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Monday, February 18, 2008

Not Happy with Hillary

I have been in the crowd of Democrats to be pleased with all of the candidates this year. I was uncomfortable when Bill Clinton seemed to cross the line in attacking Obama, but I also thought Hillary Clinton should necessarily be blamed for that.

Here's a story from the Washington Post and everywhere else, in which the Clinton campaign accuses Obama of plagiarizing a speech because he and someone else pointed out that "We hold these truths to be self evident," "I have a dream" and "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" were also just words. Both Obama and the other guy were responding to opponents who claimed they were only empty words.

The attacks from the Clinton campaign are wrong, the idea is not unique, the phrasing is not the same. It is absolutely not plagiarism. The attacks are also desperate. And while as mentioned Bill Clinton put me off before, this is the first time I've found myself really angry at Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

If you watch the link from the Wa.Po. story you will see how absurd Clinton's claims are. I hope this turns the stomach of people on the fence in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

12 comments:

Matt Dick said...

The Clintons' audacity is their greatest asset, and their most baffling trait. Did they really, truly think we'd all just nod our heads and say, "Oh, you mean Obama didn't originally write "We hold these truths..."?!?"

Seriously, this is part of the mindset that angers me so much. If they accuse him of enough stuff?

Oh, and mentioning that Jesse Jackson also won SC, is an amazingly audacious stunt as well. They made the calculated gamble to paint themselves as a little bit racist in order to put Obama in the "black candidate box". They almost pulled it off. I think it's reprehensible.

Bill Clinton is a terrible campaigner when he's not the candidate.

shadowfax said...

Ironically, this will hurt the clintons. Not only is there a significant "you've gotta be kidding me, you are getting desperate," backlash. Worse, in the big picture, is they way it PLAYS RIGHT INTO the narrative of the clintons as ruthless cynical power-hungry people who will say/do anything to get elected.

I should say for the record that I don't believe that is any more true of the clintons than the average politician, but when you reinforce a known negative, it just ain't smart.

JimII said...

I should say for the record that I don't believe that is any more true of the clintons than the average politician

Hmm. I mean, the stuff we've seen so far is not Rovian. Nobody has done a push poll about Obama's Black baby or smeared a bona fide war hero. So, no, they're not neo-Cons, but John McCain has not done anything like this against his opponents, and that includes when he was way behind. What about Obama? What about Huckabee?

No, I don't think calling Obama the black candidate and pretending he plaigarzed when he did not is not average.

The Clintons' audacity is their greatest asset, and their most baffling trait.

And this is the twist. If we asssume the nominee will have to face the Republican Hate Machine created by the neo-Cons do we need a street fighter like Hillary? Can someone promise that John McCain will not run his campaign in the general like a Bush? (See e.g., Willy Horton).

Matt Dick said...

I also believe that there is a continuum of audacity. I do believe some are further along that continuum than others.

I sincerely believe that John McCain has limits. He has shown them far too often in his career for me to believe he'd truly go to any lengths to win an election. I'm aware he has pandered to gain the nomination, but I'm sure he has limits.

I'll agree that Sen. Clinton might not go forever here, but I think that would be the pragmatism of preserving a future political life.

I haven't seen enough of Obama to get a sense for him.

David said...

JimII:

"If we asssume the nominee will have to face the Republican Hate Machine created by the neo-Cons do we need a street fighter like Hillary? Can someone promise that John McCain will not run his campaign in the general like a Bush? (See e.g., Willy Horton)."

I don't believe McCain himself will stoop to this level but I think we can rest assured that if Obama is the Democratic nominee the GOP "swift boat" thugs will be beating the "race drum" behind the scenes loudly and constantly.

Sadly, this might indeed cost the Democrats the presidency but that, in and of itself, seems no reason to choose Clinton. One should choose Clinton or Obama because their likely policy efforts in office are in accord with one's values. Yet from what we have today we have no reason to prefer Clinton over Obama on these grounds because there are virtually no policy distinctions between them (which, given Clinton's DLC-style conservatism, says some unpalatable things about Obama, in my view).

But, if your only desire is to have a Democratic President in the White House over a Republican one--regardless of what policy track they might follow--then you probably want the Democrats to make a "strategic choice" in favor of Clinton because she will fare more effectively against McCain.

--
David Johnson
Chandler, Arizona

JimII said...

David,

Your unconventional wisdom is confounding. You believe that Al Gore should have distanced himself MORE from Bill Clinton. Amazing considering that (1) Bill Clinton left office more popular than any president since they've been keeping the data and (2) Al Gore did not let Bill Clinton Campaign for him.

Now, you write this bizarre response claiming, again despite the polling to the contrary that Hillary would run stronger against McCain. Also despite Hillary's huge negatives and despite Obama's great performance with independents.

I know you don't like Obama, and that's fine. I also know you were deeply offended by Bill Clinton's infidelity and perhaps his cover up of the same. But it is shocking to me that you are so willing to twist reality to make it conform to this view.

And, for the record, I support Obama because he will be more unifying than Hillary Clinton and he had the courage to oppose the Iraq invassion back when everyone else was opposed to it. I also like that he is a constitutional law professor in a time when our civil rights have been so under attack. I don't support him because he gives good speeches or because he is more electable. (Although, he does in fact give good speeches and is, based on the balance of evidence I've seen, more electable.)

I want the Democrats to be elected because of the judges they will appoint and because they do not want us to be in Iraq for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years. I also believe they will be in a stronger position to restore our pursuit of science, our protection of the environment, and our civil liberties.

David said...

JimII:

"You believe that Al Gore should have distanced himself MORE from Bill Clinton. Amazing considering that (1) Bill Clinton left office more popular than any president since they've been keeping the data. . . ."

Just to be clear, I believe Gore should have distanced himself from Clinton on principled grounds, not pragmatic ones. I also believe that had Gore done so it would have helped him when he subsequently ran for President. But having stuck with Bubba through his misbehavior the principled position was lost to Gore.

"Now, you write this bizarre response claiming, again despite the polling to the contrary that Hillary would run stronger against McCain."

I believe that polling was among Democratic voters. As you know, Democrats will not be the only folks voting in November.

"Also despite Hillary's huge negatives and despite Obama's great performance with independents.

It's easy for "independents" to vote for Obama in the primary but they will find themselves more challenged in the general election when presented with the choice of an experienced GOP candidate who also does well with "independents." Furthermore, the GOP "swift boat" thugs will be trumpeting the race issue behind the scenes against Obama and while it may be the case that a majority of Democratic voters have moved to "post-racial politics" I sadly don't believe that will be so for a majority of general election voters.

But, I guess we'll see.

"I know you don't like Obama, and that's fine."

I do like Obama. He's an inspiring and charismatic speaker. What I don't like are his policy positions which are little different from Clinton's and thus way too conservative for me.

"I also know you were deeply offended by Bill Clinton's infidelity and perhaps his cover up of the same."

No, I couldn't care less about Bubba's infidelity. As Lee Hart said about her husband's infidelity in 1988, "It doesn't concern me; I don't see why it should concern anyone else." What I am deeply offended by, as a feminist, is the way he treated women subordinates in the workplace, including the highest workplace in nation. More than that, I am terribly disappointed by the fact that so many liberals, progressives, and supposed-feminists were untroubled by this behavior. It makes it difficult for me to take their professed feminism seriously.

"And, for the record, I support Obama because he . . . had the courage to oppose the Iraq invassion back when everyone else was opposed to it."

How do you square this with his consistent votes to fund the occupation once he was in the Senate? What does it mean when someone who says he is about a "new kind of politics" found himself doing the politically expedient thing each year when asked to support Dubya's policy in Iraq, particularly when Obama had a Democratic colleague in the Senate who truly did have the sense of his convictions against the occupation?

David Johnson
Chandler, Arizona

JimII said...

I responded to the Clinton stuff in a more recent post. But, like I said there, I understand your position better now.

Obama is polling stronger than Clinton against McCain and Huckabee. Check it out. http://tinyurl.com/2rdjgr

Obama's voting record while he is a Senator after we've already gone into office is less important to me than his judgment before the war started.

I accept that after we've invaded a country your options are much more limited. Also, what you can do as junior senator is more limited that what he will do as president.

David said...

JimII:

"I accept that after we've invaded a country your options are much more limited. Also, what you can do as junior senator is more limited that what he will do as president."

I don't see how that explains the difference between what Obama has done in the Senate and what Feingold did--except that Feingold recognized that his consistent, principled votes against U.S. policy in Iraq would make it impossible for him to win the Democratic nomination and so he bowed out of the race very early.

I believe Feingold would have governed as President as he voted in the Senate. Obama will do the same.

David Johnson
Chandler, Arizona

Matt Dick said...

jimii: they do not want us to be in Iraq for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years

So tell me, are you falling for the willfull misinterpretation of this McCain statement that everyone else is?

We've been in Korea for 50 years and no one cares. McCain's point was that it's the casualties and the political impact, not the presence of troops. He was actually trying make the conversation more nuanced and subtle, and his opponents only used it as an opportunity to attack him.

I find it shameful that Obama and Clinton are lowering themselves to it.

JimII said...

So tell me, are you falling for the willfull misinterpretation of this McCain statement that everyone else is?

I had a discussion with a guy in the office who insisted the statement was being taken out of context. I think people who sort of agree with McCain, misunderstand what people who completely disagree with McCain take this statement to mean.

McCain's point was that it's the casualties and the political impact, not the presence of troops.

I think McCain's point was that the American people want to win in Iraq no matter what the cost. I just went back and read the whole quote, and I think you are right about what that particular quote meant, but McCain's position is that we have to "win" in Iraq no matter what. And, the level of stability that McCain needs to see in order to bring the troops home will take a very, very long time. And maybe we'll never bring them home.

So, I don't think there is any stooping in using the quote. Which, oddly enough, is often stopped at 100 years.

Matt Dick said...

Stopping at 100 years is exactly the point. That's what makes it clear it's a disingenuous argument. Showing the whole quote makes it clear that McCain was making a point about casualties and not a prediction or a statement of preference.

Criticize him on his war position, but just don't pretend to be stupid. That's what is driving me crazy. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want me to think they are smart enough to govern the world, but if they misinterpret Vladimir Putin as badly as they are misinterpreting McCain, we'll get into a war with Russia.

McCain's statement was 100% clear, he even brought up Korea and our troops there as supporting evidence that it's casualties not troops. People made it something it's not; people who need to prove to me that they are smart enough to understand English, even when it's hyperbole.