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February 29, 2008

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The Clinton campaign is toast. I can smell the panic all the way up here in Minneapolis.

I do love that they spend weeks deriding Obama as nothing but speeches, and specifically taking aim at his 2002 Iraq War speech, then the only thing they can come up with here is a speech of her own. And even that example doesn't do much. Yeah, it was a speech about women's rights in China. But it was also a speech at a conference on women, so she didn't exactly have a hostile audience. Not to mention the fact that it's not exactly a controversial opinion to have here in the US.

It reminds me of during the last debate when the Farrakhan question came up and she tried to make it sound like denouncing (or was it rejecting?) anti-semetic groups in New York was a brave decision that could have hurt her election chances.

"How could they go forward with that ad without having a good answer to the question on hand? It's inept in the extreme."

I think that's what you call an instance of very poor judgment.

Did they think that the question wasn't coming? It's not like the press has been gentle on Clinton or anything--if they didn't expect to have to answer that question, then they're just mailing it in at this point.

I guess it is because there were no people who didn't 100% support Hillary in the room when they thought up the idea.

That is classic political strategy mistake - not even thinking of how the other side - or the marginal voter or worst of all the average member of the media will think.

"Come on guys.... no-one doubts that [enter the candidate here] is the best candidate in the area of [enter the area of policy here]...."

GNZ-

I think it was also a product of nobody seriously questioning their claims to "35 years of experience bringing change" these past few weeks. They likely figured that since nobody really called them on that one then they would probably let this slide, too.

Hilzoy, you are crashing my Firefox with this audio link that launches the Kaffeine starter plugin!

Tested? I think not. :-)

Re. judgment, here is a favorite saying: Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from [wait for it!] bad judgment.

Maybe they should have mentioned 3AM February 6th, when her advisers called her urgently to tell her "Oh shit. We didn't win everything. This contest isn't over and we have no money and no plan to continue in any of the upcoming states! What do we do, crisis lady?"

And the answer to that situation is just how she will handle that 3AM White House call where the world is coming to an end.

ENOUGH. Hillary. Just give it up already.

"she's been endorsed by many high ranking members of the uniformed military."
What?1?/? I say again, what ?//??1!!?

Whoever these "high ranking members" are, they should be reminded of the fact that endorsing political candidates is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A good reminder would be a court martial. Of course, the truth is that there probably are no "military members," high ranking or otherwise, because they all know better, and that this is the usual bullshit offered by this campaign as a matter of routine.

I think I could see another one or two ads easily spun out of this in half a day's time by the Obama camp.

Maybe something like: "It's 2:00 a.m. and an unread intelligence briefing lies on the desk of a President... etc" making the connection to the NIE from the days before the Iraq war when Senator Clinton reportedly didn't bother to read. The second could be like: "It's 4:00 a.m. and the President, having received a call on the red phone alerting her to threat of attack by Country X, has summoned her experience and ordered a full scale assault on Country Y...etc."

I realize that my response is really not important - I'm a confirmed Obama supporter, so I wasn't going to be receptive to the Clinton ad, but even before I saw the Obama response ad (is that not what the kids call pwnage?), one scene in the Clinton ad struck me as rather a bit odd:
Clinton is supposedly answering an urgent 3AM call, but she is pictured fully composed, made up, wearing a business suit, and at her desk.
I mean, I don't want to see any political leader in their sweat clothes, but the image was of someone in the middle of their work day - not someone called from slumber to give a snap judgement. And that didn't seem to fit the narrative.
Obama's ad sensibly chose just to show the White House at night and avoided the problem.

PatricktheRogue: the ones the advisors mentioned, at least the ones I recognized, are retired. (E.g., Wes Clark.)

P.S. I'm with ral - could you remove that audio plugin, and replace it with a link? Something about the page just crashed my browser, and given that the rest of the page is unchanged or is pretty standard I suspect it's the audio plugin.

This whole primary campaign would have been a lot more fun if Hillary (and Obama for that matter) had competed all along on the basis of who can come up with the best attack ad against the fucking Republicans!

Is there some secret by-law in the Democratic Party that says you're too presumptuous if you start bashing the Republicans before you lock down the nomination?

The whole point of the exercise, at least now, is to tell the country why John W. McCain should not be President. (E.g.: Randy "Duke" Cunningham was a MUCH better pilot than he was.) I want more and better attack ads from our candidates. I want them spending their copious cash launching flaming arrows. But aim them at the target, fer chrissake -- act as if you're in an archery contest, not a duel.

-- TP

The best comment I've read (on another blog, unfortunately I don't remember exactly where, as this story is all over the intertubes) on this rather sad and pathetic episode was:


This is fearmongering you can Xerox.


I guess you fight a primary campaign with the staff you have, not the staff you wished you had.

"which I regard as the spiritual heir to Bush's 'Scary Scary Wolves' ad from 2004...."

Odd. It's a direct remake of the Mondale ad from 1984, actually. And Bush's Wolves ad was famously a remake of the Reagan "bear in the woods" ad from the same year, not of the Mondale ad.

"I removed the audio link, since it seemed to be crashing some people's browsers."

That's a result of people not having updated their Quicktime, which everyone needs to do, anyway. The audio link should only be a problem if you leave it set to play automatically, like Matt Yglesias did yesterday, which is incredibly obnoxious and dumb. If it's not playing automatically, it makes no difference whatever if you switch it to a link or not: either people can listen to it, or they can't: switching changes absolutely nothing for no one, so it's pointless to bother, save to add an additional step for people to either listen or to crash/update, which doesn't do anyone any favors.

Update: The new Quicktime version comes pre-set to auto-play; if you unclick this in the settings, it should take care of it autoplaying.

Incidentally, although it's a cliche, it's been said so many times, since no one has said it in this thread, it should be observed that even if you bought Clinton's claims of "35 years of experience" at somethingorother, it's an argument to elect John McCain over her, not an argument to elect Clinton.

If Apple wanted me to update Quicktime every time they released a patch they'd made the process less frequent and less obnoxious. Itunes + Quicktimes updates seem to always require a fairly involved installation, including approving the terms of use (yet again!), sometimes registering again, and usually a system reboot. And I have to fix my shortcuts, which will have become inoperative. Other programs' minor updates, and even some full version releases, do not have these problems. Maybe Apple still hasn't figured out how to write for Windows?

Or I can ignore most of the update announcements, and most everything works just fine.

Now if that Clinton ad had been a McCain ad, I'd have understood it. But when the opponent in the general election is a war hero it's tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot. (Either that, or Clinton's thinking she's already lost and is trying to defang many of McCain's possible approaches by running them badly herslf. But I doubt this).

"If Apple wanted me to update Quicktime every time they released a patch they'd made the process less frequent and less obnoxious."

I hadn't updated until Matt's blog crashed my Firefox yesterday afternoon, either.

Thanks, hilzoy. It was (as noted) the auto-play causing me grief.

Gary, I'm on Linux and my auto-launch was of Kaffeine. I think the bug is in Firefox or the plugin. It's usually only a minor annoyance, but the auto-play exacerbated it.

I just thought it was worth pointing out the irony of "tested?" -- as in, anything you haven't tested doesn't work.

Maybe Apple still hasn't figured out how to write for Windows?

That's not a maybe, that's a confirmed fact, though it actually might be on purpose, who knows.

Updated QTime, though I really didn't want to because they always manage to bungle their updates, to the point were it simply becomes unusable for certain purposes, but the audio link is still not working in FF, while working alright in IE.

Apple sux.

WIW, both Obama and Clinto were in the San Antonio area last night, Clinton in SA itself, Obama in a small town outside of SA.

Clinton drew about 1,500 and Obama 8,000.

This may have some signifigance in terms of the caucuses.

She gave a speech in China? I thought she was about action, not words. Oh, maybe the emphasis was that she went to China, and not about the speech.

If the campaign goes past Tuesday, which I seriously hopes it does not, I think Obama ought to put some focus on Hillary's advisor hiring. If these are the kinds of people she's going to rely on to get her elected, who the hell would she use if she were President?

"...but the audio link is still not working in FF...."

I'd suggest making sure a) your Javascript is working, and b) make sure no ad-blocking or other protection software is interfering.

I've recently started using the NoScript add-on, which starts each new page with no Javascript allowed, but then allows you to individually switch on, or not, each of the few that try to run on some pages, and thus allow one to run more than Firefox alone will generally run, but also keep off unwanted tracking scripts. I've found it's made my Javascript experience with Firefox considerably better, although there are still occasional pages where something won't run. (Lately the TV Guide listings page, for one, although it's equally broken on IE for me.)

"If these are the kinds of people she's going to rely on to get her elected, who the hell would she use if she were President?"

You saw Ickes on Penn here, right?

Clinton drew about 1,500 and Obama 8,000.
Another FWIW, in SW Ohio, Obama drew 15,000 to a rally outside Dayton in what an older reporter said was unlike anything he'd seen, ever. My wife had to drive through the outflow and can attest to that. Bill Clinton didn't fill a high school auditorium, although it was late in the evening, so maybe people were put off by that. McCain filled the local ice cream "parlor", about 500 people, but didn't fill the parlor's parking lot.

A subtle but nicely-done touch to contrast the two ads: In Clinton's, the phone rings and rings and rings through the whole ad, until they switch to Clinton. In Obama's, the phone stops ringing after 1 or 2, suggesting that someone answered it.

Just for an ultra-trivial micro-anecdote, I was amused yesterday when I was at my bank, wearing my Obama '08 button, and the clerk, a 30ish Asian woman, peered at it, and slowly pronounced "Ohh-baam-mma."

And then nodded, and solemnly told me, "we need change."

I kid you not.

I sure hope someone at the White Hose downloads some newer ringtones soon.

I'm thinking that the title of this post is misspelled, and the d should be replaced by an s, because that's what seems to be the only argument offered by the Clinton camp.

What a deer-in-the-headlights moment. Does anyone else get the feeling that HRC feels entitled to the office?

This one episode, coming as late in the game as it does, points out a couple of things noted above and elsewhere. One, she (or her campaign if the two can be separated) isn't really prepared, as the 35 years of experience line is supposed to make us think, and two, her claim that she has surrounded herself with experienced and sound advisers as no more credible that the incumbent's. She hasn't chosen unreformed Nixon hands, but this is not a winning team.

In a lot of cases, I hear her supporters saying they are voting for her because they want to see a woman president. So it's ok to vote for McCain because you want to see an old white guy as president?

"So it's ok to vote for McCain because you want to see an old white guy as president?"

It's not much of a parallel, since all of our presidents up to now have been one of those.

There are good reasons to question how much of a factor being a woman should be in how one votes, but the two situations are hardly mirror images.

JFK was old? He was younger than I am, and my AARP card has yet to arrive.

I didn't say they were parallels: I merely point out the superficiality of the criteria. I hear someone say "I have waited a long time to vote for a woman president" not "I have waited a long time to vote for a candidate who has, among the many other excellent qualifications, the good sense to have been born a woman." I don't hear, nor do I read into that, she is a woman and has excellent qualifications: what I hear is "there's a woman on the ticket and that's all I need to see."

Is that a little clearer?

I concur with Paul. Listening to NPR last night, they had old, discouraged women in Texas sighing that they wouldn't get to see a woman elected president in their lifetime after all. I felt like patting them embarrassedly on the shoulder and saying. "No. I'm really sorry, but, look, she wouldn't be a very good president. So I can't vote for her."
I think this is generational. All other things being equal, I'm all for breaking any given barriers: gender, race, religious heritage. All other things are usually not equal in a political contest. We (I'm in my 30s) thought the point was that a woman could be judged on her qualifications, like a man, and her gender wouldn't count. An older group sighs (or snarls) that possessing ovaries should be enough. (Not if it was Hutchison, though, I bet.) The same group comes around to the "twice as qualified as any man, and still they reject her" idea, and when we point at Biden, Dodd, and Richardson, respond that they were never first lady. It's maddenning.

I agree there's misogyny out there. But, as when Paula Poundstone argued that Mike Huckabee being so amusing and media savvy he could open for her was not actually grounds to be elected to the presidency, misogyny doesn't transform her into a candidate who's shown great judgment.

paul: Does anyone else get the feeling that HRC feels entitled to the office?

It's one of those notable ironies.

When a woman expresses strong clear ambition, justified pride in her ability and accomplishments, and shows confidence - she's dissed as being a snotty, uppity cow. People make comments about her acting like she's "entitled", which they would never make about a man with the same ambition, pride, and confidence.

When a woman speaks of herself with feminine modesty - she's not regarded as able or confident enough to achieve her goals.

Deborah: "No. I'm really sorry, but, look, she wouldn't be a very good president. So I can't vote for her."

There's no reason to suppose she wouldn't be a good President. Just that the general feeling of the electorate is that Barack Obama will make a better President. Clinton isn't McCain or Bush, after all.

I would vote for a woman as President because she was a woman, if: she was one of several candidates I quite liked, and none of them was miles and miles better than she was, and there was no member of any other group who has been excluded running. I would think: breaking the all-white-guys streak of US Presidents is a worthwhile thing, and if all the candidates are good, that could be decisive.

What I don't see is why people think it matters to elect a woman President, but it doesn't matter equally to elect a black President (or, with some other group of candidates, an Asian or Hispanic or Native American or gay or TG President.) (OK, a TG President is probably way, way off in the future, but a girl can dream.)

I am completely thrilled that I not only get to vote for a black candidate, but I get to vote for one for other reasons entirely.

And Jes: I have heard a lot of stuff about Clinton and her people feeling as though she is entitled to this. It's not just that she dares to dream; it's things like resenting Obama for so much as throwing his hat in the ring when it is her turn.

"Is that a little clearer?"

Yes. Thanks.

Cheer up, Hilzoy: the US will elect a TG president long before it ever elects an atheist president.

My fervent prayer is that Barack Obama doesn't really believe in a Big Daddy in the Sky. But my prayers often go unanswered.

-- TP

"This is fearmongering you can Xerox."

That line cracked me up. Kudos.

"There's no reason to suppose she wouldn't be a good President. "

Yes, there is. She has already occupied the White House for eight years and is thus *singularly* unqualified to act as an agent of change.

Jes: When a woman expresses strong clear ambition, justified pride in her ability and accomplishments, and shows confidence - she's dissed as being a snotty, uppity cow. People make comments about her acting like she's "entitled", which they would never make about a white man with the same ambition, pride, and confidence.

Fixed (and a more explicit example).

Otherwise, what Jes said.

And Jes: I have heard a lot of stuff about Clinton and her people feeling as though she is entitled to this.

I don't doubt you have: it's one of those very standard double standards.

Jes: I should have been clearer. I meant: I have heard a lot of stuff that I (not the people I was talking to) took to plainly be: Clinton and/or her people thinking she was entitled to the nomination. So if it's anyone's double standard, it's mine.

I don't think it is, though.

She has already occupied the White House for eight years and is thus *singularly* unqualified to act as an agent of change.

if she's already occupied the White House for 8 years, don't term limits apply here ?

I don't doubt you have: it's one of those very standard double standards.

I seem to recall alot of comments back in 1996 that Dole felt he was entitled to the R nomination.

When a woman expresses strong clear ambition, justified pride in her ability and accomplishments, and shows confidence - she's dissed as being a snotty, uppity cow. People make comments about her acting like she's "entitled", which they would never make about a man with the same ambition, pride, and confidence.

I don't know. I think this is certainly probably a problem in general for successful women, but I'm not sure it really explains it with regard to Clinton.

I feel there's something about Clinton that very much reminds me of Dole in 1996. I think rather than sexism, it's the lack of a compelling case for their candidacy. A sort of lack of imagination, and a sense that they were the pick of party insiders, that it's 'their time'. It all adds up to a campaign that seems to spend more time wondering why people aren't voting for them, rather than really making a positive case as to why they should. Entitled.

i have no experience, but i can give you hope. The heir to the legacy of Martin Luther King gives creature comfort to his followers.

There's no reason to suppose she wouldn't be a good President.

I-R-A-Q. She made a serious error of judgement there and has not admitted it. And also, what are her political achievements in all these years of experience? As Hilzoy has pointed out in staggering detail, her legislative record is not impressive. However impressive HRC's policies may be, a politician who lacks the political skills to implement them achieves nothing.

There's no reason to suppose she wouldn't be a good President.

Plenty of reasons. She can't seem to run a campaign with adequate foresight and planning, without her advisors pointing fingers at one another, without her husband overshadowing her whenever he opens his mouth, without bullying smart and influential people into either supporting her nomination or being cut out of her upcoming administration, without dismissing whole segments of the party and whole states as irrelevant, and she doesn't make good strategic decisions (how intelligent was it in hindsight to cede the change rhetoric to Obama?).

Two months ago I thought there was no reason to suppose she wouldn't be a good President. Now I see all kinds of reasons.

What Ara said. Exactly.

There is another thing that has been bugging me about Hillary's campaign. The "Ready on Day One" slogan - ready on day 1 of which year? Would the same President be equally qualified, in terms of experience, outlook and temperament, to start on day 1 of any given administration?

Consider the following pairs of dates, each 16 years apart:

Jan 20, 1845 - Jan 20, 1861

Jan 20, 1901 - Jan 20, 1917

Jan 20, 1925 - Jan 20, 1941

Jan 20, 1961 - Jan 20, 1977

Jan 20, 1993 - Jan 20, 2009

The thing that strikes me about these pairs is that in each case IMHO the same person would not have been the best possible President to start on day 1 for both dates. Each historical period comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities. I'm not hearing anything from the Hillary campaign which addresses why she would be better suited for Jan 20, 2009 than for Jan 20, 1993. There is an ahistorical quality to her claim, which does not acknowledge how much our circumstances have changed since the early 90's. This is one of the areas where Obama's change rhetoric resonates with me, because he explicitly calls out the unusual nature of our current circumstances. He isn't running to be a 1990's President, he is addressing 1-20-2009 on its own terms.

If the nomination is to be decided on the basis of campaigns as I gathered was intended, I wonder if there can be any dispute about the clear winner.

If Rove is unable to run his operation from a jail cell, and the mighty Penn is exposed for dishonest pretension and well and truly loses his seat at the table, maybe the country can start working more concertedly on substantial problems.

Tony, thanks for the grat guffaws.

Gary’s microinstance, um, I’m alittle uneasy bringing this up, but: Geez, reading those few but redolent words put my eyes under pressure; you know, a surfeit of salty moisture. And likewise, same phenom watching his campaign video— and not from the formally cognate Clinton original. Same thing in big bursts when I watch the speeches.
The speeches— (not every one and not constantly), I love his humane mastery, and I think, this grandly poised (statically and dynamically) man is black, by Divine grace, and I think and feel in unison, rather than conflict, Wonderful!
Granted I am a suck; I believe in and hope for redemption, I cry in movies when offered an image of Goodness (thinking of The Green Mile at the moment), and I’m not particularly noted for emotional stability, at least not to myself: But; there it is.

For me it signifies, with primal power.

It does that not by divorcing feeling from thinking, but by engaging them in a unitary, compelling way.
It appears to me I am far from alone.

Just for an ultra-trivial micro-anecdote, I was amused yesterday when I was at my bank, wearing my Obama '08 button, and the clerk, a 30ish Asian woman, peered at it, and slowly pronounced "Ohh-baam-mma."

And then nodded, and solemnly told me, "we need change."

Maybe her cash drawer was running low.

/ducks and runs

Quack quack.
(To the outhouse? —Apologies to V Wolfe.)

Free apologies liberally (sic) dispensed.
As required.

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