Why The Dems' Matt Santos Night Was Good For Hillary

By Big Tent Democrat

The last season of the West Wing featured the fictional Democratic Presidential candidate Matt Santos giving a rousing speech that ended with him saying "I'm proud to be a member of the Democratic Party." Last night was a Matt Santos night for Democrats. The Presidential debate produced an "I'm proud to be a member of the Democratic Party" night.

Barack Obama produced his finest debate performance of this campaign. He was engaging, funny, personable, knowledgeable, hard on Republicans and specific on issues. I am not sure what he could have done better. If political debates were like debating society debates, he might even have scored a win last night.

But political debates are NOT debating society debates. They come with existing narratives and stories. Going into the debate the stories were about the Clinton campaign's negativity, Ted Kennedy's endorsement and Obama's mo. The story coming out was how well both candidates did, how capable our candidates are and how well they both represent the Democratic Party. Sounds like a fairly neutral storyline no? But consider WHAT IT WAS before. When both Clinton and Obama are perceived as historic, even inspiring, candidates, Obama has lost some of his edge. If people are writing that the debate reminded them that they actually LIKE Hillary as opposed to the campaign of the last weeks, then this was a good night for Hillary Clinton.

Obama scored some good points regarding his debating skills and on Iraq. But Hillary significantly improved her likeability quotient. In politics generally, but especially in this race, I think it is clear that Hillary's advance last night is the more significant one. A good night for both. A more productive night for Hillary Clinton.

The fundamentals of the campaign remain the same. But Hillary cut through a lot of the chaff tonight. In essence, she got to speak to the American People unfiltered by Media bias, and as often happens, the Media paints an ogre and then the public sees a wonderfully decent, brilliant person and ends up wondering what the Media is talking about.

Josh Marshall writes that Obama won because his debate expectations were lower. I think that misses the real point - HILLARY's expectations as a PERSON were much lower. And she easily exceeded them.

And in a POLITICAL debate, that is the more significant calculus.

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    What the public sees (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by cymro on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 12:53:24 AM EST
    ... the Media paints an ogre and then the public sees a wonderfully decent, brilliant person and ends up wondering what the Media is talking about.

    I agree. Also, the public sees the continual stream of attacks thinly disguised as questions from the so-called "moderators" about her Iraq vote, or Bill, or "isn't it time for a change in the White House", etc. In this situation, her supporters, as well as uncommitted viewers who do not already have strong opinions on the subject, will identify with the person being attacked, not the attacker. So when she smiles, the proceeds to demolish the attack with a strong answer, as she did every time tonight, it enhances people's sympathy for her situation, and helps to cement their support for her.

    attacks thinly disguised, is right (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by Salt on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:10:08 AM EST
    Yes that is what I am hearing also.  MSNBC has gone beyond inane anti Clinton frothing and way out into Wing Nut territory at this point. Its really bad when folks believe Pat Buchanan is the one making sense and is unbiased.  I would prefer that debates be conducted by Fox, at least they are out of the closet members of the RNC, than suffer through another MSNBC sponsored silly ball Russert, Willimas, Matthew, Olbermann, Alter, and Maddow inane anti Clinton show.  

    Australian view of the race (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by RalphB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 12:55:43 AM EST
    From The Australian:  Stop Bagging Hillary


    good on yer, mate ... (none / 0) (#10)
    by cymro on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:35:12 AM EST
    ... that article gets right to the point.

    aussies (none / 0) (#79)
    by tek on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:36:33 AM EST
    I just read the article. Wish we had journalists capable of that level of analysis.

    Obamistas will go nuts if they read this (none / 0) (#30)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 06:41:33 AM EST
    nope, we only get testy when called Obamistas. ;) (none / 0) (#74)
    by byteb on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:16:11 AM EST
    What's your preference? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 11:25:49 AM EST
    Gosh... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:05:01 AM EST
    Was this Hillary's Sally Fields moment?"Gee you like me" I really had a hard time with the dehumanization of Hillary by the voices on the left. I did frankly get scared about our prospects when a movement that claimed to be driven by hope and optimism was being fueled by hate. Hate of someone, who for all her faults, has devoted herself to public service. Public service these days is not an easy matter. Not many survive the acrimony and the complexity. I was opposed to the dynastic element, but after listening to Hillary and seeing who she is, I have to admit, this is the better Clinton. As a woman I am proud of her. As someone who worked in the public and non profit sector for years, I know she will be good. America needs somebody to nurture and strengthen our government to take us into the "age of globalization.". Someone to preserve our democracy, our rights and our interests as a nation. We are not only an economic engine we are a democracy. So, whoever wins, we need to fix the damage the Reagan hooligans. I for one, will not forgive what they did to this country with the war, the economic pillaging and the destruction of our democracy. Hilary's teary moment where she said she did not want to go back from the gains we had, really moved me. I was resigned to the losses, but she gave me a boost to keep on fighting. I did not like that the younger people in their desire for change, marginalized our history. It made me angry and bitter and I am sorry for that. We have to unite, that is all.

    After reading your stirring comment, I'm (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:12:48 AM EST
    so inspired I am hoppping in my car to mail my absentee ballot tonight.  

    To my mind, Barack Obama (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:47:36 AM EST
    helped his candidacy a great deal in the debate tonight.  Based on this debate, I would feel comfortable with him as Dem. nominee and in the White House as President.  

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by BernieO on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:18:37 AM EST
    I still prefer Hillary, but I feel better about Obama now. I have always thought that both of these candidates are head and shoulders above the Repulicans and would like to see both of them be president. The only way that will happen is if Hillary is elected this time. Obama is so young he has plenty of years ahead.
    Also, I do think he is awfully green. I think it would be better for him to get more experience so that he will realize his full potential. Hillary is at that point now, but Obama isn't. If he runs in a few years it would be better for him and the party.
    This country would be much better off if it could have both of these intelligent, talented people as president.

    Just like the debate helped ppl see Hillary, (none / 0) (#80)
    by byteb on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:36:56 AM EST
    without a media filter, this debate also gave Obama an opportunity to present "The Substantive Obama" or the man behind the soaring rhetoric and lofty speeches. Perhaps it's human nature to want to characterize people into neat pigeonholes but there's a heck of a lot more to Obama than The Kumbaya Candidate. It would be a mistake to overlook his resolve, his willingness to fight for issues he knows are important to this country or to think he doesn't have the necessary toughness to go head to head with Republicans or world leaders. And btw, there are a lot of us cool eyed, non-KoolAid drinker types whom have made intelligent and reasoned choices when we decided on Obama.

    The day after... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ctrenta on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:02:17 AM EST
    she got to speak to the American People unfiltered by Media bias, and as often happens,

    True... but just wait and see what "FOX & Friends" and Drudge lead with and the next thing you know, whatever they say about Hillary (and Barack for that matter) will spread like a bad virus and muck up all the fine points the candidates made last night.

    Not to mention the Obama supporters (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:29:20 AM EST
    They are every bit as willing to believe and spread the manufactured truth as any Republican.

    Teresa ... (4.00 / 3) (#27)
    by cymro on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 03:33:49 AM EST
    ... this characterization of Obama supporters is a deliberately divisive over-generalization. If you are a Republican troll, that explains your motive in posting it here, and it may well be deleted. But if you are a Democrat, please try to remember the bigger picture, namely that we are all on the same side in this year's presidential election.

    Not from what I have seen (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by BernieO on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:29:01 AM EST
    Sites like the Huffington Post is filled with Obama supporters who hate Hillary with a passion. Many of them repeat right wing propaganda. It is really discouraging.
    A lot of Democrats bought the right wing spin about Gore in 2000 and voted for Nader. Many haven't learned and still get taken in by our media which is too often a megaphone for right wing talking points.

    Bernie (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:58:09 AM EST
    You are so right.  I stopped reading HuffPo and the like because I realized it was making me really detest...Obama.  Just not right that they are getting away with all that crap.

    actually many of the posters here have (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:53:59 AM EST
    been attacked often in a very mean spirited manner by obama supporters on other sites daily kos being a good example. of course, we need to remember who we are and that our real enemey is the repubs. but i for one won't forget the conduct and attitude of many obama supporters. i was on daily kos in 2004. it was very spirited debate with some flame wars from time to time, but i have never seen the attitude before that obama supporters displayed. so i say, please also remind them as well. i think some of this is the direct result of the media playing this and that we have become so used to swiftboating that our outrage gets overwhelmed.

    Teresa is no troll (3.50 / 2) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:01:52 AM EST
    And while all online candidate supporters are fairly annoying, I think in the Obama supporter group, there are the most annoying.

    That said, I am ready ask everyone to move on.


    The judgment issue (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by LCaution on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:30:23 AM EST
    Two phrases I am tired of hearing are Obama's "I was right" and Hillay's "35 years".

    Obama was not in Congress when the vote was taken, so we don't know how he would have voted after getting the same information most of the Senators got.  But, even if he would have been one of the few to vote no, one judgment does not a wise man make.

    Being right on Iraq is good - but is being right on that one issue alone sufficient proof of being ready for the Presidency?  (Heck, I was opposed to the war from the start, too.  But I'm certainly not qualified to run the country.)

    Hillary's "35 years".  At least tonight she talked about the specifics, something that's been sorely missing.

    I will be voting for Hillary.  I don't agree with her on everything, but I think it is foolish to believe, if indeed Obama truly believes it, that one person can change the atmosphere of Washington.  (Well, of course there was Rove ....)

    Name me one president in our history, excepting Washington, who wasn't reviled by some part of the population: FDR, Truman, Eisenhower (well, ok, probably nobody hated Ike), JFK (thr right loathed him and did everything they could, rather successfully, to smear his legacy), Nixon, Carter, Reagan (yes, I lot of us did not like this Republican icon), both Bushes and Clinton.

    Both sides have to be willing to get along, and I have seen absolutely no evidence that the Republicans, whether in the majority or the minority, are interested in giving up their idea of the proper role of government.

    Two Obama quotes (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:34:47 AM EST
    "So it's not clear to me what differences we've had since I've been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I'm always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn't have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test." [The New Yorker, 10/30/06] "Not only was the idea of an invasion increasingly popular, but on the merits I didn't consider the case against war to be cut-and- dried." ["Audacity of Hope," 2006, p. 294]

    the war and the aumf vote (none / 0) (#25)
    by english teacher on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:47:01 AM EST
    was the most dastardly political dirty trick in the history of this country, played to cynical perfection by two truly evil bastards.  the war in iraq is why they ran in the first place and if the aumf had failed i'm sure they would have tried something else.  maybe like sending out anthrax in the u.s. mail then screaming bloody murder about how saddam was manufacturing anthrax.  just a thought.  

    LCaution (4.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:37:37 AM EST
    as I said on the debate thread, I am fairly certain I would have voted yes based on the lies that were being told at the time.  Remember Colin Powell submitting fabricated evidence to the UN?  Remember all the fear-mongering and lies?  I just don't know if I would have been able to go on record voting no.  What a risk.  And at least 70% of Americans thought the same thing.  None of us, even those like you who were against the war from the beginning, had any idea of the depth of deceit of which this administration was capable.  Their mendacity and greed are virtually unfathomable.  

    That being said, I was not a staunch supporter of the war.  I wasn't yelling for blood.  Like Clinton says, I was fully expecting the inspectors to be allowed to do their jobs.  I will also admit that Tony Blair signing on allayed a lot of my fears.

    By Mission Accomplished, I think most of us on the left realized we had been screwed.


    Totally agree! (3.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Lena on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:43:34 AM EST
    I too felt that the intelligence that the American people were shown to justify the war was incredibly weak - if this was all they had to convince US, think of how weak the intelligence was at the highest levels? (The evidence for WMD was so weak that I remember seeing in the press a report of a master's thesis written in the early 1990s by a student in California that was trotted out to show that Hussein had WMD. Really? That's the best they  could do to make their case?)

    But then, the essential reason why HRC's vote doesn't swing me to BO is b/c there is nothing in his Senate career that shows me that he is more of a maverick, more courageous, more fiery, more of a leader than she is. I am fairly convinced that he wouldn't have voted any differently than she had.


    Comparison (none / 0) (#76)
    by blogtopus on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:29:14 AM EST
    If you take the two 'favored sayings' at their value:

    "35 Years of Experience": True, in very deep and empassioned ways. She has a lifetime of hard decisions, some good some bad. But that does not outweight the good she has done in that time, the movements she's been part of or maybe even started herself, the people she's helped, etc.

    "I was Right": This speaks to ONE decision he made. Before he could be held accountable for it; if he was wrong, he could have said "I would have voted differently if it mattered." It also holds a petulant, whiny baby aspect to it. "Did Not! Did Too!"

    Sorry if this is so lopsided but it really sounds like that to me sometimes.


    This debate made me feel much (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by MarkL on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:57:52 AM EST
    better about Obama.

    Agree (4.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Coral on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:51:53 AM EST
    This is the only performance of his that made me feel better about having to vote for him if he is the nominee. I would have voted for the Democrat, no matter who, but now I feel reassured.

    I just wish his supporters would do as he did and stop the blind Hillary hate, because it is alienating to those of us who fervently believe in her candidacy.


    Raises hand! (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by byteb on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:42:20 AM EST
    Strong Obama supporter here who does not hate Hillary, who actually loves her laugh and will vote for her in the general if she gets the nod.

    Hear hear! (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by piezo on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:31:00 PM EST
    I'm going to like it here. I felt like I was being slow poisoned over at HuffPuff. They sling mud like 10 year olds. Anonymity is license to post the vilest of dreck.

    I thought Obama was great! (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by independent voter on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:24:55 AM EST
    Very presidential. I do have to say, I am so glad I watched every minute of this debate. I was starting to feel I would not be able to vote for Hillary if she were to get the nomination. While I still strongly support Barack, at least I know I can and will vote for Hillary if she is the eventual nominee.

    The Iraq Stuff (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by BDB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:18:39 AM EST
    Watching the media commenting on the Iraq vote this morning and whether or not Clinton's explanation that it was not a vote for war is credible the thing that strikes me is how Timmeh, et al, never mention their own role in all of this.  It's  dishonest, IMO, to have any discussion on the run up to Iraq that doesn't discuss the huge role the media played - including all the anonymous administration leaks that they reported basically as authoritative.   Is there an American alive who didn't see the media pressuring Congress to go for war?  Sure, Congress should stand up to such pressure, but they are human and I'm not just talking about opinion pieces.  I'm talking about the information available.   Normally, the media would provide an important resource for experts who disagreed with the administration's assessments.  There were a few, but most were silenced or ridiculed.  It ensured that opposition voices or non-administration experts who disagreed weren't heard.  

    "Hillary's expectations as a person" (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Grey on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:19:12 AM EST
    I think that misses the real point - HILLARY's expectations as a PERSON were much lower. And she easily exceeded them.

    That's a very sharp observation; I've always liked Hillary, personally and politically, but have been just as aware of the picture of Hillary.  Saying that perception and reality don't match only gets one so far; Gore was mired in it in 2000, too, but, unlike Hillary, he was never able to step away from the construct.

    Hillary has been able to do it; she's been chipping away for over a year nationally (longer in New York) and has also managed to do so in the debates and that, as you say, was the hurdle for her.  Everyone knows she's a brilliant wonk, but many also thought she was a rather dubious character.  She's actually very likable and warm (and how sad that women must appear that way) so, yes, you're absolutely right: her "expectations as a person" had to be exceeded and she has done just that.

    i think hrc could get things done (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by neilario on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:03:10 AM EST
    a glaring difference to me was in the health care part for example. he speaks in sound bites - the problem is the cost etc   but she is into the details and how it could actually get done. for example, stuff like if you dont start with universal you will get nibbled to death  and wolfies question about what to do with those who choose not to be insured and end up in emergency. he did not have a good answer and that is one of the factors that would undermine any cost savings.  so i think she shows in her answers strategic ways things could actually get done. big difference but no one talks about it.....
    also an issue i have with bo is that he goes on about being a unifier. because he says it it is taken forgranted..but what has he ever unified? at least bush [ pardon me in advance as i am loathed to write this]  had some slight history of that in texas.... my point being what backs up bo's claim? i really want to know...

    you make very good points neilario. (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:06:43 AM EST
    i for one could not understand the slant the obama campaign appeared to be using of pitting the older generation against the younger generation. now some of obama supporters might want to contest that statment, but frankly it is what i picked up from his comments and from some of his supporters.

    Age card (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:12:28 AM EST
    Was this necessary to get the youth vote? I found it truly distasteful. I think it got fueled by the blogosphere way beyond proportion.

    The age card will almost always win over race card (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by blogtopus on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:35:28 AM EST
    From my experience, not polling data, younger voters who consider themselves 'younger' range in age from 18 - 30. That may be a large demographic, but it isn't the largest by a longshot. And they are historically undependable.

    Granted, the 'older' voters tend to be more conservative. Obama's 'age card' pull may have in fact pushed more people towards a republican candidate.

    And when they see that there is no help with healthcare in that corner, who's left? Hillary.

    8 ball in the corner pocket, banked off the side wall. Game: Hillary.


    Obama's health care plan (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by djork on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 11:34:53 AM EST
    When Obama says "anyone who wants healthcare under my plan will be able to afford it", because he assumes affordability is why they don't have it, to me that sounds out of touch. Hillary is exactly right in saying healthcare is a responsibility that some people don't want. Everyone's definition of affordability is different. Some people with precarious health are willing to pay a king's ransom for private insurance, while others will opt out of their employer's plan if the premium is more than the cable bill. Saying that healthcare will be more affordable but it's still your choice to buy it or not is a continuation of the system we have now.

    it is a sellout to insurance comanies. (none / 0) (#91)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 03:37:27 PM EST
    obama has promised them a reserved seat at the table if he is elected.

    debate outcome (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by tek on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:06:41 AM EST
    Hillary must have done really well last night because I checked all of the Obamania blogs this morning and no one has headlines claiming that Barack cleaned Hillary's clock or even that he won. Most of the headlines are about a Clinton/Obama ticket. Huffington Post took their debate headline down around 9:30 and are now featuring a story about Iraq. I guess she's trying to re-focus attention on the war because Obama's whole platform is that he didn't vote for the war.

    Haha (none / 0) (#78)
    by blogtopus on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:36:15 AM EST
    Too true. "Nothing to see here. Move along."

    the thing (4.60 / 5) (#17)
    by english teacher on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:53:30 AM EST
    that concerns me most about obama are the swiftboat attacks that will come at him if he is the nominee.  i remember feeling this same manic elation after the '04 convention.  no way kerry can lose.  youth are mobilized, strong on defense, not the most left wing candidate in the field.  then the campaign of lies started, peeling off just enough to make it close and steal ohio.  

    this really concerns me.  if obama is the nominee, i predict all kinds of ridiculous b.s. will be thrown out and parroted by the same folds who have given him so much cover in the campaign.  the enthusiastic youngsters and the moderates/repubs who like him now will gasp in horror at all the scurrilous accusations.  it doesn't matter if they are true, a la the swiftboat attacks.  just that they are horrible and repeated every night.  it will get very ugly for him and i question whether he is prepared and how much of his support they could peel off by lying.

    hillary it seems to me is un-swiftboatable.  people will yawn.  the right wing media has shot its wad on clinton bashing.

    another strong factor influencing me towards clinton is obviously the economy.  when it crashes, i think she would be much much better than obama due to her experience.  yes, her experience.  obama is really a neophyte in the politics of this and hillary is not. also, hillary would slaughter  mccain in the debates on the economy, which is most folks number one issue right now.  did i say slaughter.  i mean she would absolutely slaughter mccain on this in a debate.  

    It's dangerously naive (1.00 / 1) (#49)
    by cannondaddy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:23:52 AM EST
    to think the Clintons are fully vetted by "right wing' media.  There are volumes of dirt (mostly bunk, but not all) on them that has never been brought out to the American public.  If she wins the democratic nomination, you will see the nastiest campaign in American history.  If she does win, "day one" will have her presiding over the most bitterly divided country in our lifetimes.

    All that you've (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Lena on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:37:48 AM EST
    said abut HRC also applies to BO.

    It's going to be a nasty campaign no matter who the Democrats nominate. BO has the disadvantage that his past hasn't been fleshed out as thoroughly - there are more lies to be manufactured about the interstices in his life - while HRC doesn't have any gaping holes in her past history where the Republicans can tag her with a false past.

    Neither is immune from swiftboating.

    I pick HRC because I think she can deal with it better, and therefore, ultimately has a better chance of being elected.


    i've never had a doubt about (4.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 12:40:45 AM EST
    sen. clinton's likability, she's a wonderful person and a pretty darn good politician. anyone who just tonight realized that has been a rube, hoodwinked by the likes of matthews, limbaugh, robinson, dowd, rich, et al. come out of your cave, into the light!

    just to be very clear: i don't always agree with her positions, but i've always liked her. there will always be those who hate her, because she isn't barefoot and pregnant. fortunately, they are a dying, not-to-be-missed breed.

    JUST SAY NO to Hillary, Obama, McCain, Mitt, Mike (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by aahpat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 05:26:36 AM EST
    JUST SAY NO to Hillary, Obama, McCain, Mitt and Mike

    Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee all have one thing in common, they are all ardent supporters of the crime fostering, terrorist funding, Jim Crow drug war......

    NIE (none / 0) (#4)
    by javaman on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:01:04 AM EST
    Does anyone know if Hillary read the NIE before voting for the resolution going to war, because from what I've read that's what influenced Sen Bob Graham Democrat from Florida to vote no?

    NIE (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by RalphB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:32:36 AM EST
    From what I have read, she did not read the full classified NIE before the vote.  She read the summary.  Her staff apparently read the full NIE and briefed her on it, as well as, various administration officials etc.

    Several senators who voted Yea did read the complete NIE however, like Dianne Feinstein.

    One additional thing, while Bob Graham voted against the AUMF, I remember he said it was because we should be going after Hezbollah instead of Iraq.  If that had happened, we'd be in Syria now instead and that's probably not much better than where we are :-)


    Maybe (none / 0) (#89)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:13:14 PM EST
    Because Graham was the prior chair of the Senate Select committee on Intelligence and knew what his replacement, Senator Pat Roberts et al was up to regarding  fixing intelligence and distorting the NIE.  Graham remained as one of the eight members of congress who were allowed to read the full NIE.

    Shortly after 9/11 President Bush issues order asking CIA, FBI, DOD, NSA, and Cabinet members to restrict clearances greatly and limit all information to 8 members of Congress, effectively eliminating 92 clearances.

    The only report that was available to most senators was a redacted version in OCT 2002.


    This Was It (none / 0) (#90)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:23:31 PM EST
    will someone answer my question about the NIE (none / 0) (#7)
    by javaman on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:20:23 AM EST

    ill take a crack at giving you an answer... (none / 0) (#12)
    by cdo on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:38:11 AM EST
    What I seem to recall of the time period in question was New York City experienced the most traumatic attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor. Senator Clinton was one of the Senators of that state. The President of the United States of America asked Congress for the ability to act freely as the Commander in Chief of our military (sure thats a really simplified version but thats pretty much the thing in a nutshell).
    SO, the Senator of New York entrusted the President of the United States to protect and serve the best interests of her constituents by agreeing with his request. She did this BECAUSE HE WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, SWORN TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS FROM ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
    One can only assume that she trusted him to take this promise with the utmost seriousness.

    umm.... (none / 0) (#61)
    by mindfulmission on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:34:00 AM EST
    While this may be true:
    New York City experienced the most traumatic attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.
    I would still like to know what Iraq had to do with that attack?

    I am tired of people saying that Hillary's vote was justified because she was the Senator of NY, and NY got attacked.

    You are right.  NY did get attacked.  By rogue terrorists who don't belong to a state.  And definitely not by Iraq or Saddam Hussein.


    And Clinton Knows That (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by BDB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:09:59 AM EST
    The only thing the 9/11 attacks did were remind folks how devastating an attack could be.  I don't think she voted for the AUMF because of it.

    I tend to believe her statement about 1998 - I think that Saddam's history made everyone more susceptible to the slanted intel and lies.  And I think Clinton's knowledge of that time probably made her very suspicious of him.  I remember thinking they didn't really prove he had anything, despite what the media said, but also that I wouldn't be surprised at all if he had weapons.  He wasn't exactly above it.

    And I know why Clinton's answer that she thought the vote was for coercive diplomacy is difficult for many to believe, but inspectors did go in after the vote.  To me, it all looks much clearer what was going on in retrospect.  But I admit, my memory of that time is kind of a blur.  The linked timeline helped me remember a little bit the sequence of events, perhaps others will find it helpful as well.  Again, I'm not arguing Clinton was right, I think a lot of people did see it as a vote for war and I disagree with her vote, but I'm not sure her answer is untrue.  In fact, I suspect the reason she's had so much trouble answering this question is that she is being honest.  A pithy lie would probably sound better.


    Obama's advantage (5.00 / 0) (#75)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:16:17 AM EST
    The Obama campaign repeats endlessly that he was against the war as an advantage. Yet, if you look at his statements and his votes, the do not support his so called "judgement" advantage. I think that Pat Buchanon is right HRC , to the dismay of the blogosphere, cannot say she was wrong. Look what happened to Kerry. Flip flop etc. She can only from now on act towards the clean up. There is a mean spirited push on this issue that I don't think serves Obama.

    i believe i just read someone answering (none / 0) (#65)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:59:50 AM EST
    your question. please review.

    Here's a (none / 0) (#87)
    by ding7777 on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 12:19:07 PM EST
    survey of which Senators read the full NIE and how they voted



    The question is who had to reassure voters-- (none / 0) (#8)
    by Geekesque on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:26:45 AM EST
    Clinton that she's likable enough to keep around for   8 years or that Obama is up to the most important job in the world.

    I'm somewhat surprised that Clinton still doesn't know how to answer questions on her AUMF/IWR voting record.  It's like she becomes another person than the one you see talking about health care.

    Could be that she's trying to be honest (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by RalphB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:37:13 AM EST
    about the AUMF vote and there's just no good answer for it in that case.

    Personally, I think I respect that more than some lie.


    I saw her answer tonight ... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by cymro on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:50:41 AM EST
    ..., so what do you mean by "still doesn't know how to answer questions on her AUMF/IWR voting record"? Her answers seemed fine to me. It was annoying that she was forced by Obama and the moderators to answer essentially the same question about three times, when the first answer was perfectly good. It was a total waste of debate time that could have been devoted to other, more important, issues.

    We all know now that the Bush administration deliberately lied to everyone about their intentions, so why are people trying to turn that act of treason into Hillary's problem? It is just a debating trick, an attempt to score points, not a real issue.


    Iraq Now (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:15:56 AM EST
    Hillary demanding a Pentagon exit strategy. Hillary is the one who is sponsoring legislation to put the stop Bush from making the treaty with Iraq and binding the next president. What is Obama doing?

    Stellaaa (none / 0) (#36)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:44:00 AM EST
    Obama is supporting Hillary in her legislative plan to stop Bush!

    i agree (none / 0) (#13)
    by english teacher on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:44:09 AM EST
    that repudiating the aumf vote would be political suicide for her.  bush lied to her about his intentions.  she would never lie to the american people like bush lied to her.  

    I agree (none / 0) (#15)
    by along on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:50:21 AM EST
    a good night all around.

    But Obama only loses some of his edge if nothing happens Friday and Saturday to continue his momentum.

    And I think there are 3 things that could happen that WOULD continue and improve his momentum:

    1. a Richardson endorsement tomorrow
    2. an Edwards endorsement
    3. new national and state polls showing Clinton's leads shrinking more.

    Why would Edwards endorse ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by cymro on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 03:19:08 AM EST
    ... either Obama or Clinton, especially now? If he were going to endorse either one, wouldn't he have done so when he announced his withdrawal? Instead he spoke about Democratic unity and the country being on the verge of a historic change in the White House (or words to that effect -- I'm going on my recollection here).

    It seems to me that he would have nothing to gain personally by such an endorsement, since both Obama and Clinton are likely to offer him a high office (AG?) if they are elected. And politically, throwing his support to either of the two remaining candidates at this stage would be a divisive act, not one designed to promote the Democratic unity he seeks.  

    It seems far more likely that Edwards, having conceded his own candidacy, now wants to let the voters decide, and meanwhile do everything he can to maintain party unity until we get to the general election. It would not surprise me if he has already spoken with both Obama and Clinton about this. Their attitudes during the debate tonight would be consistent with that.

    So Edwards endorsing Obama seems to me like wishful thinking on your part. I may be proved wrong here, but I would not count on it.


    great point (none / 0) (#28)
    by english teacher on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 03:48:54 AM EST
    i would go further and suggest that he come out and endorse "the democratic nominee that wins the process fair and square on the issues" or just "the democratic nominee".  

    then the runner up runs point in the media to put down the swiftboats.  imagine gore, edwards, and either clinton or obama demanding unpaid equal time on all cable shows that discussed the nominee.  we can kill the media here.


    anyone think (none / 0) (#38)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:53:20 AM EST
    maybe Edwards used his big stick against them both: keep it civil, or I will come out for the other candidate?

    I could totally see him doing that.


    neither edwards nor richardson will (none / 0) (#66)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:01:29 AM EST
    be recommending obama in my opinion.

    I heard (none / 0) (#93)
    by Judith on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 11:06:49 PM EST
    Bill and Bill are watching the superbowl together.  Who knew they were such buds?

    wow (none / 0) (#18)
    by javaman on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 01:56:04 AM EST
    I can't believe she trusted bush and according To Lincoln Chafee most of the dems that voted for the resolution did it just to protect their hides or future aspirations.  And that would be the best explanation as to why she has no good answer for voting for the resolution.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#32)
    by BernieO on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:24:35 AM EST
    At the time of the vote I remember talking with people about how a vote against the resolution would send a signal to Saddam that he could do what he wanted. A vote against the resolution was a vote against getting the inspectors back in, which was something I and a lot of people wanted. There is no way Saddam would have allowed that to happen if he had not been facing the threat of force.
    I did not trust Bush on bit, but I was shocked that after Saddam let the inspectors in, Bush still pushed for invasion. I have never seen anything like that in my lifetime, even during Vietnam.  (He is still lying and saying that Saddam kicked the inspectors out.)

    That was a talking point she repeated last night (none / 0) (#42)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:58:54 AM EST
    (He is still lying and saying that Saddam kicked the inspectors out.)

    Heck (none / 0) (#45)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:05:07 AM EST
    Cheney is still lying and saying that Sadaam worked with Bin Laden to plan the attacks.

    He DID kick them out in 1998 (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:11:45 AM EST
    That is what Hillary Clinton said.

    Don't believe she gave a date (none / 0) (#48)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:19:17 AM EST
    Yes she did (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:40:14 AM EST
    Here is the bit (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:45:46 AM EST
    Some people now think that this was a very clear open and shut case. We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out inspectors. We had evidence that they had a lot of bad stuff for a very long time which we discovered after the first Gulf War.

    Knowing that he was a megalomaniac, knowing he would not want to compete for attention with Osama bin Laden, there were legitimate concerns about what he might do. So, I think I made a reasoned judgment. Unfortunately, the person who actually got to execute the policy did not.

    I added the megalomaic bit because Keith Olbermann is pretending he does not understand what that meant. I think it is perfectly clear and think Olbermann is making a fool of himself pretending he does not understand it.


    Point conceeded (none / 0) (#57)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:16:27 AM EST
    about the date.
    Although it was widely reported that way, her statement was not true. She should know better.

    To clarify (none / 0) (#60)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:27:38 AM EST
    At the time it was reported accuratly. The narative shifted later on. Bush hammered on this in the lead up to war. I was taken aback when she repeated it.

    BTD (none / 0) (#34)
    by Kathy on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:30:20 AM EST
    thank you again for the thoughtful analysis.  I think we were all falling prey to "us against them" thinking leading into the debate.  I certainly had to be popped on the nose to get some sense back in me.  While I totally agree with what you are saying, speaking for me, it made me see Obama as just a person, too.  While I don't agree with him on many points, the civility of the debate, the possibility of what the future holds for the democratic party, and the emphasis on core democratic values did my heart good.

    So, I think that they both did a good job.  The crowd was obviously with Hillary, which always helps, and I find myself returning to what I wanted eight months ago: a Clinton/Obama ticket.  A commenter on MyDD said something about Stevie Wonder jumping up and clapping when this was suggested and said, "If Stevie Wonder can see it..."


    FYI: Comment Policy (none / 0) (#37)
    by Molly Bloom on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:46:38 AM EST
    JM has a no profanity policy.

    Comments that are abusive, offensive, contain profane or racist material or violate the terms of service for this blog's host provider will be removed and the author(s) banned from future comments. Censor software employed by law firms and businesses has blocked TalkLeft in the past for these types of violations. It is far easier for us to ban an offending commenter than to get reinstated by the software censors.
    (emphasis added)

    What I heard her say last night (none / 0) (#39)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 07:55:36 AM EST
    was that Sadam was a meglomaniac who might not want to take a back seat to Osama. I'm paraphrasing without a transcript but I believe that was the justification she gave. This is a threat assesment independent of what the administration was pushing and is not grounded in the "phony intelligence".

    Olbermann liked that line apparently (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:04:14 AM EST
    I think he, Olbermann, made a fool of himself on that one.

    OF all the rationales for the Iraq Debacle, the one that actually was a fact was that Saddam Hussein was a megalomaniac.


    Didn't see Oberman (none / 0) (#47)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:18:11 AM EST
    but does the premise that Sadam was a megalomaniac translate into a threat requiring a preemptive war?

    Not for me (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 08:47:54 AM EST
    My point is different. Keith Olbermann acts as if Hillary's statement was hard to understand. It is perfectly easy to understand. Olbermann decided to play the fool for some reason. I may write it up. I am disppointed in Olbermann's behavior of late.

    Here is the excerpt:

    Some people now think that this was a very clear open and shut case. We bombed them for days in 1998 because Saddam Hussein threw out inspectors. We had evidence that they had a lot of bad stuff for a very long time which we discovered after the first Gulf War.

    Knowing that he was a megalomaniac, knowing he would not want to compete for attention with Osama bin Laden, there were legitimate concerns about what he might do. So, I think I made a reasoned judgment. Unfortunately, the person who actually got to execute the policy did not.

    i plan on sending olbermann an email (4.00 / 1) (#68)
    by hellothere on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:04:05 AM EST
    regarding his slant during these debates. i am not happy with it.

    My take is a little different (none / 0) (#56)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:10:43 AM EST
    When I heard "compete for attention with Osama bin Laden" my thoughts went to the WTC. It appears she was under the impression  he was willing to strike us directly in a big way.

    Her statement about kicking the inspectors out was not accurate but it has become conventional wisdom. Butler ordered the inspectors out in advance of the US attack.

    I can't opine on Oberman. I did not see it.


    An alternate source of the passion for high Turnou (none / 0) (#62)
    by Salt on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 09:42:38 AM EST
    Yes, she trounced the recent Press, Hillary the divisive B is dead again last night.  I received 2 calls first thing this AM 1.young male 20s student and 2. 40's wife, mother, and employee who had not been overly engaged, their winner Hillary, and it was how likeable and smart she appears also a really big deal for them her universal health care plan and her extensive proud First Lady response.  Both believed Obama did well, but Hillary closed the deal for them.  

    The 20s student mentioned something that did surprise me and that was that it is not Obama or Clinton who engaged him and his peers but instead it had actually happened with Kerry and then in 06 as anti Bush voters, now he is for something and it is Hillary, interesting.

    Iraq (none / 0) (#82)
    by TheRealFrank on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:46:47 AM EST
    I think pundits and the blogosphere are overplaying that issue.

    Consider that even in 2004, with the start of the war fresh in everyone's mind, Kerry was picked as the candidate. He voted for the resolution. Candidates who did not (or made the call outside of the Senate) didn't make it.

    Also, some 80% of people supported the war at the time (unfortunately). I have a feeling that they don't like being told "I told you so, now pick me, because I'm smarter than you".

    Lastly, I think that BTD is right when he says that people for whom Iraq is a deciding factor are already in Obama's camp anyway.

    "I told you so" (5.00 / 0) (#88)
    by RalphB on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 12:25:27 PM EST
    is not a good political strategy.  It tends to anger as many as it gets you, probably more.

    well isn't there (none / 0) (#94)
    by english teacher on Sat Feb 02, 2008 at 02:42:02 AM EST
    this vast swath right in the middle of the electorate that supported the war and now thinks it was a huge catastrophe?  probably a hundred million people in the country had the same experience of giving bush the benefit of the doubt and now wishing  they hadn't.  it's hard for obama to win a numbers game here, though he might get a few purity points.  

    The Iraq VOTE in 2002 (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 10:48:19 AM EST
    Not Iraq the issue.

    Obama on withdrawal is exactly Clinton.