Hillary's Huge Gaffe

I have to completely agree with the Netroots "establishment" on this:

This is, I think, a disaster:
"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," Clinton told supporters in Concord. "So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that," she added.
Two points in response. The first is that I think the Democrat best positioned to deal with GOP political mobilization in a post-attack environment is going to be the one who isn't reflexively inclined to see failed Republican policies resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Americans as a political advantage for the Republicans.

For the first time in quite some time, Hillary sounds like the DLC and Mark Penn. This is a huge gaffe. Obama, Edwards and all the rest will pounce on this.

< The New "Establishment" | There Is No Immigrant Crime Wave >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Hillary as concern troll (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by kovie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:43:32 PM EST
    Why am I not surprised? As a politician and policymaker, she is and always has been a cipher, or whatever she needed to be to get people to support her. And she is and always has been reactive, not proactive, derivative, not original, cautious, not courageous. She simply does not appear to have the capacity for, or at least interest in, ideas and policies that push beyond today's conventional wisdom. In terms of pure political MO, she is perhaps the most conservative candidate on the Democratic side.

    I see nothing original, bold or interesting in her policies or statements, just what to her and her advisors (whom she appears to not be able to choose her wardrobe without) seem like the safest and most tried and true things to say. Stylistically, she might superficially come across as progressive in terms of the anger and stridency of her tone, but substantively, she obsessively toes the CW line and will not--and likely cannot, characterologically--step out of line and take a chance on something truly progressive and game-changing.

    And this is a perfect example of how she will spew the most concern-trollish DLCesque nonsense about how despte all that's happened, the country will still naturally gravitate to the GOP if something happens, and that she--for reasons I cannot grasp--is best equipped to handle this. Why, because she's closest to them politically? She is the very epitome of the inside the beltway political conservatism that dominates the Democratic party and resulted in the Iraq war, Patriot Act, MCA, supplemental and FISA capitulations. I.e. don't fight them openly, or you lose. Fight them at the margins, rhetorically, not substantively, and somehow this will lead to success. Yeah, right. That's work.

    We don't need yet another CW talking points spewer who's afraid of a real fight as our nominee, or as president. But that is precisely who Hillary is.

    Hillary Clinton made a valiant effort (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:56:38 PM EST
    at health care reform during Bill Clinton's first term; she voted for Reid-Feingold; she voted against the Iraq Supplemental. Many, many people opine that, if terror-caused event were to occur in the U.S. prior to the 2008 election, the GOP would probably win again because people would be so frightened. All that being said, she shouldn't have made this statement. P.S. Re: "anger and stridency of her tone" Sexist undertones there.

    You get no points for effort in politics (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by kovie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:47:19 PM EST
    from me if it turns out that it was an inept effort, which her health care initiative was--done in secret, without outside consultation, led by people who were not experts in the field, without regard for political ramifications or the complexities of the matter. At best, it was well-meant but inept, which might be fine for a 6th grade book report but not at the national political level.

    I never cease to be amazed at how many people point to this as an example of her political and policy skills and leadership when in fact it's an example of the exact opposite. I don't care how well a politician means if they're incompetent in doing good. I've worked in health insurance and the notion that she thought that it could be fixed in 100 days makes me really wonder about her competence, honesty and intelligence, if not sanity.

    And yes, she's voted for good bills, but on which ones has she actually led? And she waited till the last few minutes to see what Obama and others were going to do before deciding to vote against the supplemental. Lots of courage and leadership shown there (although Obama's just as guilty here).

    As for sexist undertones, you're really overreaching there. I find a lot of demagogic "anger and stridency" in public statements by Bush, Dobbs and Rudy. Does that make me sexist as well? The whole PC notion that certain types of statements always mean or can easily be mistaken for certain terrible things and thus should never be uttered is so vague and liable to being misinterpreted that I generally ignore it and stick to avoiding obviously improper words and terms.

    Let's stick to substance, not style. And so long as Hillary continues to push the latter over the former, I will continue to criticize her. I.e. if she wants to end the war, let her lead an effort to do so by defunding it, and not continuing to make angry speeches about how horrible Bush is and how she'll get us out of Iraq when she's president, while doing nothing substantive about it. Or, as she did here, feeding right into right-wing talking points. This displayed either blinding stupidity or remarkable cowardice. Maybe both.


    Agree w/ you on "actually led." (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:06:09 PM EST
    I fervently wish each candidate and member of Congress would actually lead on getting us out Iraq ASAP.

    Democrats Short-Term Memories (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by JoeCHI on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:55:08 PM EST
    Before we Democrats get ourselves into a huff over this, we should remember what happened to Kerry in 2004

    From the BBC:

    US Democratic Senator John Kerry says a video message from Osama Bin Laden sealed his defeat in a presidential race dominated by the 9/11 attacks.

    He said the impact of Bin Laden's message was evident by the dent in his ratings that followed its appearance.

    "We were rising in the polls up until the last day when the tape appeared. We flat-lined the day the tape appeared and went down on Monday."


    Love it or hate it, history proves Clinton's point here.

    and I am sure all the candidates know it (none / 0) (#7)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:58:40 PM EST
    but to actually say it is a gaffe. You have to connect with the voters, not show open contempt for their judgement.

    Yes (none / 0) (#29)
    by eric on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:09:36 PM EST
    I agree.  But in truth, most voters don't realize that this shows contempt for them because they are either too dumb or not paying attention.

    Fair enough (none / 0) (#43)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 04:39:54 PM EST
    you may be right about that

    I'm only paying selective attention and here's why (none / 0) (#66)
    by Ellie on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 12:56:02 AM EST
    most voters don't realize that this shows contempt for them because they are either too dumb or not paying attention

    I haven't signed onto assist any particular campaign. Until recently, I'd stayed completely OFF poliblogs for combined reasons of being onscientious and trying to give Dems a fair shake. (Namely, seeing what they'd do with support thrown behind taking back Congress for '06 not frittered in criticism of the party as a whole.)

    Well, after watching in horror as the party got commandeered by a handful of conservative DINOs into supporting a failed right wing "mandate" to give President 28% all his demands, I can comfortably say I honestly gave being a Good Dem a fair shot.

    I am interested in issues. I'm interested in resolving Iraq and restoring endangered constitutional rights.

    I am not interested in the day to day micromillipoint developments in this candidates' horse race, ro oily posedown for the cameras, or runners jockeying for the inner lane in this popularity marathon.

    Whatever stupid sport it's supposed to mimic, it's not where I want to turn my attention at the start and end of every day, between which I'm expected to deal with the crap these non-performing govt representatives and their watchdogs have allowed a corrupt administration to dump on voters.

    I don't think it's the fault of the voter that this crap isn't worthy of attention, and I absolutely agree that it shows contempt not just for voters as people, but for the whole democratic which relies on some measure of intelligent and honest engagement. (Yeah, the mud-slinging and reacting to attacks are inevitable, but that can't be the ONLY thing.)

    Michelle Obama / Hillary non-existent catfight? Obama vs. Hillary gaffe wars? Edwards quick response on haircuts and Elizabeth's response to Coulter's flying monkeys? I can't articulate in language that won't get me nuked as a troll how little I care about tht crap. (Crap is the politest word I could think of in this circumstance.)

    I'd rather watch real ponies or real sports than this fake stuff anyway.


    Not "Open Contempt" but the Truth (none / 0) (#44)
    by glanton on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 05:06:27 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton's not the one I'm backing, she's not even second on my list of Dems.  But I think what she said in this case, needed to be said, and needs to keep being said, a lot.

    Because it is true.  For whatever that's worth


    I like her too (none / 0) (#60)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:08:29 PM EST
    and I think it is the truth, what she said. But I am thinking it is an easy opening for the other candidates to attack her. Then Dems can say: the Hillary does not have enough respect for the voters' abilities to see how bad the GOP has made us, and the GOP candidates wil;l spin it to say that even Hillary thinks we are better against terrorism.

    Well people are gonna Spin (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by glanton on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:30:10 PM EST
    The question then becomes how will Hillary Clinton react to the spin?  Will she allow her opponents to frame things, or will she fight for what she has to say?

    Here's a question worth pondering: Will anyone ever seriously contend for, or even actually win, the American Presidency precisely because they said things that were substantive and true, and then fought for those things?  


    Yes But (none / 0) (#65)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:41:36 PM EST
    Will anyone ever seriously contend for, or even actually win, the American Presidency precisely because they said things that were substantive and true, and then fought for those things?  

    Things have to get bad enough first.

    "Open Contempt?" To tell Dem supporters (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jamie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 08:40:41 PM EST
    that she knows how we've been feeling since 2004?  The GOP play the terrorism card and absolutely no one in the media takes issue with it.

    Do you remember a few months a head of s state Republican Party stated that America needed another 911 to remind us how great Bush is (or something to that effect).  Now that's open contempt on the American people.

    So when Hillary points this out, all the sudden the very people who have thought about this turn on her?  

    It doesn't make sense.


    I contempt the American people (none / 0) (#61)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:10:40 PM EST
    for turning to the GOP out of fear too. But I am not a politician.

    Remember "Reagan's morning in America?" Feel good stuff wins elections.

    Don't get me wrong, I like her honesty personally, I  think it was a bit too much this time.


    That's because no one had the guts (none / 0) (#52)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 08:42:55 PM EST
    ... to say that bin Laden's video proved that bin Laden preferred a Bush Presidency.

    Of course, it would have been late in the game to make that argument without the proper preparation. But if the campaign had been more agressively waged throughout at showing how Bush had consistently aggrandized and assisted bin Laden through his policies, then the video might have been turned to advantage.

    But it was a defensive campaign. And the current Congress is following defensive policies. The moment to moment risks may be lower, but it's a losing strategy. You die the death by a thousand cuts.


    THere was NO time!!! (none / 0) (#62)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:11:23 PM EST
    People said it but it was Friday before the election.

    Clearly, bin Laden wanted Bush to win.


    I refer you to my remarks above (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 10:08:34 PM EST
    ... about preparation.

    There was no time because the argument had not been prepared as it should have been.

    You see how Democrats work themselves into a double-bind on all these key issues. A lack of terrorist attacks in the US is proof that Republican policies are working, whereas a new terrorist attack is proof that we need even more of what the Republicans are already doing.

    When you cede so much ground to your opponents you can never win. And even if you do squeak out a narrow electoral victory here and there it is in no way taken as a sign that voters support a change in direction.


    funny, she also sounds a bit like this: (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:21:40 PM EST
    the other day, from Mike Dukakis (but without the good sense on organizing, discussed below):
    Michael Dukakis has seen this script before: a Republican administration besieged by scandal and running out the clock on its second term, while wide-eyed Democrats confidently lick their chops, knowing there's no way in hell voters will reward the G.O.P. with four more years in the White House.

    It was around this very moment 20 years ago, the summer when Oliver North told Congress he was "authorized to do everything that I did" and Reagan fatigue took hold, that Mr. Dukakis, then the 53-year-old governor of Massachusetts, emerged at the head of a crowded Democratic presidential pack. By the time he was formally nominated in Atlanta the following July, he'd opened a 17-point lead over Vice President George H.W. Bush.
    * * *
    So you can understand why the numerous harbingers of a triumphant 2008 for Democrats--George W. Bush's Nixonian approval ratings, polls that show voters favoring a Democratic White House candidate by double-digit margins, the electorate's historical aversion to three-term rule by one party--haven't prompted Mr. Dukakis to begin planning his trip to the 2009 inaugural celebration.

    "We're not going to outspend the other guys," he said during an interview in his modest office in the political science department at Northeastern University, where he was the first to arrive (at 7:30 a.m.) on a recent midsummer morning. "We're probably not going to outstrategize them. And some crazy guy will blow up a building with three weeks to go, you know, and then we'll be back in Bush-land again."

    Dukakis' prescription to immunize against this is quite common-sensical:  block by block, precinct by precinct organizing, now, to protect against the Rethugs' stunts when, not if, they pull them.

    "We have to organize every damn precinct in the United States of America--all 185,000," Mr. Dukakis said. "I'm serious. I'm deadly serious. I didn't do it after the primary [in 1988]. Don't ask me why, because that's the way I got myself elected from the time I was running for town meeting in Brookline to the time I ran for governor."

    And when he talks about organizing, he doesn't mean the legions of eager college students--think the orange-hat-clad "Perfect Storm" that Howard Dean sought to rain down on Iowa in 2004--who are shipped off to key states for crunch-time grunt work. He also doesn't mean limiting the outreach to "likely" Democratic voters, because--especially after seven years of George W. Bush--"there are huge numbers of disaffected Republicans out there. Who says they won't vote for us?"

    "I'm talking about every precinct," he said, "with a precinct captain and six block-captains that make personal contact with every single voting household. And I mean starting a year in advance. I'm not talking about parachuting in with two weeks to go. That's baloney. And these people are people who've got to be from the precinct, of the precinct, look like the precinct and talk like the precinct."
    The way he tells it, this was the missing ingredient in his 1988 effort--a powerful and utterly economical tool that, if properly deployed, could have blunted the Bush campaign's character-assassination-by-paid-media, and one that could spare Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama his ultimate fate.

    True to his technocratic roots, Mr. Dukakis has the idea of replicating, on every street, avenue, and rural route in the country, the kind of personal relationships that once powered big-city political machines--with precinct captains calling on their neighbors every few weeks, asking them about their concerns, talking up their candidate and following up on any questions they might have. Mr. Dukakis' vision is rooted in good government--making sure, for instance, that a neighbor's concerns about school vouchers are satisfactorily addressed.

    That kind of personalized operation early on, Mr. Dukakis believes, can keep voters from believing the worst when the Willie Horton and Swift Boat campaigns begin.

    "There's a chemistry there, which is hard to describe unless you've done it," he said. "Otherwise, it permits your opponent to paint you as something you aren't. It happened to me. It happened to Kerry. They tried to do it to Clinton. They'll try to do it to anybody."

    Here's how Mr. Dukakis broke down the struggle that Mr. Kerry--Mr. Dukakis' lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1985--faced three years ago.

    "You never had a sense that people felt personally connected to the guy, right? Had he had that kind of operation going nationally, there would have been a much stronger feeling of personal connection. Why? Because average folks in the neighborhood are out pushing him."

    Mr. Dukakis says he pleaded with Mr. Kerry to build a meaningful precinct-based organization in 2004, but couldn't break through. Now he's working informally with the Democratic National Committee, where Chairman Howard Dean--he of the 50-state strategy--is much more receptive to the concept. But so far, Mr. Dukakis said, none of the 2008 Democrats seem serious about his brand of organizing.

    "The guy who ought to be doing it, above any of them, is Obama, because he's probably got 300,000 contributors," he notes. "Every one of those people, as soon as the contribution comes in: `Thank you and will you be a precinct captain?' Or, `Thank you, this guy is your precinct captain--will you be one of his block captains?'"

    Frankly, I'm not seeing any of this sort of organizing going on - and I live in a bluer-than-blue neighborhood in a bluer-than-blue county.  And, when Kerry came up for election in '04, I got lots of robo-calls (I lost count) from all sorts of dignitaries.  And chirpy, pretty college-age girls came around and around - three times - to ask whether I'd voted for Kerry.

    No feedback to direct them to places not yet covered.  No feedback from them to tell HQ who's already voted.

    People from outside the neighborhood - clueless about the neighborhood (they didn't know where the polling place was, even though when I spoke to them it was 50 yards behind my left shoulder and in their line of sight), getting lost and not getting any help.  And then having been sent out to get my vote.


    All I'm seeing from the Democratic party is a mutual BJ society going on about how great they are, how much they're fundraising, and how the polls tell them the Rethugs are going down in November, over a year from now.  And in the meantime, they have reverted to all the bad old ways of corporatist behavior.  And in so doing they are trashing their base (i.e., us) at every turn, while spreading their cheeks for Bushie and Deadeye once and again.

    And, I predicted (elsewhere) during the summer of 2004 that Osama would make an appearance within the last week of the campaign so as to facilitate Bushie winning.  Guess what - he did.

    The only poll which counts is that Tuesday in November, 2008.  Everything should be directed at making certain the maximum number of committed Democratic voters turns out for that vote.  While that does not exclude outreach to centrist voters, the best way to ensure Democrats vote, is for candidates to be Democrats, and to stand up for Democratic ideals.  The movable centrists will move toward candidates with spines.

    Candidates should remember that voting is an affirmative act by the voter.  Right now, the affirmative acts I'm working on are fixing up my house so I can sell it and move.  Out of Giuliani-land.  Because the way things are going, Giuliani will win the Presidency and I do not want to be around for that.

    Dukakis is right (4.00 / 1) (#32)
    by eric on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:23:51 PM EST
    Call it pessimissm or fatalism or whatever, but he really is right.  Americans are, by and large, incredibly stupid and react to fear-mongering very predictably.  They rally behind authoritarianism, images of bald eagles, red white and blue, and all that crap.  Republicans are those things.

    And he is also right about the fact that you really can't overcome this ignorance without something pretty spectacular.


    Rally around images of bald eagles? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:42:37 PM EST
    The same way they rallied around images of Du'kis in a tank. This is why democrats loose elections because they think they have to be like Republicans. There tactics don't work unless democrats legitimize them by trying to do some lame version of it.  Good ole Du'kis is number one example of it.  The fact that Hillary is saying the same thing as Du'kis, shows that she prescribes to the same losing theory that as democrats of yore.

    Waiting for reference to Jane Fonda here. (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:47:02 PM EST
    Yes, eagles (none / 0) (#39)
    by eric on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 04:00:55 PM EST
    Funny (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 04:06:18 PM EST
    Wow I think I might laugh so hard i would get into an accident if i saw that on someones car.  The base of the republicans party likes that stuff, so republicans use it.  Democrats are kidding themselves if they think adopting similar images will benefit them.  In fact when they do, they legitimize the use.

    Oklahoma (none / 0) (#42)
    by eric on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 04:09:46 PM EST
    I agree, the democrats shouldn't adopt this stuff.  I was just commenting on it.  Silly plate, eh?  Especially coming from the state where Tim McVeigh perpetrated his terrorism.

    He forgot (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:57:19 PM EST
    He forgot to mention the tank.  we should ride in a tank! That will make us look tough!  It can be the democratic version of mission accomplished!  Good ole Du'kis has the best ideas ever!

    well, tanks are passe in the days of terrists (none / 0) (#24)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:42:07 PM EST
    so I'm sure we'll be treated to some of the  consultants for HRC (who's henceforth a/k/a "Goldwater Girl" or "G-Girl", for short)setting up a photo op looking something similar to Christine Todd Whitman frisking Sherron Rolax, but with an obvious-middle-eastern-looking guy the object of the frisk.

    I mean, these overpaid consultants who can't win elections have to justify their fees somehow.  And they have to show that G-Girl has male-toughness to impress all those authoritarian voters out there into laughing harder.


    May I quote you?? (none / 0) (#70)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 09:50:23 AM EST
    the affirmative acts I'm working on are fixing up my house so I can sell it and move.  Out of Giuliani-land.  Because the way things are going, Giuliani will win the Presidency and I do not want to be around for that.

    Understanding reality?!? (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by kovie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:51:46 PM EST
    I.e. no matter how low in the polls they are, the admininstration and GOP will ALWAYS win politically? THIS is what you call reality? You sound like every DC Democratic consultant circa 2001-2004: don't fight the GOP even when it means abandoning what you believe is right, because you will ALWAYS lose.

    This comment is the very definition of concern trollism: don't fight or you will lose.


    I understand the argument that you are making (none / 0) (#22)
    by kovie on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:29:19 PM EST
    but totally disagree with it. There is not a SINGLE issue on which the GOP should be seen as always winning no matter what Democrats say or do, and thus should be given up on by Democrats. Not ONE. And I reject the notion that they should. Not on "family values", not on national security, not on the economy, not on taxes, not on terrorism, not on Iraq, not on health care, not on education, not on the environment. Not on ANY. Any your argument that on THIS issue, we're in a lose-lose situation wrt the GOP, while a common one, is just as wrong.

    I simply do not understand this silly and unfounded notion that Repubs are an IOTA stronger on national security than Dems. A progressive (on foreign policy at least) Democrat got the US into and helped end WWI. A liberal Democrat led us into a WINNING effort in WWII while many Repubs wanted us to stay out of that conflict. A liberal Democrat got us into the Korean war. A liberal Democrat (regretably) escalated the Vietnam war, which a Repub ended up following his lead on by continuing to escalate it. And a moderate Democrat (ultimately) sent the US military into the Balkans to help end that region's strife and genocide.

    What have the Repubs got on national security and matters military? The Civil War, which was over 140 years ago, the Spanish-American war, which was a war of choice that had nothing to do with national security, and the first Gulf war, which was about oil and maintaining the mideast status quo. Oh yeah, they scored huge victories against Granada and overthrew and killed the legally elected leaders of various countries. I.e. Dems fight and WIN necessary wars that actually have to do with national security (Vietnam excepted), and Repubs fight and all too often lose unnecessary and generally silly wars that do not (Gulf War arguably excepted).

    Why THIS is not being used to counter baseless Repub talking points about how great they are about national security, and why so many people continue to feed into them, is beyond me. Public opinion is NOT a fixed thing, as the '06 election proved. You do remember those, don't you?


    You forgot "supporting the troops" (none / 0) (#53)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 08:47:55 PM EST
    Not on "family values", not on national security, not on the economy, not on taxes, not on terrorism, not on Iraq, not on health care, not on education, not on the environment. Not on ANY. Any your argument that on THIS issue, we're in a lose-lose situation wrt the GOP, while a common one, is just as wrong.

    Not just wrong, but fatally wrong.

    Yes But (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 10:04:15 PM EST
    I simply do not understand this silly and unfounded notion that Repubs are an IOTA stronger on national security than Dems.

    They are incompetent and corrupt and not stronger on national security, but the neocon fearmongering, much like that in 1930's Germany, sets people off to the right. In a fear envioroment people look to authoritarians unlike times when we feeling unafraid.  In the current emotional environment a terror attack would force a shift to the right.

    Look at Giuliani. He was hated by NYers and was incompetent during 9/11 but his authoritarian persona is very popular with the bedwetter communties.

    Quite frankly I think Hilary is correct about this. Whether she is the most electable, which is what she is saying, is another question.


    Depends on what your aim is (none / 0) (#58)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 10:38:36 PM EST
    If all you're trying to do is eke out an electoral victory with the minimum disruption to the status quo of how public policy is conducted, then it may well be the best we can do.

    But who wants the status quo except Washington insiders? Change requires boldness, leadership and rhetorical strength. Democratic strategies for the last decade and more have been the opposite. You can't turn a big ship in a day, but it can be done if applied systematically and consistently.

    Otherwise, we might as well fold our tents and go home. Let the fascists take over.

    As they say in AA:

    Half measures availed us nothing.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 11:22:45 PM EST
    Systematically and consistently working on it is necessary because it is a very very big ship to turn. The siren's song of terror is not helping either.

    squeaky projects (none / 0) (#72)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 10:09:55 AM EST
    Your continued use of the "bedwetter" attack theme again calls to my mind the  problem of psychological projection.

    What do you think has caused you to suffer this?? Did it start in your childhood?


    And people in NYC elected a man (none / 0) (#75)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:00:05 PM EST
    hey hated??

    Look at Giuliani. He was hated by NYers and was

    Stranger and stranger these folks are.


    Let's face it and remember.... (none / 0) (#71)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 10:05:14 AM EST
    Let's face it, this was never Europe with their free, widely ranging thinking or tolerance, enjoyment even, of vibrant political spectra.


    Spain, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union....Bosnia....Kosovo....East Germany...Anne Frank...honor killings...

    Hmmm, well maybe being put in an oven is vibrant?? What you think?

    Hmmmmm, nope. No way... at least that's my belief.

    The sad fact is we were always like an old Soviet Union, rigid political orthodoxy of McCarthy, Reagan, GOP, security/homeland types,

    heh heh heh....

    As was said:

    Let us not assassinate this country further, commentator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"


    McCarthy was marginalized by the political class.

    We have a vibrant constitution that protects dissent and provides elections every two years. Simply put it is the greatest country on the face of God's green earth.


    I agree with much of what you say (none / 0) (#81)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 10:26:18 PM EST
    Such as Europe is a tolerant and vibrantly diverse in its politics, it was bought at a tremendous cost.

    I also think America is as you put it: "the greatest country on the face of God's green earth." But I'm prejudiced.

    More to the point, I think current policies of the US overall are diminishing our greatness. Also, one can be proud of our greatness without asserting that our collective actions are above reproach-- which is how the right wing seems to want to have it.


    Important to Keep Saying It (4.66 / 3) (#34)
    by BDB on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:28:54 PM EST
    I think it's a gaffe only if the conversation stops with this comment.  

    I agree that it should be untrue - that another terrorist attack should make the Republicans less palatable to the American public.  I don't think we can or should assume that would happen.  I can envision the public rallying around Guliani, for example, in the wake of another attack.

    One way to ensure that doesn't happen is to talk about it now.  I'm not crazy about how Clinton raised the point, but I do think the more Dems talk about it, the less likely it is to happen.  If the public already has it in its mind that 1) Republicans will seek to rally voters around a terrorist attack (and you can bet they'll get MSM help), and 2) that would be a stupid thing to do because the Republicans aren't the strong ones on counter-terrorism, etc., and have actually made it worse, then I think the public (and perhaps more importantly the MSM) will be somewhat innoculated from thinking along this line.  

    I understand why other Dems are looking for a Clinton gaffe, but I think it would be a mistake to take a statement that essentially reflects a widely held view and act like it's the dumbest thing in the world for any candidate to acknowledge.  Yes, it makes no sense for Americans to reward Republicans if there were another terrorist attack but I think we've already shown that people aren't all that rational after such attack.  Moroever, it's important to discuss this widely held MSM view because it's those idiots who are going to be the ones covering the next terror attack and commenting on its political ramifications non-stop.  

    I think Clinton's real gaffe in this area was in saying in one of the early debates that we're safer now than we were.  That weakens Dem. arguments about why the public shouldn't rally around the Republicans after another terrorist attack.  I was happy to see her try to back away from that by focusing on the preparation of first responders, but I still think it was a mistake.

    The current comment is only a mistake if folks don't follow up on it by forcing a discussion about why the Republicans are still portrayed by much of the media as the stronger party on counter-terrorism and why this is wrong.  In other words, what Dems. need to do is not focus on this comment as a gaffe but demonstrate why Clinton's earlier comment about being safer was wrong.

    I think Clinton is particularly good at saying things hoping others will follow to change the MSM narrative.  I noticed the other day she issued a statement calling the September Iraq report the "White House report", something I'd like to see all Dems start to do.  I hope that's the effect of what she's doing here - by getting folks to talk about the perception that another terrorist attack will benefit the Republicans, we can actually change that perception.  

    Why blame public perception on the MSM (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:32:28 PM EST
    as opposed to on the White House spin machine?

    or as oppsed (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:44:08 PM EST
    to bad democratic leaders that repeat White House spin.

    Because it's not just the Dem leaders (none / 0) (#41)
    by BDB on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 04:08:08 PM EST
    saying these things.  I've heard "pundits" say much the same thing.  Look at how they refer to things in Iraq - Democrats want to end the war, Republicans support the troops.  The MSM loves nothing so much as to repeat right wing talking points and this is one of them.  That has an effect and we shouldn't kid ourselves about it.

    As I said, I'm not crazy with how Clinton raised the issue.  I think she should have been more forceful on why the public would be wrong to rally around the Republicans.  I also think she should've taken the opportunity to look above the fray by emphasizing that Democrats are a better choice to protect Americans than Republicans (and not focus so much on her personal ability to counter the perception).*  

    Instead of jumping on her for her "gaffe", I'd rather see other Dems expand the discussion as to how the Republicans have squandered the good will after 9/11 and why it would be ridiculous for the American public to rally around them in the event of another terrorist attack.  

    I think Clinton's unfortunate framing of the issue came from the recent obsession over her electability. I can't tell you how depressing it is that we're to the point where Clinton is using a rightwing talking point (although at least she also said that it was wrong) to respond to rightwing talking points offered by Obama (re too polarizing) and Edwards (re Lincoln bedroom).  All three candidates, IMO, are too good for that.    


    Pundits are in thrall to the Administration (none / 0) (#55)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 09:23:37 PM EST
    ... as has been repeatedly documented by Greenwald. It's part of the unfavorable lie of the terrain. That's all the more reason that the Democratic leadership needs to send a strong opposing message.

    If they could muster a semblance of Talking Points discipline, they would begin to make headway over time. But leading Democrats are constantly being cited to support Administration talking points. As long as that prevails, the game is lost.


    That (none / 0) (#45)
    by glanton on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 05:09:23 PM EST
    Is wonderfully put.  

    If that's how she thinks (4.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:57:25 PM EST
    about her own party it's a good thing it's revealed now, before anyone makes the mistake of voting for her to be the party banner carrier. A leader needs to believe in his/her own party and as a reflex propose its strengths, not fall back into assuming the slanders mouthed by its enemies.

    Carefully controlled as they are by their consultants, they all do let the truth of how they see things slip out eventually.

    This part of her statement bothers (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:15:15 PM EST
    me more:
    'So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that,' she added.
    Weak ending.

    Well, she has to say that (none / 0) (#31)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:20:34 PM EST
    What's she going to say - "The guy I'm running against is better"?

    No, but how about if she says why she's (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:24:25 PM EST
    the best Dem candidate to combat what the U.S. public may think?

    Decoded (none / 0) (#59)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 10:40:55 PM EST
    The best of Democrats to continue what the Republicans are already doing.

    Great. Just what we need.


    This is showing an OPEN contempt (none / 0) (#1)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:38:15 PM EST
    for the judgement of the American people.

    I cannot stop shaking my head over this one.

    She hsould know better

    Maybe (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dulcinea on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:45:35 PM EST
    but the majority of American voters fell for the king last time around.  Then there's the fact so many like Giuliani.  How smart is that?

    that's not the point. (none / 0) (#5)
    by coigue on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:56:19 PM EST
    she's running for office. You can't show open contempt for voters when you are running for office.

    She stepped in it. Obama and Edwards should send her some flowers over this gaffe.

    I can imagine all sorts of "I believe in Americans' judgement and ability to learn from history" responses from them.  


    I agree with (none / 0) (#8)
    by ding7777 on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:08:03 PM EST

    let's not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that she's actually wrong. She's not, and we'd better be prepared to deal with it.

    I strongly disagree with him (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:11:02 PM EST
    Do you disagree w/him (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:21:46 PM EST
    because you think she's actually wrong or because she shouldn't have made the statement?

    both (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:37:12 PM EST
    kind of agree (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:51:52 PM EST
    I agree she is wrong, but it gives primary voters an idea of what she means when she says "fighting the right wing machine."  So I'm glad she said it. She said she doesn't answer hypotheticals, but I'm glad she has started. It's the only way voters can get a sense of her judgment.

    Yes (none / 0) (#28)
    by eric on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 03:00:58 PM EST

    But let's be clear - she doesn't mean the Republicans would benefit from terrorism in any sense other than the beltway/mainstream media and their "conventional wisdom" would TELL us that this will benefit the republicans.  Therefore, it will.  There are enough american rubes that follow the themes coming out of the headlines of this "conventional wisdom".

    Face it.  Every talking head on TV and commentator in print is as sure that republicans benefit from terrorism as they are sure that Ronald Reagan was a fantastic president.  You can't question it.

    Now, do I like the fact that Hillary says this and it gets repeated?  No.  But the fact that it is getting repeated and the way it is getting repeated only proves that it is true.

    Aaaahaa!!!  Hillary even admits it!  Republicans are better on terror!  See?  It is so ingrained in these reporters heads that they make a story out of this.  Just like the day after a terrorist attack you will see commentary on A1 above the fold:  "Will Democrats lose support in the wake of the terrorist attack?"  Cokie Roberts will be on TV telling us how americans will re-evaluate their political preferences away from democrats "in light of the grave threats to our country."


    Important Moment (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 01:40:02 PM EST
    I agree that this is a huge gaffe and shows real weakness.  I think if she is our nominee a terrorist attack would give republicans a huge advantage. She doesn't have sound judgment on how to deal with it, rather then continue to argue her strengths she  would waffle and go into republican light mode, just like when she voted to authorize the Iraq war.  
    What I think will be important, will be to see how this plays out in the media.  Thomas B Edsall at Huffingtonpost pointed out that she already had the DC establishment locked up.  It will be key to see how the media and pundits react.  If they write it off, then we know they have decided and she can do no wrong.  That doesn't mean these weakness won't resurface in the general, it just means they have decided to give her a free pass through the primary.

    Cancer (none / 0) (#20)
    by koshembos on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:14:21 PM EST
    That's picky by a mile. It's the old world's practice of not telling patients that they have cancer. It really helps a lot. If Bush attackes Iran a week before the election, I don't want to predict the election results.

    I'm not sure? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:24:32 PM EST
    I don't really get what this analogy means.  I will make a prediction: If bush attacks Iran a week before the election the republicans will loose big.  If you don't understand why, you are thinking in a pre-Iraq war mindset.  
    Same goes for a terrorist attack.  If you think an an attack plays into a republican hand you are in a pre-Iraq war mindset.  

    Judgement (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jgarza on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 02:58:54 PM EST
    Your right that its an honest moment and she should have said it.  It illustrates the fear she has of the "right wing machine." It shows why she didn't have the leadership to vote the right way on Iraq authorization vote.  She thinks the best way to fight the right is to triangulate. Primary voters need to analyze that and decide if that is really the best for fight for democratic values.

    If you head on over to Mydd, you'll (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 06:13:25 PM EST
    get another chance to deconstruct Hillary's misstep.

    Political gaffe? Political reality definitely (none / 0) (#48)
    by Aaron on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 06:17:51 PM EST
    Hillary probably shouldn't have said this, but she's quite correct in her assessment. The Republicans need a major terrorist attack within the borders of the continental United States for them to have any chance of holding the White House.  That's just the way it is.  

    If this should happen, you can be damn sure that the right wing media spin machine will be blaming the Democrats before the blood is cold on the pavement.  And many ignorant Americans will fall for it.

    As I've said before, the Bush White House and the Republican war agenda is dependent upon Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist movement for their very survival.  It is a symbiotic relationship, one cannot prosper and grow without the other.  Look for a major terrorist attack next year sometime, perhaps around late spring.  Osama bin Laden desperately needs Republicans in the White House, and he will do his part in assisting the Republicans in their efforts to regain the House and Senate as well.

    Sadly this is what those pushing the right wing agenda are left with, they need dead Americans in order to regain power.

    Interesting... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Aaron on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 06:23:22 PM EST
    ...isn't it that Hillary agrees with some of the speculations I've made in the past, while many on this blog were dismissing my assertions out of hand.

    Though I must say I'm surprised she had the guts to speak of this publicly, perhaps I've misjudged her.  :-)


    Who says she doesn't care about the (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 06:25:18 PM EST

    On NPR today, play about this mutual dependency (none / 0) (#54)
    by Aaron on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 09:23:01 PM EST
    Anyone listen to NPR today, they had a segment on a play that was written by a British author, which portrays the Islamic fundamentalist terror movement, and the right wingers pushing the war, as dependent upon one another, it's a musical.

    They also mentioned The War as We Saw It, the article by a number of US soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, that was linked on talk left, and whose evaluation of our situation in Iraq is being praised by some of the leading strategic thinkers out there, like Dr. Thomas PM Barnett who posted the link Iraq: can't 'win' or 'end') on his blog. As well as other military voices on the Web like Small Wars Journal

    Aaron (none / 0) (#78)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:11:42 PM EST
    Anyone listen to NPR today, they had a segment on a play....

    Dumb.... the concept.... Dumber....we pay for NPR to talk anout it.

    Is Hillary a competent politician? (none / 0) (#57)
    by cmpnwtr on Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 10:13:10 PM EST
    We can talk about the content of Hillary's statement as damaging to Democrats. But it is also damaging to her personally because it reveals an utter lack of political skills and judgment.

    Clinton stuck in the past, Obama sees the future (none / 0) (#67)
    by Aaron on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 02:20:44 AM EST
    Brzezinski Embraces Obama Over Clinton for President

    Clinton's foreign-policy approach is ``very conventional,'' Brzezinski said. ``I don't think the country needs to go back to what we had eight years ago.''

    ``There is a need for a fundamental rethinking of how we conduct world affairs,'' he added. ``And Obama seems to me to have both the guts and the intelligence to address that issue and to change the nature of America's relationship with the world.''

    1999 is looking pretty good to me. (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 02:25:06 AM EST
    There is no going back (none / 0) (#69)
    by Aaron on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:49:13 AM EST
    The Bush administration itself was a nostalgic return to the philosophy of the 1980s, when the Republicans had a well defined enemy the old Soviet Union.  In fact until 9/11, the Bush administration had plans portray Russia as being on the verge of resurrecting the USSR, Condoleezza Rice and the number of other Cabinet members and advisers were brought into the administration with just that thought in mind.  The acquisition of Iraq was part of their plan back then, all they had to do was take that Cold War mentality and apply it to a new boogie man, Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist movement.

    Now the Democrats seem interested in making a very similar mistake by trying to resurrect the Clinton era.  Unfortunately the world has changed drastically since then and the old paradigms simply don't apply.  It's high time the United States embraced new ideas for this new century.  We don't want to watch the Democrats repeat the mistake of the Republicans, America simply can't afford this kind of stagnation any longer.


    Brzezinski...Carter... (none / 0) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:08:46 PM EST
    Yeah, he and his boss rethought things so well they created the current mess.

    The only reason (none / 0) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 10:14:49 AM EST
    why another terrorist attack would help the Repubs is that it would remind the public of their distrust of the Demos in national defense.

    The continual screams to bring the troops home, to "talk" with the terrorists, etc., etc. have a price if we have an attack.

    However, I doubt we will, or at least by al-Qaeda. They have every reason to want the Repubs out.

    Why? (none / 0) (#74)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 02:17:53 PM EST
    WHY do you think the terrorists want the Republicans out??? Because they have them on the run?

    What do you think?? (none / 0) (#76)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:04:28 PM EST
    Could it be because the Demo Majority leader declared the war lost?

    Could it be because the Demo congress is trying to defund the war and surrender as fast as they can?


    I really don't know (or care much) ... (none / 0) (#79)
    by robrecht on Sat Aug 25, 2007 at 03:36:59 PM EST
    ... what candidate or party the terrorists want.  I don't usually buy into the whole 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' logic that is partly responsible for Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in Iraq.

    I think it's also quite possible that they want to keep their war with the West alive to accomplish even more gains against us.

    I would much rather encourage debate here on what our genuine goals and objectives were/are in Iraq and act accordingly.  

    I would like to see UBL finally brought to justice.  George Bush has not succeeded in that objective by creating a so-called war on terror.