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June 08, 2008

Comments

The caveat being that, at least as far as it's explained in Nixonland (which I assume is fairly comprehensive), Nixon didn't seem to believe in much of anything he was espousing. What with the strong similarities between the Clinton and Obama platforms throughout the primary, it should be even easier for her to get behind, and then eventually in front of, the movement than it was for Nixon in 1968. Where he had to ingratiate himself slowly and methodically into the conservative movement before he could take over, she really just has to keep doing what she's doing (with the obvious changes in foreign policy).


But Nixon eventually came around and worked his tail off for Goldwater. After the inevitable crushing, it appeared that Nixon had squandered whatever capital he had left. But the chessmaster knew exactly what he was doing. Goldwater conservatives were taking over the party and he got out in front of the movement, positioning himself perfectly for 1968.

Minor quibble: my take on reading the 1964-1968 part of Nixonland is that what Nixon did was not so much to jump to the front of the Goldwater movement conservative parade, but rather he avoided burning his bridges with both wings of the GOP, and so in 1968 he was the only major figure who was acceptable to both sides, having walked a tightrope between them ideologically.

YMMV of course.

Now my question about the applicability of this lesson to the relationship between the Clinton and Obama wings of the Dems:

It seems to me that unlike in the example you just cited, there is much less of an ideological difference between Hillary's base and Obama's base.

This is partly because there is a fairly broad consensus in the Democratic party right now on policy (compared vs the current GOP where paleocons, neocons, theocons and big business can't agree on much), and partly because Obama has constructed a moderately broad ideological coalition combining anti-war progressives with fiscal conservative Dems and Indys attracted to his Chicago-school influenced policy tilt towards market oriented solutions and limited top-down regulation (c.f. his health care and mortgage foreclosure remediation proposals) which effectively straddled Hillary both to the left and to the right of her positions.

It seems to me that the larger difference between the Obama camp and Hillary's camp is not over ideology but rather over structure, meaning the top-down vs bottom-up relationship between the leadership and the base. See for example Al Giordano's observations about this contrast: No More Drama.

I may be wrong, but in some ways this difference in structural relationships seems to me to make for a more difficult switch for a politician if they want to run around to the head of the parade, than the ideological shift that Nixon pulled off.

"And, she won’t receive the blame if Obama loses."

Like hell.

You know if she throws Larry Johnson under the bus wheels, Joe Wilson and Val Plame will get squished, too. Then where will you be?
========================

The ones she needs to throw under the bus are those morons making up the DLC. When she disowns them and 'they never work in this town again' she might have a chance of being a heavyweight in the party. But she can't do it if she insists on keeping that bunch of losers around.

Wow, could you get more patronizing if you tried with both hands?

Unless you have drunk too deep of the anti-Clinton KoolAid to be able to spew it up, you know Clinton - like every other sane/well-informed person in the US - wants a big Democratic win in November because that's the only way to begin undoing the criminal damage done to the US over the past 8 years.

And you know Clinton, who just ran one of the most successful primary campaigns in US history despite constant negative attacks from the media and from the misogynistic wing of the Democratic party and even from normally sane and sensible blogs (like Obsidian Wings) - will do what she can to bring that about. And she'll be way better than you, Publius, in figuring out what that is.

Jes, at some point are you going to acknowledge that Clinton is a strong supporter of the course of action that's led (so far) to thousands of dead Americans, a million dead Iraqis, twice that many fled their homes, and been the major justification for war crimes starting with torture and ending with the abolition of privacy? That she made common cause with the primary bankroller of the administration-long assaults on her husband's ability to govern? And that she draws her senior counsel entirely from the ranks of those responsible for the Democratic strategy of capitulation and collaboration that you have yourself rightly condemned over the years?

There are places for meaningful debate, like whether health coverage is overall advanced by imposing mandates on individuals. (I think not, but it's an issue with a lot of room for nuance.) But this pretending that Clinton's candicacy wasn't marred by her chosen associations with many of the greatest evils in American life today doesn't help much. No other candidate, I suspect, could have gotten nearly so far with such a massive toll of death and misery on their hands. But there it is nonetheless, despite her excellence on some other issues and her ability to rouse a crowd to angry ferment.

Wait a minute, Bruce. If Joe Wilson and Larry Johnson and Val Plame are all liars, then maybe deposing Saddam was a good thing to do.
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Bruce, I had the same basic reaction to publius' post as Jes, even if I share your analysis of why HRC did not win the nomination.

Publius, a post in which you compare Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon does not do her any favors, nor you much credit.

I'm sure to you this is just thinking out loud inspired by reading Nixonland. But less than 24 hours after Clinton's welcome unity speech... It's patronizing, clueless, insensitive, and actively divisive.

I'd also note that the main post's indulging in the Larry Johnson reference has attracted a new troll; please DNF.

Clinton’s potential problem is that she can’t capitalize on the loss if people blame her (e.g., if lots of older liberal women stayed home and Clinton did little to get them out).

Or, say, the GOP plays an endless loop of her saying that she and McCain have passed the commander-in-chief test whereas Obama? Eh.

Jes: And you know Clinton, who just ran one of the most successful primary campaigns in US history despite constant negative attacks from . . . normally sane and sensible blogs (like Obsidian Wings)

Exactly. Clinton was entitled to run a criticism-free campaign because, god knows, she never had anything but high-praise for Obama and only focused on their narrow policy differences.

The Nixon comparison is very interesting, but I don't think Hilary Clinton will have another shot at the presidency no matter what happens in November. Goldwater might have been a decade or more ahead of his time, but Obama loses this year I'd still say he's only about 4 years ahead of his time, or not even ahead of his time at all but simply lost for tactical reasons (or perhaps even racial reasons at the margin).

Iraq, race and gender issues have the potential to pull a rabbit out of the hat this year, but the fact is that the political landscape of the US has changed a great deal, and both parties have to forge modified coalitions -- and the Dems are obviously much further down this path than the Reps. The short-medium term catastrophe for the Reps is that their social conservative base is literally dying off; the nationalist War on Terror theme papered over these cracks very successfully for 8 years, but that's not a long-term solution for them.

Obama seems to me like a more right-wing version of Tony Blair, and that seems just about perfect for the current state of American politics and society. I think we'll all be surprised by who the Republicans come up with to run for the White House in 4 years' time.

Oh, and for all those who haven't got their heads stuck into the anti-Clinton hole: a good idea.

Bruce: Jes, at some point are you going to acknowledge that Clinton is a strong supporter of the course of action that's led (so far) to thousands of dead Americans, a million dead Iraqis, twice that many fled their homes, and been the major justification for war crimes starting with torture and ending with the abolition of privacy.

First, link me to posts about Clinton on Obsidian Wings written during the past four months that focussed exclusively on her voting record as a Senator and her platform as a Democratic candidate for President, and made no reference (except to condemn) whatever the current media storm against her was: whether that's the claim she and her husband were "race-baiting", or the claim that she lied about Bosnia, or the claim that she compared Florida to Zimbabwe, or the claim that she said McCain would be a better President than Obama, or the demand that although she was still winning primaries she ought to drop out of the race now, or lambasting her because she wanted the Florida and Michigan delegates seated.

You may be able to find such posts: but on the whole, during the whole primary campaign, Obsidian Wings bloggers were not campaigning against Clinton on the issues, or making substantive criticisms of her voting record and her declared policies, as compared to Obama.

And I never saw any acknowledgement by any of the front page bloggers that they'd merely joined the media anti-Clinton storms.

whether that's the claim she and her husband were "race-baiting", or the claim that she lied about Bosnia, or the claim that she compared Florida to Zimbabwe, or the claim that she said McCain would be a better President than Obama, or the demand that although she was still winning primaries she ought to drop out of the race now, or lambasting her because she wanted the Florida and Michigan delegates seated.

I really don't get your point here. The race baiting issue was certainly arguable. I don't see any point in rehashing all of that business. But are you seriously trying to claim that all of the other issues you list aren't legitimate campaign issues?

Clinton did, for instance, compare the Florida situation to Zimbabwe. Are you arguing that she did not do so or are you arguing that it is somehow not legitimate to criticize her rhetoric because that criticism is not "substantive?" That when I say "it was ridiculous for Clinton to compare those situations," I am not making a genuine argument that I think is important. That rather, I am joining the "media anti-Clinton" storm?"

If so, I can only say that I could not possibly disagree with your assessment more. It literally makes no sense to me. It would not even occur to me to mount some defense of the principle that a politicians rhetoric is a legit part of the political discourse and absolutely fair game for disagreement and critique. That really seems self evident to me.

If you are not arguing that then I am afraid I don't understand your point at all.

I don't see what's wrong with going after Clinton because of the way she campaigned. That stuff is important too, especially in a race in which the two candidates are very close in terms of their positions on issues.

The simple answer John is that no criticism of Clinton would be accepted as legitimate by many of her supporters. It's astonishing to see a campaign that combines sharp-elbows aggressive politics (proudly claimed as evidence that she was tough enough) with perpetual complaints about any criticism that such tactics caused. I view it as an ugly consequence of identity politics - we're seeing the least attractive side of 70's-era feminism manifesting itself. And I'm very grateful that such tactics ultimately failed.

And Publius' post provides the occasion for yet another round of backbiting. Ommmmmm.....

While I can understand the revulsion at having HRC being compared to Nixon, I think that if you step back and see the comparison as a description of the lay of the land rather than suggesting that HRC is going to demand that Mark Penn pray with her, it is actually a rather revealing comparison. Can anyone really claim that the center of the Democratic party has not shifted. We can debate the dimensions of that shift and whether it is to antiwar or netroots or something else, but the idea that Clinton is watching the party leave from where she is to someplace else is quite insightful. It is also interesting that while linking HRC to Nixon is a slap, note the implicit comparison here.

I’ve just started Perlstein’s Nixonland, and it offers a useful comparison. Nixon very much wanted the nomination in 1964, thinking — correctly — that he was a superior candidate. At the time, the Republican establishment was treating Goldwater like a pariah.

One could argue that if Hillary = Nixon, then Obama = Goldwater, and in another time and other circumstances, Hillary would be the superior candidate, given her experience and connections.

These thoughts come up when I think of Ted Kennedy and he and Jimmy Carter in the 1980 convention. Again, perhaps a superior candidate who saw the landscape shift before him.

Jes: "First, link me to posts about Clinton on Obsidian Wings written during the past four months that focussed exclusively on her voting record as a Senator..."

How soon we forget ...

"and made no reference (except to condemn) whatever the current media storm against her was: whether that's the claim she and her husband were "race-baiting", or the claim that she lied about Bosnia, or the claim that she compared Florida to Zimbabwe, or (...)"

Wait: why should we just condemn these things, rather than, you know, asking what they meant, and deciding for ourselves? Take Bosnia: that arose at a time when Clinton was using Bosnia and the sniper fire to argue that she had real experience dealing with foreign policy. The fact that it was false was relevant to assessing one of the arguments that she herself was making about why she was a better candidate.

Why, exactly, was it out of bounds to say that actual video of the event showed nothing like what she said? (And, of course, that every other bit of evidence contradicted her account)? Is it just because the media got on top of it that I was supposed to "condemn"? Or because it was a criticism of Clinton?

Look: I don't want to rehash this. I thought Clinton gave a great speech last night, and my hat is off to her. (My figurative hat; I don't normally wear literal ones, though it's hot enough out today that I might.) I'm not replying to replay these fights; I'm just very curious about the grounds on which I was supposed not to do anything but condemn the media when faced with a case in which I didn't just think that Clinton might have made up a part of her own argument about why she was better; there were contemporaneous accounts and video to show that she was.

I mean: why should that have been my response?

Jesurgislac: First, link me to posts about Clinton on Obsidian Wings written during the past four months that focussed exclusively on her voting record as a Senator and her platform as a Democratic candidate for President, and made no reference (except to condemn) whatever the current media storm against her was:

Did Clinton attempt to draw any meaningful distinctions between herself and Obama on policy? Her candidacy was first and foremost about process- and character-oriented issues like "inevitability", "experience", "electability", "strength", being a "fighter", "the Commander-In-Chief threshold", etc. You talk as if you think these issues, which Clinton herself raised as the main arguments for nominating her and not Obama, should be off-limits to those of us who have supported Obama.

And where Clinton did draw policy distinctions, Obama supporters discussed those distinctions at length -- a lot of pixels were spilled over her gas tax pandering, as I recall.

But she made this nomination fight first and foremost about her character and her supposed superiority as a candidate per se. There's nothing inappropriate, much less misogynistic, about engaging her campaign's arguments on their own terms.

Nell: And Publius' post provides the occasion for yet another round of backbiting. Ommmmmm.....

You're going to lay this on Publius? Sheesh.

Jes - I honestly don't understand where you're coming from at all. For one, I never said Clinton wants him to lose (i don't think she does). I said "for the sake of argument," let's assume she'd better off. also, our critiques of clinton were, i think, quite substantive. for instance, the main reason i didn't support clinton was b/c of hte war and her defensive centrism (points i made repeatedly). so the vitriol is a bit much.

nell - it's a historical example, nothing more. i wasn't comparing her to nixon in anything but a procedural sense. Nixon was by the way one of the most gifted politicians of the 20th century.

I should also say that while I can easily see why Clinton supporters might mind seeing her compared to Nixon, having read Nixonland, it's such a great book that for weeks afterwards, almost everything appears in its light, and comparisons of just about everything to one or another of the events it describes are the most natural thing in the world.

It also manages the astonishing trick of neither pulling its punches towards, say, Nixon, but never losing essential sympathy with him either. (Sympathy in the sense of seeing him whole, not necessarily (or actually) agreeing.) So a comparison to Nixon after reading Nixonland would not be the usual "Clinton is like teh worst scumbag ever!", it would be (a) the most natural thing in the world (to compare anyone to, and (b) a comparison to a complicated but fully human person.

Perlstein is like that.

cross-post ;)

Jes, I have better things to do with my money than put it into the pocket of a multimillionaire. Much of Clinton's debt is to herself, so effectively my few bucks would be going directly to her. If she believed those last couple of months of trashing the likely nominee and whipping up resentment against him among her supporters were worth it, then let her spend her own money like any other multimillionaire candidate.

I will instead make donations that further Democrats' chances of taking the White House and increasing their congressional majorities. Since you believe that goal is so important that we're not even allowed to care which Democrat is our nominee enough to criticize the candidates, it surely should be important in deciding how to spend our money.

Oh, and for all those who haven't got their heads stuck into the anti-Clinton hole: a good idea.

I agree with KC. Those "Hard-Earned" need to go to getting Dems in the Senate and House, especially the White one. I've never heard of an ex-candidate asking for funds after the primaries -- if I did, I'd be more likely to give to Edwards or Kusinich.

It's very silly to be offended by the comparison to Nixon. It's not like he was Hitler--we are discussing a former inhabitant of the White House who lost the nomination battle to an insurgent, and harboured dreams of success later.

It's also simply untrue that people did not have substantive objections to Hilary Clinton, on this blog and elsewhere. Personally I think she's a scumbag, to use a colloquialism, and I consider that substantive. Nevertheless, I also object to practically everything she's said on foreign policy issues, her advocacy of policies like gas tax vacations, and the fact that she already made a huge hash of what is supposed to be her signature issue--health care reform.

BTW, there was much greatness in Nixon. I find him and Carter to be two of the most interesting presidents at least since WW2.

Jes: Obsidian Wings bloggers were not campaigning against Clinton on the issues, or making substantive criticisms of her voting record and her declared policies, as compared to Obama.

I'll bite: please define, explicitly, what you would regard as substantive criticisms of her voting records and her declared policies, or tackling Clinton on the issues.

Furthermore, please explain, explicitly, why critiques of her campaigning style were inherently inappropriate; and, for that matter, why her campaigning style was (as you have portrayed it) beyond reproach.

And if any of those responses boil down to "Because she's a woman", then please don't bother us on this subject again.

I've been saying for a long time that I'm very much interested in how officials make decisions. I've mentioned this book before, but will again: Angelo Codevilla's Informing Statecraft was a big influence on me. Codevilla is very conservative - he was in fact part of the Reagan transition team - and while we'd have much to argue about, he brings some real insights to bear on the subject of reliable intelligence-gathering and the uses of it. He has a devastating passage early on about all the things a typical newly hired CIA agent doesn't know and will never learn, and how much being a person who can function well in Washington society makes it hard to be a good gatherer of info in the field.

The major thing I took away from his book, back in 1992, was that policy made in secret is almost always bad policy. That's because it doesn't get exposed to anyone who will laugh, mock, sneer, or passionately disagree with it - it's never probed by anyone likely to have any fundamental argument with the person who came up with. Since secrets stay in relatively small circles almost all the time, policies held secret are unlikely to get tested by anyone with a culture or experience much different from the conceiver. By contrast, the more people can poke at it, the faster its flaws will surface.

(Some years later I realized that this is pretty much the open source software argument for reliability and security, and that there may well be a general fact of human nature at work here.)

Thus, for instance, one of the reasons the Bush/Cheney "no one could have foreseen" style of defense is bad is that it's so vulnerable to the obvious retort. "Someone did, but you only talked to the people you already agreed with." But it applies to a lot of things - as, for that matter, does the Hayekian/Discordian argument that centralization distorts information. Distributed power, openness to outside argument, and the like, aren't just nice (though they are that), they are more likely to lead to good results. And since I have to live with the president's results, I have a vested interest in seeing that they're as good as possible.

And I have about the same laundry list of "let's not do that again" warning signs of trouble as a lot of my fellow survivors of Bush/Cheney. Some of it's simple, like "Always have a contingency plan, because the one thing you can count on is that something won't go as you expect." Some of it's temperamental, like "I wish you would go looking for support as widely as possible rather than fixate on another one of those barely-sufficient coalitions and sneering at others who'd like to support you as not really counting". Some of it's a mix of tactics and values, like "It's true that campaigning in every state guarantees that some of your resources are going into doomed races, but if you campaign everywhere, you're also in position to pick up unexpected gains when serendipity strikes." Some of it would have struck me as self-evident, like "Never at any time suggest that the Republican candidate can do anything better than your fellow Democratic contenders."

In all these cases, the decisions people reach about their tactics and strategies and the way they reach them tell us important things. None of us can know what will be the critical issues of 2010. (You in the back there, Kreskin, shut up.) So we have to see how they respond to what's going on at the moment, and figure that their operating style will matter at least as much (often more) than their words. Take Bush's VP selection: fobbed off on a lunatic or at least obsessive old family buddy, who went into secret and came out to announce he was the guy. That turns out to have been a very important preview of coming attractions, much more so than the soothing lies Bush uttered in debates. Ditto with stuff this campaign.

"Liberal lioness of the Senate?" What is that guy smoking? I mean, it's Hillary Clinton. You can say a lot of things about Hillary Clinton, but one thing you can't call her is "liberal" - at best, she's a centrist.

Maybe now that Obama's demonstrated how to fund one's campaigns without extensive corporate funding she'll jump at the chance and become really liberal or something, but I don't think her centrism was merely out of convenience. I think it's who she is.

Which is fine, mind you. Nothing wrong with intelligent centrism (as opposed to Lieberman-style centrism). But she ain't a big old lefty and it's silly to suggest otherwise.

I've yet to hear anybody explain how Clinton lost the nomination because of sexism, when a good bit more than 50% of the voters were women, and she beat Obama amongst men of various categories on various occasions, not least amongst rural men who one might have thought would have more traditional values than urban voters.

That is, if anyone has ever seen any kind of justification for the misogyny explanation just uses actual numbers and data, I'd be very interested in it. I haven't seen much more to this beyond pointing out that some guy at some event way back when shouted "iron my shirt" or various other incidents without any suggestion of cause and effect.

Hi Publius,

If Obama had lost and if in his concession he said nothing about her judgment, I would say that he was holding back.

His criticism of her votes on the Authorization to use Force were by far the most damaging.

by the same token, the sleazy way in which she questioned his qualifications to be Commander in Chief, were nonetheless the most (substantively) damaging to him.

And yet she says nothing to put them behind us.

Recall that she did so by aligning herself with McCain.

Yet in her speech, she does not use the phrase Commander in Chief in connection with Obama.

And worse still, she does not say anything negative about letting McCain put his decrypted finger on button.

The first time President Obama offer an olive branch, she is going to attack. She's a sick puppy, publius. she wants nothing but power.

on the other hand, if the purpose of your post is to move on, fair enough.

It also manages the astonishing trick of neither pulling its punches towards, say, Nixon, but never losing essential sympathy with him either. (Sympathy in the sense of seeing him whole, not necessarily (or actually) agreeing.) So a comparison to Nixon after reading Nixonland would not be the usual "Clinton is like teh worst scumbag ever!", it would be (a) the most natural thing in the world (to compare anyone to, and (b) a comparison to a complicated but fully human person.

Perlstein is like that.

I agree. If you read only one book on American politics this year, make it Nixonland. Reading it a second or third time to get more detail would probably be a more productive use of time than reading most other books on politics the first time.

This is a book which deserves deep study and I think it might be fun if we could set up a thread here on ObWings devoted to an in depth discussion of the book. I'd love to hear what the conservatives on this blog think of it.


In all these cases, the decisions people reach about their tactics and strategies and the way they reach them tell us important things. None of us can know what will be the critical issues of 2010. (You in the back there, Kreskin, shut up.) So we have to see how they respond to what's going on at the moment, and figure that their operating style will matter at least as much (often more) than their words.


Did Clinton attempt to draw any meaningful distinctions between herself and Obama on policy? Her candidacy was first and foremost about process- and character-oriented issues like "inevitability", "experience", "electability", "strength", being a "fighter", "the Commander-In-Chief threshold", etc. You talk as if you think these issues, which Clinton herself raised as the main arguments for nominating her and not Obama, should be off-limits to those of us who have supported Obama.

What Bruce and Gromit said.

This nominating contest was not very much about ideology per se because neither candidate made much of an effort to distance themselves from the other, except for the Iraq war. It was fought primarily (and also caucusly :->) on the grounds of character, temperament and tone. There is nothing wrong with having a contest focus on these things because we cannot know with certainty what challenges a President will face in 4-8 years.

Hillary Clinton was very much the aggressor in this area since Obama's early speeches attacked a generic "establishment Washington culture" more than focusing on Hillary directly and personally. These attacks were only implicitly directed at Hillary in so far as she chose to run as the experienced Washington insider rather than as a change candidate. If the shoe fits...

She was the one who made it a personal character contest by attacking Obama as unfit to be President.

Reap the wind, and sow the whirlwind

Now that I am supporting Obama, I feel it is safe to come out of hiding. I do not think Hillary lost the election because of sexism, but I agree with Digby, who says it much better than I can.

"Clinton's campaign ripped open a hole in our culture and forced us to look inside. And what we found was a simmering cauldron of crude, sophomoric sexism and ugly misogyny that a lot of us knew existed but didn't realize was still so socially acceptable that it could be broadcast on national television and garner nary a complaint from anybody but a few internet scolds like me. It was eye-opening, to say the least."

I think it is essential that Obama supporters understand this when they reach out to former Hillary supporters. Neither Digby or I are stating that this sexism came from Obama or his campaign. Many women, young and old, Hillary and Obama supporters, are hurting and outraged. I suspect in the long run it will have a positive effect. People can no longer believe we live in a post-feminist era. The patriarchy that has existed through all of human history could not be smashed in one generation.

I have decided to work my heart out for Obama. But I am not interest in defending or criticizing either of their campaigns. I was very unhappy that neither of them emphasized policies that would address the shameful reality that the US is one of the most family-unfriendly countries in the world.

Jes,

The following is an honest question, not meant snarkily; I want to understand your mindset.

Do you have the same ire for Clinton supporters who wrote critically about Obama on Wright, Rezko, or "sweetie"? Were you upset by Clinton campaigners who tried to connect Obama to drugs, or by Clinton's own remarks on Obama's fitness to be President? (Some of these--his use of "sweetie," especially--I believe were real and legitimate issues; some not.)

I'm trying to understand whether what you find objectionable is non-voting-record-based criticism of Democrats in general, or whether it was only criticism directed at Clinton that was out of bounds. If the latter, could you please explain what the difference is?

Well, Redstocking, you'll be happy to read that Obama has proposed expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act. And though her ideas and language didn't penetrate his platform nearly as much as one would hope, it is worth noting that Karen Kornbluh is his policy director, and her economic focus has always been geared towards more family-friendly economic policies. That certainly portends well for an Obama administration.

Redstocking, lots to agree with there.

My feeling for some while has been that any of the candidates would be a major disappointment to me time and again when it comes to policy. What I've been aiming for is someone with good decision-making values and skills, in the expectation of having to pressure them constantly from outside.

jdbrown,

I was a very ambivalent Hillary supporter and I found all those instances you cite objectionable. Many of the best feminist political commentators on sexism were not Hillary supporters at all--Melissa McEwan, Digby, Jessica Valenti, Echidne.

I fear the sexism of American society will become crystal clear as the Republicans slander Michelle Obama. I am afraid many feminists haven't supported her enough. I rather hope Michelle and Hillary become friendly. Only Hillary understands what Michelle is going to have to cope with. Laura Bush would not understand what they are talking about:)

Dear Michael,

I agree that Obama's heart is in the right place on these issues. I love it that his daughters are young and he and Michelle struggle with these problems everyday. Fortunately Michelle's mother is available to help care for their kids. That solution is available to fewer and fewer families since grandparents still work and often live too far away. (I am lucky enough to be able to care for my 1-year-old grandson three days a week.)

Hillary wasn't really better on these issues, but I hoped that as an older woman with so many woman advisors, she would understand. She might be more sensitive to the dilemmas of caring for aging parents.

But we need a mass movement to pressure Congress to address these issues. Sadly most young parents and most caregivers of elders do not have the time or energy to lead this crusade.

@Gromit: Sheesh, indeed. I said that Publius had provided the occasion with this post, with absolutely predictable results.

publius: Nixon was by the way one of the most gifted politicians of the 20th century.

Yeah, I was there. So much the worse for politicians qua politicians. Mad skillz are not admirable in and of themselves, regardless of the purpose to which they're put.

"Only a historical example", "for the sake of argument": Sure, if this post were being written twelve months ago or seven months from now. My point is about timing and thoughtlessness, not some Godwin-like point about Nixon.

Hilzoy at least grasps why and acknowledges that this post might give offense to Clinton supporters.

It also irritates those of us who have been waiting for the backbiting to be over, who really are interested in the reconciliation happening as quickly as possible, and mutual trust re-developing between the camps in the interest of maximum success in November.

In that context, in this moment, a thought experiment asking the reader to consider, however briefly and as part of setting up an argument leading to a different conclusion, that Clinton would be objectively better off if Obama loses, is not likely to be taken in the way publius probably intended.

Nell - i see the point about ending it and moving on. And I want to do that. eventually...

But this is one of the biggest political upsets in american history. a former first lady lost after being "inevitable," for very unique reasons (historically speaking). it's a big complex interesting question why that happened. so, i am going to be talking about it -- more to the point, i think it's a very interesting discussion, particularly for political junkies.

but i'm not gloating or bashing clinton in doing so. i know if i do, you'll call me out. :)

seriously though, this is a very post-worthy topic right now, despite the timing. at the end of the day, i fancy myself a pundit rather than a democratic activist -- and so I want to explore these interesting questions without feeling that i'm violating some other sort of duty.

No, I won't call you out. I'll just return to not reading your posts.

i fancy myself a pundit rather than a democratic activist -- and so I want to explore these interesting questions without feeling that i'm violating some other sort of duty.

hmmm. I'm not sure a [d]emocrat can contenance that distinction, not at the end of the day.

but whoever said that that election was not much about political ideology was not listening carefully.

Obama said repeatedly that change must come from the ground up, which flies in the face of everything the real Hillary stands for, from health care mandates to nation building to enforcing our notions of gender equality on Islamic nations.

as Jeanne Kilpatrick will tell you, that's all top down ideology.

This is the deep significance of Obama's candidacy. He is a democrat through and through.

Publius, a post in which you compare Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon does not do her any favors, nor you much credit.

Except among the crucial vonnian block: we vonnians think that Nixon was a generally swell president on some issues (foreign policy) while thinking dimly of him on others (the southern strategy) -- always while keeping in mind that has was a snake.
Since that pretty much sums up the vonnian reaction to Bill Clinton as well, Publius' comparison is nearly perfect.

Sadly, the vonnian block consists of only a single voter (who's most likely voting for McCain).

"always while keeping in mind that has was a snake."

Strike "has." Wow. If that's a Freudian slip on my part, I just learned something new about myself.

Publius, I think timing is important. This isn't the best time for discussing this topic. I suppose it's better than the attempt to discuss reforming the nomination process at a point when people's feelings about reforms are largely tied to which candidate they supported and moreover when we haven't seen how well the process worked out for November and beyond.

But I did participate in both threads, so I guess I found them interesting even if not all that useful. I agree that some of this one is counterproductive, and I regret that I drifted into that in my comment.

Redstocking (or someone else sharing her views):

Regarding this:

"Clinton's campaign ripped open a hole in our culture and forced us to look inside. And what we found was a simmering cauldron of crude, sophomoric sexism and ugly misogyny that a lot of us knew existed but didn't realize was still so socially acceptable that it could be broadcast on national television and garner nary a complaint from anybody but a few internet scolds like me. It was eye-opening, to say the least."

I plead some ignorance here. I am aware of some outrageous and stupid statements regarding Hillary Clinton. And I agree with your observation that, though sexism clearly still exists, sexism was not responsible for Hillary's loss. But I am having a hard time understanding how Clinton's campaign reveals -- one recalls
Port's death scene in The Sheltering Sky -- "a simmering cauldron of crude, sophomoric sexism and ugly misogyny" previously hidden by the sky stretch thin across, only to be ripped apart and "rush upon us with the speed of a million winds." (OK, the "million winds" phrase is Bowles', not Digby's.)

If anything, aside from a few blips at the beginning (e.g., hairstyle and dress focus), Clinton's campaign seemed to be remarkably sexism-free.

Redstocking,

Oh, I recognize that many, many Clinton supporters had objections to those instances I cite. But, in their calculations, those objections just didn't outweigh the considerations in favor of Clinton. That's fine.

I'm really trying to get a read on Jes's mindset, specifically, because, from what I can tell of her comments here, (s)he thinks any criticism of Clinton (apart from that directed towards her voting record) was out of bounds. I want to know if this has to do with some feature of Clinton in particular, or if Jes subscribes to the Democratic version of Reagan's 11th commandment.

I also certainly didn't mean to suggest that Clinton wasn't the target of sexist attacks during the campaign--she most definitely was. (Though, as I obliquely suggested on another thread, I think most of this was coming from the media, Republicans, and isolated jerks who happened to Obama supporters, rather than from Obama supporters as a general class.) And your point about Michelle Obama is well taken. (I always thought the treatment Theresa Heinz-Kerry got from the Republicans and from the press four years ago was rather sexist, itself.)

jdkbrown,

I could never satisfactorily explain to my family of Obama supporters why I was supporting Clinton because my political views were so much more similar to Obama's. I had some difficulty understanding it myself. I did think Hillary would make an excellent president; I greatly admired her brains, hard work, and indomitable spirit. Electing a qualified women president was tremendously important to me. I would not have supported any Republican woman for president. Obama seemed too much of an unknown. I preferred Clinton's health platform.

Electing a qualified woman president seemed a truly history-changing event. At 22, my grandma voted in the first election I was sad my feminist mother died 4 years ago and didn't get a chance to vote for Hillary. I would imagine African Americans felt similarly about Obama.

I agree that Theresa Heinz-Kerry's treatment was sexist. The media doesn't know what to make of Hillary, Elizabeth Edwards, Michelle Obama, Theresa Heinz-Kerry, Judy Dean, who are their husbands' true equals. In other countries, spouses of the leader are permitted to keep their own jobs.

von,

If anything, aside from a few blips at the beginning (e.g., hairstyle and dress focus), Clinton's campaign seemed to be remarkably sexism-free.

I don't know where to begin. I suggest you add some feminist blogs (Shakesville, Feministing, Echidne, Digby) to your RSS reader. Perhaps some consciousness-raising is in order. The feminists of the 70's realized that sexism is so embedded in human society, that women as well as men mistook it for realilty.

i watch those "Sexism In The Media Hurt Clinton" clip montages and one thing stands out to me: 99% of the people they show being sexist are a) Chris Matthews b) Republicans c) FOX News guests. (yes, a lot of overlap in b and c).

so all that says to me is: there are a lot of sexists in the GOP - and Chris Matthews is a dink*.

i still think most of the ostensible Dems who say they're going to vote McCain are trying to turn a loss into power over the winner. but i hope the rest of them think twice about supporting the very people who are responsible for the bulk of the sexism in those clips. in other words: do these people really want to encourage Glenn Beck ?

* - sexist!

The points been made elswhere, but it bears repeating.

Hillary lost because she voted for the war.

Had she gotten that vote right she'd be the nominee right now.

As for the "it's not the right time" comments, how do they even make sense. This is a good a time as any to think about what Hillary will do next. I seriously doubt the great mass Hillary supporters are so thin-skinned that they can't handle a discussion of the obvious.

Though it's outside the four-month window, what about Hilzoy's useful set of links to discussions on Democratic candidates'positions on transgender issues, which you might think provides useful information, particularly for feminists. (But I suppose as it criticizes Hillary, that doesn't count).

jdkbrown: Do you have the same ire for Clinton supporters who wrote critically about Obama on Wright, Rezko, or "sweetie"? Were you upset by Clinton campaigners who tried to connect Obama to drugs, or by Clinton's own remarks on Obama's fitness to be President?

On Wright? Absolutely. I do not actually recall reading much from pro-Clinton blogs about Wright, actually: but yeah, the hit Obama took about Wright was overtly, obviously racist, and anyone who bought into Wright being a "problem" was either racist themselves or way too gullible about pro-Republican media strategies.

"Sweetie" was Obama himself being casually sexist. I saw reasonable criticism of Obama for his behavior, which ceased when Obama apologized and acknowledged fault.

As I understand it, the problem with Obama and Rezko is the same kind of "problem" that the Clintons had with Whitewater: which is to say, that while Obama has done nothing wrong, the Republicans will certainly claim that he did. However, it is a situation worth commenting on - and I note 335,000 hits on Obama and Rezko. But, I get 524,000 hits when I google on Hillary Clinton and Zimbabwe. So it looks like the storm that hit Obama over his connection with a federal criminal, was minor compared to the storm that hit Clinton over a reasonable remark that made perfect sense if you were informed of international current events, and was grossly misinterpreted to "Clinton compared Florida with Zimbabwe!"

Your assertion further down claiming "she thinks any criticism of Clinton (apart from that directed towards her voting record) was out of bounds" is absolute bloody nonsense, which you have pulled out of thin air.

I said specifically, in response to Bruce Baugh, that criticism of Clinton should be substantive. Examples of substantive criticism: her policies and her voting record. Example of insubstantive criticism: OMG CLINTON SAID ZIMBABWE!

There you go.

Magistra: Though it's outside the four-month window, what about Hilzoy's useful set of links to discussions on Democratic candidates'positions on transgender issues, which you might think provides useful information, particularly for feminists. (But I suppose as it criticizes Hillary, that doesn't count).

More to the point, Magistra, I specified the four-month window for a reason: it was when it became clear that Clinton, Obama, and McCain were the three front-runners for President that the media went mad whipping up anti-Hillary stories, and ordinarily reasonable blogs followed right along.

But, I get 524,000 hits when I google on Hillary Clinton and Zimbabwe.

Update - it occurred to me that some of those hits might well be "innocent" - that is, not items referencing the storm but actual legitimate news/articles that just happened to have both "Hillary Clinton" and Zimbabwe, so I regoogled for hit counts with other keywords. I still get between mid-200 thousands and high-300 thousands for each googlesearch: at the high end, still beating out the storm about Tony Rezko, and even at the low end, not that far below in media interest.

My point still stands: it's an absurd number of googlehits for a story about a single, non-actionable, inoffensive remark about current events, to be comparable with a story about a link, however innocent, between a federal criminal and a Presidential candidate.

it's an absurd number of googlehits for a story about a single, non-actionable, inoffensive remark about current events,

inoffensive ?

it's offensive in multiple ways. that's the reason people were talking about it!

I do not actually recall reading much from pro-Clinton blogs about Wright, actually

??? What pro-Clinton blogs were you reading?

the storm that hit Obama over his connection with a federal criminal, was minor compared to the storm that hit Clinton over a reasonable remark

The Rezko storm was about someone who had an insignificant connection to Obama. The Zimbabwe storm was about a statement that -- together with others mentioning Jim Crow, the 2000 Florida recount, the strained popular vote claims, etc. -- was part of the most damaging theme launched by any of the Democrats this year in terms of its effect on party unity, and it was made at a time when it was quite clear that Obama would be the nominee. No other candidate came close to Clinton's attempts to paint Obama's successful winning of the nomination as somehow stealing an election.

Despite Clinton's continuing the attack as recently as Tuesday, I'm willing to move past it now that she's saying the proper things. I only hope that the many supporters that she whipped up into resentment about the issue will recover as quickly.

I'm amazed that your choice of an example of a harmless action by Clinton that she was unfairly criticized for was what I view as the single worst thing she did during her campaign, even worse than her repeated claims that McCain was more fit to be commander in chief than Obama (now being used in Republican ads).

"Your assertion further down claiming 'she thinks any criticism of Clinton (apart from that directed towards her voting record) was out of bounds' is absolute bloody nonsense, which you have pulled out of thin air.

I said specifically, in response to Bruce Baugh, that criticism of Clinton should be substantive. Examples of substantive criticism: her policies and her voting record. Example of insubstantive criticism: OMG CLINTON SAID ZIMBABWE!"

Well, I did preface that with "as far as I can tell." Apparently I couldn't tell very far; so I cheerfully amend that to "voting record and policies". And calling somebody "sweetie." I happen to agree with you that all of these are substantive issues. But I don't think they're the only substantive issues.

And I'll echo other commenters: your choice of the Zimbabwe remarks is bizarre. Clinton was casting Michigan and Florida voters in the role of ordinary Zimbabweans, herself in the role of the democratic opposition, and the DNC and Obama in the role of the Mugabe government.

Besides being morally distasteful, it was part of a strategy that has the real possibility of hurting Obama in Michigan and Florida (and elsewhere). Since (I think) part of the reason you objected to the criticism of Clinton was that it was doing the Republican's dirty work for them, I really can't see how you can so casually dismiss Clinton's behavior here.

KCinDC: No other candidate came close to Clinton's attempts to paint Obama's successful winning of the nomination as somehow stealing an election.

Yes, I'm quite aware that's how it was spun by the media, and how it was picked up by people who really should have known better.

As should be clear by now, this "spin" was pure media invention, and had nothing to do with Clinton's actual intentions - outlined in her concession speech. That you are still clinging to the media spin... well, I think that says a lot about who is damaging party unity.

As should be clear by now, this "spin" was pure media invention, and had nothing to do with Clinton's actual intentions - outlined in her concession speech.

I mean this in the nicest possible way but: how the f*** do you know what Clinton's actual intentions were?

jdkbrown: Clinton was casting Michigan and Florida voters in the role of ordinary Zimbabweans, herself in the role of the democratic opposition, and the DNC and Obama in the role of the Mugabe government.

Really? Can you actually link to the transcript where she said that? That Obama was like Mugabe, she was like the opposition in Zimbabwe, and Florida voters were like Zimbabweans?

Because I think you're getting that from the media/blog spin, not direct from a transcript in which she said what you've just claimed she did.

What I've got that she actually said was, after telling an audience of Democratic voters in Florida that she would support having Florida delegates seated: "We're seeing that right now in Zimbabwe," Clinton said. "Tragically, an election was held. The president lost. They refused to abide by the will of the people, so we can never take for granted our precious right to vote." Nothing more. A perfectly reasonable reference to current events - which got grabbed on to and spun out of control.

Of course Clinton asked to have the Florida and Michigan delegates seated! Why not? If Obama had won in either state, so would he! Sure, it's a tricky issue - I'm not coming down on either side of whether it's right or wrong to seat the delegates - but demonizing Clinton for wanting them seated was absurd.

Anarch: I mean this in the nicest possible way but: how the f*** do you know what Clinton's actual intentions were?

I mean this in the nicest possible way: because I paid attention to what she actually said, rather than to what Obama supporters were claiming she meant. Why you would think that Obama supporters have some special telepathic insight into what Clinton meant that belies what she actually said, I do not know.

Jes, I get 650,000 hits for "Obama Rezko". Make it "Obama (Rezco OR Rezko)" and it climbs to 1.8 million.

Jes, I don't really care what Clinton's intentions were. I care about the effects, which I've seen with my own eyes. I was at the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting and saw the protesters, and I see people making the same arguments about the illegitimacy of Obama as nominee around the blogosphere as well.

I don't understand at all what harmless thing you believe she intended by her statements. Perhaps she was just randomly commenting on history and current events with no intention of connecting them to the nomination process at all. That seems unlikely to me, but maybe you have greater insight into American politics and the state of the Democratic Party here.

I trust most Hillary supporters will come to their senses and realize that they would be betraying their candidate if they supported McCain. People are very raw and probably don't truly mean what they are saying. However, I don't see how it helps to harp on Hillary's high crimes and misdemeanors however emotionally satisfying and intellectually interesting it may be. I will no longer read Hillary blogs compelled to trash Obama.

I have been heroically resisting the impulse to psychoanalyze Hillary hatred for the whole campaign. Do you think our society will only stop fearing and hating truly powerful women when men and women share equally in childrearing?. Then the strong, powerful woman will no longer be seen unconsciously as the all-powerful mother of infancy and toddlerhood, who had absolute power over the defenseless child. Of course, this would apply to women as well as to men.

I've read Clinton's remark. There's absolutely no point in making it unless she thinks Zimbabwe is somehow relevant to the Florida/Michigan situation. Despite not coming out and saying, "I'm comparing the DNC's and Obama's refusal to have the Florida delegates seated to the Mugabe government's refusal to accept the outcome of the Zimbabwe election, " she is, indeed comparing the two. Otherwise her remark makes no sense.

I'm sure you've heard the joke: A man is out for a drive in the country when he runs out of gas. He sets out walking and soon reaches a farm house with and old farmer sitting on the porch. He greets the farmer and says, "I ran out of gas a bit back. Is there a gas station around here?" The farmer responds, "Ayup. About two miles down the road." The man hikes two miles down the road, and when he gets there, it's obvious the gas station has been closed for years: the pumps have been stripped, the windows are boarded up, the parking lot is overgrown. He walks back to the farm house, and, as the farm is still on the porch, he vents his yells: "You said I could get gas two miles down the road!" "Nope," the farmer replies, "I said there was a gas station."

And as long as we're talking about unlikely insights: I'd quite like to get ahold of the crystal ball that let's you know what Obama would have done if he'd come out ahead in the Florida primary or uncommitted had out-polled Clinton in Michigan.

I have been heroically resisting the impulse to psychoanalyze Hillary hatred for the whole campaign.

Well done. I've just been trying not to explode with rage over it.

I mean, the bizarre thing about it all is: on the issues, while there's not a hell of a lot to choose between them (given that Obama wasn't in a position to vote for or against the "authorization of force", there's no comparison available for Clinton's vote): I would probably, I think, if I had been in a position to vote which of course I'm not, have voted for Obama.

Unless I'd got particularly p*ssed off by some extraordinary piece of crap from an Obama supporter about how dreadful Clinton is.

Either way, of course - McCain and the Republican Party are the enemy who must be defeated: Obama and Clinton were merely in ordinary political opposition. Of course the media demonized Clinton: they've been doing that for 15 years. What was bizarre was the sheer volume of Obama supporters who were willing to follow the media on this, regardless of how it split and damaged the Democratic party; and who are now angrily blaming Clinton and Clinton supporters for the damage done by the vile Clinton hatred which the Obama supporters spouted.

Gromit: Jes, I get 650,000 hits for "Obama Rezko". Make it "Obama (Rezco OR Rezko)" and it climbs to 1.8 million.

Fair enough. Googlehits are a very random way of determining interest - they only work on the broadest possible level, and work best for really detailed searches. I evidently misunderestimated the interest in Rezko - which will, I guess, have climbed in the past couple of days now Obama is the frontrunner and the Republicans will be looking for ways to discredit Obama specifically.

KCinDC: I was at the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting and saw the protesters, and I see people making the same arguments about the illegitimacy of Obama as nominee around the blogosphere as well.

And that's a bad thing and plays into McCain/the Republican Party's goals, yes. But blaming Hillary Clinton for it is as much nonsense as blaming her exclusively for the Iraq war on the basis of one vote. (When she voted the wrong way, yes.)

Jes,

I seldom comment, but read OBW every day. I have been enriched greatly by the thoughts of many of the writers here, yourself included. I do think you have lost objectivity on this issue and that you do Hillary ( Clinton, if you prefer) an injustice in the process. I'm not pleading that sexism isn't and wasn't an issue. It is and was one of many. It did not cause the end result of this campaign. It seems to be the ONLY issue that you can see. that is why I say you are not being objective. Please come back. We miss you.

redstocking,
nice to see you back. This isn't the thread, but I hope we can return to some discussions about family structure and how we get society to change

Gromit: Fair enough. Googlehits are a very random way of determining interest - they only work on the broadest possible level, and work best for really detailed searches. I evidently misunderestimated the interest in Rezko - which will, I guess, have climbed in the past couple of days now Obama is the frontrunner and the Republicans will be looking for ways to discredit Obama specifically.

"Frontrunner" - er, presumptive nominee, sorry.

Also, this sounds (now I re-read) like I'm trying to discredit an assessment method I myself make use of, now it disagrees with my conclusions: I wasn't and I'm not. I accept Gromit's googlehits as indicative of strong Internet interest in Obama and Rezko, currently far outweighing Internet interest in the artificial mediastorm worked up about the "OMG CLINTON SAID ZIMBABWE" thing.

When you're in a hole, most people would advise you to stop digging.

(By the way, add me to the list of folks who'd like to see good discussion of pro-family policy and attitudes. Since it's been a long time since I was part of anything like typical office work, I know I don't know a lot about what affects regular lives, and would love to learn.)

Hillary supporters perceived that too many progressive blogs became almost as hurtful as the mass media, and they stopped reading and commenting on them. Fancying myself as a member of the new creative class, I suddenly was a member of the low-information gullibles. What a dismal fate for a reference librarian! Hell, I stopped discussing politics with my daughters because for the first time in their lives, political debate degenerated into screaming matches--me against all of them.

An ambivalent Hillary supporter, I tried rather stridently to discuss feminism and the election in January. I then disappeared from OW for five months and only reappeared when I had become an Obama supporter. I am not usually so craven; I love to argue and debate. And yet I slunk away.

The progressive blogosphere is bleeding and needs healing.

Jes, some of us have been commenting a lot about decision-making processes, the extent to which competency is rewarded over or under personal loyalty, contingency planning, and ties to the morally and intellectually rotten Democratic leadership responsible for so many capitulations and collaborations as issues in our choice of candidates. I admit that I may have missed something (mostly because I hurt like hell; big cellulitis outbreaks suck, a lot), but I don't think I've seen you take up the broad topic of decision-making cultures. Which I find a little odd, not least because the first intellectual study of such things I engaged with was in feminist critique of American historiography, so for me it's always been a feminist virtue to take processes as being as real and significant as outcomes.

Oyster Tea: I'm not pleading that sexism isn't and wasn't an issue. It is and was one of many. It did not cause the end result of this campaign. It seems to be the ONLY issue that you can see.

No, it's not. And I think you are misreading me.

The end result of this campaign was caused by Obama having a (comparatively) slight edge: more voters preferred Obama to Clinton. I think that the various artificial mediastorms and subsequent blogstorms whipped up against Clinton (and the Wright thing about Obama) did not affect the end result: I think that, in the end, the voters picked the candidate they preferred.

I have no quarrel with the end result of this primary season, and wouldn't no matter which Democratic candidate had won.

My annoyance arises from three things:

1. The Obama supporters who are being such ungracious winners, who can't let go of the campaign and are still acting as if Clinton is the enemy: this is extremely bad strategy, as well as being bad manners.

2. The persistence of the meme that Clinton ran a disastrous campaign. She didn't. She ran an immensely successful campaign: Obama ran a better campaign. Decrying Clinton's success is decrying Obama's success: they both managed to get Democratic voters out in unprecedented numbers.

3. The persistence of the various artificial mediastorms whipped up against Clinton: OMG ZIMBABWE, among others.

Now you want me to be "more objective"? Dear God. I am being very objective. And I say with absolute certainty: when Obama supporters can get over their foolish hating on Hillary Clinton, accept that Obama won and Clinton came out in strong support and their ungracious attitude and foolish clinging to media-hate on Clinton is counterproductive, then I will quit pointing out to them that they are still fighting a primary campaign that is now over.

Clinton's focussing her attention on getting Barack Obama to the White House: why are these people who supposedly support Obama focussing their attention on telling us how awful they think Clinton is?

Okay, I'm going to put myself on a moratorium for this topic.

Bruce, like RedstockingGrandma, I tried to stay away from a lot of blogs during the primary season, including Obsidian Wings, and tried to avoid threads that appeared to be focussing on the primary process. This was partly because, like RedstockingGrandma, I was finding the persistent hating-on-Clinton both damned irritating and damned hurtful: and partly because I've always felt that while the outcome of the Presidential election is my business even if I'm not an American (it'll affect my country and my life almost as much as it will yours) the outcome of the Democratic primaries is not my business: either Clinton or Obama (or Edwards, back when he was in the race) would have made a good President, and it would be a historic moment whether Clinton or Obama had become the nominee.

Most of what I could have said about the nuts-and-bolts of how a party selects a nominee, have to do with how the various political parties in the UK select representatives and leaders: I didn't think that would have been of any great interest or much relevance to Americans.

"when Obama supporters can get over their foolish hating on Hillary Clinton, accept that Obama won and Clinton came out in strong support and their ungracious attitude and foolish clinging to media-hate on Clinton is counterproductive, then I will quit pointing out to them that they are still fighting a primary campaign that is now over"

And I'll get over it when I stop being told that I'm foolish for finding fault with Clinton.

Hillary supporters perceived that too many progressive blogs became almost as hurtful as the mass media, and they stopped reading and commenting on them.

Redstocking, tis good to see you back here. I must ask though: is this sentence really the way that reference librarians are trained to write? I mean, doesn't it strike you as terribly vague and near content free? For example, one might ask: which Clinton supporters? How many of them are there? Are we talking about millions of people or some crazy person in an asylum who thinks blond-haired candidates must always win lest the world end? Which progressive blogs were problematic? All of them? One of them? This one? Why were they hurtful? Did people on those blogs seek to give offense intentionally? To whom? You? Millions of people? That crazy guy in the asylum? How were they hurtful? Did they cast spells? Utter insulting equations?

I'll be honest with you: when I see this sort of incredibly vague yet accusatory writing seemingly aimed at no one in particular or perhaps everyone, my first thought is that the writer wishes to attack but lacks the factual basis to do so, and thus settles for insinuation. This style of writing puts me in mind of a certain passive aggressive mode of behavior that I find distasteful.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that you, as a reference librarian, have adopted this style for other reasons. But I think you should be aware that other people may well look on your writing in this fashion. Directness and clarity can be very useful in avoiding pointless disagreement, if, indeed, disagreement is something which you seek to avoid.

Fancying myself as a member of the new creative class, I suddenly was a member of the low-information gullibles.

See, this is another example of what I'm talking about. Presumably you yourself did not believe that you were a low information gullible, so someone must have claimed that you were...who was this someone? Did they actually make such a claim, or did they merely claim that Clinton performs better amongst low information voters? We don't know because you shy away from saying anything that comes close to a testable verifiable claim.

An ambivalent Hillary supporter, I tried rather stridently to discuss feminism and the election in January.

With respect, ambivalent supporters do not typically enter into "screaming matches" when discussing the object of their support with their children.

Most of what I could have said about the nuts-and-bolts of how a party selects a nominee, have to do with how the various political parties in the UK select representatives and leaders: I didn't think that would have been of any great interest or much relevance to Americans.

On the contrary, we've just seen a campaign where the nuts and bolts of how someone is chosen has resulted in a jiu-jitsu like showing. I believe that an obsession with first past the post led HRC's campaign to argue the way it did towards the end.

Besides, wonky is good.

On the subject of media coverage of the candidates, this study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism might be of interest.

Jes: in the recent threads in which people have started going over all this stuff, it is in large part because you appear informing all of us that we have to apologize, first without saying what for, and now saying that it's because we all participated in what you regard as media-driven firestorms, and we, or at least I, regard as legitimate areas for criticism. (I mean: if, when a candidate holds some piece of evidence up as proof of her superior qualifications, and that "evidence" turns out to be completely false, one is not allowed to say so on pain of 'jumping on a media bandwagon', then I have no idea what one is allowed to say.)

I would not claim that you hold your opinions only because you are the unwitting puppet of our media overlords (or some other puppetmaster that might be more likely in your case.) I think it's rude of you to make this blanket assumption about others.

And I don't think this has much to do with my willingness to be gracious to Clinton supporters. I am, but being willing to accept without question the claim that I need to apologize for what I've written, that I just get all my opinions from the media (and why not just say that I can't think for myself?), is a different story.

In any case, if you want to know why we end up going over this stuff, that's the explanation for my share of it.

Publius,

As a Clinton supporter, I appreciate your post -- and I, too, was confused by those who seemed insulted by your mention of Nixon, as I took it as you meant it, an historical reference.

I thought Clinton's speech was as good -- or better -- than many that Obama has given during the primary campaign. View that as biased, I don't care.

I wish I could be more profound, make a better contribution to Obsidian Wings right now, a site I have grown fond of since tuning in a couple months ago.

But that won't be the case today, the first time I've clicked onto a computer at all in a week.

I lost an uncle last Sunday. And then Monday, I lost my beloved CoCo (the circumstances of her death too tragic to mention now, if ever, who knows).

Strange how I hurt more over the passing of a dog I've had for six years -- not returning to work until yesterday, and basically brooding all week -- than I hurt for Uncle Bob who I'd known for all of my 45 years on this earth.

His passing was expected, numerous illnesses killing his body for years, but, still, at 56, a life cut too short.

Her passing was not. In fact, I've mentioned her in passing a few times in these pages as "my pretty girl."

Well, my pretty girl is no more.

And as I start to weep upon reading how stark that sentence is, I realize I am still not finished grieving.

How long do you grieve for the loss of a dog?

For Uncle Bob, we had a wake, and it was beautiful and sad and poetic and warm and even laughs were shared.

For CoCo, not even my wife understands my pain -- and nor should I expect her to. My best friend, a 25-year-old co-worker who I have watched grow into a fine, fine husband and father in our six years working together, helped me immensely Monday night at the Newark Animal Emergency Center, helped me by just being there; so if anyone understands, it is he -- yet he and I are still more apt to talk about something else, as we did yesterday when I returned to work: you know, the normal guy stuff, sports, sports, work, sports, work and more sports.

Death always puts things into perspective -- and then we go on. (Work was waiting for me yesterday, and it will be there first thing tomorrow morning.)

But the older I get, the less I understand it. The older I get, the less I understand a lot of things.

This week I realized I am a lot more passionate about my three dogs -- now my two dogs, Bowser and Hamilton -- than politics, sports, food.

I wasn't passionate about anything this week, other than thinking about how happy CoCo made me these past six years, fetching tennis balls, chasing squirrels and just being a "real" dog.

Already I miss not having a dog who will lick my face or jump on my lap while I try to read the paper -- neither Bowsie nor Hammels are lickers or lap-sitters.

But life goes on -- the Cliche of all Cliches.

And so we take one last look at Sen. Clinton's ill-fated campaign before looking ahead to Sen. Obama's challenge with McCain and the Republicans.

Clinton turned out to be an excellent candidate, again view that opinion as biased if you wish.

I think, much like Al Gore in 1980, her advisors never got a handle on things until it was too late. (Of course, just as with Gore, that blame ultimately must be put on the candidate, not the advisors. Which makes me wonder why candidates don't say more often: F--- the advisors.)

Clinton's speech --- much like Gore's after the damning Supreme Court decision --- was her best.

I wonder what it says about a candidate who gives their best speech when conceding. I mean, Clinton actually asked her supporters to forgo the "what-ifs" and to focus on supporting Obama.

Say what you want about Clinton's alleged Selfishness -- and call her words politically expedient -- but I found them heroic and inspirational.

Obama supporters shudder at the tought of her being his running mate. I doubt if he wants her to be, and who really knows if that's what she whats.

And forget a "Gov. Clinton."

Most likely, she will become a major force in the United States Senate, one who will continue to work both sides of the aisle -- one who will have the voices of 18 million people behind her.

A personal wish, coming from a Democrat who is not big on Nancy Pelosi: I would like to see Hillary Clinton become Senate Majority Leader.

And I would like to see a Democract in the White House when Bush finally exits stage right in January 2009.

Yet, if Obama fails to defeat McCain, I hope Sen. Clinton does not pull an Al Gore and never runs again.

We'll see.

Life goes on.

Jes, I'm perfectly willing to move on and stop discussing what Clinton did during the nomination process. I'm not going to pretend that none of it happened, but I'm willing to stop discussing it. Plenty of Obama supporters feel the same -- including, I'd guess, many of those here. Unfortunately you're not making it easy.

You've made your feelings about us clear many times, and you've repeatedly given us your analysis of the nomination contest, which doesn't correspond to what we who've been involved in it have experienced. I don't understand why you think it's necessary to stir up that conversation yet again, especially since you seem to believe that such discussions are counterproductive to the goal of electing a Democratic president.

because I paid attention to what she actually said, rather than to what Obama supporters were claiming she meant.

On the contrary, you're the one making artificial -- and somewhat bizarre -- assumptions about what she actually meant, since the plain meaning of her words and actions are otherwise. And I sure as hell didn't base my understanding of her speeches on "what Obama supporters were claiming she meant", I read (or listened) to them directly. And I was offended by her as a politician, not as a woman -- please, for the love of god, get this through your head -- based on her own words.

Let me reiterate this, since you apparently don't get this (or more likely choose not to): it was not the media that mind-controlled me into disliking her, nor the Republican operatives, nor some deep-seated hatred of women. It was her own words that condemned her in my eyes. She was the one who tried to -- illegitimately -- seat the Michigan and Florida delegates when it appeared that the honest course of the election had turned against her; she was the one who made common cause with the Republicans, in such a clear and explicit way that they are now using her memes in their attack ads; she was the one who tried to delegitimize the entire primary process, from attacking the caucus states to comparing her "plight" against fnording Zimbabwe -- jesus, was Der Sturmer too obscure a reference for her? -- to talking about spurious disenfranchisement in places that (as you well know) had suffered very real disenfranchisement not two elections previously; and gave every indication in her own words and actions of trying to break the party rather than let Obama win the nomination.

That she ultimately did not is to her credit; that she tried is to her eternal shame. I understand her reasons for doing so, and -- as I've said multiple times previously -- I like her as a person and respect her resilience in the face of myriad indignities foisted upon her by the GOP and the media, but it will be a very long time before I forgive her for the damage she knowingly and recklessly inflicted upon the Democratic Party and progressive causes as a whole.

And if you can't see that this is a legitimate reason not to like her, independent of her gender or the media's portrayal, instead choosing to believe that we're somehow brainless, misogynistic drones: then you're not worth talking to.

bedtime for bonzo: I'm so sorry.

I don't know where to begin. I suggest you add some feminist blogs (Shakesville, Feministing, Echidne, Digby) to your RSS reader. Perhaps some consciousness-raising is in order. The feminists of the 70's realized that sexism is so embedded in human society, that women as well as men mistook it for realilty.

Restocking, I appreciate that you mean to be helpful, but assume that I've read the standard Feminist critiques from teh 1970s (and 80s, and 90s, and 00s) and that I do, at least once a week, visit various "feminist blogs" (among those you list: Feministing most, Shakesville less, Digby less than that, Echidne not at all). Also assume that I'm aware of Youtube. Further assume I'm neither a complete idiot, nor trying to be an ass. Finally, keep in mind that I'm the same von who wrote this: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2004/01/im_watching_her.html. I know a thing or two about feminist grandmothers.

Give me an idea of what motivates Digby to speak in such apocalyptic terms. Again, from what I saw, the dings against Clinton had nothing to do with sexism and quite a bit to do with substance and character.

von


Bedtime: Deepest sympathy on your losses. I don't think it's at all silly to deeply mourn the loss of a beloved animal. After all, in life they identify with us in the way they do with their own packmates, and clearly our feelings for them owe a lot to how we bond with our families and clans. Those are real feelings, on both sides. They and we are both in the midst of a genuine co-evolution.

End italics.

And you know Clinton, who just ran one of the most successful primary campaigns in US history

I disagree here. She ran an unsuccessful primary campaign in a winner-takes all system. That alone would be sufficient to repudiate your statement - but name me one other candidate with the initial backing of the Democratic Establishment (a 100 Superdelegate lead should be ample evidence of that) who started with a significant lead in the polls and who lost. Kerry was the establishment candidate. Gore was the establishment candidate. I'm not sure who the establishment candidate was in Clinton/Tsongas but Clinton started with a pretty big lead in the polls, and was certainly the big business candidate. The establishment-backed candidate in 1988 didn't really exist I think - Hart was in then out then in and Cuomo didn't run. Mondale was the establishment candidate in 1984. So you need to go right back to 1976 and Jimmy Carter in order to find another case where someone who started with all the advantages Clinton started with was defeated in the primary. On the other hand it was a historic candidacy and the first time a woman has got that far - may there be many more and ones that get even further.

despite constant negative attacks from ... normally sane and sensible blogs (like Obsidian Wings)

Prove it. It shouldn't be hard.

First, link me to posts about Clinton on Obsidian Wings written during the past four months that focussed exclusively on her voting record as a Senator and her platform as a Democratic candidate for President, and made no reference (except to condemn) whatever the current media storm against her was:

Hillzoy's done that already. And those posts Hillzoy linked were the reason I started reading Obsidian Wings regularly. Consequently such an attack is something I find somewhat risible.

You may be able to find such posts: but on the whole, during the whole primary campaign, Obsidian Wings bloggers were not campaigning against Clinton on the issues,

Hillary Clinton trying to change the rules in the middle of the primary (see Florida and Michigan) is an issue. It shows that either she or someone on her campaign and acting on her behalf is prepared to try to cheat to win.

or making substantive criticisms of her voting record and her declared policies, as compared to Obama.

That's because her voting record and policies were barely distinguishable from Obama's (where they were, Hilzoy did as thorough a disection as I've seen anywhere). On the other hand, the way the Clinton campaign approached the primary was different from the way the Obama campaign approached it - and the way someone leads a campaign is an issue when selecting someone to lead an election campaign.

And I never saw any acknowledgement by any of the front page bloggers that they'd merely joined the media anti-Clinton storms.

I never saw any reason to believe they had. They disagreed about the way Clinton was running her campaign. Is that wrong now?

I said specifically, in response to Bruce Baugh, that criticism of Clinton should be substantive. Examples of substantive criticism: her policies and her voting record. Example of insubstantive criticism: OMG CLINTON SAID ZIMBABWE!

Give me one good reason why she mentioned Zimbabwe when she did. When listening to someone speak ask not just what they say but why they are talking. Why did Clinton bring up Zimbabwe other than to try to compare it to Florida? (If you have a genuinely good reason I apologise - but I've yet to see one). The only explanation I can come up with is that her intent was to say "it could be worse - if she said that (or indeed later tried to calm the comparison) I apologise, but if not she at the very least has a political tin ear.

And a substantive criticism is that Clinton (or rather paid staffers of hers) were doing their best to change the agreed rules of a campaign in order to benefit their candidate. In other words they were trying to cheat.

As should be clear by now, this "spin" was pure media invention, and had nothing to do with Clinton's actual intentions - outlined in her concession speech.

Actions speak louder than words. You would rather take the words in the concession speech than the actions of her surrogates such as Harold Ickes. It is not easy to be gracious once you have already lost beyond almost all doubt - but Clinton's concession speech after she had lost is a different article to Clinton's campaign and I'm not surprised that it is somewhat more friendly. (It was an excellent speech btw).

That you are still clinging to the media spin... well, I think that says a lot about who is damaging party unity.

That you keep making this accusation despite having most of your points roundly rebutted ... well I think that says a lot about you on this issue.

Either way, of course - McCain and the Republican Party are the enemy who must be defeated: Obama and Clinton were merely in ordinary political opposition.

Absolutely.

And for the record, I don't think that Hillary Clinton ran a particularly dirty primary campaign especially given how long it went on. On the other hand when the Primary first slipped from her grasp (i.e. post Super Tuesday) she reacted badly out of instinct, and when the thing slipped away entirely her first (and entirely understandable) response was to try to cling on to it as tightly as possible. The obvious thing to do and the wrong thing to do - forgetting the difference between a competitor, an opponent, and an enemy. With her concession speech she ceased doing this. And good for her. I think she gave up before she could do too much damage (a floor fight would have been messy). Thank goodness. It can't have been easy for her and I wouldn't care to have to do the same. (Well, you would have to force me to run for President - but she seems to want it).

Although I said earlier she didn't run that successful a campaign, she had the misfortune to be in the way of probably the best primary campaign ever and was simply caught unprepared. I don't think she actually ran a bad campaign (although Mark Penn not knowing about California being awarded proportionately and Hillary Clinton discovering Texas's system so late does point to holes). But from her starting position I think she'd have beaten any other opponent.

Either way, of course - McCain and the Republican Party are the enemy who must be defeated: Obama and Clinton were merely in ordinary political opposition.

Absolutely.

Huh?

McCain and the Republican party are your political opposition. Your enemy is al Quaeda (among others).

This exchange with Jes makes both of you look like silly radicals who don't see the big picture. And the foregoing response -- admittedly cute -- will resonate a majority of voters.

Anger in politicals doesn't work. See, Clinton, Bill, the impeachment of (subheading: How the Republicans lost).

This exchange with Jes makes both of you look like silly radicals who don't see the big picture. And the foregoing response -- admittedly cute -- will resonate a majority of voters.

1: McCain is not my political opposition nor is he Jes's. We are both Brits rather than Americans (but interested observers)
2: That wasn't the place to have that battle. Looking for common ground was the best way to finish that post IMO.
3: Give the Republicans some time in the wilderness to sort their own house out and I will agree - but after crippling Habeas Corpus and legalising torture, I think that they are a more dangerous enemy than Al Quaeda. More Americans have been killed in the Iraq war than by Al Quaeda outside Iraq. (And the number of Iraqui deaths is shocking).
4: I regularly try to rein in radicals - but their passion is bloody useful for getting things done. What they normally lack is focus.
5: What are you talking about that anger in politicals doesn't work. Are you telling me that MLK was not an angry man? What doesn't work is uncontrolled anger. And are you telling me that MLK never said that one of the reasons people talked to him is that they didn't want to talk to Malcolm X?
6: I don't believe Jes is a political. From what I can tell she's a radical activist. Anger is very useful for them. As for me, I'm (a) an analyst and (b) ill and hence cranky. When I play political I approach things very differently - but it isn't my primary sphere for getting things one.

The Republican Party has done substantially more harm to America than Al Qaeda could ever dream of, and for bonus points completely botched the punishment of Al Qaeda. Our nation is no more secure than it was on 9/11/2001, less so in many ways, and we've funded this collapse both through fiscal insanity and through moral cretinism, the willful abandonment of every principle on which the republic was founded. If any nation had imposed on us the changes of the last eight years, we'd regard it - rightly - as brutal aggression, and the fact that we were conned into it by obsessive schemers and crooks doesn't make the changes themselves any less horrific. What caps it is how much of the harm was done by people who knew they were lying about it - it wasn't good intentions gone bad but chosen contempt for consequences and victims.

So yes, I do think the Republican Party and McCain's policies are the enemies of American strength, peace, freedom, and prosperity.

How long do you grieve

bedtimeforbonzo,

I am very sorry for both of your losses. I have some personal acquaintance with grief, having lost beloved pets and beloved family members over the years. I wish that there was some way mere words could provide you with some consolation, while knowing that there is little I can say to help.

Grieve as long as you need to and in whatever manner best suits you, it is an intensely personal process with no one right way to do it, and no rigid logic regarding who else in your life is best suited to understand what you are going through.

One of the things I've told myself in my own times of grief is that the pain of loss we feel is another aspect of our capacity to love. When it hurts, that is one way in which we come to know our own humanity.

Please take care of yourself, with my best wishes and sympathy
- LeftTurn


"Either way, of course - McCain and the Republican Party are the enemy who must be defeated: Obama and Clinton were merely in ordinary political opposition.

Absolutely."

Huh?

McCain and the Republican party are your political opposition. Your enemy is al Quaeda (among others).

von,

That phraseology sounds rather familiar

For a conservative, you make a awful lot of sense sometimes :->

McCain and the Republican party are your political opposition. Your enemy is al Quaeda (among others).

Exactly how many Iraqi civilian deaths would Bush, McCain and the Republican party have to be responsible for annihilating before we can consider them enemies? 6 million? 3? 1? In all seriousness, please tell me the death toll that these people have to bring about before I have your permission to think of them as enemies.

This exchange with Jes makes both of you look like silly radicals who don't see the big picture.

The blood of a million dead people does tend to obscure the vision. Fortunately, many fine fellows such as yourself can't see that blood, so your vision remains unobstructed.

Anger in politicals doesn't work. See, Clinton, Bill, the impeachment of (subheading: How the Republicans lost).

In general, statements as overbroad as "anger in politics does not work" are either trivially obvious or require some evidence to be taken seriously. Citing a single ambiguous example does not qualify as evidence. What makes you think it was the anger and not the stupidity or the violation of privacy norms or the perceived hypocrisy that motivated the public's displeasure?

For example, I might say that American lawyers make ridiculous overbroad claims without evidence all the time. See: von.

von: Give me an idea of what motivates Digby to speak in such apocalyptic terms. Again, from what I saw, the dings against Clinton had nothing to do with sexism and quite a bit to do with substance and character.

I think you mean to, or at least should, qualify that statement quite a bit more than you have. There is no question whatsoever that Clinton got savaged because she was a woman -- it's the identity of the savagers that's in question here. See, e.g., the... what is it now, 140+ part series at Shakesville.

Anger in politicals doesn't work.

That's BS. It can work just fine -- see the civil rights movement, or really anything in the politics of the 1960s and early 1970s. That it tends not to work nowadays is a curious happenstance, a fetishization of "centrism" often pushed by an increasingly extremist GOP seeking rhetorical cover. And even that's false: it doesn't usually work for liberals nowadays, but anger has been working quite well for the right-wing extremists, in case you missed the last decade or so.

But to your larger point: frankly, we should be angry. We should be angry about what has happened to our country, to the lies being told by our government, to the coverups being tried (successfully, for the most part) to avoid criminal accountability, to the extremism continually spewing forth from the right-wing. Bruce is right: the Republican Party -- by which I don't mean you or other (erstwhile?) Republican voters, but the GOP leadership -- has done far more damage to this country than Al Qaeda did, or ever could. [Unless you regard their tactics as a particularly cunning form of realpolitik judo which, well, you might have a point then.] If the GOP is not "the enemy", it's only because they're not actively trying to kill us... only indifferently destroying the country. Bluntly, that's something of a distinction without a difference; it might matter at the Pearly Gates, but here and now there are people dying -- hundreds of thousands of people dying -- because of their madness and their lies, and that's all the sin I need to judge them.

If that makes me radical, so be it. Such is the price of the truth.

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