Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

As the Texas returns came in last night I listened to the political professionals in the room with me analyze the results. The consensus was that Barack Obama had failed to counter-attack, giving Hillary Clinton an open-field advantage the final weekend of the campaign. This is smart, if conventional, politics.

But I was distracted by thoughts of my own highly-emotional advocacy for Obama over the last few days and weeks. I have my reasons for supporting Obama, but I'm not going to revisit them here, except that I will make one positive observation of his character in order to make a larger point about the difficulty of acting with honor and respect in contemporary campaign settings. First, my confession.

As this presidential primary has unfolded, I found myself more and more strident and less and less thoughtful about the race. I've been in politics a long time, and I'm competitive. Competition, athletes tell us, can put them in a performance zone that makes them better. But my stridency was not making me better. It was making me unhappy. It was clouding my judgment. It wasn't making anyone around me happy or more thoughtful either.

The presidential primary is about to test us all in this regard, whichever side we may be on. One great difficulty is, attack politics works. Unless I'm wrong, it's about to get even more aggressive and more negative as Obama and Clinton use the proven tactic of negative campaigning against one another. I don't think anything can stop it; as a professional, I couldn't in good faith give either one of them the advice to lay off the attacks. Attacks work.

I am assuming Obama held back before March 4 because he thought he could eke out a victory in Texas and enhance his arguments with super delegates that Clinton, by attacking him, was threatening Democrats' chances for victory in November. I have no inside information. It's just my guess. But now Clinton (for strategic reasons) has proved, once again, that negative campaign tactics have their desired effect. I am not critical of that decision. It worked.

More below.

Here's the part about Obama's character, about honor and respect. In my conversations last night, many suggested -- and I heard my friend Paul Begala repeat this on CNN -- that Obama should have immediately fired the staffer alleged to have given the "wink-wink" to Canadian government officials with regard to NAFTA. This is also conventional and smart advice, advice that Obama didn't follow.

Now it turns out that the NAFTA story was a fraud. Had Obama acted as most professionals would have advised him to act, he would have acted without honor. I commend him for choosing honor over political expediency.

My point is that our contemporary political practices force upon us tactics and strategies that are without honor, that disrespect voters, that threaten the substance of our political negotiations with one another. I wrote a whole book, the Politics of Deceit, about this once.

But, if in the course of a hard-fought campaign, I forget my own advice and let my stridency get the better of me, how can I possibly ask others to do differently? Combine that with the obvious political advantages of deceit, deception and attack politics, and how do we escape the bind?

That's a big question. One answer is to pursue, as best we can, an honorable course, in our conversations and our campaigning. Muddle through. Another will involve the development of more personal, engaging politics, something that diminishes the impact of politics-at-a-distance, of the dominance of television advertising and sound-bite politics. This sounds so pie-in-the-sky I almost can't write it.

Meanwhile, I'll try to follow the example of honor, and respect those of you who disagree with my preference this year.

Tags: campaign ethics, clinton, Democratic Primary, obama (all tags)

Comments

214 Comments

Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

How exactly did she go negative ?

I know that is the talking points coming from Obama and his supporters but I would like to know exactly what you mean by she went negative .

If you can cite an example , it would be great

by lori 2008-03-05 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

She did go negative, but to be frank, if they can't handle her using the most basic of negative campaigning, there is no way in hell they should be running in the GE. It's really that simple.

by bruh21 2008-03-05 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Hillary DID NOT "go negative" and it's ridiculous for people to claim otherwise. Pointing out the differences between yourself and your opponents is what politics is all about. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to get the hell out of the kitchen if they can't take the heat.

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Why did her campaign call it the kitchen sink strategy?  She threw everything she could at him.  That was the point of it.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Just because the NYT quotes one anonymous low level aide doesn't make it the mantra of the entire campaign.

Last night Pulitizer Prize winnner and Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz said her inbox was flooded with vulgar profanities from "Hillary Haters" from Obama's campaign. Do they all speak for the Obama campaign?

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession
"The kitchen sink?" What, "competence", "national security", NAFTA?  Sorry, that's called politics (and the most mild form).  The Drudge picture was denied and rejected by Clinton- I bet that was a Republican submission.  What else?  I just don't see it.
This is clearly a case of Obama not making a strong case to the people of those states.  Come on- he outspent her 3 to 1!! It was about the message- his has been "change", hers has been "competence"- rightly or wrongly it seems as though voters wanted more "meat on the bone".  I don't think his obtuse "change" message is resonating as strongly with blue-collar workers as it is with more liberal voters.  That seems to be the case in a lot of these states.
The NAFTAgate thing was, at best, a lack of "controlling the story".  I don't know enough about the issue to call it true or false, but I know that he lost the PR war on that one.  
by easyE 2008-03-05 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Saying something negative about someone is going negative. You make the assumption that going negative is a bad thing. I don't think it is. In fact, I think any candidate who doesn't go negative is delusional. Politics is about defining yourself in the positive, and your oponent in the negative. This whole discussion is idiotic. There is nothing wrong with going negative, but that's what is implicit in this "where did she go negative?" Rather than debating the reality - simply say "good for her" it shows she wants to win. i don't get this tying one hand behind the back approach to politics at all.

by bruh21 2008-03-05 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I disagree with you on a micro level but agree with you on the macro level.

By your definition of negative campaigning ALL political messages are negative.

But on the macro level, you're right that negative campaigning isn't inherently a bad thing. Any time a candidate runs for office they're saying they are the best person for the job, better than someone else.

Every time they make the argument for themselves they're implicitly making the argument against the other person.

When Obama says "I represent change" he's implying that other candidates don't. When Clinton goes I have the experience to be President she's really saying "other candidates don't have it or at least s much as me"

So yes its silly to say "oh she made a contrast" because you're right, that's what politics is about.

Anytime a candidate is saying "oh we're both good" they're bsing or trying to give the apperance that a supposed fault in their platform does not truly exist.

by world dictator 2008-03-05 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Contrast is the key to winning. That means in part saying the other guy isn't as good me or is indeed worse. To the extent people don't get this is the degree to which we tie our hands needlessly. I agree that some negative campaigning is outside of the bounds- ie lying, etc. But no one has claimed this here. Just that she mentioned something Democrats are uncomfortable discussing. I listened to Rachel Meadows tonight try to use FDR's comments about freedom from fear, and I thought maybe she misundertood the point. freedom from fear doesn't come with pretending. It comes with understanding what choices one is making. There is nothing wrong with CLinton saying that she beleives she is the one that people should trust . THe fear that is inappropriate- and the only place I think she did cross the line is the 60 minutes interview, but the next day she realized this and pulled back.

by bruh21 2008-03-05 04:52PM | 0 recs
Why is "going negative" bad?

There's a big, big assumption in this discussion that "going negative" == making damaging statements about your opponent that are somehow untrue or unfair. This framing is understandable given the country's recent experience with the Republican smear machine, but it fails to make the distinction between hard-hitting ads that that are both true and relevant to the political contest and smear ads that are untrue, deceptive, or are scurrilous personal attacks. By this yardstick, the term "going negative" does not help us draw the line between proper and out-of-bounds political discourse. Thus, I prefer "going sleazy" as a much more useful catchphrase.

by 1arryb 2008-03-06 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Negative campaigning:

It seems to me that the difference between Clinton's 3 a.m. ad and LBJ's daisy ad was fairly minimal.  Reasonable people may differ, which leads nicely into my second point.

Missing Glenn's point:

'Hillary DID NOT "go negative" and it's ridiculous for people to claim otherwise.'

I think that the sort of language used here is exactly what worries Glenn (and me).  We are getting so worked up about this primary that many of us have become entirely uncivil.

Ridiculous
     Deserving of ridicule; foolish; absurd.

It is ridiculous to believe that New York City is not in New York state, that the American flag has fourteen stripes and twenty-eight stars, or that it somehow serves your rational interests to vote for your third choice candidate than your second choice (a case for bounded rationality if ever I have seen one).

However, it is not ridiculous to have a difference of opinions that stems from an ambiguously defined term.

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Well, I will give a couple, though I insist that you understand I am not critical of Clinton for doing so. Our political practices require it.

The 3 a.m. ad was rather negative. Questioning his stance on NAFTA was another. The attacks on empty speeches. The careful rhetoric about whether he is Muslim. The darkening of his image in an ad.

But please, please, I do not want to argue about whether Clinton was too negative. This is about a bigger issue.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

NAFTA and the denied meeting that was then a meeting about how Obama's position was mis-construed was REAL. The darkening of his image is asinine and I can't believe a respected blog like this one would perpetuate that kind of ridiculousness. And the Muslim thing? Fabricated by the right wing and the media.

And the 3 AM ad? Effective and true.  She didn't insult him. Just made her case for herself.

For some reason, Democrats have ceded national security to Republicans. We shouldn't. And I'm glad for that ad. It was good.

Obama fell apart under 48 HRS of media scrutiny. 48 HRS. What's he going to do when they actually LIKE his opponent?

by Mar154 2008-03-05 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Agree 100%. The 3 AM ad was brilliant, and forced people to stop and think about the qualities that are important for a Commander in Chief.

Plus, anyone who thinks John McCain and his band of Rethugs are going to use kid gloves when handling our nominee is mistaken.

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Agree 100%. The 3 AM ad was brilliant, and forced people to stop and think about the qualities that are important for a Commander in Chief.

And those people will end up with a candidate who can't play the experience card in November against McCain, who is a giant by comparison.

I think Obama's response was spot on: neither he nor Hillary have ever answered the phone at 3am. When they do, if they do, who's judgement do you want making the decision?

by mattw 2008-03-05 12:41PM | 0 recs
Huh?

So, with your logic, better to have the lesser experienced candidate respond to the issue of "competence and experience."

What sense does that make?

We (the Dems) would just be more open to attack because of the lack of that quality in BO?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: One other comment/question I can't resist

If McCain is a "giant by comparison" to Clinton, what is is he (McCain) by camparison to Obama, who has virtually no experience?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: One other comment/question I can't resist

If you run on experience and tout it as your main selling point, you don't want an opponent that has more than you.  If you run on something else, and your opponent runs on experience as their main selling point, you can completely discount their main point.

Now, if you run on something like change, and your own party attacks you on experience, leading to your opponent attacking you on experience, it may be harder to discount.

I believe this is the point people are making.  Now, you can agree or disagree, but it is an argument.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: One other comment/question I can't resist

Spot on.  Clinton's claim to experience seems mostly to be predicated on the notion that she had a large voice in her husband's administration.  If this is true, then (at least as far as foreign policy is concerned) one must ask if this is a good thing; I think that his foreign policy record was at best a mixed bag, at worst a case-study in inaction.

To be sure, it was better than the Bushes (and better than John "We'll Be In Iraq 100 Years From Now" McCain's promises to be), but I certainly wouldn't look at it as a model of effective policmaking.

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: One other comment/question I can't resist

So, the logic is that Hillary can't sell her strong suit against her Dem opponent (in your words "attacking Obama as his "own party"") because then if he wins the nomination she has somehow hurt his chances against the more experienced nominee in the oopposing party in the GE?

Its circualr logic:  she can't promote herself against her primary opponent because it will hurt that opponent later if he should beat her, so she should just not promote her strong suit at all, thus causing her Dem opponent to beat her in the primary?

This is nonsense ... its the logic of a child ... if you can even call it that.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 10:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

So the fact that one person does something underhanded makes it okay for someone else to?

"If you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss stares back at you."

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

As has been noted, the story at the time of Obama's denial was that "A senior official from the Obama campaign placed a phone call to Michael Wilson, Canadian Ambassador to the US, to warn him that Obama would be talking tough against NAFTA in the near future, but it would just be empty rhetoric."

That's effectively what was initially reported, and it was 100% false. No one from Obama's campaign contacted anyone. No one placed a phone call. No one talked to Michael Wilson. No one suggested Obama would deceive anyone over NAFTA.

Purely false.

The 3 AM ad - even if true - was still negative. "The politics of fear" is never positive campaigning; as Bill Clinton said, when one politician is telling you to vote your hopes, and the other is telling you to vote your fears, vote for the one selling hope.

Hillary's comment was along the lines of, "Gee, he's not muslim that I know."  Apparently attending Christian prayer breakfast doesn't give her enough reason to say he's not without equivocating.

The darkening of the image is... asinine? Hillary did it, you're saying her ad was asinine? Finally, agreement!  Darkening images to make someone look sinister is a standard propaganda technique. So Hillary is in good company with propaganda giants like Joseph Stalin, but I don't see how you can't call it not negative. (As another way to look at it, if it wasn't to negatively influence viewers, why did she do it?)

by mattw 2008-03-05 12:40PM | 0 recs
Why don't you try the truth for a change?

How is the following - verbatim transcript from 60 Minutes - in anyway equivocal?

"You don't believe that Senator Obama's a Muslim?" Kroft asked Sen. Clinton.

"Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that," she replied.

"You said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not...a Muslim. You don't believe that he's...," Kroft said.

"No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know," she said.

"It's just scurrilous...?" Kroft inquired.

"Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors, that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time," Clinton said."

It is posts like yours, which spread trash and innuendo like the above, that sullies the discourse.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Why don't you try the truth for a change?

The phrasing she used is equivocal.  "As far as I know."  "I'll take him at his word."  If she didn't phrase it carefully with the intent of keeping doubt open in the minds of those listening, then she was simply careless about her phrasing... which seems unlikely.

by PatriotActor 2008-03-05 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Why don't you try the truth for a change?

So she must have had some conspiracy with Kroft to be sure he would ask her this asinine gotcha question three times so she could wait to equivocate until the third iteration?

Kroft quite deliberately brought this stupid question up and then pounded away at it in hopes of flustering her into saying something clumsy.  You should be pissed at the media playing its nasty games, not at HRC.

by gyrfalcon 2008-03-05 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Why don't you try the truth for a change?

Is that the best you can do? ... if so, you're hopeless.

She categorically stated it wasn't true twice, yet Kroft persisted trying to get her to be equivocal and then she adds "as far as I know."

Then she defends Obama with her last statement commiserating with him that this sort of thngs happens to her too.

What more could she say?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 09:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Why don't you try the truth for a change?

He repeated the question exactly because she didn't answer it strongly enough. How can you not see that?

by marcotom 2008-03-05 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Why don't you try the truth for a change?

I take this back ... she responded emphatically in Obama's defense 6 times before he egged her into adding the "as far as I know" qualiifier.

1. "Of course not"

  1. "there is no basis for that"
  2. "I take him on the basis of what he says"
  3. "there isn't any reason to doubt that"
  4. "No"
  5. "No, there is nothing to base that on"

Any idiot can see she was answering the questions categorically with a "No."

She only added the qualifier because it appeared - and I'm sure she sensed - that Kroft might have information she didn't that proved Obama was a muslim.

Wouldn't she look like an idiot had she repeatedly denied this on Obama's behalf only to find that someone - Kroft, CBS, 60 Minutes - actually did have info that proved he was?

Now, I'm wondering if they do, in fact, have such info.  Why else would he have drilled her on it like that if he didn't?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 10:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

And attacks on empty speeches? How is that  negative? He gives speeches. He himself claims they mean so much more than words. She has every right to criticize that stance.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I don't see the 3 a.m. ad as negative in the slightest. There was no mention of Obama whatsoever and no specter of disaster if she didn't win. It was simply a question of "who do you trust to answer the call." Many people have taken that meme and spun in Obama's favor. That's equally fair. But I don't see why that ad is negative.

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

How about saying McCain and Clinton had experience, and all Obama had was a speech, which followed on the same vein of the 3AM ad?

by Tantris 2008-03-05 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Sometimes the truth hurts.

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

So it would be fair for him to say "the American people want a canidate who believes in integrity and open government, John McCain can put up his record, I can put my record, Hillary Clinton wont release her records."

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-05 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

He's already implied it several times over.

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Sometimes the truth hurts.

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

not what she said but whatever - every other word out of McCain's mouth is experience - she was saying how she would counter that and wondering how Obama would counter what McCain would undoubtedly claim.

by NYMARJ 2008-03-05 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The reason why that is a "negative" ad is because it is the same "play on fear" kind of stuff the Republicans have been using for years.  For a democrat to use right wing frames on a primary opponent doesn't sit well with me at all...  This is the democratic party, not the republican party.

by LordMike 2008-03-05 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Well, thank God that Obama doesn't ever use any right-wing frames then!

Oh.  He does?  But... but.... but...

by wasabi 2008-03-05 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

What's the fear? That Obama is going to hang up?

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Most people are aware that taking a 3 a.m. phone call is part of the job description of being president. Why should Obama supporters blindly attack that kind of discussion if their argument is that Obama's judgment is superior? Is it because perhaps the job he's running for depends on more than a position he took as a state senator in Springfield?

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Again, you don't get it...

Hillary is running a very republican campaign, using their methodology.  That's ok in the general... I welcome it... but it is NOT cool in a democratic primary.

We are democrats, not republicans!

by LordMike 2008-03-05 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

No, I don't get your explanation because it apparently doesn't make any sense. Go ahead and call anything you want republican. That doesn't make you correct.

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 02:14PM | 0 recs
"right on day one" is the same thing

I don't really see how this is more negative than "we need somebody who was right on day one" etc.  

by chiefscribe 2008-03-05 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I appreciate your thoughtful, self-critical, and humble perspective.  All of us could use more humility and self-criticism, particularly in the midst of these kind of high-stakes, high-pressure political campaigns.

Having said that, I agree with some of the other commenters that you undercut your message by communicating your interpretation that Hillary has gone negative and that Barack has not.  You may well believe that, but I'm sure you can understand that supporters of Hillary would see the issue very differently, and that differences of opinion on that make it harder to see your message for what I believe you intended it to be.

by markjay 2008-03-05 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The author never wrote that Obama had not gone negative.  They did say that he made a risky move in not counter-attacking before Texas and Ohio, so he could make an argument that he should be the nominee.  That does not mean he has never gone negative.

The point on honor was that he did not punish someone for the NAFTA bruhaha, which turned out to not be true.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The NAFTA bruhaha was indeed true, and Obama's response was not "honorable."

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The CBC has completely exonerated Obama as well as the Canadian government, who issued an apology...  It is simply a false story, cooked up by Canadian conservatives to influence our election in their favor.

by LordMike 2008-03-05 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Not true. From today's Canada.com:

[Barack Obama's] remarks were reminiscent of the lyrics from an Oscar-nominated song sung by animated characters in the 1999 South Park film.

"It seems like everything's gone wrong, since Canada came along," the cartoon characters sang. "We must blame them and cause a fuss, before somebody thinks of blaming us."

The "Nafta-gate" episode laid bare some key weaknesses in Obama's campaign.

The Illinois senator and his staff badly misjudged the potential impact of early media reports which said - inaccurately, as it turned out - that an Obama aide spoke directly with Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson.

When details emerged that Goolsbee actually met with the Chicago consulate, Obama's campaign continued to outright deny the story until the Canadian memo was leaked to the media.

"They got caught, at least, in a misstatement," said Herb Asher, a political scientist at Ohio State University. "The initial response was 'there is nothing to this," Then, of course, there was something to it. That does undermine credibility."

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/ne ws/story.html?id=6a0ad227-2175-4142-8c40 -a21c6e301223&k=46757

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I suppose I agree with you. Below in another comment I invite everyone to go ahead and visit this by using examples of Obama's tactics. As you note, initiating a conversation about the relative negativity of the two campaigns is of little value. Whatever it has been in the past, from each of them, it is about to get much more negative, from both of them.

The stridency of some of these comments, however, are helping make my point. Yours is not one of those. And I appreciate it.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

"We're not enemies, we just disagree."  -The Strokes

Thank you, Glenn.  I fear that if we as liberals don't heed your advice, our candidate (whichever one prevails) is doomed to once again go gently into the night.  Given the SC positions likely to open up during the next four years, this would be bad news for us all.

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

First the darkening of his image is a joke and it reflects very badly on the BO campaign.  The liberal constant complaint that the other side is rasist is really old and frankly it hurts us and makes us look like whinners.

Second BO has been on HRC about NAFTA for weeks and imho it is nonsense.  He got caught in talking out of both sides of his mouth.  

The 3 am ad says bottom line who has the experience to be president.  Wow that evil Hillary she is really really really evil.  Come on you call that negative campaigning PLEASE.

She nor her campaign has never said he was a muslin and again this was done by twisting her words (a long standing BO campaign trick) unless you expect me to take the word of Drudge over HRC or you could provide some evidence that the HRC campaign is behind any of this.

And the reason BO lost is people were listening and all they heard was how BO is for hope.  Wow so is everyone but what they did not hear is how he plans to do these things.  Hillary didnt win Tuesday night as BO lost and this loss was his own doing.  

He looks like a candidate with a glass jaw (think McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry) and he sat there and lost the day.  You all should be think the stars for what HRC did the last couple of weeks instead of whinning.  This is why the dems loss.

Name democractic candidates that have either won or won the popular vote in a presidental election?  LBJ, Carter, Clinton, Gore.  Now the ones that lost McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry.  Tell me as a dem who just fing wants to win.  Who does BO remind you of.  

And those first four.  The all won OH???

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Barack Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton.  At least, the Bill Clinton I remember from the early 90's, not the one I have seen lately.  A lot of people say JFK, and I can see that as well, though I was not alive during that time.

Hillary Clinton reminds me of John Kerry and Al Gore(when he was running for President).  Very smart, good handle on policy, not doing well in defining who she is or connecting to people.  I think she is doing better at the second, but for some reason she has completely failed at the first(or succeeded in defining herself as someone I didn't think she wanted to be defined as).  I mean, she is seen as the one that will do anything to win, a true fighter, would steal the nomination if necessary.  This isn't me, this is people around me and the way the media portrays her.

I worry that Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton, because I didn't particularly like what happened to the Democratic Party during Bill's presidency, but...Hillary Clinton is attached to Bill's presidency much more strongly than Obama is.  Also, I love that Obama is embracing the 50 state strategy and aligns with the current strategy of the DNC.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

By the way, I think for some reason her campaign wants to define her that way.  They have put out so many weird things about how they are going to win.  The Super Delegates overturning the pledged delegate leader, stealing pledged delegates, including Michigan and Florida without a revote, arguing that this state or that one don't matter(yes, I know Obama's campaign said the same thing lately, ugh, I hate that, though it hasn't redefined him yet in that same way.), having supporters sue to change the rules of the Nevada Caucuses.  I figured they would try to step away from that view of her.  I know a lot of people who for years accused the Clinton's of being power-hungry, corrupt people with no morals.  I always defended them both(more so Bill, because he was more directly attacked), but now they are playing into that same theme.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

How so? By refusing to go away when Obama and his surrogates urge them to? Or by winning large states in primaries, where Obama has yet to dominate?

If he's as wonderful as you believe him to be...why so scared of more states voting? Let the rest of the country help decide who the nominee is. Why is that so wrong suddenly?  Why is the meme: HRC should drop out. Just cuz!

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

No, the meme that her campaign has put out is that "Screw the primary voters, this nomination is ours, and we will get it one way or another".  I didn't say anything about her dropping out.  I said, that her campaign has portrayed her as someone willing to do anything to win.  I don't understand your response.  The media talks about the Clinton's pulling in favors, doing back room deals, their power network, and that they are fighters that never give up.  They talk up these weird statements her campaign advisers make.

I am actually scared of this primary lasting a lot longer, since the candidates will go much more negative.  I don't want McCain as president, and I fear that the two will destroy each other.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 12:32PM | 0 recs
There you go again...

If you say it loud and long enough it will be true, is that the way of the Obama world?

"the meme that her campaign has put out is that "Screw the primary voters, this nomination is ours, and we will get it one way or another"."

"I said, that her campaign has portrayed her as someone willing to do anything to win."

Care to back any of this up with some actual first-person quotes from anyone in her campaign?

And another good one ... "the media talks about the Clinton's pulling in favors, doing back room deals, their power network, and that they are fighters that never give up."

Since when does what the media says - again without attribution or quotes - have any significance whatsoever?

I guess only when it supports your personal world view, whether based in reality or not.

And since when is fighting for something you believe in -  particularly one's self - a bad thing that should be condemned?  

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: There you go again...

I pointed to times her campaign has put that forward.  Steal pledged delegates.  Super delegates overturn the will of the voters.  These aren't good things.

The media does talk like that.  

NY Mag Essentially saying the same thing I am.
ABC News About tactics

by Tantris 2008-03-05 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: There you go again...

By the way, I didn't say I agreed with it, I just said it was there.  I don't think the talk of stealing pledged delegates or saying the super delegates will overturn the voters were good ideas.  Even if that was going to happen at some point, there was no reason to say it when they did.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: There you go again...

Okay, enough, completely annoyed by this point since a few people are harassing a poster who wrote an interesting, balanced, insightful comment.  Please read what Tantris actually said:

"Barack Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton.  At least, the Bill Clinton I remember from the early 90's, not the one I have seen lately.  A lot of people say JFK, and I can see that as well, though I was not alive during that time.

Hillary Clinton reminds me of John Kerry and Al Gore(when he was running for President).  Very smart, good handle on policy, not doing well in defining who she is or connecting to people.  I think she is doing better at the second, but for some reason she has completely failed at the first(or succeeded in defining herself as someone I didn't think she wanted to be defined as).  I mean, she is seen as the one that will do anything to win, a true fighter, would steal the nomination if necessary.  This isn't me, this is people around me and the way the media portrays her.

I worry that Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton, because I didn't particularly like what happened to the Democratic Party during Bill's presidency, but...Hillary Clinton is attached to Bill's presidency much more strongly than Obama is.  Also, I love that Obama is embracing the 50 state strategy and aligns with the current strategy of the DNC."

By my reading, she is saying that both candidates possess qualities that she likes, and that both candidates possess qualities that give her pause.  Although Shakespeare may have been a bit more poetic in stating this basic truth of existence (no offense intended, Tantris), it is nevertheless a truth that bears repeating.

Perhaps my reading is incorrect or perhaps the version that I read elided some crucial parts that were in the version that you read.  If not, it seems inherently reasonable to me to suggest that the fact that Obama feels like Bill cuts both ways (before you get starry-eyed and tell me about how perfect the Clinton administration was, please try to recall just how well he played with Congress, both with and without a Dem majority, and how well he hanled Somalia and Rwanda).  

Similarly, HRC is undeniably intelligent, but she is also undeniably (and irrationally) hated by many people who are moderate to slightly conservative.  That doesn't play well in a race against someone who is perceived as moderate (perception is unfortunately not reality in this case, but it may be close enough to it for McCain to win in November), so HRC must do a much better job of defining herself and connecting with people (who do not post on this website) in order to pull it off.

So on balance, it seems like Tantris is doing nothing more than acknowledging the reality of the situation; namely that both candidates have flaws and unanswered questions.  Why the venom?

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: There you go again...

Yeah, that is what I was trying to say.  Both candidates have good and bad points.  I did say I favored Obama, because one of the complaints I have heard about him(and have about him myself) is something that is true of Bill Clinton as well.  The DLC'ness and less partisan path he portrays.  I feel Hillary is more wonkish, but I am worried about that because of previous wonkish candidates we have put up.  I think we need to have someone with charisma and wonkishness.  I believe Hillary has begun(in the last few weeks) to do better opening up, from what I have seen.  This is good.  I also believe that, for one reason or another, her character or at least the view of her campaign is not good.  I think they need to fix that.

By the way, I am a guy.

by Tantris 2008-03-06 04:02AM | 0 recs
Re: There you go again...

Have you ever seen Some Like it Hot?  My bad; I have no clue why I made that assumption.  Still, it doesn't change the fact that you were being unfairly flamed for making some reasonable points, so I stand by everything but my pronouns.

by carloseljefe 2008-03-06 04:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I also think that this has lead to some of her other problems.  When you portray yourself, accept, or have your campaign portray you as a ruthless fighter that will do anything to win, that is what people see.  So, if you do something smart politically, people see you being ruthless.  If your opponent isn't portrayed that way, and they do the same thing, they are given the benefit of the doubt.  The media and talking heads have been doing this for a while.  The so-called media bias.  The image does help Clinton as well though.  Whereas another candidate would have been counted out for her losses, they believe she is a ruthless fighter and will do anything to win, and still has a chance.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

OK,  

BO political views are very close to McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry.  The are all put foward a NE liberal idiology with much less appeal outside of the coasts.  They all lost what we all refer to as Reagan democrats.  Working folk just getting by (earning less than 40k), older married women, and now older but not younger latino's.

That is what you saw last night in OH.  It along with PA are prime Reagan democractic states and BO got clocked and he will not win OH in the general.  LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and Gore are all southern's and represent working class moderates that NE liberals demeanly refer to as blue dogs.

The netroots (who is also consider myself) think it is only about who is with us and who isn't.  And for the record i am on the monthly DNC donation list.  I totally support dean and the 50 state model but imho that model only works for congress.  

The dkos crowd constantly demeans HRC for her 269 + 1 model but let me tell you the GOP has been doing this and they are kicking our ass.  For president i totally support the 269 + 1 and you know why.  i am sick of fing losing and if we have to use the 269 + 1 that is OK with me.

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are very close on ideology.  Perhaps, if you mean the vibe they put off, I could maybe buy that.  Their policies are very close to one another.  Their plans are close to each other's.

They both also have core Democratic Groups that vote for them.  They are also looked on favorably by most Democrats.

What I see in Ohio is that Obama was catching up, but got knocked down in about 4 ways in one week.  Yeah, whoever gets the nomination is going to have to work to pull all the parts of the party back together.  I just hope we haven't ripped them too far asunder.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The problem with 269+1 strategy is that it has failed for us time and time again...  It also has allowed Republicans to pick up downticket seats to solidify congress for them.  In 2004, we lost 3 senators a good chunk of congress and the presidency because of this strategy...  Why would anyone suggest that the third time it will work, when it has failed so many times before.

As for political ideology, if the appeal was limited to the coasts, then we probably wouldn't be seeing so many Obamicans around.  One of the criticisms from the Clinton camp is that he's TOO conservative...  so, I don't buy that argument.

by LordMike 2008-03-05 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results."

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 04:07PM | 0 recs
I, like many others here, disagree Glenn.

You make an ugly and unfounded "pronouncement" about Hillary having gone negative and you want to let that remain as the "truth" or conventional wisdom and then want to change the subject rather than support your remarks.

It is just this sort of underhanded tactic that has sullied the discourse.

Merely making this remark is a negative attack in itself, but you attempt to immunize yourself with your holier than thou remarks about what a great and ethical guy Obama is by comparison - yes, and because you noiticed this 1) it must be true and 2) it makes you feel better about yourself - and how we (meaning all of us out here on the internets) need to elevate our thinking and discourse.

Why don't you really give it a try, Glenn.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:00PM | 0 recs
Respectfully No!

Thank you Glenn for your post. But, respectfully, it does a disservice to our system of government--it is harmful to our system of government--it damages our cohesion as a polity--to let this kind of Rovian politics continue to flourish in our country.

I too am an Obama supporter but I would abandon him in a second if he were pursuing dishonest tactics like this. The political techniques being used by the Clinton campaign are unacceptable if you wish to put our country first. These politics exist because we accept them and use them but they are not inevitable. Winning at any price should not be accepted or admired.

by anothergreenbus 2008-03-05 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Respectfully No!

I'm not certain how we disagree.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 10:07PM | 0 recs
Obama hasn't gone negative?

But Glenn, you don't fault Clinton for going "negative" but you act like Obama hasn't.

1) Sending out mailers blaming her for NAFTA even after Newsweek, hardly a pro Clinton magazine, said the quote was false. Even after David Gergen, who was there, said it wasn't true. Even after a NYT article said she opposed it.

2) The Harry and Louise health care ad, that he got a huge pass on from the media/lazy blogosphere. Remember that ad was like the 90's version of swift boating.

3) Saying that Clinton's Health Care mandate would result in her going after your wages. (Whose wages does Obama's Children mandate go after?)

Is this not negative campaigning? You might agree with it but spare me this fable that Obama hasn't gone negative.

by world dictator 2008-03-05 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Darkening of the opponent's image is a standard tactic in political campaigns. It's like displaying an unflattering photo of them in your campaign literature. You want them to look dull and uninspiring, not bright and inspiring. It has nothing to do with race.

The Muslim rhetoric is a non-story.

The 3 AM ad was negative, but fair.  McCain is going to have far worse.

by wayward 2008-03-05 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

You don't think arguing he is unqualifed to be CIC is "negative?"  As the diarist noted, HRC has every right to make such arguments.  Obama is a big boy and politics is a contact sport.  But lets not pretend that's not a negative campaign tactic.  Obviously it is.  

by HSTruman 2008-03-05 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

You're confusing anything that shows their distinctions to be negative simply because they come from Hillary. How is it negative to make your case that you would be a better CIC than your opponent. He's made the same argument with the "judgement" angle about the war vote. That's his right and I don't consider it negative. I consider it smart. And drawing distinctions. Seriously? They're running for POTUS and we're going to say she's going negative because she's saying "I think I would make a better POTUS for 1,2,3."

Besides all that, it's insulting that whenever Obama loses, it's because of Clinton's negativity. Maybe he just isn't making a good case to the voters in these particular states.

His losses can't all be blamed on Hillary, you know. He can blame himself since he obviously failed to make the argument he wanted.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

there is a difference between saying "I would be better at the job" and saying "He is not capable of the job."

She pracitcally said in a speech last week that McCain would be a better President than Obama, and anyone who didn't get that impression from what she said is either lying or delusional.

It IS negative and it is about to get more negative...and I hope Obama fires back. I will be happy to support either candidate in the GE...but to pretend she hasn't gone negative just because you support her is crazy.

by JDF 2008-03-05 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

See, there you go misquoting and outright lying. She never said EVER that McCain would be a better president. She said he would tout his experience. And uh, he will. If Obama thinks otherwise, he's got quite the surprise coming.  His wife said Hillary isn't fit to be President because she couldn't take care of her own house. C'mon now.  Let's not be liars now.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

she didn't say he would tout it SHE touted it. And while she didn't say outright he would be a better President she certainly implied it (and if she didn't mean to imply it she would have clarified.)

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Of course she didn't. But again, you're coming at it from that side and I can see why you would refuse to believe her actual statement over rhetoric and blogosphere gossip to the contrary. She said McCain will tout his experience. And again, her certainly will. It's all the old man has. And everything Obama doesn't.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Let me clue you in: I WATCHED THE SPEECH. I SAW THE FOOTAGE. I HEARD WHAT SHE SAID. Just because I don't have your view of things doesn't mean I am blinded by other people- and just because I disagree with your choice of candidates doesn't give you the right to disrespect me. Hillary's supporters do not have a monopoly on the truth. Get off your F'n high-horse.

by JDF 2008-03-05 01:19PM | 0 recs
WHY DON'T YOU get off your "f'n"

high horse and actually verify your facts before you post them.

Will save every body time having to do that for you.

You've heard of "the google" haven't you?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:34PM | 0 recs
What She Said

Verbatim remark by Clinton re: "experience"

"He's [John McCain's] never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

She said McCain would tout it.

She's making the "experience" argument for herself, not McCain, though it certainly works as well for him in the GE against Obama.

For godsakes, McCain IS already touting it as his defining quality as compared to Obama's 3 years in the senate.

She merely made a factual statement that Obamaphiles find wanting for their candidate.

That one speech in October 2002 is his self-described DEFINING MOMENT; that's all he can offer.

Evidently the truth does hurt.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

and I was pissed as hell when Michelle Obama said that...but that doesn't excuse Hillary doing the same kind of things.. or Bill's comments comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson (and don't even try to say that wasn't the intention if it weren't than he wouldn't have brought it up.)

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

This is a pointless discussion.  By your standard, nothing is "negative."      

Really, it doesn't matter anyway.  Hillary has every right to "throw the kitchen sink" at Obama, as she put it.  The GOP certainly will in the General anyway.  He's a pro and will deal with it now and against McCain later.  Negative attacks are just part of politics, which is fine.    

by HSTruman 2008-03-05 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I gave you a 2 because yo uget it right. It's silly to say that she didnt' go negative, but its also silly to say that negative is a bad thing.  I think

by bruh21 2008-03-05 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Well said.  I agree.

by HSTruman 2008-03-05 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The 3 a.m. advertisement was a negative ad saying "with me and mccain you get years of experience; with him you get 1 speech" is going negative.

There being a kernel of truth to the statement doesn't make it any less negative. I have no problem with Hillary touting her experience; I have a HUGE problem with her touting McCain's and I have a problem with her denigrating Obama's.

It is completely possible to point out this flaw in his candidacy without being petty and viscious about it. Hillary is practically suggesting he doesn't have a right to be in the race and it should be beneath her to argue in that way.

But as the diarist points out- negative politics works. So I accept it and I expect more of it. I think the gloves are really about to come off now- and a small part of me is glad that it is going to happen in my state, Pennsylvania.

by JDF 2008-03-05 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

It was more negative from Obama's side, but the Clinton rules, led every media outlet to ignore them.

by devil 2008-03-05 11:53AM | 0 recs
That is the same bs that Bush used

Hillary has learned well for meister Rove.

Remember the "Liberal media elite"

What is it now the Obama media elite

Hillary is a professional victim - we need a president - she is not qualified.

by Moonwood 2008-03-05 12:18PM | 0 recs
Listening comes first --- you might wan to try it

Are you capable of adding something substantive to the discussion or do you only do insults?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 02:59PM | 0 recs
The he wants to bomb Pakistan comment

The picture of him in traditional garb

The "shame on you" speech

The NAFTA gate - which I'm sure she orchestrated

Her posing as the victim once again saying the press is unfair - actually her corporate friends at CNN, FOX and NBC made sure their anchors trashed Obama.

Her email about Choice to NH women which was complete fraud

The red phone ad

Her campaign has been about fear not about competency.

What has Hillary accomplished in 35 years - I can't think of one thing - can you name one thing she has done?

by Moonwood 2008-03-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

-running with a phony story about the back-channel NAFTA deal;
-Bringing up Rezko when there is little to be said or done that Obama hasn't already;
-Darkening his picture in an ad;
-Going with baseless politics of fear in an ad plagarized from the Mondale campaign;
-Mocking Obama's oratory skill with the "heavans will open" schtick;
-Claiming his health care flyer is false when it is accurate;
-complaining about bad press (including in newspapers that have endorsed her!)

That should be enough for now -- but none of it is anything to be proud of.

As for the line "I am not complaining out it. It worked" -- that misses the obvious cost to such strategies -- the alienation of needed voters in the general, if Hillary should come back to win the nomination.

by NewHavenDave 2008-03-05 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

How about this?

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3 /5/131156/5021/187/469677

by MNPundit 2008-03-05 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

But see Glenn, you lose your argument when you refuse to see that Obama has been negative as well.

And with that goes your credibility. You tout his superior "honor" of not going negative when it's what he's been doing since he got his arse handed to him in NH.

But hey, you're competitive. So am I. At least my blinders aren't on.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

To bring our focus to the larger problem, here, I will stipulate that Obama has also been negative. I believe he will get even more negative. I will grant credibility to your observation, and ask that you grant me the same.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

But here you say:

I am assuming Obama held back before March 4 because he thought he could eke out a victory in Texas and enhance his arguments with super delegates that Clinton, by attacking him, was threatening Democrats' chances for victory in November.

You claim Obama is holding back and has not gone negative. It's misleading and simply wrong.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

There are levels of negativity.

by rfahey22 2008-03-05 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

He did hold back- saying he held back is not the same as saying he didn't go negative at all... the healthcare flyers are negative (as our the NAFTA flyers) then again-questioning Obama's position on choice was not only negative but false as well.

Now, in Pa I expect him to bring out all of the old classics. I expect him to dump on her with everything he has, and I expect her to return fire... I don't know who wins...but it is going to get interesting- I just hope they don't destroy eachother completely.

by JDF 2008-03-05 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

No, and notice that I credit Obama with holding back for strategic or tactical reasons. I don't credit him a different ethical stance with regard to his advertising and messaging.

I believe it is true that Clinton's attacks, let's call them aggressive critiques of Obama, made a difference in the closing days of the campaign, and that difference would have been mitigated by a similar aggressive critique of Clinton. All political consultants I've spoken with the last 12 hours agree with me on this. And I think the next days and weeks will show both candidates following the conventional, more negative path.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

It's one thing to be negative. It's another to manipulate the electorate using false stories, racial prejudice, fear tactics, etc. But if you admire these things then she's your girl.

by anothergreenbus 2008-03-05 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Even more negative.  Like what.  HRC has been smeared for years.  What he has new stuff.  Come on this is one of the great jokes i hear from the BO campaign.  The GOP has STUFF on HRC and if she is the candidiate they will use it.  PLEASE, you think if the GOP had something more on HRC they would hold back.

Let me tell you the other great BO bs.  Hillary is devisive and well we dont like that and we dont like being smeared by the right so lets not put HRC up so the GOP will be nice.  ARE you kidding.  If BO gets wins what they will do to BO will seem like small time what they did to HRC.  The right has smeared EVERY dem candidate since Dukaksi.  Willy Horton ring a bell.  To the right every democratic candidate is devisive.  What we need to do is fight back not use that as a talk point (as BO has) to attack another dem.  Think about that.

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

You mentioned something I should have included in the post. Hillary Clinton has been the object of the most expensive and longest-lasting negative campaign in modern history.

She has been subjected to more attacks than she has launched on Obama. I should have noted that. I have noted it plenty of times elsewhere, but it belonged here as well.

Thank you.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

ty

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Obama did not make those attacks on Hillary. The republicans did. So tell me why we should pretend this is inevitable and OK? An tell me again why Obama will do the same, he just hasn't gotten around to it, because its not yet in his interest...? What?

by anothergreenbus 2008-03-05 03:32PM | 0 recs
Hear hear.

It's not reasonable or fair to asser that Obama did not go negative in the campaign.  He has gone negative; but the media and his supporters have given him just enough cover so that it appears that he wasn't going negative.  It was really a smart campaign tactic and it worked.  He is still the favorite to achieve the nomination because of it.  

by mgee 2008-03-05 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Wow, what an excellent retort! Yes, Obama has been quite negative and his main points have been just plain wrong. That 2002 speech he's basing his campaign on is a farce and Hillary is right to put it in its place.

And Glenn, how dare you associate the term "honor" with the sort of sleazy campaign Obama has been running? That's turning reality on its ear. Obama's people do everything they can to disenfranchise voters at every turn. They use political tactics of the worst kind. It often seems like Karl Rove is running his campaign.

by Nobama 2008-03-05 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

says the guy who calls himself "nobama" a better name would be "nobodytakesmeseriosuly."

by JDF 2008-03-05 11:59AM | 0 recs
Name a way that Obama has gone negative?

by Moonwood 2008-03-05 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I would not concede this point.  Obama has consistently said "let's debate the issues" and has criticized Hillary on issues like her Iraq vote and her health care mandate.

What he has not done is pull any "3am phone call" mularky that is more what I would otherwise expect from Tim Russert if Hillary didn't add her "I approve of this ad" to the end of it.

by NewHavenDave 2008-03-05 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Re: the NAFTA thing.  It wasn't a complete fraud.  An inappropriate conversation DID take place - there's proof. The problem was that Obama stood up there and LIED and said it never happened.  And then we found out it did happen.  Guess he's just like every other population (there's a reason there's a new term on the web - WORM - What Obama Really Meant)

As for negative ads - what are you talking about?  The 3 a.m. ad never mentioned him.  It propped up HRC.  It is not negative to tout your experience even if your opponent has none.

The "Muslim" dress picture?  Not from the Clintons.  Drudge admitted it came from a right-wing blog.  I actually think the Obama camp owes her a public apology.

Rezko?  Maybe he didn't do anything wrong.  But for someone who runs on "transparency" and who  criticizes HRC for bringing it up, he sure doesn't want to answer questions about it - just ask the reporters from the Chicago Sun Times. They've been asking for a year and still no answers.  Obama has to learn that when you lie with dogs, you may wind up with fleas.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-05 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

All I can say for your summary of Obama's self-inflicted issues:  Thanks for the succinct and timely summary.

by christinep 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I meant - he's like every other POLITICIAN.

by cmugirl90 2008-03-05 11:48AM | 0 recs
Clinton Won By Going Negative

This is the new conventional wisdom. "Negative campaigning works. She threw everything and the kitchen sink in." It is simply not true.

Barack Obama lost yesterday because he screwed up big time. He got caught in a staight out lie.

He looked right into the camera and said "It did not happen." When it became clear that something did in fact happen, it became clear to anyone paying attention that Obama had lied.

Clinton didn't need to go negative. Obama did the damage to himself. Further, the damage is extraordinary, because it punctures his hope and change campaign narrative. When you make something entirely about your character and then you get caught lying, you have a big problem. That problem is not going away.

by MediaFreeze 2008-03-05 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Won By Going Negative

I really don't think the so called NAFTA-gate had that big of an effect, but I would be interested to see if exit polls proved me wrong.

the 3 a.m. ad was a negative campaign ad, it didn't mention Obama by name but it played up peoples fears- it may not be "negative" in the textbook sense but it is negative and should be beneath us.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Won By Going Negative

They had exit poll data last night that people who decided in the last day or so, broke something like 2:1 for Clinton.

I think it was NAFTAgate. Further, I think the damage is profound. When people look at him doing his preacher style hope and change thing up on stage, I suspect they will find it hard to chase away the image of the guy who looked straight into the camera and said "It did not happen."

I think he hurt himself badly.

by MediaFreeze 2008-03-05 12:25PM | 0 recs
What lie?

by Moonwood 2008-03-05 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: What lie?

The lie where Obama said the meeting with the Canadian govt didn't take place at all. Soon followed by the fact that it did take place...he was just misconstrued in the assertions that his aide gave the Canadians.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Clinton supporters, I'd ask that we think about the larger issue. Visit this from your perspective, and question the examples I have chosen. That's fine. But speak a little to the consequences of our blinders, even my blinders. Because that's the bigger question.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Yeah, we got that. You have blinder on, we don't. ;)

by Nobama 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Right, you are always right and we are always wrong- got it... maybe we should all just stop voting since you clearly don't think we are smart enough to have the right.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I'll speak to the bigger picture. You're man's charges of racism, the complicity of the DNC in trying to disenfranchise millions of voters, and Democratic poo-bahs sitting on their hands tacitly endorsing the most visciously sexist attacks on a leading female candidate have made me decided to leave the Democratic Party permanently. Not just for national elections, but for state and local elections as well.

I will no longer give Democratic candidates the benefit of the doubt. They will have to "sell me" on an equal footing with any other candidate.

by hwc 2008-03-05 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Then go be a Republican. You might notice in the terms of service on the site that this site is about advocating for DEMOCRATS... if you can't get on board with that than get out of the way.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Stop,

And lets not demean this post.  This is a real dem and he is just upset and i totally understand how he feels.  He is not saying he will vote for McCain he or she is just saying they are upset.  

Remember we are all dems here and sometimes we get upset and say things.  I defend this post because his frustation and emotion tells me he cares and he is a DEM who is just upset.

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

A few points: (1) I would echo the question of how precisely Clinton went negative.  Being assertive and advancing one's position as well as pointing out another's contradictions/differences, etc. is not "negative" in my understanding.  Where is the Willie Horton ad or the smear on Max Cleland here? and (2)Please consider your own awareness of stridency, together the possibility that the stridency which you have discovered in yourself could influence your evaluation of what is negative advertising or not.  In this regard, think about the problematic nature of characterizing a political campaign as a "movement" (or being swept up in such a characterization.)  As a self-described professional, I'm sure that you realize the inherent downside of a "movement" or "charismatic personality" on the right or the left: The increasing intensity to justify all things in the name of the leader--to be self-contained, righteous--and, ultimately, to disdain the fews of the majority.  Thank you for your post.

by christinep 2008-03-05 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The NH abortion fiasco comes to mind.

by rfahey22 2008-03-05 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I just wanted to say that while I disagree with the tone of some of your piece, I thank you for being even-handed and fair in your analysis of the contest.

by bowiegeek 2008-03-05 11:55AM | 0 recs
Credibility

Obama supporters lose a lot of credibility when they suggest that he did not go negative.  Before NAFTA-gate, Obama was aggressively criticizing Hillary over NAFTA and her health care plan.  And he's routinely questioned Hillary's "judgment".  Yes, that's normal politics, but yes, that's also being negative.  No worse and no better than anthing Obama's opponents did.

by DaveOinSF 2008-03-05 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Credibility

Yep. You can't have your cake and eat it too. To some extent, however, look at how his comments were driven by hers. She campaigns that his health plan leaves people out, so he hits her on mandates. She campaigns that she has experience and not "just words", so he hits her on judgement.

His original campaign was driven purley on hope and change. I don't know if that was the plan all along, but no plan survives contact with the enemy, right?

by mattw 2008-03-05 12:53PM | 0 recs
Yep, indeed ...

Your absoultely right.

But, also, neither plan is necessarily more or less negative than the other  ... it just is what it is.

But, do you see what you just did here?

You basically accused Clinton of being/going negative and "causing" Obama to become negative back to her because of it.

I think you did this subconscioulsy, but its this kind of (unintentional) underhanded statement that gets the HRC supporters ire up as it implies that Obama is pure and Clinton is evil.

You should really think about that.  

by plf1953 2008-03-05 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I posted a little diary earlier on the site basically saying we need to tone this down.  It was not partisan.  The first response I got was "Obama does it too".  This is about the most unpleasant campaign I have ever witnessed because we are all supposed to be in this together, and it's becoming all about tearing everyone up.  I am starting to think that it is just too easy, on line, to throw bricks; you never see the person you are trashing and you don't need the time, as in writing and mailing a letter, to think about what you have said.  

If the supporters of either candidate really believe the charges they are throwig around, how the hell are they going to vote for the other if he/she wins?  How do you attack like this then go in and pull the lever with a big smile on your face?  This is not the general election.  We are all supposedly in this for the same thing, not to kill and maim our own.  Be kind to the other candidate's supporters.  To paraphrase, the vote you save may be your own.

by mady 2008-03-05 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I will support the nominee either way and will be happy either way... but that is only because I care deeply about the process, and about people in general...I also happen to admire Hillary Clinton a great deal and think she would make an excellent (thought not quite AS excellent as Obama) President.

That being said, if it weren't for those feelings I would sit out the GE with Hillary as the nominee in the hopes of denying a certain subset of her supporters a victory. Yes its petty, but that is how upset I am by the behavior of some people.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

That's exactly how I feel.  When I found myself toying with the idea of just not voting in the GE last night, I had to pull back and try to figure out why that was happening.  What it was was everytime I saw Hillary Clinton her message to me was obscured by the voices of her most obnoxious supporters.  I'm sure people who support her have the same set of feelings about an element of the Obama supporters.  

by mady 2008-03-05 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

they absolutely do... and there is a subset of supporters on both sides who are beyond obnoxious... as I have said repeatedly on the boards here- there are people here I used to respect and I don't anymore...and furthermore there is nothing they will ever say or do to change that. It goes for supporters from both sides...I have seen how these people behave when the chips are down and they are NOT my people.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Whenever you have thoughts like that, remind yourself that the next president will likely appoint two Supreme Court Justices.

Two more "conservative" justices and we are not going to recognize this country in ten years.

by MediaFreeze 2008-03-05 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I love the way people say two supreme court justices. Look at the ages of the people on the bench it is going to likely be more like 3-4 (and 5-6 if they go 8 years isn't out of the question.)

by JDF 2008-03-05 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Hillary can't be blamed or credited completely for Barack's defeats yesterday.  Some of his wounds were in fact self-inflicted, or due to the media finally starting to scratch the surface of the man.  

by jarhead5536 2008-03-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Media inflicted perhaps, as they were when Hillary Clinton was the victim.  I think the media just want to prolong this race to get their jollies and ratings.  They are just as stupid, for the most part, covering each candidate.

by mady 2008-03-05 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession
I have to repectfully disagree that it was in fact Hillary who went Negative first.  You go back to those first debates when she was labled "
Status Quo"  aka Bush like/WASH insider/ etc.  Those were a far more effective and lethal negative attacks (Really raising Obama) then anything you have seen Hillary use to date.  It is just that it has not been labeled "Negative" by the media or blog world, well . . .because they bought into it.  It is interesting how one mans truth is another's negative attack.  I just completely disagree that in NEGATIVE department Hillary ever gives as good as she gets from opponents/media/etc/etc.  
by huntese 2008-03-05 12:01PM | 0 recs
Nafta

NAFTA was his own undoing. It was what he was going to knock Hillary out with in OH. He's been mentioning it for months. When time came and he got himself caught in a lie, it backfired.  That's not honor. That's good ol' Washington politicking.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Nafta

Except he didn't lie, he was just the victim of a well timed smear promulgated by a conservative hit team in Canada.

by mattw 2008-03-05 01:02PM | 0 recs
Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Honor and respect?

Do you seriously think it was behaving with honor and respect when Barack Obama accused Hillary and Bill Clinton of corruption? Of lying? Of being racists?

You can't be serious.

by hwc 2008-03-05 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

When did any of those words come out of Obama's mouth?

Get serious.

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

OK, so he demonstrates his "honor and character" by having his hitmen do his dirty work for him.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The first negative ad of the campaign was the Spanish-language ad in NV, ran by Obama, which said Hillary did not support "our people."

Obama has done a lot of negative campaigning, which is fine, but then self-righteously claims to be above it all.  That's the part that grates a bit.

Given the narrowness of the race, and that both candidates will be in it to the end, we are heading toward either a Clinton-Obama ticket, or vice versa.

by jpetty 2008-03-05 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Actually, the misinformation about Obama's position on abortion was disseminated in NH, before then.  Anyway, it's a little pointless and childish to argue about who went negative first.

by rfahey22 2008-03-05 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary: The New Huckabee

rated this a 1 because I think it is an interesting article...but comparing either of our candidates to the Huckster is unacceptable. (although it could be worse, you could have compared one of them to Bush...)

Try to be civil. (and yes, I know the article you linked to makes the same comparison- leave it to others though: don't do it here.)

by JDF 2008-03-05 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary: The New Huckabee

I'm giving it a 2 because I think the troll and hide ratings are inappropriate. The ONLY comparison to Huckabee is the author saying Hillary is staying in the race too long, and this is a piece in a major news outlet. This piece is a great deal kinder to Hillary than many uprated pieces from places like noquarter are to Obama, and from a much more major source.

by mattw 2008-03-05 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary: The New Huckabee

I gave it a 1 not because of the article but because of the title of the post- it is misleading and denigrating to title a post that way regardless of what the article actually holds.

by JDF 2008-03-05 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary: The New Huckabee

That is the title of the article on the linked site.

by mattw 2008-03-05 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I've been scratching my head here for the last few minutes trying to figure out what it is about this post that I find so troubling, and I think I can put my finger on it.

It is the same thing that I find troubling about Obama himself. The tone is pitch perfect. The words sound good. There is a call for reasonableness and calm, and an appeal to take a higher road. The author is self depricating and reflective even introspective, in communicating his revelations about himself. He invites us to join him in moving forward in this more enlightened matter.

Then we have the substance: Clinton went negative. That's why she won. Now Obama will have to go negative too, even though he has more 'honor'. Oh, and NAFTAgate was a fraud.

So I think what we have here is the iron fist under the satin glove, Glenn. Like Obama you are using high sounding rhetoric to sugarcoat your very partisan points. It strikes my as a very disingenuous tactic. Perhaps you'd like to comment.

by MediaFreeze 2008-03-05 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Exactly right. The tone of the post is very positive, very uniting...while underneath you can see the attacks : Clinton went negative, Obama is honorable. She lied about NAFTA (no, actually he did) and the spread of right-wing falsehoods like the picture and Muslim thing is simply sad.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

But why are those points relevant if the larger idea is correct?  He's explained his perspective on all of this.  You disagree with his perspective, but the larger point remains, doesn't it?  

by rfahey22 2008-03-05 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

No, it doesn't. Because to me...as soon as it becomes a post about HRC went negative and Obama has too much honor and held back therefore he lost last night...demeans and totally discredits his original point. I'm right there with him until he uses the post to attack Clinton in a passive-aggressive way.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

You nailed it, MediaFreeze.

by KnowVox 2008-03-05 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I think you make a good point. I was reacting to all the advice I heard from experienced consultant friends about Obama's failure to respond in this particular instance -- and the certain knowledge that the campaign was about to get more, not less negative.

I don't really care who went first, or who has been more negative. So I didn't intend the implicit criticism of Clinton, and I took the approach that if I said that out loud it would make my position clear.

If I could turn the question a little sideways, though, could I suggest that the strident tone I have provoked raise the very issue I am talking about? I won't criticize these responses, because in recent days I've done the same darned thing.

Interestingly, I do agree that Obama's higher-toned rhetoric is turned into its own negative for the reasons you suggest. Structurally, it appears to be an attack of its own kind, just as some have taken my post. This is certainly a matter of my personal perspective --  my bias -- finding its way into my observation. But I think it's  structural problem with our contemporary scene:  Don't tell me to be reasonable when both of us are standing here with rocks in our hands.

I'm just not sure what to do about that.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The first thing you can "do about it" is to not write screeds for your candidate gussied up as pseudo confessions of your own failings.

The second thing you can do about it is to not misrepresent reality like (1) claiming that Hillary has gone negative and Obama hasn't, and (2) that nafta gate has been proven to be a "fraud."

The third thing you can do about it is, when you are called out for disingenousness, not to pretend that you didn't "intend" to criticize Clinton, when you obviously did.

And the fourh thing you can do about it is not resort to double talk about "turning things a little sideways" and claiming to "not criticize" the "strident tone" of the responses to your tripe, when the very use of the word "strident" is itself a criticism.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Media Freeze: I think you got it.  The Justice Douglas famous caution about the fist in the glove.  Quite perceptive.

by christinep 2008-03-05 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

It is an effective method of communicating your point...I almost think people dislike Obama at times because he is SUCH an effective communicator.

by JDF 2008-03-05 01:23PM | 0 recs
I appreciate this post very much

even though I occupy the third category that shall remain unnamed:  not advocating for either (oh, the shame of it).

But it also makes me wonder:  Aren't all campaigns negative?

That is to say: the message of every candidate running for office is always the same 'elect me because I'm good and my opponent is bad.'  The question isn't if it's negative or positive, but how deeply we invest ourselves in the morality of those positions--whether we push ourselves to believe that a person deserves to win because they are good and, therefore, the opponent is an immoral force--a force against good.

That's the terrain of reification and it's difficult to recover from that once we veer onto it.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2008-03-05 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: I appreciate this post very much

The problem with what you say is this:  This is a primary which means we all get to rally around and support and work for the winner.  Doesn't work that way in the GE.  We are supposed to be allies, not enemies, and that's not what is going on.  

by mady 2008-03-05 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession
Fair/unfair, positive/negative, black/white is false but in total keeping with human nature. We all know it is really shades of gray and needs to be graded on a curve. The campaigns so far haven't really gotten out of bounds and I expect wont.
I too have felt the pull of stridency. That also is a natural tendency, one that needs to be guarded against (if only to avoid alienating potential supporters).
But these are not just contemporary political practices. They are as old as politics itself, they are basic to the way groups of the human animals chose their leaders and interrelate with each other. That our candidates have managed to keep it withing bounds is to their credit.
by Judeling 2008-03-05 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I agree with your post, but I'd like to put forth one issue that I think is constantly lost in the argument's between the two camps.

There is a difference between "going negative" against and "attacking" your opponent.

An ad that touts a candidate's experience is considered a "positive" ad. Any ad that question's your opponent is considered "negative."

The first example I can think of of a negative ad that got a lot of play would be the Clinton campaign ad in Wisconsin that questioned by Obama wouldn't agree to any more debates. This was negative, because it made Obama look bad (sorta, I guess). This was not, however, an attack.

The 3a.m. ad, sorry to say it, was an attack. The implication of the cute little babies and the goofy narrator (who the Clinton campaign really needs to get rid of ) talking about things happening in the world is that ONLY Hillary Clinton is prepared to answer that phone and if you vote for Barack Obama, it is entirely possible your children will die.

While I don't have kids, I know people who do. And the prospect of a child's demise is the most terrifying thing any parent can face.

However, as I said on a different thread, the ultimate question of that ad, "Who is the best candidate to handle a crisis," is a legitimate question that needs to be answered, and can be brought up and debated effectively without necessarily attacking your opponent.

Unfortunately, the media doesn't seem to do nuance these days, so negative ads are automatically assumed to be attack ads, and we all get dumber and less informed in the process.

by LiberalFL 2008-03-05 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Glenn Smith.  Thanks for being reasonable.  I am an Obama supporter.  I have written on my blog today about the psychos that support him, many of whom are posting here.  http://katestone.wordpress.com

by Kate Stone 2008-03-05 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I might get bashed for saying this, but, isn't it time for both candidates to talk Dream Team? Clinton has said this morning that she would be open to such an idea; Obama not so much. Unless we want the super delegates to decide the nomination, shouldn't we urge our respective candidates to come together, decide who will be on top, as President, and then turn their attention full force on McCain?

by zenful6219 2008-03-05 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

From a strategic standpoint (if not a personal one) Obama does not want Hillary on the ticket AT ALL. There is a sense among many that Hillary helps coalesce the Republican Party and (assuming it is true) we don't want that...I think that is Obama's quandary.

Personally I wouldn't mind a Clinton/Obama ticket (or vice versa) but I don't know that it is our best option.  

by JDF 2008-03-05 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I vote Yes for a unity dream team ticket.  Here's why.  Hillary does have more experience and has the best policies.  She's considered by many to be wonkish and very detailed in her plans for the country.  Her Health Care policy is better because mandates will actually drive down costs so that all Americans can have health care.  It's the first step to real single payer.  She really has proven her care of first responders in NY and her care of Vets in the bills that she introduced regarding veterans benefits, especially health care.  I really like her policies and plans and every time I hear about them, I really want them.

On the other hand, no one can ignore that Obama's adoption of Dean's 50 state strategy is great for the democratic party.  His ability to stimulate the people who hear him to participate in the primary season can only be a good thing for the democratic party.  He may have a lot to learn, but he is really looking like the future of the democratic party.  He just needs someone like Hillary to pull him further to the left.

Yeah I like the idea of these 2 together.  Whether they like it or not, they may have to put their egos aside and think of the democratic party and America.

by moonheart 2008-03-05 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

First off, I agree with Stoller, who said something to the extent that Obama went negative first (and I'm fairly certain he's an Obama supporter, although I haven't really paid attention).  The whole "new politics" (which is debatable in it's own right) was a veiled critique of HRC.

That said, I'm not gonna sit here and say HRC didn't go negative.  That's politics.  THe fact is, people shape politics and politics shape people.  The whole idea of a new politics was not something I ever bought into.  It's the issues that matter.

I hope Glenn is around to answer this for me, as he's bound to have had more experience.  My question right now is ... is Obama going negative at the right time?  Timing is everything in life, and granted, HRC had to win.  But today, you've had a positive HRC news cycle along with her sounding fairly positive and making comments about being open to a joint ticket.  Was this the right cycle for Obama to go, well "new" negative?  Wyoming and Mississippi should be his (granted, nothing's ever known).  What is the potential for oversaturation leading up to Pennsylvania?  While attack politics do work, there also have been cases where too much negativity reverberates.  I don't know if I actually expect many "new" negatives coming out of the HRC camp.  Who knows, maybe I'm way off.

Btw, there hasn't been enough discussion, IMO, on how HRC used free media.  This has allowed her to bridge the issues with money a bit.

by toonsterwu 2008-03-05 01:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Obama doesn't have the luxury of picking the timing. Understand, what I'm about to say applies to the currently accepted rules of the game. What I was saying was that I saw my own knee-jerk attack style produce, community-wide, rather sad results.

Back to your question. He's got to win this news cycle by news cycle, even look at it as winning it hour by hour, and those hours need to have Clinton on the defensive. This is the advice I'd give the Obama campaign if I was asked.

I just wish it wasn't so.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Thanks for the response.  

I am curious why you think he doesn't have that luxury?  What's the difference between going on the attack now to going on the attack after winning two states?

It just seems, for me, that he could probably wait a bit.  See if the narrative changes as a result of Wyoming and Mississippi before considering going negative.  If need be, after Wyoming, Mississippi, he could go with a narrative along the lines of "I'm tired of this crap.  I'm still winning.  Let me tell you why ... and so forth" and build towards Pennsylvania.

I guess my general campaigning question is twofold:

a)  Are campaigns worried about staying negative too long?

b)  How negative would you suggest Obama go?  Obviously, negative is negative, but there's different tinges.  Does he bring up stuff from Bill's days, as dkos posters have suggested?  If so, doesn't that run the risk of seeming, well, desperate?

by toonsterwu 2008-03-05 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

It may be a matter of less negative today and more negative tomorrow. Meaning Obama may be able to play with the timing a bit.

Nastiness may have a depressive effect on the electorate, which would benefit Clinton more than Obama, because she seems to get more support from older, more resilient voters. You are right to worry about the heat of the tone -- and its duration.

Obama needs to be artful about it, but he must begin to win the news cycles now.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

I believe it turns out the memo was inaccurate.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

But, even if true, that doesn't make the whole story a "fraud," as you pretend. Also, if your purpose here was actually to write a "confession," you would not have included this across the board pseudo exoneration of Obama's conduct.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Why not?

The point it illustrates is that what is politically expedient is not always the more honorable thing to do. Choosing the latter has consequences that are usually not good -- and that's a shame.

Yes, I picked an example that favors Obama. I also very clearly stated my bias.

What is instructive here is that saying something good about a candidate appears to opponents to somehow sully the larger point being made. That, I believe, is a symptom of the very illness that has befallen our politics. And what I confessed to was to have personally fallen into this trap. So I include myself in the criticism, and should hasten to add that I bet I fall into the trap again. Despite my hopes not to.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Because, obviously, a confession on your part will be taken more seriously as such if it doesn't include a completely gratuitous, and not particularly persuasive, partisan statement exonerating your candidate from a charge of dishonesty.

And, even in your response here, you either seem to not understand that, or to be acting with less than total transparency. Nobody but you, and other Obama supporters, think that Obama's response to nafta gate was anything but standard politics: deny, minimize, obfuscate, change the subject, claim a partial vindication is a total one. That you see this as some sort of saintly, anti-utilitarian behavior is a sign that you are beyond "biased."

And, please, drop the tone of superiority. I don't need you to tell what is "instructive." And, again, stop the disingenuity--you were not merely "saying something good about a candidate," you were saying something good about YOUR candidate, and contrasting that "good" behavior with the "bad" behavior of his opponent. You're not fooling anyone.

As for including yourself in the criticism, that takes us back to square one. If you truly wish to confess your sins, you should do so in a way that does not seem like it is also an attempt to make your candidate look better than his opponent, nor should your confession include controversial exonerations of your candidate.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 03:36PM | 0 recs
NAFTA Meeting Memo Inaccurate?

Glenn,

In all honesty, do you believe that?

Isn't it just as likely (if not more so)) that the blowback has caused the Canadians to try to defuse this with, now, another contrived story?

Really, why is the current version of events any more likely to be true than the others?

Also, no matter what one believes about that meeting, the real issue now and for several days has been the cover-up, not the substance of the meeting or the memo ...

There's no denying that the Obama campaign outright lied about the meeting (not) taking place to begin with.

You agree?

by plf1953 2008-03-05 04:16PM | 0 recs
What a BS post

Oh, if only I could show the honor and character of my messiah, Barack Obama, and never go negative. . .But, alas, I am only a mortal and can never achieve his Christ-like status.

How revolting and disingenuous can you get?

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: What a BS post

About as revolting and disingenuous as your post.  Nobody ever said Obama was Jesus.

by rfahey22 2008-03-05 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: What a BS post

Not in so many words. But he paints him as such.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: What a BS post

You make my point for me.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 02:17PM | 0 recs
Your onl;y "point". . .

. . .is to disingenously paint your hero Obama as above the foibles not only of ordinary politicians like Hillary, but of yourself, who "wrote the book" about clean politics and who strives, every day and every way, but fails, as all mere mortals do, to be like Obama and never fall short of the standards of "honor and character" that He sets.

You original post, and your response to me, have a stench of idolatry, unctuousness, and self-righteousness that I find intolerable.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

Well, what can I say? I certainly did not mean to provoke your intolerance. It's very difficult not to appear somewhat self-righteous when juxtaposed to vitriol. My only other choice would be to join you. So I guess I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Can I ask, would it be possible to make a positive comment about Obama without being accused of hero worship?

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

You were self righteous in your opening post, before I or anyone else had a chance to subject you to our vitriol. As for positive statements about Obama that are not also hero worship, of course they are possible. But such statements would not, as yours did, seem to place Obama on an angelic, better than human, plane.

In both cases, your continued disingenuity knows no bounds.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I complimented Obama on one specific decision, that's all. A decision all my colleagues were criticizing. That's why I chose it as an example.

Why not discuss the issue I raised, that winning in politics means not just compromise, but quite often compromise of fundamental moral views? In this instance, Obama afforded an example of one time there was no compromise.

Attacking me as a disingenuous hero-worshipper really does kind of make my point. It hides real issues behind personal attacks. My point is that such attacks do nothing to help us negotiate our way through the disagreement over who would make the best president. But, sadly, they are often hard to resist and just as often effective counters to opinions we'd rather others did not entertain.

I admitted by own failures in this regard, failures I'm sure to repeat, so I can't claim some kind of righteous indignation at your accusations. Also, I wouldn't be engaging in the conversation here if I was thin-skinned or offended easily.

But take me out of it. Take Clinton and Obama out of it.  Let's just consider whether we would be better off if we did our politics a different way. Just personally, with each other. I'm not naive enough to believe some kind of systemic reforms are around the corner. But a little civility would be a start, if only a small start.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

"I complimented Obama on one specific decision, that's all. A decision all my colleagues were criticizing. That's why I chose it as an example."

Again, do you really think anyone buys that? You are an Obama supporter. Your post purports to be a confession on your part about your failing to live up to your own ideals about politics. But, who do you choose as an exemplar of those ideals? Well, what do you know? Your candidate, Obama furnishes the exemplar. Do you think we are all such fools as to believe that that choice was a mere coincidence? By choosing your candidate to represent the ideal that you have fallen away from, you open yourself to the charge that all the talk about a "confession" is mere window dressing, and that your real purpose is to highlight an instance where you believe your candidate behaved wonderfully. This suspicion is heightened by the fact that you show your candidate's allegedly virtuous behavior in direct and clear contradistinction to the behavior of his opponent. The suspicion is further heightened by the fact that you choose to insert a highly controversial and basically gratuitous statement claiming that the controversy your candidate was dealing with was a fraud.

So, to review, rather than a straight "confession" on your part that someone could take seriously, we have instead what looks you going through the motions of confessing only to provide an opportunity for you to extoll the virtues of your candidate, to contrast his virtuous behavior with that of his "politics as usual" opponent, and to exonerate him from the charges in a particular scandal. Do you not see the problem here? How many times do I, and others, have to spell it out to you before you "get it?" I can tell that you are an intelligent person, so I have a hard time believing that you are not registering this argument.

To belabor the point further, if you really wanted to confess, but felt the need to use an anecdote, couldn't you have chosen a virtuous instance on the part of Hillary Clinton, or Edwards, or one of the other Democratic candidates, or even McCain, or, for that matter, some other "profile in courage" from the history of statesmanship in the United States or elsewhere? No. It had to be Obama to furnish the example of "honor and character." You really expect us to believe it was only because your "colleagues" were criticizing Obama, and not a desire to make Obama look good, that led you to pick him as the exemplar? Even if it were true, it shows poor judgment on your part not to expect that choice to be treated with scepticism.

"Why not discuss the issue I raised, that winning in politics means not just compromise, but quite often compromise of fundamental moral views?"

Everyone already understands this. Politics often rewards bad behavior. Do you think we are not aware of this? That we never heard of Karl Rove? Or Lee Atwater? What is there to discuss? We live in a fallen world, and is hard to get back to Eden. Simply positing that it would be nice if we could doesn't add much to the discourse.

"In this instance, Obama afforded an example of one time there was no compromise."

As already stated, I don't think Obama acted in this instance in any way that differs from standard, self-regarding political behavior: deny, minimize, change the subject, treat a partial vindication as a total one. You, apparently, disagree. But, as discussed above, that still doesn't excuse your choice of YOUR candidate to serve as the exemplar of virtue. Even if Obama was virtuous here, he can't possibly be the ONLY example you could have come up with him. And, to repeat, by choosing your candidate as the epitome of virtue, you call into question the whole supposedly non-partisan rationale for your post.

"But take me out of it. Take Clinton and Obama out of it.  Let's just consider whether we would be better off if we did our politics a different way. Just personally, with each other. I'm not naive enough to believe some kind of systemic reforms are around the corner."

I'm afraid it's too late for that now. If you had wanted this thread to be a non-partisan discussion of what measures would be effective to take some of the nastiness out of politics, you should have proceeded completely differently from the way you in fact did.

". . .I can't claim some kind of righteous indignation at your accusations. Also, I wouldn't be engaging in the conversation here if I was thin-skinned or offended easily."

"But a little civility would be a start, if only a small start."

More double talk from you. On the one hand you say that you don't claim "righteous indignation" and that you are not "thin-skinned or offended easily," but on the other hand you accuse me, in your usual, not straight forward, round-about way, of incivility. At this point, and in this thread, I really don't see the purpose of discussing the abstract question of removing the nastiness from politics with you.

Perhaps, if you started a new thread, and left out your self-serving "confession," your obvious and ham-handed contrast of your candidate's virtuos behavior with that of his opponent, and your spurious exoneration of your candidate with respect to a particular scandal, and, instead, presented some actual, concrete proposals for creating or encouraging the kind of politics that you claim you want, I would be inclined to respond in kind.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I wrote a whole book about the issue, and my concrete proposals. It was called "The Politics of Deceit," published in 2004.

I've tried to respect your replies, but frankly, you seem so angry and unhappy that I've begun to doubt whether your anger has anything at all to do with me or the post.

I am not convinced by your temper. I did not disguise my support, and I see know reason to have avoided using Obama to make the point. I found it compelling because so many of my colleagues were criticizing him for not throwing the staffer overboard.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

Please stop throwing your book around. Your status as an author does not make your arguments any more compelling.

There was not a trace of anger in my last post. Just a cold, logical demonstration of why your case is not convincing. Is this how you argue? Someone disagrees with me, so they must be "angry."

And, finally, your simple repetition of your alleged reason for choosing Obama to make your point is simply not responsive to the argument I made questioning that choice. No, you did not "disguise" your support for Obama. What you did instead was to disguise your reason for posting. Your "confession" was simply a front, an occasion for you to: (1) laud Obama; (2) criticize Hillary; and (3) throw in your claim about nafta-gate. To repeat ad nausium, there were untold other examples that you could have chosen, but you chose to use Obama as your example of a "profile in courage." Why you think anyone would believe this choice was not the product of partisanship is beyond me.

And what makes all of this "intolerable," what makes it "BS," is that you go about posting your love note for Obama and hit piece on Hillary under the sign of non-partisanship and wanting a kindler, gentler kind of politics. Mediafreeze had you nailed perfectly: the iron fist in the velvet glove.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

A scorpion approaches a crocodile sunning itself on a bank of the Nile.

Scorpion: Will you carry me across the river?

Crocodile: No, for you shall certainly sting me.

Scorpion:  Why should I do that?  Then we both should die.

So the crocodile acquiesces.  When they have journeyed halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the crocodile, and they begin to slip beneath the water.

Crocodile:  Why did you do that?  Now we both shall die.

Scorpion:  I couldn't help it; it's my nature.

Some battles just aren't worth fighting.

by carloseljefe 2008-03-05 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

The other thing that I see, Glenn, in your post and many others from Obamaphiles, is that it somehow is always necessary to tear Hillary down in the same breath you build Obama up.

You might try the latter without the former sometime.

Speaking for myself only, this is what always gets my goat.

And its the same tactic that the Bushies have used for 8 years to glorify or defend Bush at Bill Clinton's expense ... "Bill Clinton was worse" or "Bill Clinton did this or that" or "Its Bill Clinton's falut."

Think about that for a moment.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I will.

In this instance I was writing about the unavoidability of negative campaigning in our contemporary climate. Clinton did the better job of that these last few days. If Obama doesn't do better at it himself, he will lose. It's the arms race that disturbs me, not the candidate who threw the first punch. It may well not have been Clinton. Obama's implicit criticism may count as negative. But I don't care who was first.

I am no virgin in this territory, and have been known to shout "make it meaner" to media types in the studeio making ads for my candidates. But I grow weary of it. It seems that anyone who utters something positive about one candidate is accused of saying something negative about the other. And that is becoming an habitual way of thinking, because we are all so accustomed to attack politics.

One other thought. Disagreement and confrontation can be productive. I wouldn't want to give it up, and that's not what I'm talking about. In fact, one of the things I admire about Clinton is her commitment to public debate, whether she's getting the better of it or the worst of it.

No, I am talking about negative attacks which are not aimed at advancing the issue, but only muddying the waters. As I've said, I'm guilty of this and will no doubt be guilty again in the future. I don't mean I'm somehow better because I've grown a little weary of it.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 04:45PM | 0 recs
Positive and negative


"It seems that anyone who utters something positive about one candidate is accused of saying something negative about the other."

Perhaps, sometimes, as in your case, people are "accused" of this because it is true.

You wrote:

". . .Clinton, by attacking him, was threatening Democrats' chances for victory in November. . . But now Clinton (for strategic reasons) has proved, once again, that negative campaign tactics have their desired effect. I am not critical of that decision. It worked.

"Here's the part about Obama's character, about honor and respect. In my conversations last night, many suggested -- and I heard my friend Paul Begala repeat this on CNN -- that Obama should have immediately fired the staffer alleged to have given the 'wink-wink' to Canadian government officials with regard to NAFTA. . .Had Obama acted as most professionals would have advised him to act, he would have acted without honor. I commend him for choosing honor over political expediency."

You claim to refrain from being "critical" of Clinton's "decision" to "attack" Obama and use "negative campaign tactics" against him, but it is quite clear that you are in fact criticizing her, and doing so in contrast to the praise you are bestowing on your candidate for the "honor and character" and "the respect" that you believe he demonstrated.

I don't know why you continue to insult our intelligence, Mr. Glenn Smith. Do you think that simply by writing "I am not critical" that we are fooled into thinking you were not, in fact, being critical of Clinton?

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Positive and negative

Great gods, get a grip. I wrote that she won by making that strategic decision, that I would give the advice to make such a decision, that Obama won't win unless he does the same.

I wrote "for strategic reasons" to make it plain she made the tough ads not because she's a bad person, but because the campaign landscape required this particular strategic decision. It's the landscape I regret.

I just don't know how to make this any plainer.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 07:15PM | 0 recs
Absurd

"Get a grip" indeed. Yes, under your scenario, Hillary went on the "attack" and used "negative campaign tactics," but, oh no, you would never be "critical" of that, because "it worked." And then, in the very next paragraph, you praise Obama to the skies, precisely because he eshcewed tactics that might have been effective, that might have "worked," but that were, in your estimation, less than "honorable," and not demonstrative of the "respect" and "character" that is, again, in your estimation, the hallmark of Obama.

So, no, Hillary is not "bad person." But, she does what she has to do to win, even though the tactics that she uses can be characterized as "attacks" and as "negative." Unlike Obama, she does NOT eschew the effective, if dishonorable, tactic. How could anyone mistake this for a "criticism" of Hillary? After all, you said it right there in black and white that it wasn't.

Do you think we are children? Do you think we are convinced by semantic, literalist, simple-minded arguments like this one? Yeah, it's the "landscape" you regret. But Obama, in your view, is able to rise above that landscape, while Hillary, though not a "bad person," is not. No, no comparison there at all. How could I possibly see one?

Please stop it. You are a partisan. You write a post pretending to "confess" that you have become too much of a partisan, while at the same time, and in the very same post, you (1) make a partisan claim for your candidate; (2) make a partisan attack on his opponent; and (3) hazard a partisan opionion exonerating your candidate from a scandal. You are an absurdity. It has been proven to you nine ways to Sunday by me and others that your claims are all wet, and that the manner in which you presented them leaves you wide open to charges of hypocricy and bad faith.

Again, I say to you, take some of the ideas from your book about creating or encouraging a better kind of politics. Work those into a post here and open it up to discussion. But, I beseech you, leave out the self-serving confessions, leave out the double talk, and, if you want to talk about non partisanship, do so in a manner that is not obviously partisan.

by freemansfarm 2008-03-05 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I think this particular campaign isn't a good exemplar of the issue you're trying to get at, for two reasons.

First because it has seemed to me from the beginning that the MSM and the chatterers, and a fair number of people on the blogs, simply refuse to permit Hillary to campaign.  At all.  No matter what she's done, it's been met by a chorus of complaints and attacks.  She's too cold, she laughs too much, her emotions are phony and calculated, she's too negative, she's being mean to that nice man Obama, oh, my God, she actually critiized Obama!  And on and on and on.

Secondly, your guy, Obama, has run a nearly substanceless campaign.  Yes, he's got position papers, but he's not been campaigning on them.  It's clear this is a deliberate strategy, and boy, has it worked.  There's nothing to grab onto, nothing to alienate a single possible voter from any side, nothing for Hillary to criticize-- except the man's character and the validity of the magic aura he's spun around himself.

And then here's the real genius part.  If you do criticize the man's character, pow, you're a race-baiting SOB!  It's brilliant, really.  And it's the most stunningly dishonest campaign by a Democrat I've seen in my pretty long lifetime.

Once the utterly false and just putrid accusations of race-baiting started against the Clintons -- really, of all people -- civil discussion of any of this became impossible.

I started as an Edwards supporter and an admirer of Obama.  I'm at the point now where he makes my skin crawl, frankly.  Sorry to say that, but that's my reaction now.  I'm a Democrat and I will vote for him without hestitation in the general, but with an airline sickness bag at the ready.

The great overriding meme everywhere is this "Hillary will do anything to win."  What do you call a guy who is perfectly willing to destroy two of our very best Democratic leaders by falsely labeling them as racists solely for the sake of his own premature ambition?

So sure, I'd like to see a civil campaign someday.  I'd like to see civil discussion of differences between supporters on the Internet and elsewhere.  But it's not possible in the environment your guy, Mr. Obama, has established.  He is not an honorable man, and whether he decides to "go negative" in an overt way, instead of just having his people whisper slime in the ears of the media, is immaterial to me at this point.

by gyrfalcon 2008-03-05 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

You've articulated a lot of what I've been trying to say and haven't been able to find the words for. Good post.

by Dari 2008-03-05 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I hope I'm not too late replying. Because I think you have a point. I mentioned this somewhere above in comments.

Clinton has been the subject of the most expensive and long-lasting negative attack of any public figure in modern history. I think it's taken its toll, even among otherwise reasonable Democrats. I should have put this in the post, and regret that I didn't.

I did not go into the reasons I prefer Obama, thinking it too far off the point. But they have nothing to do with my respect for Clinton, which is enormous.  I understand why Hillary partisans feel their candidate has not been given a chance, even though it's very difficult to see the former First Lady and arguably the other member of the most powerful Democratic family in my lifetime as an underdog.

I reserve the right to advocate for my candidate, but that's only what we're supposed to do. I won't countenance attacks on her supporters. I have done that with the tone I've taken a time or two, and that's why I called this post a confession, which perhaps was also too high-falutin' a word.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

Let me clarify:  you have a point about some anti-Clinton people being less than civil. I don't agree that Obama has been dishonorable.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I'd like to hear your defense of the honorableness of a candidate who runs a substanceless campaign that leaves even his supporters to guess what he would do in office (while, btw, yakking about the importance of transparency in government), and whos slimes people like the Clintons as racists in order to strip them of their honorably earned respect in the African-American community.

No, he hasn't personally promoted those slimes, but you know darn well it comes from his campaign while he carefully keeps the dirt off of his own hands.

Seriously.  I'd like to know how any thinking person could call the person who countenances that honorable.  You are obviously a thinking person, and I'd appreciate hearing how you justify this stuff in your own mind.  It won't change mine, but if you've got something thoughtful to say about it, it might help me be a little bit more reconciled to having someone like that be the nominee of my party and likely president.

by gyrfalcon 2008-03-05 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

Your criticism amounts to little more than guilt-by-association and conjecture. I don't believe there is anything that could be said to change your mind here, not because you ourself are not thoughtful. It's because a certain Good/Evil dualism sets in in these highly emotional, polarized situations. We all tend to overlook the faults in the candidates we support, and see faults not there in those we oppose.

There are now so many charges and counter charges our two camps can hurl at one another. It's going to get worse out here before it gets better, and I just don't feel like adding to it. If I am overlooking some obvious moral lapses in Obama, I will try to look again. If I have attached some to Clinton that are not real or fair, I will look again at her as well.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-05 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: My last "point". . .

Thansk, Glen for your last comment.  We should all use a little introspection at this point on these topics.

I have one last comment then I'll shut up and go to bed (you should do likewise).

What has upset many of us long-time core Dems and, now, Hillary supporters, is the very clear and overt strategy on the part of the Obama campaign to destroy the Clinton brand in order to destroy the Hillary Clinton candidacy and win the campaign for Obama.

This has been a near-equivalent to the years and years of Clinton-hatred and sabotage we've all seen from the Right for the past 16 years.

IMHO, it is this singular strategy, and the ugly tactics that have exemplified it (the race-baiting being the most egregious of these), that is destroying the Democratic party at the moment.

Maybe Bill Clinton isn't or never was your hero, but he certainly was a hero not just to many of us Democrats but to the country at large ... evidenced by his extraordinarily high approval ratings and popularity even through the Lewinsky matter.

We need to honor our heroes not destroy them for political expediency.

This is what Obama, and only Obama, has wrought and it is the most repulsive thing I've seen in my 55 years as a Democrat.

I hope we can get past this by November, but I fear we can't and won't.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 10:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

No, you're right, it's unlikely you could change my mind, and I'm not suggesting that you could. You can't convince me it isn't raining when I can feel the water hitting my face.

But as I said, I'd like to hear your perspective in hopes that it may make me feel slightly less sick at heart about the prospect of an Obama presidency.  That's all.  I'd like to hear how a thoughtful, knowledgable Obama supporter reconciles these things.

If you would actually spend some time thinking about what I said above, you would not say it's "guilt by association and conjecture."

The false race-baiting accusations came directly from the Obama campaign.  That's a matter of fact, not conjecture.  There's no guilt by association here.  The Obama campaign, much less Obama himself, has made no attempt to put a stop to it.  Obama has not denounced these tactics, nor has he made any attempt to rein in the wild anti-Hillary hysteria of his multitude of young on-line supporters, although you know his campaign is well aware of it.

I find it most peculiar and very worrisome that a guy whose only message is peace, hope, understanding, bipartisanship, not demonizing those who disagree with us, etc., has somehow generated a crowd of supporters closely resembling a lynch mob.  I've never seen anything like it.  Even the anti-LBJ fervor of the young RFK and McCarthy forces of my day wasn't this ugly.

I do not overlook HRC's faults.  They are the main reason that, despite my longing for a female president in my lifetime and my basic liking for her on a personal level (not that I know her or anyone near her, just from what I see and read), I supported and would have voted for John Edwards.

But her faults are not racism, race-baiting, overweening personal ambition, unfairly sliming her opponent, etc.  I am very concerned, for one thing, about the Mark Penns and Terry McAuliffes who surround her and on whom she continues to rely.  And I have others, but that's not what we're discussing here.

I note that you have failed twice to in any way respond substantively to the issues I raised.  I hope you will do so at some point.

I don't personally subscribe to a good/evil dualism, as you suggest.  But there are some things that are unforgivable.  For a Democrat to set out to destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton personally, or any other honest Democrat, in order to pave the way to the presidency is one of them.

by gyrfalcon 2008-03-06 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Your onl;y "point". . .

I'm sorry I only returned here late tonight, otherwise I would have responded sooner. I just don't agree with your view of the Obama campaign. I believe it was Bill Clinton who many black leaders felt played the race card, fairly or unfairly. It was the Clinton campaign that played the fear card, that has apparently not been honest about the Canadian NAFTA deal while misrepresenting Obama's role. I've tried to avoid turning this thread into a debate over these things, because I wanted to speak to what I believe is another issue -- the issue of how we address these matters.

I do, however, understand how some of this comes about. I guess all I can ask is that we try to judge the behavior of those we oppose as, but not believe them to be somehow fundamentally evil. We shouldn't essentialize as either saintly or devilish. I am not overlooking excesses by supporters of either side.

I wrote about something along these lines today at OpenLeft.

by Glenn Smith 2008-03-06 07:21PM | 0 recs
If Obama is the nominee

he ain't seen nothing yet.

He will have to fight fire with fire.

I have no problem with so called "negative attacks" if they are used to show contrast and the negatives of another candidate. Also if they are based in truth.

What Hillary did was NOT swift boating, that kind of crap IS lies.

by kevin22262 2008-03-05 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

The funny thing about all of this is that when I first started reading online blogs, I started out at Kos. I was a bit naive, thinking that they would be, more or less, equally supporting the three dominant candidates.

At first I was a bit surprise to read the vitriol about Hillary on the site - thinking it must be some Republicans posing as Democrats, given that their talking points were taken straight from the Republican handbook in the 90s. I kept thinking "were these people of age during the 90s? Could they really be blaming the Clinton's completely for the $60MM smear campaign?"

It didn't really get ugly until Edwards bowed out. I'm sorry,  but the level of vitriol did NOT match anythign this woman had done. So, I decided that something scary must have happened and somehow Democrats had drank the Republican kool-aid and that there was no point in me staying around that place. That's when I found this site.

So, I suppose, in my mind, the negativity was coming from many Obama 'supporters' very early on and was being "maybe" covertly supported by their candidate. The wink, wink, nod, nod refusal to say anything positive about the only Democrats who have beaten a republican in some 30 years. The portrayal of Hillary as the evil-establishment and doing "anything to win". The various statements by Michelle Obama (the latest in the New Yorker) implying that nothing good happened in the 90s and Obama's bringing up Reagan as the man of ideas (oh yeah, not good ideas). Obama didn't need to "go negative" as many of his supporters in the blog world had already taken up that mantle.

I have to admit, that is what turned me off to Obama in the beginning. I felt betrayed by my own party. I have since come around and realized that I can absolutely support him as President and have gotten over any personal slight I felt, but I for one have never bought his "I'm the only moral politician in this race" nonsense. I get that he's just as ambitious as the next politician and having been in business long enough to know that anyone who ascends that quickly has a very calculating mind. He will dirty his hands in some way and I won't blame him for it. But will his supporters? I just don't know.

by Dari 2008-03-05 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

This is something i to was surprised by.  It is as if you had to buy into the group think at dkos or you were worse than bush.  They are totally misdirecting there anger at HRC instead of bush. And to make it worse there is a list of blog bullies who troll rate anyone who speaks up in support of HRC.  i have had a dkos poster email my boss trying to get me fired.

They also somehow have connected Dean's model for a 50 state congression model to BO and somehow HRC is the enemy of Dean and the whole netroots movement.  Funny i remember HRC going to the dkos convention and speaking as well as defending dkos when Fox went after the blog.  It is as if dkos will only suffer BO and HRC is not a real democrat.

The hate for HRC on dkos will never make sense to me.  I have read multiple posts saying they couldn't vote for BO if HRC was in the VP slot.  

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

It's a totally weird phenomena to me. I just feel like the Republicans are sitting back in glee watching Democrats spread their hate.

Anyway, if Democats don't support the Democratic nominee, then we're idiots. I've worried about our party for a while now and if we can't learn to not take it all so damn personally after we've had a chance to lick our wounds, maybe we might have a shot at finally winning.

by Dari 2008-03-05 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

to me, too.  I've tried to hang in there and defend against the smears, but then I see things like a diary the other day at the top of the rec list saying that the right wing noise machine was right all these years and we should have listened to them all along about the clintons.

And then I just feel icky for trying with that crowd.

by dcg2 2008-03-05 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

For the love of God, are you kidding me? I knew it was bad when my own father and sister were spouting nonsense about Hillary, but then realized they spend most of their days listening to likes of Stephanie Miller, so it all made sense. :-)

I don't know what you can do. Most people don't read these blogs. They are too busy trying to make ends meet.

by Dari 2008-03-05 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

My mom, too.  She spends a lot of time listening to talk show hosts like Stephanie Miller.  And so she buys all the worst about Hillary.

But then when you talk to her, you find out that she doesn't really believe it.  Except she does.

She kind of lapses back and forth between moments of clarity, and moments of buying into the worst smears.  

She's an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent woman who has taught me more than I could begin to express, but the passions of this primary have really played mind games with people this year.
 

by dcg2 2008-03-06 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Agree completely. dkos had been my first daily blog-stop for a few years now. Sorry, but mydd had been usually a once-a-week quick check sort of thing. Now it's the opposite.

But I have to thank the negative nancies at dkos for turning me on to Hillary Clinton. All their anger made me take a closer look at her and I liked what I saw.

by carrieboberry 2008-03-05 11:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Negative?  Obama has spent this whole past year saying how divisive Hillary is.  Is she really?  That is a Carl Rove comment and Obama has beaten Clinton over the head with it for months.  He has put down Bill Clinton and falsely accused the Clintons or racism when in fact it is his campaign that is using the race card, look at the AA vote.  So if these negative things throw Obama off his game, it is because he is a novice, and this is the big leagues.  He is running a good campaign but he is not sealing the deal with the base of the democratic party.  If he can't do that, he just can't win.  The delegate count in red state caucuses will not get him the WH.  He cannot win this election so if you are determined to have him, I guess you will get President McCain because in this country, the center still holds, not the far left.  It never wins elections.  Obama is the most liberal running and he cannot win in the middle of our country.  He can't. Last night proved that in spades, oops, did not mean anything "racial" about that.  Ha!

by democrat voter 2008-03-05 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Obama is the most liberal, but is being attacked by Clinton as too conservative?  Clinton and Obama have very similar positions on just about everything.  How can one of them be the most liberal ever?  By the way, I believe the most liberal senator would be the socialist not one of the presidential candidates.  The people that did that report just always seem to point to the presidential nominee as the most liberal so they can be attacked for it.

And, I believe saying "in spades" refers to card games.  I am not sure where you think it comes from.

by Tantris 2008-03-05 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Kerry lost the 2004 by 2.3% but he won the independent vote.  So how could he have lost?  He lost because he did not win enough of the democratic base.  Some one can check the exact number but i recall it was greater than 10% of dems who voted for bush and i think it was more like 14%.

I think we can all assume these are Reagan democrats and this is a big part of HRC base.  Working folk make less than 40k, married older white women, and older latino's.  This is the same group that BO is dong very badly with and they could be induced to vote for McCain.

I read over and over and over that BO is more electable than HRC.  But if BO loses OH in the GE, and i think we can assume that his winning OH is very unlikely, how does he get to 270?  It will be very difficult.  HRC on the other hand is OH favorate candidate.

david

by giusd 2008-03-05 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

Obama has run a brilliant tactical campaign based upon reality in contrast to Hillary running a campaign lacking in organization but filled with lots and lots of entitlement. She stoops to conquer...SHAME ON HILLARY

by Buzzcut 2008-03-05 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

What a jackass.

by plf1953 2008-03-05 11:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Politics, Honor, Respect: A Confession

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022902991. html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/03/04/AR2008030401431. html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

These two articles kind of brought home the gulf without there really being a gulf, between the two candidates.  First one pro Hillary, dismissing Obama's female supporters, the second (a rebuttal to the first) selectively pulling stuff out of Hillary Clnton's record.  As an accused Obamabot I kind of identified with the second writer, but I also understand the sense of frustration of the first.

by mady 2008-03-05 03:41PM | 0 recs
Glenn, regarding NAFTA

You claim that the meeting was mis-construed. I tend to agree. Even if the aide said whatever he said...I will believe Obama that it was taken out of context.

However, that wasn't the charge. The charge that makes him the dishonorable, dishonest one in the whole kerfuffle is that he denied it took place at all. Come to find out...it did. THAT'S what got him ensnared. He lied about the meeting. It's not even what was said there that got voters upset...so much as the fact that he LIED and said that the meeting had not happened at all.

Your candidate got caught playing the political games politicians have played since Ancient Greece and Rome. And when your candidacy is based on change and something new, and something above it...it tends to burn you.

by Mar154 2008-03-05 04:50PM | 0 recs

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