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March 09, 2008

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I think you've got a good point about whose coattails Dem politicos are going to want ride. That's why I think if Obama maintains his lead in delegates you'll see most of the super delegates break his way.

I have mixed feelings about this. I don't think Glenn Greenwald is wrong, at least not totally so, taking the opposite p.o.v. about the reporter.

Bottom line, the blame comes because "they" can't handle SP blurting out something like that (actually, one wonders if her cursing -- note the reference of her saying f*** --- alone would have been an issue) "requiring" her being fired.

In a sane world, we would realize people sometimes blurt out things in times of stress, sometimes stupidly, esp. when they are key insiders and talking about candidates who are running pretty dirty campaigns. And, realize a few acts of being human is well being human. We can't handle this, apparently, so the "good guy" candidate has to accept a resignation like this.

Anyway, any number of reporters have their moments in the sun spreading **** like this. Why should this one get any special treatment?

Anyone looking at the paper copy of today's Post will see that the http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030702849.html>mini-feature of letters regarding last week's hideous Charlotte Allen piece is headed by a graphic showing blog posts about the piece. Guess which one is front and center?

one wonders if her cursing -- note the reference of her saying f*** --- alone would have been an issue

I don't understand this. She didn't say "F*** Hillary!" or use the word "motherf***er" or tell someone "Go f*** yourself!" on the Senate floor. The "cursing" was that she said "We f***ed up in Ohio" -- a perfectly ordinary statement that had nothing to do with insulting Clinton.

Good God. The way I read it, Calderone genuinely doesn't know quite what happpened -- that takes all of two sentences -- and then as a followup he quotes the Scotsman's defense of running the Power quote. And for these sins, you hope no source ever speaks to him again? Or did you mean "he" to have a different referent in your sentence? (The reporter for the Scotsman was a woman, Gerri Peeve.)

Yeah, point 2 doesn't make a lot of sense to me, unless you somehow mixed up Michael Calderone and Gerri Peev.

publius -- did you mean Michael Calderone of Politico -- who just printed the Scotsman's defense (along with other people, like Spencer) -- or the oddly named Gerri Peev, the actual Scotsman reporter?

corrected - sorry about that all. i actually saw her on some video clip, so I have no idea why i did that. i just mentally plugged him in.

This, by the way, is charming:

A staggering 16,000-plus Republicans in Cuyahoga County switched parties when they voted in last week's primary.

That includes 931 in Rocky River, 1,027 in Westlake and 1,142 in Strongsville. More than a third of the Republicans in Solon and Bay Village switched. Pepper Pike had the most dramatic change: just under half its Republicans became Democrats. And some of those who changed - it's difficult to say how many - could be in trouble with the law.

At least one member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections wants to investigate some Republicans who may have crossed party lines only to influence which Democrat would face presumed Republican nominee John McCain in November.

Those who crossed lines were supposed to sign a pledge card vowing allegiance to their new party.

In Cuyahoga County, dozens and dozens of Republicans scribbled addendums onto their pledges as new Democrats:

"For one day only."

"I don't believe in abortion."

. . . Lying on the pledge is a felony, punishable by six to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Election watchers said they don't know any cases that have been prosecuted in Ohio. And it's unlikely the Republican crossovers influenced the outcome since Clinton handily defeated Barack Obama, said Edward Foley, an election-law professor at Ohio State University.

But he said Ohioans need to learn the rules governing their voting - and poll workers need to enforce them.

n a nutshell, here's how it's supposed to work: Ohio voters are allowed to switch party affiliations on the day of a primary election but only if they sign a pledge vowing to support their new party - and mean it.

If a majority of poll workers at a precinct doubt a voter's sincerity, they can challenge the voter even if the voter signed the pledge.

In the days following the election, The Plain Dealer interviewed more than two dozen voters - most of them Republicans who crossed over to Democrats last week.

None - including five who acknowledged lying about supporting the Democrats - were challenged. And several said poll workers never asked them to sign a pledge but gave them a Democratic ticket.

. . . North Ridgeville Republican Hazel Sferry said she was kicking herself all day Tuesday after voting for McCain.

Don't get her wrong. Sferry supports McCain.

But after she voted, she ran into her niece who told her about "the plot."

Her niece, Republican Sherry Newell, crossed over Tuesday after hearing Limbaugh. Newell said she voted for Obama because she thought McCain had a better chance against him.

Regardless, Sferry said she thought it was a great idea to mess with the other party if it helped McCain win.

Among these charming people is the Cleveland Plain Dealer's own Kevin O'Brien, who may be the stupidest, most dishonest neocon hack to have a regular opinion column in a major US daily newspaper:
My fellow Democrats.

Yes, as of Tuesday, you and I are joined in the quest for change we can believe in. And for the right to use prepositions to end our sentences with.

At least until I again exercise the Ohio voter's prerogative to change his mind, I am one of you, having signed a little form the poll worker put in front of me. Filling in its blanks committed me to supporting the principles of the Democratic Party, and support them I shall.

Here they are, straight from the Democratic National Committee:

Honest leadership and open government.

Huzzah! One of my chief disenchantments with the Republicans was their liberal use of earmarks in legislation. We Democrats need to put a stop to that.

Real security.

That's my top priority. Achieving it starts with defeating militant Islam in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe we Democrats are coming around on that one. Since the surge began and a lack of bad news for the United States has chased Iraq off the nation's front pages, our party's leaders in Congress have had fewer negative things to say. It makes me think they're feeling more hopeful. We Democrats like hope.

Energy independence.

Right on, my Democratic brethren. Let's put windmills in Lake Erie and off Martha's Vineyard. And let's offer a big, fat cash prize to the inventor who dreams up a new way to make vehicles go that's cheaper to build and cheaper to run than an internal combustion engine. Then let's let the free market run with the idea and profit handsomely. Let's try really hard to keep China from stealing it. And until we get all of that done, let's drill for our very own oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.

Economic prosperity and educational excellence.

Prepositionally speaking, what's to argue with? Economic prosperity is good, but it shouldn't just be for the government. Let's cut spending, taxes and red tape at the federal, state and local levels so businesses and their employees can keep more of their own money and put it to work in productive ways.

As for education, we Democrats ought to be listening to other voices besides the National Education Association's. If it's excellence we want - and that's certainly a principle worth fighting for - then we need to encourage competition and promote real options that help parents get the best education possible for their children. I've even got a slogan we Democrats could use to sell that idea: "Choice - it's not just for abortion anymore."

A health care system that works for everyone.

Yes, yes, 40 million times yes. We Democrats are tired of tripping over the dead bodies littering America's streets. But we need to push hard for a health care system that fits the way modern medicine works. The one we created in the 1960s is mired in bureaucratic inflexibility. What we need is a new approach that puts people in charge of their own care, de-emphasizes government, gets employers out of the picture, adapts to changes in technology and offers individuals a huge range of premium and coverage options to fit the different stages of life. I know that's not how we're used to dealing with things, but it really is worth a try.

Retirement security.

It's a must. That's why I'm saving money and not counting on Social Security.

One more Democratic principle isn't officially listed, but we all know it's Priority One: the end of George W. Bush's presidency. I support that one, too.

If, at noon on Jan. 20, he ignores the 22nd Amendment and barricades himself in the White House, I hereby pledge to make a "Bush Must Go" sign and lug it up and down Pennsylvania Avenue for as long as it takes - or until my vacation days run out.

Fellow Democrats, join with me in moving our party toward a new birth of liberty and personal responsibility in keeping with the philosophy of Jefferson, and a recommitment to total victory over our enemies, just as Roosevelt and Truman preached.

I know some of these ideas may sound radical today, but I hope you'll work with me for change.

If not, just think of me as diversity training.

O'Brien is The Plain Dealer's deputy editorial page director.

Yep, this man helps direct the editorial page for the only daily newspaper in Cleveland. Makes you proud, doesn't it?

Anyone who thinks "change we can believe in" should be "change in which we can believe" can be written off as ignorable after the first paragraph. How can someone make a living as a writer while being so ignorant of writing?

If anyone's interested I'm a Scot and I can confirm the Scotsman is a rubbish newspaper but the behaviour of the journalist is par for the course in Britain.

I think I read somewhere last night that Foster solicited endorsements from Clinton and Obama, but only Obama took the time to make an ad. But I can't back that up with anything.

Greenwald's mini-post today about Foster's strong stance against immunity for telecoms in the FISA bill (despite par for the course fearmongering by the GOP candidate) is encourgaging. Shows that issue has no legs with the public, even in a deeply Republican district.

I for one miss your blogging on legal affairs. Political opinions are common but clear thinking on legal matters, those things that actually are written down, is a rare thing indeed. I miss Legal Fiction.

I for one am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that feddie is willing to put aside his "serious difference" on "key issues" with McCain to support team red. Never ever could have seen that coming...

"I get the sense that Dems who actually must face voters in conservative areas feel safer citing Obama than Clinton."

http://www.farfromneutral.com/exodus/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/o_rly.jpg

I disagree with point 2. It is not the journalist's job to decide what is relevant or not, to the larger issue of discussion. Would you have held the same opinion if it was a pol, especially a republican pol. who said the same thing? I don't think what the journalist did was wrong, and am in agreement with both Greenwald and Digby on this matter. Ms. Power is not simply an academic being interviewed, she was at the time, a major foreign policy adviser to a possible future president, and her remarks should have been reported, and they were.

As a matter of principle, once journalists begin to select and judge what is and is not relevant for the audience, they become like the Russerts and Tucker Carlsons of the world (BTW, point 2. shares common ground with Tucker Carlson).

It is not the journalist's job to decide what is relevant or not, to the larger issue of discussion.

Of course it is. That's exactly the journalist's job. There are innumerable things that a journalist could include in an article, and the process of writing an article involves selecting which things go in and which things are left out.

I agree with Glenn Greenwald and not with you (publius) or Spencer Ackerman on this.

Part of this is because I have a lower opinion of Samantha Power than most people around here. She's not an academic who speaks truth to power (no pun intended, though if there was any way I could make that funny it would be). She's an academic who hobnobs with the powerful, who is friends with people like Holbrooke whose own misdeeds in the genocide-enabling department get a pass from her in her genocide book.

And as a person on the edge of real power (again, no pun), she doesn't deserve a break. If she accidentally blurts out her real feelings, and then tries to say "off the record", too bad. Blurting is probably the only way you ever get the truth out of people in power on some subjects.

Blurting is probably the only way you ever get the truth out of people in power on some subjects.

That's probably true, but why is this particular "truth" something that needs to be reported? If Power had said something important then, sure, run with it, but this is just a gossip story that makes people stupider reading it.

Actually, I think it rips away ever so slightly the veil of BS that permeates political campaigns. In all likelihood Samantha Power and other members of the Obama campaign despise Hillary Clinton for exactly the same reasons people have given here in the past few days. Obama and Clinton are very close on the majority of issues, and yet she is willing to use an argument against him that will weaken him against McCain if he is the nominee.

That aside, it's simply shouldn't be the job of a reporter to cover up for blunders like this. Let the reader decide what it means, if anything. In this case it gets people talking a little bit more about Clinton's character as shown in her campaign tactics, so I think there's more to it than just gossip.

"Veil of BS that permeates political campaigns"-- Sigh. I don't know if that's a mixed metaphor, or a combination of them so inextricably mixed together the entropy of the universe went up measurably as I typed it.

KCinDC,
So you think a reporter is right to ignore the opinion of a major figure in a presidential campaign regarding their opponents? Is the sort of thing that journalists "routinely" decide not to write about? I am not a journalist and may have a very naive view of journalism, but the comments by Ms. Power don't seem particularly routine.

I agree with Donald Johnson regarding the position of Ms. Power. She does not deserve any breaks, and I seriously doubt that she has no clue how the journalism business operates, especially given she used to be one. Furthermore, she was part of a campaign that explicitly runs/ran on a "post-partisan" campaign, so I think her remarks were very much relevant.

Personally, I consider her remarks about Ohio, and the issue of withdrawal from Iraq (in a BBC interview) more relevant grounds for dismissal and I think the Obama campaign has actually caught a break due to the "monster" comment.

So you think a reporter is right to ignore the opinion of a major figure in a presidential campaign regarding their opponents? Is the sort of thing that journalists "routinely" decide not to write about? I am not a journalist and may have a very naive view of journalism, but the comments by Ms. Power don't seem particularly routine.

The only non-routine part of it is the lack of self-control. Neither that nor her opinion is particularly newsworthy for rivals. A bit different for friends and allies, but for rivals to dislike each other?

Yeah, that IS naive...

Ms. Power is not simply an academic being interviewed, she was at the time, a major foreign policy adviser to a possible future president, and her remarks should have been reported, and they were.

If the reporter is going to publish her remarks, then he/she needs to establish the context of those remarks. To date, hilzoy is the only person I have read who has bothered to take the time to figure out why Samantha Power would think that about Hillary Clinton.

Reporting the what, with no analysis of why the person said what he/she did is the basis of why our political reporting is so bad. We usually think about it in the context of a reporter passing along information from an anonymous source, without considering the motives for saying what the source did. Pretty much everyone here recognizes that problem. What a lot of people seem to be missing is that the exact same dynamic is at work here, just in the opposite direction of leaving out why an on the record source would blurt out what she did not intend to say.

Either way, the statement only has meaning within context. Absent context, maybe Samantha Power was saying that Hillary Clinton is like one of my cats.

gwangung,
Ms. Power's remarks (to me) are not routine simply because they are variance with stated campaign premises. As I pointed out, her remarks on Iraq as well as the ones she made about Ohio just preceding the "Monster" remark don't agree with the image the campaign presents. So, I don't agree that her opinion is not newsworthy (in any case the reality is that it was very much newsworthy). Besides, it is not like she has been singled out in matters of this sort.

J. Michael Neal,
I am aware of the context. The immediate context was her speaking about the electoral losses in Ohio, and calling Ms. Clinton a "monster" in this specific context is a tad overblown. Besides, if her opinion of Ms. Clinton is based on any sins committed by Ms. Clinton on Rwanda or the Balkans, such is not clear from the interview. It is too much to ask a reporter to get into the business of mind reading.

I am less concerned about what she said about Ms. Clinton (I have lost interest in her candidacy given her recent favorable comparisons of St. McCain with Mr. Obama, as well as Mr. Obama's) than about the evident double standard being applied here, especially given how there are so many liberal criticisms of the american press as being too subservient to the establishment. The press has no obligation to be "nice". The interview was about the campaign and the recent primaries, and clearly she knew that anything she said about her rivals *would* potentially be reported.

Also, I would rather not wade into this debate over Rwanda, but my reading about Ms. Power indicates that it would be dangerous to trust her with much power given her interventionist tendencies. There is a critique of Ms. Power's general outlook in an article by Jacob Heilbrunn:

www.washingtonindependent.com/view/an-advocate-for-an

gwangung, Ms. Power's remarks (to me) are not routine simply because they are variance with stated campaign premises.

In a formal or informal venue?

gwangung,
I don't understand your question. She made the remarks about Ohio in the Scotsman interview, and the remarks about Iraq in a BBC interview. I guess both are formal venues. For what it is worth, I think her remark about Iraq (the Obama administration will not withdraw from Iraq immediately) is more honest than what both the democratic candidates are promising; but for the Obama campaign, the same remarks can be spun into a liability. Again, the issue here is whether the press should give political representatives like Ms. Power the benefit of the doubt, and I personally believe they should not.

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