think otherwise.

I was a little less crude in my language when I explained to my mom my reasons for why I wouldn't vote for Clinton. But I would rather have 4 years of McCain, and bring in Obama in '12, than to vote for Clinton and affirm a bad choice for a generation. In McCain, the people will be expecting a decent rollback of a lot of Bush's policies, tactics, and excesses, and more importantly, he will be at the whim of a Democratically controlled congress. But if we go with Hillary after Bush, I feel we are pissing away the message and movement that Obama has brought forth. And it's a message and movement that won't have nearly the same effect after Clinton 50+1's her way through another 8 years. By then it might take a Republican version of Obama to turn things around. Actually if we have eight more years of this animosity, it might lead to enough people being fed up with the Federal Government altogether, meaning...

Paul in 2016!

But I would rather have 4 years of McCain, and bring in Obama in '12, than to vote for Clinton and affirm a bad choice for a generation. In McCain, the people will be expecting a decent rollback of a lot of Bush's policies, tactics, and excesses, and more importantly, he will be at the whim of a Democratically controlled congress.
Your argument for voting for McCain (or not voting for Clinton) seems to rest on his inevitably losing in 2012. Unseating a sitting president historically hasn't proved that easy; do you really want to risk 8 years of continued GOP governance?

The "people" may be expecting lots of things from McCain, but is it likely, in your view, that he'll roll back "a lot" of Bush's policies, tactics, and excesses? He certainly won't in Iraq, and if he goes after Iran he'd be exceeding one of Bush's most egregious excesses.

As for McCain being at the whim of a Democratically-controlled Congress, it would appear that you expect wholesale changes from the current all too often supine legislature. Were McCain elected, I personally won't hold my breath.

Last, do you expect that an Obama presidency would end the animosity? Will the right wing GOP just go quietly into the good night after he takes the oath of office? Based on past experience, it seems more likely that either Democratic candidate would reap a whirlwind of political fury from the losing side. Keep in mind that a good number of GOP political operatives fully expect to lose this year, but they don't want eight years of either Clinton or Obama.

If McCain, as many here fear, then goes to war with Iran we will be seriously s*****d. But he'll still be president.
So, in that event, aside from the attack on Iran (in addition to keeping our troops in Iraq), a McCain presidency would be otherwise preferable over a Clinton presidency?

G.Farber: "So you can make a case, if you like, that Obama still has a problem, in a race with Clinton, with Hispanic women, but on the point that when Hispanic men, and pale women, get to know Obama, they still prefer him over Clinton, I rest my case."

Yes, Gary, you need to rest something, but I'm not sure what it is.

Illinois is Obama's home state, and not representative of the Hispanic vote nationwide, male or female, or the 'pale' female vote either.

Overall, in the Super Tuesday primary states which took exit poles, she kicked his ass among Hispanic voters 63% to 35%.

In California, she KOed him 67% to 32%. This despite the endorsement of La Opinion, Ted and Caroline Kennedy, and Maria Shriver, or the Spanish-language radio ads he ran to promote his support for issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants - which went over like a lead tortilla.

Here's some other California demographics from Super Tuesday which reflect lopsided preference for Hillary:

Asians (71% Hillary; 25% Obama)
Women (59% Hillary: 36% Obama)
Gays (63% Hillary: 29% Obama)

The only demographic Obama won with significant percentages was the Black vote (78% to 18%). In the overall Male vote, he barely beat her (48% to 45%). And he slightly edged her out in the 'elitist' demographics: More-than-college-educated (48% to 46%); Income-above-$75,000 (49% to 47%).

And he slightly edged her out in the 'elitist' demographics:

Could you please not adopt that particular frame? At worst, they're the "elite" demographics (in a classist sense); "elitists" are something else entirely.

"Illinois is Obama's home state, and not representative of the Hispanic vote nationwide, male or female, or the 'pale' female vote either."

Yes. It was the state that has had a chance to get to know him. Thanks for completely missing an entirely simple point. Enjoy being a broken record: it's the best way to get people to listen to you.

I have an emotional reaction against arguments about how it might be good in the long run to let the Republicans have it in 2008, and rather than try to dress it up as a reasoned position, I'm just going to try to be honest about it.

Two years ago my father died, and just recently our community here (as well as his family and others) lost Major Olmsted. My mother's in her late 70s, and will be past 80 if she makes it to 2012, and I sort of don't expect her to. And it's reasonably likely, given the demographics, that we're going to lose at least one valued regular from here before 2012.

I think all those people deserve to see the world improving rather than worsening.

I don't feel that I can sit down and tell Mom, "Listen, Mom, you came through the Great Depression, World War II, the McCarthy era, the Sixties, and everything since then, raised us four boys as best you and Dad could, had a lot of grief from illness and accidents among us, suffered and did your part to make the country better, and have lived to see your hopes for a decent politics betrayed by people claiming to act in your name. I'm just saying that you should be willing to face the end of your life never knowing if the tide's begun to turn because it might make for better strategizing in a few years. Suck it up for the country, Mom." Nor do I think anyone else is entitled to say that to her. And what goes for my mother goes for every other American who may be asked to face natural death or otherwise in the years to come.

They all deserve to know that we're moving back into the community of civilized nations, rather than letting the moral barbarians run rampant some more while the allegedly wise among us jockey for position later.

Too many people have suffered too much under this kind of regime already. Enough. The lives of our fellow citizens - and of everyone who'll suffer and die if the Republicans get another term in the White House - are not tokens to be maneuvered so bloodlessly.

(I will stop using "the Republicans" in this sense and add more adjectives when I see a viable challenger who takes basics of the rule of law seriously. McCain doesn't.)

If you're worried about the rule of law, Clinton is clearly not your candidate. Her games in Nevada, Florida and Michigan all suggest that she doesn't put rules and procedures in front of her aims.

Your argument for voting for McCain (or not voting for Clinton) seems to rest on his inevitably losing in 2012. Unseating a sitting president historically hasn't proved that easy; do you really want to risk 8 years of continued GOP governance?"

I would say that it's my hope, not my plan. My main argument would be from my previous posts above in regards to my belief that underhanded politics are splitting the country apart. The choice between Hillary and McCain is one between infusing this type of politics into our society for another generation and as someone here put it, letting us wander lost in the woods for another 4 years. And I really think that if McCain beats Hillary in '08, Barack will almost assuredly grab the nomination in '12 and, barring some Christ-like maneuvers by McCain, will be elected.

"The "people" may be expecting lots of things from McCain, but is it likely, in your view, that he'll roll back "a lot" of Bush's policies, tactics, and excesses? He certainly won't in Iraq, and if he goes after Iran he'd be exceeding one of Bush's most egregious excesses."

I don't see McCain pursuing such a narrow-minded conservative ideology, nor do I see him utilizing such extreme Rovean tactics, and while I've abhorred his SurrenderCrats rhetoric, I do have to admit that at times he can sound very conciliatory and magnanimous. Speaking of which, did you hear him pleading to the pro-torture, how-dare-you-critize-daddy-Bush Republican establishment today? He was trying so hard kiss and make up. Although, I don't think they accepted his apologia.

As for McCain being at the whim of a Democratically-controlled Congress, it would appear that you expect wholesale changes from the current all too often supine legislature. Were McCain elected, I personally won't hold my breath.

I do expect wholesale changes in the balance of Democrats and Republicans. The Senate should see a large shift as the post-9/11 '02 Republican electees continue to get the boot like in '06.

Last, do you expect that an Obama presidency would end the animosity? Will the right wing GOP just go quietly into the good night after he takes the oath of office? Based on past experience, it seems more likely that either Democratic candidate would reap a whirlwind of political fury from the losing side. Keep in mind that a good number of GOP political operatives fully expect to lose this year, but they don't want eight years of either Clinton or Obama.

From what I've seen from normal Republican people, they won't buy it, and it will backfire on them if they try to go down that path, just like it did for Hillary. The key is that Obama has made his denunciation of this type of politics the core of his message, so that cheap tactics just play right into his theme and only add to his appeal. Yes there will always be the bullshit right-wing echo chamber. But I guarantee you that if O'Reilly or Rush go Clinton-apeshit over Obama they will lose a lot of their audience.

Sebastian, the best that I can say for Hillary is that she's been a toady rather than an instigator of most of the vileness in recent years. Which is why I'm supporting Obama in the Washington caucus.

I don't feel that I can sit down and tell Mom, "Listen, Mom, you came through the Great Depression, World War II, the McCarthy era, the Sixties, and everything since then, raised us four boys as best you and Dad could, had a lot of grief from illness and accidents among us, suffered and did your part to make the country better, and have lived to see your hopes for a decent politics betrayed by people claiming to act in your name. I'm just saying that you should be willing to face the end of your life never knowing if the tide's begun to turn because it might make for better strategizing in a few years. Suck it up for the country, Mom.

Those of us who are arguing against a vote for Clinton are not doing so for the mere sake of "strategizing" for the next election. These decisions have huge ramifications for generations. With all due respect to your mother, and my grandmother for that matter, we cannot afford, as a country, to continue making expedient decisions in the short run, at the expense of our long-term well-being.

Ben, what I'm saying is I think the burden of proof is very damn high when we want to tell people that they should skip present hope of relief, and this argument is nowhere close to it (IMHO).

In 2000, the public at large didn't foresee anything like the WTC bombing or the use the administration would make of it. In 2004, very few observers foresaw the total collapse of Democratic leadership immediately after receiving a huge mandate for resistance. Show me the kind of prophet who can anticipate such things reliably and then maybe I'll think about telling Mom to suck it up. In the meantime, no - nobody's showing anything like enough insight into what can and will happen in four years.

So, in that event, aside from the attack on Iran (in addition to keeping our troops in Iraq), a McCain presidency would be otherwise preferable over a Clinton presidency?

Not to me. But the swing voters Obama appeals to, and Hillary's strategy is built on appealing to, don't think that's going to happen. She already polls significantly worse than Obama (4% in a averaging I saw yesterday) and is behind McCain. Add in a conciliatory VP for McCain, like Lieberman and some convention smacking of Obama and I don't think her 50% + 1 strategy will have a chance, barring some catastrophe for the Republicans.

I think the following propositions can be supported in a somewhat plausible fashion:

[1]The country is primed right now for an electoral re-alignment

[2]Such an electoral re-alignment would serve the country well, and missing the opportunity could be catastrophic (in that we could fail to arrest our downward spiraling momentum as a country)

[3]Barack Obama presents a chance at driving such a re-alignment

[4]Hillary Clinton does not

However, even if you buy all those propositions, I think it's hard to argue for 5:

[5]If Hillary is the nominee and John McCain wins the Presidency, the necessary conditions for re-alignment will still exist in 2012


And you need 5 to argue that in the absence of an Obama victory in the Dem race, a McCain Presidency is preferable for the long-term health of the country. I don't know if I buy it.

I can, say, though...I sure as hell won't be volunteering for nor donating money to the DNC or Hillary if she wins the nomination, even it its through legit means. I might even re-register as an Indie. If she wins by underhanded means? Well, I'm definitely re-registering, and she'd have to work really damn hard to win back my vote...and I'm not sure she could. I might just go vote on local issues and races and leave it at that.

I am young, but voted for Gore, Kerry, volunteered for Kerry's GOTV efforts in New Hampshire, voted in the mid-terms in 06 straight-Democrat, and have always kinda envisioned myself as part of the next generation of Democrats.

But after the Dems' pathetic performance on Iraq in 02-03, Harry Reid going after Dodd on FISA, and hypothetically rewarding Clinton for getting-it-wrong at the start on Iraq and race-baiting and vote-suppression/intimidation in the primaries...I think it'd be quite easy to say that the Dems do not represent my interests nor values in the least.

James Fallows made the case in the Atlantic a couple years back that the country might be primed for a 3rd party President in 2012...a Dem inherits Bush's mess and basically does a terrible job or just can't do the impossible or whatever, and sours the country so much on both parties that they're ready to vote in someone else.

I was always a little dubious of that, but I could see it now, just a little bit. One pathway would certainly be to circumvent the popular will of the Dem rank-and-file by giving the nomination to Clinton over Obama in some under-handed way, I think.

I remember hippies back in the 60's who voted for Reagan for Governor because it would bring the revolution faster. They got a revolution all right, but it wasn't the one they expected.

As the man said, in the long run we're all dead. All politics is local and all politics is short term.

Take what's on the table now--don't let it ride, because the wheel may be fixed.

Anarch (and others): sorry for responding late. My timezone is different and real life frequently interfers.

In actual fact I try to stay out of the primaries threads. They are your elections after all. But sometimes I forget to sit on my fingers and have to share my more distant viewpoint ;)

I get a lot of info via ObWi and I highly respect most regulars. That is why it is unsettling to see all that erudite objectivity disappear. There has been frequent amazement at how 'uninformed' and 'biased' some of the more rightwing groups are about subjects, yet I now suddenly see the same thing happening here.

Of course you should vote for whom you think is the best candidate and of course you can decide to disagree with policies or actions of candidates. But it would imho be much better if that would happen evenhandedly. I see the weirdest remarks about Hillary, I even see people thinking that she and McCain are more or less interchangeable or that voting for her would mean voting for the GOP agenda.

Debating the issues, their policies and their choices in an evenhanded manner, with the same standards applied to both, could be enlightning for everybody. If I could vote I really wouldn't know whom to vote for (but I'd dig deeper of course).

Saying that Hillary was for the war in view of her vote in 2002 would not be accurate for instance. I remember that I thought it was good at the time that the USA could apply so much more pressure at Saddam to make sure the inspections went through. But I was naieve too, I thought that a civilized partner like the US would only invade if the inspections wouldn't work.

Attacking her for her vote on the Kyle-Lieberman amendment is also unfair, because Barack just skipped the vote. If he felt it was that important he should have voted against it (if I was attacking him I might make a joke about 'voting at least present' here - and if he becomes the candidate those remarks will come).

Het vote against banning clusterbombs would be much more of an issue for me. Barack did the right thing, she did the wrong thing and clusterbombs *are* an issue with me.

But there are more issues. Appeareantly Hillary is more eco-friendly than Barack. That is less of an issue for me, but healthcare would be an issue and I like her healthplan better - I live quite happily with the socialist fule of forced solidarity.

Instead of vague accusations like 'she is bought by the corporations' I'd like to really objectively compare the ties they both have with companies. Both in what they say, what they strive for and what they do in practise.

If all Hillary bashing goes unanswered people start to believe the memes - as is repeatedly proven here. Should she become the candidate people should still be proud to vote for her, be proud of her candidacy. Not because she is perfect, but because she is pretty good. Don't drag each other into a pit of despair about her candidacy.

This post at Digby's is what I'd like to see more of.

Same goes for Barack, but than the other way around. See him for what he is, not for what you'd like him to be. There are plenty of good things to be said about him but he has flaws too. If there are skeletons in the cupboard it is much better to examine them now. I don't think that whole Renzo story is as damaging as some of the Obama haters want it to be, but if he becomes the candidate it might well be used for some swiftboating. So look at it now.

At this stage a proper SWOT is much more appropriate than a commercial flyer. Unfortunately ObWi tends to go for the latter at the moment.

Frankly, if the delegates are so closely split that the non-seated delegates from Michican and Florida become crucial it makes perfect sense to try to have them count when you are in the lead. I was pretty angry with Kerry's decision to concede so early in 2004, however gentlemanly that may have been - and I am not even a voter.

I do hope they will find a nice acceptable solution beforehand though. I also sincerely hope that they won't have more caucusses (caucuci?) because that way of voting feels utterly undemocratic to 'one person one vote' me. But that is just a personal opinion; I think that most of your voting system... eh... has lots of room for improvement.

G. Farber: "Illinois is Obama's home state, and not representative of the Hispanic vote nationwide, male or female, or the 'pale' female vote either." Yes. It was the state that has had a chance to get to know him. Thanks for completely missing an entirely simple point.

You didn't have a point, Gary, you had a blur.

Your reference, in case you forgot, was related to Obama's electability in a race with Clinton in the primaries. You said "when Hispanic men, and pale women, get to know Obama, they still prefer him over Clinton…" But that was a limited preference, in Illinois, where he got the traditional home-state bump. And guess what? Hillary got a similar home-state bump in New York, where she trounced him with Hispanics and women.

Therefore the same assertion can be made about Hillary that you made about Obama: when Hispanics and pale women get to know her, they prefer her over him.

Unfortunately for Obama, his likability in Illinois didn't translate to any significant voter support among Hispanics or women in the other Super Tuesday primaries, where he went down in a puff of smoke.

Which indicates the only point you made with your likability pronouncement was that you confused the traditional localized home state advantage with the larger primary landscape in the 'to know him is to like him' sweepstakes. Meaning you had no point to begin with.

Of course it's possible those demographic groups, and others, may get to know and like him if he's elected president and does a decent job of it; and if that happens he'll have high approval ratings at the end of his term of office, like Bill Clinton did at 65% and Ronald Reagan at 64%. But if he turns out to be the same kind of well-meaning idealistic populist wimp as 34% Jimmy Carter, then people will have come to know him and despise him for his leadership ineptitude. But I'm certain that couldn't happen to Barak. After all, he was a community organizer for a couple of years, which is certainly as effective a training ground and an indicator of future success in the oval office as peanut-farming: two sure-fire credentials for executive success.

dutchmarble: "I see the weirdest remarks about Hillary, I even see people thinking that she and McCain are more or less interchangeable or that voting for her would mean voting for the GOP agenda."

In addition to the overt hostility expressed towards her and her husband, and the attendant unrelenting nit-picking accompanying it, there's hardly any Clinton supporters posting here. Half the Democrats in the country favor Hillary for president (including liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats). Therefore you'd think there'd be a representative number of Clinton supporters expressing those views on ObWi - but that's not happening.

It may simply be that birds of a feather blog together: the feathers in this case reflecting people of similar age, education, literacy, income, etc. Those posting here in favor of Obama appear to mostly be under 40 years of age, have college degrees, earn better than average incomes, and as far as Democrats go, are tilted more to the left then to the center or right, where more Hillary supporters reside.

Most important of these shared blog demographics, though, is the age factor: they identify with Obama because he's closer to their generation than Hillary. As you and others have pointed out, there's not a lot of policy difference between the two; and although the Obama supporters here try to frame the arguments against both Clintons on what they characterize as ethical deficiencies - I think what's really going on is a generational battle, literally reflecting an out with the old, and in with a younger president wish: they dont want their mommies and daddies president -- they want their own.

"Those posting here in favor of Obama appear to mostly be under 40 years of age, have college degrees, earn better than average incomes,"

Spot on. I'm 49, have only 3 months of college, and essentially no income.

[...] I think what's really going on is a generational battle, literally reflecting an out with the old, and in with a younger president wish: they dont want their mommies and daddies president -- they want their own.
Explains me completely. And why I got my first AARP mailing a couple of weeks ago.

But other than that, it's uncanny.

I'm 60, my wife is about to be (and she's also a white woman), we barely fall into the lower middle class, we are educated (which is highly irrelevant for a reason I will get to later) and we both are strong Obama supporters.

My brother is 65, his wife is 64 and Asian. They are a little higher up on the income scale and education.

They are both strong Obama supporters and live in CA.

So, like Gary, I suppose we fall into your category.

BTW, back to the education aspect. Are you really happy, Jay, that those who, in general, have a lower education level are for Clinto and those with a higher education level are for Obama? Seems to me that one of the characteristics of Republican voters that has been criticized by Dems of all stripes has been that generally they are less educated and that may be why they are able to be seduced by Republican rhetoric.

Finally, it is interesting that (and I am not going to say you specifically Jay) some Clinton supporters who lambasted Obama for using Republican talking points which meant he really wasn't liberal enough are now using the argument that he's too liberal and Clinton is more centrist. Can someone explain that to me?

there's hardly any Clinton supporters posting here. Half the Democrats in the country favor Hillary for president (including liberal, moderate, and conservative Democrats). Therefore you'd think there'd be a representative number of Clinton supporters expressing those views on ObWi - but that's not happening.

My guess -- and its only a guess -- is that the OW commentariot is skewed to people who 1. know more about foreign affairs than the average democrat and 2. know more about to what extent Iraq has been screwed up than the average democrat.

People like that are going to be more likely to go with Obama in part because Hillary hasn't distanced herself from her war vote and in part because she didn't read the NIE before placing her vote and in part because of Lieberman-Kyl. For many people, a million corpses is sufficiently horrible so as to compensate for a number of weaknesses in a candidate's platform. I could be wrong here, but when I talk to democrats in meatspace, they're often less informed about Iraq than many commenters here.

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