NY Times on "The Cult of Personality"

(Update: Comments at 200 and now closed on this thread.)

The Times constrasts "the cult of personality" with charisma. It's a long article. Here are the quotes I took from it:

I'll give the first round to the challenger, Barack Obama:

From the day Mr. Obama announced his candidacy, he has billed it as a movement, and himself as the agent of generational change. He has mocked his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for accusing him of raising “false hopes.” “We don’t need leaders who are telling us what we cannot do,” he said in New Hampshire. “We need a president who can tell us what we can do! What we can accomplish! Where we can take this country!”

Next round goes to Sean Willnetz, a Princeton Historian and friend of Hillary's, who says:

“What is troubling about the campaign is that it’s gone beyond hope and change to redemption,” said Sean Wilentz, a historian at Princeton (and a longtime friend of the Clintons). “It’s posing as a figure who is the one person who will redeem our politics. And what I fear is, that ends up promising more from politics than politics can deliver.”

Next round goes to Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, whom I've never had the pleasure of meeting, but nonetheless, when she's on teevee, I am mesmerized by her stories. In this case, its: [More...]

When Mrs. Clinton talked about how it took Johnson as well as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to achieve the rights legislation, Ms. Goodwin said, “she was absolutely right.” Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans. “It required his understanding of absolutely every single senator,” Ms. Goodwin said. “They were a team. Without Martin Luther King agitating the country and J.F.K. picking up the bill there would not have been that pressure on the Congress, and without L.B.J. there would not have been a bill.”

Back to Obama:

Accounts of the campaign’s “Camp Obama” sessions, to train volunteers, have a revivalist flavor. Volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell of how they “came” to Mr. Obama.

The Charisma candidate brings hubris. Take, FDR:

And even for all their admiration of F.D.R., historians are quick to point out that soon after he had swept nearly every state in being elected to a second term, he tried to upend the constitutional separation of powers with a proposal to allow him to pack the Supreme Court by appointing up to six new justices (Congress wouldn’t let him). He defied the two-term tradition, and, some say, might have come to view himself as president for life.

Or, Teddy Roosevelt:

Theodore Roosevelt made a similar leap in his return appearance in the campaign of 1912, Ms. Goodwin said, when, upset with the Supreme Court’s knocking down his progressive legislation, he proposed allowing people to override judicial decisions. He ignored pleas not to run from those who said the Progressive movement had to be bigger than his personality, and ended up splitting the Republican Party.

Does Charisma translate into an ability to get one's agenda past Congress?

It remained unclear when Kennedy died whether he would have been able to get through the civil rights legislation forced through by Johnson, who inherited Kennedy’s office but never his cool.

When Mrs. Clinton talked about how it took Johnson as well as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to achieve the rights legislation, Ms. Goodwin said, “she was absolutely right.” Johnson’s great mastery was to get the support of Southern Republicans. “It required his understanding of absolutely every single senator,” Ms. Goodwin said. “They were a team. Without Martin Luther King agitating the country and J.F.K. picking up the bill there would not have been that pressure on the Congress, and without L.B.J. there would not have been a bill.”

According to Doris Kearns,

Ideally, Ms. Goodwin said, you’d have the combination of experience and charisma, “if you could mush Clinton and Obama together as one person.”

Update: Comments at 200, thread now closing. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  • The Kernel (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:46:20 AM EST
    And what I fear is, that ends up promising more from politics than politics can deliver."
    This is what I find troubling. The promise, this transformative promise of religious magnitude from politics is rather disturbing. It relies on that one person to redeem us from out divisions. Yet, there is no past history of such deliverance.

    Obama's promises (1.50 / 2) (#121)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:36:46 AM EST
    are acheivable:  get out of Iraq, health care, improve our standing in the world.....That will take a lot of persuading....but he is not promising to redeem mankind....

    This Obama as savior meme is meant to mock him and explain why Hillary does not connect as well....

    Obama crowds celebrate themselves as much as Obama....It is yes, we can; Not, yes I can....Hillary is: I am smarter than all of you peons and I will ram health care down your throats this time....  


    Be fair (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:10:53 AM EST
    Hillary said no such thing.  When she says she more experience, it is just a fact.  That is why she could discuss the issues of today with such fluidity,  without having to grope for words like Sen. Obama does in almost all the debates so far.

    You mean like (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:15:28 AM EST
    A Woman, A Black Man, and and and John? You know what he was going to say. The look on Edward's face at having been discounted on the stage was incredible. Or, the A Woman, A Black Man, and a Son of the South. Now, why even go there? Or the looking down at his hands several times when he doesn't know how to answer. I am concerned about the quote above:
    Accounts of the campaign's "Camp Obama" sessions, to train volunteers, have a revivalist flavor. Volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell of how they "came" to Mr. Obama.

    Now that is scary to me. The people are looking for someone to save the country and they are led to believe that he is the Savior.

    Barnbabe (5.00 / 1) (#209)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:49:17 AM EST
    I found  Oprah's   Messianic  "He  is  the  ONE!!"  to    be  a  tad   disturbing, too.  

    It borders  on   worshipping  false  idols.  


    No, she doesn't say it explicitly (1.00 / 1) (#138)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:16:29 AM EST
    But it is implied....

    As to fluidity, that means Hillary will wipe out Obama in the debates....No worries then....


    so why do you write it as if she said it (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:31:19 AM EST
    and it is your interpretation that makes it sound really bad.  If any, she has frequently said, she knows more about getting universal health care done because she has learned from her mistakes.

    What you have said is not different than accusing her of racism from stating a fact about LBJ being the finisher of what MLK began; that it needed the two of them working together.

    I can't tell if you are FOR Obama or just ANTI-HILLARY.  I get the feeling that you are more ANTI-HILLARY.


    I was pro-Hillary (none / 0) (#147)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:42:42 AM EST
    I came to question her and Bill's ethics....It was a realization of sorts.....

    Pro Hillary? Question their ethics? (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:50:34 AM EST
    that is similar to the oft repeated "negatives" which nobody seems to be specific about.  You say 'questionable ethics' what exactly are their ethical violations?  It is unfair to be throwing judgments like that without ever citing anything.

    What did Ken Star come up? In your previous statement where you said she implied that she is smarter than everyone, what words exactly did she say that implied that?  Or is because she discusses issues so knowledgeably that you simply "felt" that she was the smartest one of the group?

    If your change of support from her to Obama is based on questionable ethics on her part and Bill Clinton, how in the world could you even have supported her in the beginning?  Questions about character, it seems to me should disqualify anyone from the beginning.


    that's two unsupported (5.00 / 3) (#171)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:26:09 AM EST
    assertions you've made:

    1. sen. clinton implies that she's smarter than the rest of us., and

    2. sen. clinton and former president clinton have questionable ethics.

    this is a classic right-wing smear tactic, with classic right-wing smears; throw out lots of accusations, with nothing factual to support them, and hope, by dint of repetition, some of it sticks in the minds of the electorate.

    you've been asked for supporting documentation but failed to respond. a reasonable person can only conclude you have nothing.

    based on this, anything else you say can't be taken seriously.


    And that is why I can understand (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:33:37 AM EST
    why Obama does not want another one on one with Hillary before the Wisconsin primary.

    Hillary (none / 0) (#208)
    by mouth of the south on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:49:05 AM EST
    What I will always remember about Hillary's experienced background is her handling of health care back in the early '90's. She thoughly messed it up - hidden planning, over complication, and Republicans who absolutely hated her.  Now I have no reason to think that she has learned anything in the last 10 years or so.  And if you think the Republicans would EVER cooperate with her on health care, you are living in a dream world.  Do I think they might cooperate with Obama?  I think that there is more of a chance of that happening.

    mouth of the south (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:51:38 AM EST
    Assuming   the  Republicans   will "cooperate"  with Obama   is  very naive.  

    In my opinion,  if  he  wins, they  will  block  everything   they  possibly  can,  as  they have  the last  two  years,  in order  to make  him  look   incompetent  and  ineffective.  

    It  will  be part of their  plan  to  regain the  WH  in   2012.  

    Do you  think  Obama  will  be  tough  enough to push  back  when they  block?


    Although the linked op ed does trace (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:51:26 AM EST
    others who used the same meme.

    Today on NPR there was a comparison of William Jennings Bryan, the silver tongued orator who drew huge crowds, and William McKinley, who didn't even try to compete re speechifying and crowd-gathering, but won the election.


    How many great orators have lost the election (4.66 / 3) (#182)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:12:26 AM EST
    since then?

    I don't think this is a reason to vote for or against anyone, but

    FDR v Hoover
    JFK v Nixon

    The great orator won- although obviously JFK was close.

    In the good orator category
    Adlai v Ike
    Reagan v Carter
    Clinton v Bush.

    Only Adlai lost.

    Bryan was 0 for 3. His platform today would be closer to Edwards- my candidate.

    The bottom line is being good on the stump is not generally considered a handicap. McCain is no Ike and before declaring Obama the next Bryan, we might look a little deeper at the comparison.

    I will happily vote for either candidate. If HRC wins, she will deserve respect for beating Obama and she will IMO deserve the  presidency. If HRC cannot beat Obama, McCain will not be able to beat him either. She is a 1000 times better than McCain.

    Its clear to me that HRC would be a good to great at governing and would be good to great as president. Its not clear to me that Obama would be, but nor is it clear to me Obama would be a bad president.

    My best guess is Obama would need Clinton as his VP in the same way JFK needed an (but did not properly use) LBJ as his.

    Having both on the ticket is the ticket. I care not about the order. Whether or not it happens is another question.


    Over at the Big Orange (none / 0) (#150)
    by ding7777 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:15:51 AM EST
    a commenter stated:

    Obama wants to use the power of politics to get us a MAJORITY in Congress to pass progressive legislation

    Is Obama campaigning on this goal or does Yes, we can! mean whatever the recipient believes it means?


    Obama has similar promises as Hillary (none / 0) (#199)
    by voxvox on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:24:22 AM EST
    But Obama also has the promise of change, the promise of returning our nation's moral standing, the promise of honesty, the promise of trust, the promise of pride in our president (as opposed to shame and scandal).

    Hillary and Obama's promises are similar, but Obama is able to deliver much more in the form of character.  Hillary is scarred by the scandals of the 90's.


    I hate to tell you this (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by BeBe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:35:32 AM EST
    but the Repubs are already describing Sen Obama as a corrupt Chicago machine pol. They are going to use the history of politics in the city and state as well as current and recent trials to paint him as a crook. They take a candidate's stated strengths and turn them around as a fault. It is not fair but it is what they do. The more the Obama campaign emphasizes this the harder the Repubs will throw it back.

    I'm not going to concede (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:30:05 AM EST
    That Obama is more inspiring than Clinton simply because what inspires me is what Clinton offers.

    And, likewise, I'm sure Obama supporters are convinced what he offers will result competent execution of the change this country desperately needs.

    I understand the conventional wisdom dialog being addressed here, but my two cents is simply that I find Clinton's life, experiences, approach to politics and policy, etc. 100 times more inspirational than Obama's.  Her rhetoric too.

    Obama's rhetoric would also be inspirational to me on it's own merits, if it wasn't for this sinking feeling I get that I would be called a bad person if I said it might not be.

    He is truly a golden god.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#63)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:42:50 AM EST
    Here. Here. (none / 0) (#89)
    by ajain on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:57:59 AM EST
    this is what passes for great historical (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:44:54 AM EST
    research and analysis these days?:

    He defied the two-term tradition, and, some say, might have come to view himself as president for life.

    who says? be nice if she was just a tad more specific. of course, that might require hard work. for all i, and you know, no one says any such thing, she just made it up because it sounds good.

    was there a footnote to this passage that wasn't posted here?

    Heh (none / 0) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:46:25 AM EST
    But he was Prez for life though (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:46:43 AM EST
    Cult of Personality (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by TheRealFrank on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:24:51 AM EST
    Obama and Clinton's programs are approximately the same. In a few cases, Obama's proposals are a bit more conservative (like on healthcare).

    So, when I point that out to Obama supporters, and ask how he would bring about more change than Clinton, talk turns to him being a less divisive figure, and a more inspirational leader, who will get a bigger mandate and thus can get things done. Obama himself has acknowledged in interviews that this is how he sees it too.

    So, his personality is a very essential part of the package.

    In light of this, and the tone of his speeches, it is not strange that there is talk of a cult of personality. If you make your supposed ability to inspire and bring people together a central part of your campaign, expect people to focus on your personality, and less on the issues.

    I thought GW was the personality guy (none / 0) (#200)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:27:32 AM EST
    You remember, the one that people wanted to go and have a beer. That was when I said that there were a lot of people I would like to have a beer with, but I sure do not want them as my President and that I was voting for the intelligent one. Well, we now know that the beer was more important to folks.

    The partnership of King and Johnson (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by hellskitchen on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:22:22 AM EST
    I have a similar more local story to tell.

    I was on a committee to search for a slate of candidates for Bishop.  When we got down to the next to final round, we were sent out in teams to the churches of the various candidates.

    I pulled one from the south.  Our team met not only with parishioners but with people outside the church including the Mayor of the city.  The town had a racial divide that had been going nowhere with sharp conflicts between politicians and non-political community leaders.  The pastor of this church invited all to a series of monthly lunches at the church.  After a year of meetings, the two in the most contentious of relationships - a city council member and a community leader suddenly found something in common and the whole nature of the relationship between the politicians and the community leaders began to change.

    The mayor said that the pastor was the first person he called when there was trouble - for instance, when a white policeman killed an African American teen-ager.  

    The mayor also said - which relates to the point about Johnson and King - that the pressure that the pastor puts on the city administration is crucial to developing a safe and peaceful society.  The mayor said:  "There are people in this city who don't want anything to change.  Without a voice to counterbalance that and put pressure on the government to do better, nothing would change and we would be at a standstill."

    Unfortunately, the pastor in question was too self-effacing to present this side of himself to the diocese.  He didn't make bishop.  A pity.

    Work Place (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Salt on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:31:15 AM EST
    many of us, if not most, have been in the work place and know how ineffective a Personality is at accomplishing tangible results.  There are studies after studies on Leadership and the effectives of Leadership styles, guess which one is effective at stimulating though, Inspiration, guess which one is successful at stimulating action, the Influencer.  Well heck what was I thinking you have a real time view GWB is a cult of personality leader enough said.  And within my close circle its about 50 50  if Hillary is not the nominee saying they would vote for whoever the Dems nominate  but we are in a State facing rough times unlike the Potomac States.

    Out of curiosity (none / 0) (#185)
    by AF on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:24:47 AM EST
    When your friends consider not voting for Obama, is that because they don't agree with him on issues?  If so, they are mistaken because there is very little difference between Hillary and Obama on issues.  

    If your state is facing rough times, can you afford the luxury of voting against someone because you don't like his personality?


    I don't think she said did not like (none / 0) (#215)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 11:01:48 AM EST
    his personality. I believe she was referring that personality should not be the factor that you choose your President. We have that problem in the WH right now. GWB had no real experience and a friendly personality. I am glad that Obama has intelligent to add to his list of good traits.

    232 years male domination (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by Marguerite Quantaine on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:26:37 AM EST
    This is America's record on change:

    For 232 years little boys have been told they could grow up to be anything they wanted, even President of the United States.

    For 232 years that dream has been denied to little girls.

    It took 190 years before a male dominated White House and Congress "gave" a female child in a 2 parent family the right to obtain a student loan without the signature of her father.

    It took them 184 years before married women were "given" the right to sell property without the signature approval of their husbands -- even property they owned outright before their marriage.

    It took them 144 years to "give" women the right to vote.

    Medical research is still funded and dominated by trials based on male statistics. As a result, heart disease is the number one killer of women in America because science has only recently discovered the female signs of heart attack differ from the male.

    Male students are still favored in dual gender classrooms at the expense of girl students who learn faster, earlier.

    Male graduates are still awarded preference in being accepted to Big 10 universities.

    The Equal Pay/Equal Work Act leaves the decision as to the value of a female employee up to the individual employer. The vast majority of businesses are controlled by men. As a result, women average only 72¢ for every $1 earned by a male counterpart doing the same job.

    Electing a woman to the White House will prove a greater change, faster, in a more positive way, for the majority of Americans.

    We don't need to love -- or even to like -- the personality of a candidate.

    What we need is a better economy, better education, better healthcare, better opportunities, better paying jobs, and the personification of equality for all Americans.

    Yes, Hillary Clinton might hit below the belt at times.

    But she doesn't think below it.

    I found out about Obama (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by talkingpoint on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:01:09 AM EST
    cult followers the hard way. The other day I was having a conversation with an older African American gentleman at work About politics. I told him that I support Hillary and the various reasons why. This gentleman looked at me with anger in his eyes and shouted "Obama is the one, and all non-believers will be cast down". I found out that very moment that to this man Obama appeared  somewhat supernatural. I  shout my mouth really quick, smile, and walked away.

    Obama has no chance (4.00 / 2) (#133)
    by tkelly on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:06:56 AM EST
    Just as Obama is cleaning Hillary's clock because of who he is rather than what he stands for, Obama has no chance of winning in November because of how he compares to McCain in front of the people who matter- those that actually vote.

    Older, more "traditional" Americans are the ones who vote in the greatest numbers. They are generally not going to vote for a black man with a Muslim name who recently arrived on the political scene.

    So please, liberals, continue to support Obama in the primaries- he is the Republican dream come true for 2008.

    Indeed (4.00 / 1) (#175)
    by hvs on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:32:59 AM EST
    it would be cause for concern if there is evidence to support your claim that Obama will fair poorly in November. On the other hand, Hillary's high negatives actually offer some significant grounds for saying that of her.

    At present, the data does not support you (none / 0) (#146)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:39:35 AM EST
    Obama wins and has won significant independent votes; He polls consistently better than Hillary against McCain; Redtate Democrats who would presumably know their constituents well prefer to run with Obama on the ticket.

    You cite no evidence that Obama will fail other than your opinion....


    At present ... (none / 0) (#169)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:22:32 AM EST
    we are not in the General Election phase.

    Obama has gotten the softest coverage of any major presidential candidate in living memory.  

    This won't continue.  Dems are being led down the garden path with Obama.  Sadly, I don't think they'll realize this until he suffers a McGovern-like loss in the November.


    mindless optimism (none / 0) (#172)
    by Nasarius on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:29:07 AM EST
    Whenever I hear that phrase ("yes we can"), I can't help but think of this quote from series 4 of Blackadder:
    BLACKADDER: I'm not sure your particular brand of mindless optimism is going to contribute much to the proceedings.

    GEORGE: That's a shame, sir, because I was planning on playing the mindless optimism card pretty strongly during the trial.

    false statement in article (3.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:34:07 AM EST
    Accounts of the campaign's "Camp Obama" sessions, to train volunteers, have a revivalist flavor. Volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell of how they "came" to Mr. Obama.

    This flat false, I was just at a training at the Obama campaign.  Everyone has access to materials on issues.  Most campaign don't want their supporters aruging policy, as it s complicated and easy to get wrong.

    So, at the training, were volunteers urged (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:39:23 AM EST
    not to discuss issues with those they contacted? Or, was literature about issues available but nothing was sd. about disucssing issues?  Or were volunteers encouraged to discuss issues?

    if you have a question ask it (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:48:17 AM EST
    if you are trying to make a point make it.  I don't really have time for leading questions.

    People were given information on issues to pass out.  No one was told to discuss or not discuss issues.  

    When you canvass for campaign you are doing it mainly to get voter information.  Thats how campaigns work.  Though i guess since people here think volunteering for a campaign makes you a member of a cult, you wouldn't have any idea what i'm talking about.


    Suggestion: you will be a much more (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:56:37 AM EST
    effective vol. for Obama if you treat those you contact with respect.  I asked you some questions and you answered them.  No need to be rude.

    sorry (none / 0) (#52)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:34:38 AM EST
    i get a bit defensive, I'm usually not getting polite questions at this site.

    Thanks. It is impressive (none / 0) (#54)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:38:44 AM EST
    to learn a frequent commenter who supports Obama with such passion is also going to work for his candidate.

    Could you answer this one? (none / 0) (#183)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:16:51 AM EST
    Were you told to tell "how you came to Obama"?

    If not, based upon your other statements, I would conclude the story  (that supporters were trained to talk about how they came to Obama verus isses) is false.


    They'll tell you (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by echinopsia on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:47:51 AM EST
    even when you don't ask. Even when you tell them you aren't interested.

    I've got this great sticker on my door to keep bible thumpers away.

    I need one for Obama thumpers.


    Sounds like you are saying it is true (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:51:37 AM EST
    but that everyone does it.

    Frankly, I think you are right.

    But you say it is false when what I think you mean is it is misleading.

    If that is what you mean, I agree.


    Nope (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:54:09 AM EST
    no one was told not to talk about issues, but i pointed out most campaigns ask their volunteers not to.

    Actually Obams campaign encouraged dialog more than any other I have ever been involved with.


    So you are saying (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:58:51 AM EST
    unlike every other campaign, the
    Obama campaign WANTS volunteers to talk issues.

    Um, sorry, I do not believe you. It is not that I think you are lying. You believe what you are writing. I just think you have deluded yourself into believing that.

    My gawd, the candidate avoids talking issues, you want me to believe the volunteers are encouraged to do so? No sale.


    no more words in mouth (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:11:54 AM EST
    unlike every other campaign, the
    Obama campaign WANTS volunteers to talk issues.

    I said they encourage having a dialog, it isn't specified on weather that be issues or style or anything else.  There aren't rules on what you are allowed to talk about.


    Put some words in your mouth then (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:18:55 AM EST
    Are they encouraged to discuss issues, yes or no?

    they are encouraged to (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:28:26 AM EST
    discuss, and their are no guidelines as to what about.

    The claim that i was responding to is that the Obama  Campaign encourages people not to discuss issues, and that is incorrect.


    Sssssssso.... (none / 0) (#178)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:58:58 AM EST

    I said they encourage having a dialog, it isn't specified on weather that be issues or style or anything else.

    So basically they're just encouraged to talk, no matter what the subject is.  The vaguery reeks so strongly in his campaign stumps it trickles all the way down to the volunteer?  I guess I can believe that.



    Obama does not avoid (none / 0) (#124)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:40:54 AM EST
    talking about issues....He has plenty of stands he has taken....It is just a way of dismissing him to say he is all style and no substance....

    Dialogue (none / 0) (#26)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:11:21 AM EST
    about what?

    not really (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:15:26 AM EST
    specified, they used the term engaging in a conversation.  
    Part of the reason i think for the conversation is because there is a bit of voter education necessary, because you essentially vote twice in Texas, once for the primary, then for the caucus.  

    The Obama campaign (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:33:37 AM EST
    caller program is really cool.   when you sign up online as a precinct captain, you put your address in and it gives you the list of voters in your precinct. Arcus is the firm they use.

    They have really great organizing tools.  If he wins I think you can chalk it up to his campaigns innovative use of new technology and good old fashioned grass roots organizing.


    Yes he has the edge (none / 0) (#123)
    by lily15 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:40:47 AM EST
    there.  But no amount of technology will safeguard him from himself and his hollow narrative....and certainly not with the likes of Rove still inhabiting the soul of the Republican party....
    I give his campaign managers the credit the though. They have run a strategic campaign...but then again...they had virtually unlimited funds from who knows where.  Remember, for some reason, Obama raised the same amount of money as Clinton before anyone knew who he was...a strange occurence..so he had the resources to tackle every medium and to out organize.  But Bush ran  great campaigns as well.  So what?  

    Money from small donors (none / 0) (#125)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:44:56 AM EST
    Obama has been campaigning for more than a year and yet the Hillary folks still don't get it, he is not a savior but just a very gifted politician without any major skeletons....

    If one is to suggest some nefarious source of funds, one should have some evidence....  


    No Skeletons? (none / 0) (#179)
    by SandyS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:59:55 AM EST
    Let me name three and refer you to an article by Larry Johnson, ex-CIA.
    1.  Rezko
    2.  Williams Ayers
    3.  Rashid Kalihi

    Please see:  http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/02/16/no-he-cant-because-yes-they-will/

    Bush ran great campaigns and was elected (none / 0) (#128)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:53:28 AM EST
    So, the comparison on that score is one I will take....

    I don't think you want to go (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by BrandingIron on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:02:31 AM EST
    voluntarily comparing your candidate's campaign to Bush's campaign (2000, especially).  Dude had to steal the election back then, then had to Swiftboat in 2004.

    yes they have great organizing (none / 0) (#167)
    by Maddie In Florida on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:14:49 AM EST
    however, this is my concern:  He puts the emphasis on himself...that HE can make it happen.  And that we can make it happen.  Every speech is about him and we and change and over and over again. Always use we to make the receiver comfortable and part of.  That's how it works.

    You have to admit that the oratory is the main selling point of Obama. That is the concern.  Why not ask him what specifically he will do about the issues facing us.  Not go read the literature or go to the web site.  Ask him.  If you can look him in the eye and be convinced he is the so magical, look him in the eye and ask him the questions for God's sake.

    I don't want to argue with you and I can respect your feelings about him.  But feelings are just that...feelings.  Feelings are not facts.They are emotional responses...not facts.

    Again, vote for whom you want but I, for one, am getting frightened about the rising group think and group emotional responses to him.  It is not real.  Sorry.

    Oh..and I like the man.  Just not for President now.


    You did not specify (none / 0) (#139)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:21:43 AM EST
    whether volunteers were encouraged to discuss policy WITH VOTERS.  I am sure that choirmembers would enjoy discussing issues among themselves, and being in the same group, the "fellowship" I'm sure is quite enjoyable.  

    But "not discussing policy with potential voters" if you don't have to, ( i.e. the voter does not ask,) is a practical policy if the goal is to be able to just make your presence known to as many voters possible; then all you can really do is have a friendly greeting and pass out flyers; hoping that it was at least a positive contact for your candidate with the voter. So I am actually saying that instructions "not to discuss policy with voters" does not necessarily have to be because of "programming" ala cults.

    But I do recall an articles posted for discussion a few days ago in this site which I commented on where in greeting Morgan Freeman Obama bowed and said, :He was God before me."  I realize he was probably joking, but I always believe that "jokes are always said in earnest"

    So if this cult thing gets around, Obama and his supporters are to a large degree, responsible.


    I find (none / 0) (#196)
    by white n az on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:10:54 AM EST
    the sudden infusion of Obama campaign volunteers to be a troubling change on this list

    I have the lowest possible opinion of Kearns (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:20:56 AM EST
    Goodwin. But she states the obvious in her quotes.

    My view is that of Sean Wilentz who is, imo, our finest living historian.

    He wrote a tremendous review of the most recent biography of Richard Hofstadter, which led to my first long discussion of Barack Obama published at this site in July 2006.

    Man that was a long time ago.

    Say something nice about somebody... (none / 0) (#56)
    by MikeDitto on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:40:12 AM EST
    BTD, you're in a mood lately! :-)

    I have been too, and then I realized I hadn't taken a full day off from work since well before Xmas, probably more like Thanksgiving. So I'm giving myself a rest this weekend. All weekend. No working and only slight bits of blogging. Which is ironic, since slight bits makes up gobs and gobs more blogging than I had been doing lately what with all the working.


    I think (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:41:58 AM EST
    I am the smartest person in the room.

    How about that?


    Hubris (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:44:07 AM EST
    (in the greek tradition)

    ROFL (none / 0) (#81)
    by MikeDitto on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:52:08 AM EST
    real v. faux intellectuals (none / 0) (#120)
    by lily15 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:34:37 AM EST
    I second that...Sean Wilentz is a REAL intellectual...compared to the many faux intellectual effete's who roam around the MSM (and elsewhere) selling their squishy principles for top dollar and pushing the MSM narrative of the season...in fact, often with  a view for each season...Does anyone notice that he is rarely quoted or mentioned as a prominent intellectual supporter of Clinton's?  But he is cool, you know.  He had an article on the cover of Rolling Stone detailing why Bush is and will be known as, historically, the Worst President...but no magazine covers anymore, not for any supporter of Clinton's....now that such support has been officially deemed subversive by liberal and progressive thinkers. But it is hard to dismiss Wilentz...so he is just rendered disappeared by the gatekeepers of public discourse.  How surprising to have even this mention of him.

    Could it be? (none / 0) (#148)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 06:53:05 AM EST
    Could it be that's because he hasn't hit the talk show circuit shilling some book?

    Absolutely about Wilentz (none / 0) (#177)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:55:52 AM EST
    He is probably the best labor historian we have. And unlike DKG, he doesn't write books with  pretty pictures on the cover--not that there's anything wrong with that, other than that such works tend to be bad history.

    "Lowest possible opinion of Kearns (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:35:23 AM EST

    As a historian?  Based on the plagarism allegations?  

    Based on that (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:45:41 AM EST
    and her own work and her general vapidity.

    I find her incredibly not smart.


    But she is on PBS? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:47:48 AM EST
    How could she not be smart :)

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:49:31 AM EST
    PBS completely outweighed by her many pundit appearances on MTP.

    How could she be smart if she is on MTP?


    I'm laughing too much to type. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:48:52 AM EST
    I did enjoy "Wait 'Til Next Year," her memoir about growing up in the 50s, following the Dodgers on the radio, first TV, etc. Haven't read any of her biography work.  Thought I read she is an outright Obama supporter who shouldn't be on TV as a talking head re this primary battle.  

    And NOW she is a Red Sox fan (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:50:25 AM EST

    I ESPECIALLY hate that Brooklyn BS from her.

    A Sox fan? What a phony.


    What is a Brooklyn Dodgers fan to do? (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:53:05 AM EST
    Move to LA?

    Be a Mets fan (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:56:44 AM EST
    most of them became Mets fans.

    The PHONIES became Red Sox fans.


    In her defense, doesn't she live in MA now? (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:00:36 AM EST
    That's no defense (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:18:11 AM EST
    I do not live in Ny, but I am a Yankees fan still.

    I have been a Gators fan all my life and did not live in Florida for 27 years.

    That is not my idea of a fan. Certainly it is not  a fan who should write a book about how big a fan they are.


    Tortured. (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:26:42 AM EST
    You are prejudiced against women historians who are Red Sox fans.

    No (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:29:48 AM EST
    I am prejudiced against ALL Red Sox fans.

    my brother (none / 0) (#62)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:42:39 AM EST
    how could I have ever gotten into an argument with you?

    You were misguided (none / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:44:27 AM EST
    FDR reference (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:51:45 AM EST
    The Charisma candidate brings hubris. Take, FDR:

       And even for all their admiration of F.D.R., historians are quick to point out that soon after he had swept nearly every state in being elected to a second term, he tried to upend the constitutional separation of powers with a proposal to allow him to pack the Supreme Court by appointing up to six new justices (Congress wouldn't let him). He defied the two-term tradition, and, some say, might have come to view himself as president for life.

    Thats funny this paragraph comes right after the Clinton supporter claims Obama is not FDR:

    "To confuse this with Teddy Roosevelt or J.F.K. or F.D.R. is to make a fundamental historical error," he said. "It's confusing the offer of leadership with the offer of redemption. One offers specific programs, the other is hope and change. Certainly F.D.R. gave hope, but he was going to do it through these various programs."

    Hubris does not make an FDR (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 01:56:05 AM EST
    The point is the charisma ALONE did not make FDR and TR who they were.

    IT was applying that charisma to specific proposals.

    I have long said that Obama COULD and SHOULD be our FDR but that he refuses to.

    I do not understand the condemnation of Obama for his ego, "hubris" arrogance or whatever you call it. Running for PResident requires it.

    Actually I wish he had MORE audacity, more hubris and more confidence in his ability to sell ACTUAL programs, more progressive values and more Dem issues.

    He LACKS hubris in my opinion. He is not htinking BIG ENOUGH is the problem.

    He seems to not believe he could be FDR. I think he can. I wish he had the confidence in himself that I have in him.


    Is this what you called (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:09:46 AM EST
    faith based politics? I guess this is where I get my visceral reaction. Making that leap.

    This is your strongest (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:03:06 AM EST
    advocacy for Obama to date.

    My view of Obama on this (4.87 / 8) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:14:25 AM EST
    has not changed since my aforementioned July 2006 piece "What Obama Needs To Learn".

    I am attacked by Obama cultist blogs like Obsidian Wings for my critiques NOW because well, they are not in the Obama Cult.

    IF any fairminded person had read me they would see that my views on these subjects have not changed ONE IOTA.

    Today I was attacked by the now execrable Hilzoy and many others because of my post on Obama's sexist remarks.

    But who has changed here? When I criticized Lawrence Summers, did Hilzoy think I was reading too much into the language? Noooo. She agreed with me. What changed? Hilzoy became an Obama Bot is what changed. I am the same. As I Ever Was.

    When I ripped Bill Bennett for his racist remarks, was I predictable then? Was I "parsing" language to find reason for offense? Hilzoy did not think so. Shge agreed with me. Who changed? Why Hilzoy did of course. She became an Obama Bot.

    When I ripped Billy Shaheen, Andrew Cuomo, Bob Johnson and BILL CLINTON for their remarks, did Hilzoy and the Other ObamaBots think I was reading too much into their wrods? Of course not. They agreed, indeed led the charge.

    The Obama bots are so sucked into their Cult they can not even see outside the room.

    You know the Day the Blogosphere Died? It was when it decided to defend NBC's sexism and misogyny in order to score points against Hillary Clinton.

    There was a time when the Netroots agreed with me that we needed Fighting Dems, that Obama was not measuring up on that score.

    But the Obama Cult has taken over in its entirety.

    I am not for Hillary Clinton. But I am for my issues and my beliefs on what is the proper political strategy for the Democratic Party.

    As the famous saying goes, I did not leave the blogosphere, the blogosphere left me.

    It will never be the same. It is now EXACTLY what the Right Wing o sphere has always been - a cheerleading section - just for their favored candidate.

    The Netroots are dead.


    Sorry BTD but this kind of post is really damaging (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by s5 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:31:55 AM EST
    Vigorously helping to spread the "cult" meme will be very damaging if Obama wins the nomination. This is exactly the kind of conversation that shouldn't happen during a primary. Supporters should be arguing for their candidate on substantive grounds (the issues, political skill, and so on) rather than having nasty personal wars between supporters.

    I don't like it when Obama supporters rehash sexist and right wing attacks on Hillary from the 90s, and I don't like it when the "cult" meme is used to describe grassroots Obama supporters who are passionate about their candidate. Both candidates have legitimate strengths and weaknesses, and I think we should be debating those instead of playing pointless games about whose supporters are worse.

    The Democratic party needs to be united no matter who comes out of this process. I really believe in Obama, but I will happily pull the lever for Clinton too. The more the primary turns into team sports or tribal warfare, the harder it will be to rally everyone's supporters around the eventual nominee.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:39:15 AM EST
    Let me ask you this question, what do you think of the BLOGS like Obsisidian Wings, TPM, Amercia Blog daily kos etc and their ceaseless attacks on Clinton?

    Have you expressed your concern about their behavior?

    I do not do Cult posts anymore. this is Jeralyn's post.

    but not because I do not believe there is a cult. I believe it strongly.

    My comment is true in every particular. But I do not write it as a post, for the resons you state.

    I suggest you go do your heavy lifting on this at the blogs I cite.

    See if you can get them to join in with you and lay off the attacks on Clinton.


    You're turning it around. (none / 0) (#108)
    by s5 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:19:56 AM EST
    What other blogs do isn't the issue. I'm talking here about the content I read here. In other forums, I talk about the content there. Post something sexist on Talkleft about Hillary Clinton and I'll attack you for it. :)

    I don't comment on DKos very often because it gets flooded with comments. It's like trying to shout in a noisy room. The other sites you listed, I either don't read or I haven't heard of ("Obsisidian Wings"?).

    As for baseless attacks on Clinton, even though she's the wrong candidate for president, I get pretty grossed out by the attacks on her. For example, I defended her pretty vigorously elsewhere when the media flipped out over her "tears" before New Hampshire (even though I was supporting Obama at the time). If anything, I think this election has illustrated that America is still a bit stupid when it comes to gender. It's a shame, really.

    That said, I don't mind if bloggers attack her ceaselessly. Blogs have no obligation to be unbiased. If many progressive bloggers believe her to be the wrong choice, then it's completely appropriate to attack her as often as possible. Where I disagree is when they attack her gender (even indirectly) or rehash right wing attacks from the 90s.


    I should say (none / 0) (#110)
    by s5 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:21:51 AM EST
    I don't mind if bloggers attack her ceaselessly, as long as it's substantive.

    Why can't (none / 0) (#152)
    by ding7777 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:25:19 AM EST
    Obama be attacked for a lack of substance?

    What does Yes, we can! mean?  Why do Obama supporters chant it?


    They Just Want to Defeat Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:54:19 AM EST
    That's all.  they don't care who.  They don't care how.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:58:56 AM EST
    I think they want to win at any cost and they want to tell the world they did it. That they killed goliath.

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:03:44 AM EST
    Pretty much.

    I'd like to think they stand for something and that something is being anti-Clinton.  Which in itself is standing for something.

    But you're right, it's just as much about power as much as anything else.

    BTD says some nasty words above.  I'll extrapolate.

    It's not a given that bloggers care about the future of America more than their own prosperity.


    Why would MSNBC (none / 0) (#127)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:51:14 AM EST
    be so anti-Clinton?...It clearly leans left, or at least Olbermann does....Perhaps, just maybe, there is a reason that many want to see the Clintons defeated...and it may have nothing to do with trying to defeat liberal ideas.

    Because It Sells (none / 0) (#134)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:07:10 AM EST
    It's good copy.

    It's good copy for MSNBC.   It's good copy for Blogs.

    At least we agree there's no difference between the two at this point.

    (btw.  Good copy doesn't always equal good leadership.   Bush jr. used to be good copy.)


    MSNBC clearly leans left? (none / 0) (#149)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:05:14 AM EST
    With Joe Scarborough? With Tucker Carlson? With Chris Matthews and his slavering hero worship of John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani? Call me cynical if I wonder if his nauseous adoration of Obama stems more from his hatred of Hillary & Bill Clinton than for any real support for Obama.

    Forgot about the frequent appearances of Anne Coulter, Tom DeLay? Leans left? Not hardly!

    Olbermann has proved that his passion for the truth only reaches as far as his leash allows. He too has shown his lack of fair and balanced reporting. His rants are now just so much hot air.


    Part of it ... (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:07:17 AM EST
    maybe all of it is due to Obama's pro Nuclear Power stance.  GE, owner of NBC, has been very vocal in their interest in siting new nuclear power plants in the US.  

    They were involved in the Nuclear Power 2010 Program, a program partially paid for by the taxpayer to find new sites for nuke plants.  Exelon, an early and large contributor to Obama, was also involved in this program.

    McCain is also a favorite of NBC, and another very vocal advocate of nuclear power.

    And if you think corporate interests have no effect on on-air personalities you've been living in a different country these last seven years.


    Maybe not this (none / 0) (#186)
    by solon on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:26:17 AM EST
    This may not be the case since Senator Clinton supported Senator Obama's legislative efforts on this. Further, according to Sam Stein at the
    Huffington Post Mark Penn, Senator Clinton's chief strategist, has connections to same the nuclear power corporation (Exelon). It appears that his consulting firm has received money from the same firm that Clinton attacked.

    There may be other reasons for the animosity between MSNBC and Senator Clinton, but this may not be the case.


    ratings (none / 0) (#154)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:32:00 AM EST
    cable is all, and only, about ratings. Just like guilt sells more than innocence, hate sells more than likeability.

    whoa (none / 0) (#73)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:46:27 AM EST
    once again, BTD, before coming to grand condemnatory conclusions about people, you might consider the possibility that you just got this one wrong.

    I considered it (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:50:48 AM EST
    and rejected it.

    If I thought I was wrong, I would then switch to the position I think was right.

    This is what is always silly about comments like yours, I assume you think you are right.

    I do not know what your thinking was on political strategy and tactics in 2003-2006. I KNOW what  for instance daily kos was thinking then.

    I know they have utterly betrayed their thinking from that period.

    Maybe we all were wrong. Maybe they have changed their mind. If they have, they should say so.


    didn't mean to be silly (none / 0) (#90)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:58:14 AM EST
    I was referring to the specific issue of yesterday and today, and my sense, from the vehemence of your comments, that the possibility that you were getting it wrong never crossed your mind.
    But hey, maybe I am wrong about that.

    That's a mighty broad brush there (none / 0) (#129)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:57:27 AM EST
    Obama's "cult" has power--and it is power that can be harnessed to do a lot of good....Hillary will never have that kind of pull....Obama's "inexperience" can be cured quite easily....

    just what we don't need (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:30:35 AM EST
    a president who requires on the job training.

    Pretty much all first termers do (none / 0) (#188)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:32:48 AM EST
    JFK, Ford, Carter, Reagan, both Bushes, and Bill Clinton. All made mistakes their first term.  

    The ones who didn't? FDR, LBJ, Nixon, possibly IKE. Nixon's resume made him more prepared than most. LBJ was the master of the senate. FDR right person, right place, right time. I sometimes feel FDR would be hated on most leftist blogs had they existed at the time- cause the perfect is the enemy of the good.

    IKE, I honestly haven't studied enough and can't say for sure where he belongs.

    As for HRC- she likely would fall into the odd category of those who did not need OJT because of who she is. Bush being a  continuation of a prior presidency did not help Bush I btw. Like Martin Van Buren, he had to follow a difficult act and his predecessors  mistakes caught up with him.


    Some of those presidents you cite for no mistakes (5.00 / 0) (#205)
    by brodie on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:44:59 AM EST
    were involved in gross deceptions of Congress and the public over huge matters like war (both LBJ and Nixon) as well as other high crimes and misdemeanors involving rigged elections and illegal use of federal agencies (Nixon, Watergate).  

    Ike's CIA overthrew, with his okay, popular democratic gov'ts in Guatemala and Iran -- both a subversion of democracy and a "mistake" which would be very costly as the years progressed.

    Making "mistakes" is therefore not the sole factor we should look at given the history of our presidents.

    As for FDR, another non-perfect president, he had it relatively easy compared to others in that he had mainly only domestic-economic matters to tackle that first term so could concentrate his energies narrowly, helped by a solid majority in Congress.  The US was also isolationist so politically it was all the easier just to focus on the economy.  

    No such narrow range of issues faced a prez like JFK who had a very large plate of dicey issues foreign and domestic to have to deal with -- few if any of which he could politically put off for long.  


    question (none / 0) (#130)
    by Turkana on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:57:34 AM EST
    was markos always opposed to campaign finance reform? it fits with his libertarian streak (some of which i agree with), but it still shocked me.

    you always become (none / 0) (#190)
    by Kathy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:52:38 AM EST
    the thing you hate the most.

    Hubris (none / 0) (#24)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:06:42 AM EST
    Hubris is inflated ego that ends in some kind of punishment or retribution, how can you have more of that? Hubris is what happens to you when you fall from the god's because of ego.

    Hubris leads to failureafter many (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:16:27 AM EST

    All politicans will fail. The question is what will they achieve before the failure.


    yeah that was my (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:21:38 AM EST
    interpretation of DCG.  Its like wow FDR did a huge list of great things, but then became to arrogant... Who cares? he got it done!

    If electing Obama means that he will have a list of achievements comparable to FDR, but at some point will become arrogant, I think most democrats will want to sign up for that.


    I will be the first on the list (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:24:05 AM EST
    If you want to know my thinking on this, please read my July 2006 post "What Obama Needs TO learn From Hoftadter, FDR and Lincoln"

    Perhaps then you will see where I am coming from.

    You'll understand why I critique Obama.


    do you have a link? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:24:45 AM EST
    Goog the phrase (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:25:47 AM EST
    "What Obama Needs To Learn"

    It is the first result.


    My response (none / 0) (#61)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:42:08 AM EST
    as has been the entire time, is that i think Obama redefines liberal ideas as the middle.

    When i read his book, i noticed he uses liberal straw men, that aren't actually the positions of most democrats, then stakes out the democratic position and calls it a compromise.

    It is triangulating except from a position way to the left of where Dems are, and calling the middle something position where the dems are.


    Your response (none / 0) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:43:30 AM EST
    as it always has been is simply unsupported by the evidence.

    The evidence is exactly the opposite.


    you think his positions (none / 0) (#71)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:44:55 AM EST
    on issues are moderate?

    No I don't (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:48:26 AM EST
    But I think he defines the less progressive position as the moderate position.

    It is quite bizarre.


    such as? (none / 0) (#105)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:13:57 AM EST
    Interesing point (none / 0) (#131)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:02:23 AM EST
    about Obama not being bold enough....He does strike me at heart as quite pragmatic and not all bent on a messianic mission......Peggy Noonan of all people remarked on this....

    BTD, your comments are actually reassuring--he is merely trying to harness public support to accomplish acheivable ends....


    we're supposed to trust (none / 0) (#155)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:33:58 AM EST
    that he's a strong liberal with the clout to get things passed in Congress if elected , he's just not playing one in the campaign so as not to scare people off? Please. If you believe that....

    In hubris (none / 0) (#40)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:23:18 AM EST
    failure is catastrophic, because you taunt the gods. I always loved hubris. I think the lack in confidence is a reflection of his lack of experience with the issues. When he is not giving a speech, his halting responses, compared to Hillary's smooth staccato answers, I think shows his weakness. Hillary's confidence comes from years of knowing programs and public policy. She is really comfortable in that world. Actually, she is the most comfortable of all the Democrats I have ever seen.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:25:14 AM EST
    that is in the Greek mythological usage.

    Hubris these days leads only to specific failures. not catastrophic killing your father and marrying your mother catastrophic failures.


    Hillary is a policy wonk (none / 0) (#132)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:06:13 AM EST
    best suited for Majority Leader.  She does not inspire most people...She is about sticking it to Republicans....and that has limited usefullness....She seems to have learned little from her fiasco with health care in 1994.

    Obama will improve in debates.....  


    I think part of (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:18:48 AM EST
    the problem with comparing him to past great leaders, is that he isn't in office.  SO you can say LBJ made xyz state of the union and followed up with xyz legislation, but Obama isn't president yet.

    So sure all his promises are haven't been satisfied, but know presidential candidates have.


    No... (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by Fredster on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:38:58 AM EST
    LBJ had a record in the Congress before being veep and then prez.  He was then able to call upon his relationships with Congressional members to help get his legislation through. Obama has no such record.  He simply hasn't been there long enough.

    precisely (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:36:39 AM EST
    thank you.

    What promises has he made? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:22:28 AM EST
    The only one I can say with certainty is his promise to "change politics."

    I KNOW that will fail.


    do you not ever actually listen to his speaches (none / 0) (#78)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:50:22 AM EST
    He has college funding in exchange for service. repeal of tax cuts for upper income.  Huge tax breaks to seniors and the poor. universal health care.  infrastructure fund.  

    Ending the war in Iraq, and engage in in aggressive diplomacy.


    His healthcare program is NOT universal (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by mexboy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:09:35 AM EST
    yes it is (none / 0) (#113)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:44:27 AM EST
    its universal access.

    Hillary promised (none / 0) (#80)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:52:00 AM EST
    the exact same things.

    Hillary cannot deliver (none / 0) (#135)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:09:39 AM EST
    Because she cannot persuade....She lets everyone know she is the smartest person in the room and it tends to be offputting....a President needs to emotionally connect with the people to build up good will for the tough times....Hillary has not done that.

    Obama cannot deliver (none / 0) (#156)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:35:34 AM EST
    because he lacks experience and clout.

    Maybe because he knows himself better. (none / 0) (#36)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:19:25 AM EST
    The U.S. govt. system is not something that one man, especially one not nearly as experienced, can change much. The govt. is peopled by all ages, all kinds of institutions bent on preserving their turfs.

    I do think he is raising people's expectation too high.  But, we shall see.


    Well (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:21:43 AM EST
    if you are right, then his Presidency will by definition fail as he will not meet expectations.

    That is crazy thinking if it is his thinking.


    I do expect that he will fail (none / 0) (#122)
    by felizarte on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:39:44 AM EST
    I do believe he doesn't YET possess the skills for that office.  And by his own admission, he doesn't expect to be that involved in the bureaucracy.  But just look at some of the Chief Executives who had the same attitude and relied mostly on advisers and handpicked bureaucrats--Reagan and George W.  

    Gender aside, Hillary has the best credentials for the nation's Chief Executive running.  There is just too much of a mess that George W. has created, the country right now needs someone who would really put in the hours and go into some detail on the major issues and have enough experience to know how the U.S. Congress and the rest of the federal govt. work to actually get things done.


    Hillary's woeful campaign (none / 0) (#140)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:23:45 AM EST
    shows some cracks in her executive armor.....

    Hillary has a first-rate linear intellect....Obama is just as bright analytically but more creative.....His campaign is quite different and is very wily.....He was down 20 points to the Grand Dame of politics and he is currently ahead, and yet people still in effect call him junior....


    he is junior (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:38:12 AM EST
    He's been in the senate for 2 years and spent one of those campaigning for President. He should have waited until 2016.

    There is a difference (none / 0) (#213)
    by ajain on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:51:56 AM EST
    Campaigning is not like running a bureaucracy or passing legislation or negotiating with foreign leaders.

    i think it is good thing to raise people's (none / 0) (#116)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:48:08 AM EST

    Will give him a broad mandate, will keep his own feet to the fire, will put pressure on the Congress - maximizes the chances of getting things done.


    Wilentz is biased Hillary supporter (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:47:06 AM EST
    It would kill him to say something nice about Obama....

    Obama has programs...Hillary supporters just do not want to acknowledge them.


    we do acknowledge his programs (none / 0) (#191)
    by Kathy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:56:53 AM EST
    because he stole some of them directly from Hillary Clinton.

    Participation (none / 0) (#23)
    by CodeNameLoonie on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:06:13 AM EST
    I found this part of the article important as well:

     "Politics is about policy, but it's also about giving people some kind of sense of participating in a common venture with their fellow citizens," Mr. Wolfe said." (Alan Wolfe, the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Political Life at Boston College)

    It's not just about giving us a sense of participating, it's about us realizing that whether change happens is fundamentally up to us.

    It's up to us to put pressure on our leaders to move a policy forward by building social consensus around it. When a majority of people believe it is intolerable that there is no universal health care then politicians will be forced to bring it into existence. Otherwise, we risk waiting, maybe a very long time, until they see it as politically favorable for them to do it. In this sense, I feel there's a difference between Clinton and Obama. Clinton seems to believe it's all up to her. Obama seems to grasp that ultimately it's up to the citizens to organize and put unrelenting pressure on whoever is in the White House (him included) to get things done.


    In my opinion, HRC assumes that (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:12:05 AM EST
    if she gets the nomination and is elected President, that means the majority of the voters are pushing for universal health care.  

    What is it that (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:15:26 AM EST
    you are fighting for when you fight for Obama?

    What do you think he will achieve?


    Given your advocacy for him, (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:43:02 AM EST
    how would you answer your question?

    The politics of hope (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:47:15 AM EST
    I hope he achieves something.

    I hope you are joking. (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:55:11 AM EST
    Driver's licenses for (none / 0) (#201)
    by CodeNameLoonie on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:28:46 AM EST
    undocumented workers. (and all that would need to happen for this  to be accomplished).

    Unlikely to be achieved by any president without there being a broad new consensus about the importance of immigration as a civil rights issue.

    An end to U.S. belligerence around the globe. Again, unlikely to happen until a majority of people in the U.S. believe the U.S. is part of a community of nations, not the world cop.

    2 examples.

    As to whether he'll achieve them (or whether Clinton would achieve comparable goals), depends more on us than on him (or her). The push has to come from below. Voting is one step, not the final one.


    The leaders have to lead (none / 0) (#59)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:41:55 AM EST
    Leaders have to educate.  They have to explain the complexity.  They have to ask for sacrifices.   The problem we have with the election process there is an assumption that the candidate has the solution all ready.  This is not true, they just have a suggestion, that has to be formed into a policy, program or law.

    People have no idea what national healthcare entails.  Whoever gets elected they will have to do a lot of education of the public about what is possible, what is not, and what sacrifices they will have to make.  


    gotta take the opportunity to agree (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:50:40 AM EST
    with Stellaaa whenever it arises.

    I sense, however, that you do not see what I see as dead obvious. That Obama is infinitly more gifted and capable in public education than Hillary.


    Great to agree (none / 0) (#181)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:02:58 AM EST
    but I don't agree that he is infinity better. They want to feel good from him, they want a miracle, not the nitty gritty. Sorry to break up so quick. I think this is where we split up, I don't buy it, I am extremely skeptical.

    Most of his speeches are (none / 0) (#198)
    by BeBe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:18:55 AM EST
    exactly like the sermons in fundamentalist megachurchs. The language is very vague so it can appeal to as many as possible and they are encouraged to read whatever they feel they need into it. It is language for the suggestible.

    Susan Jacoby (none / 0) (#50)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:32:06 AM EST
    Last night on Bill Moyers he had this Professor, Susan Jacoby, she had some truly interesting things to say. Worth a look particularly about FDRs ability to educate the public, to bring them along to the big public policies that he wanted to implement. Read or look at particularly the education of the public with the healthcare. Susan Jacoby

    What in Hillary's background (none / 0) (#142)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:30:13 AM EST
    makes you think she can educate the entire country?....She tends to follow the obvious trends...

    as I often as said (none / 0) (#53)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:36:32 AM EST
    Obama in the White House.
    Clinton as Senate Majority Leader.

    The best use of both their skill sets.

    No. (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by ajain on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:04:25 AM EST
    I disagree with that. My problem really is that I think just because there haven't been any mainstream/dominant woman leaders in the country people do not know how to envision a woman in the job. She has her own style. He has his own style. Let them be. You can't say she won't be as good/better president than him. I can see why people can compare him to JFK, but Hillary is a new thing all by herself. She is not in any old box. She will be a truly transformational figure. It will a new thing that we have not experienced yet. So, I think she would make a great president and a very inspirational one too.

    Plus I have serious foreign policy concerns with Obama.


    Um ok (none / 0) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:40:36 AM EST
    Your argument is lacking but I happen to agree with you so I want press you.

    no senate majority leader (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:44:25 AM EST
    I want Hillary on the supreme court.  She would be an awesome supreme court justice.

    i disagree (none / 0) (#77)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:49:24 AM EST
    a true waste of her talents.

    She is a specialist in policy. Not legal interpretation.

    Besides, no 60 yr olds. We need 40+ year old judges so they serve a long time.


    alright (none / 0) (#88)
    by Jgarza on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:57:52 AM EST
    if no Hillary for supreme court i guess i could settle for a 40 year old, but only if they are a liberal activist judge.

    No Offense (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:40:52 AM EST
    But that's backwards.  A Senate Majority Leader values bipartisanship more than execution.

    That's Obama.


    hillary cant do bipartisanship? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:53:12 AM EST
    I think she can. And she can knock heads together. What she can't do very well is sell policies to the country - or at least not more than half the country.

    Obama can do the vision thing, and sell the vision to the people. Hillary can do the policy details and muscle it through the Congress. Everyone seems to be putting them in those boxes, in terms of their skills, anyway.


    this is where I dissagree (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:56:54 AM EST
    Obama keeps talking vision and never tells people the truth. I think the vision talk is talking down to people. Treating them like they would not understand the complexity of policy. I watched people when Hillary talked a few times and they nod their heads in agreement, and she talks about some very complex things to a varied audience. I feel like I am treated like an idiot when Obama talks the happy talk. How will he educate the public when all they want is the happy talk?

    If you weren't a low information voter (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:03:30 AM EST
    you would understand him better.

    yikes... (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:08:32 AM EST
    I need to be of the creative class? Shucks.

    you should really try to make the effort (none / 0) (#97)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:05:29 AM EST
    Instead of this constant harangue of trash talk, try to find out what your possible candidate actually says. Since we are talking about public communication here, go to his website, the media section, then the speeches subsection, and listen to some of the strict policy speeches. Not the cheering crowd, fainting people ones, but the ones like his half-hour terrorism / foreign policy talk at the Woodrow Wilson center.

    Whatever you think of the actual details of his policy (and I think them pretty good), you will not be able to pretend that he doesnt understand, masterfully, the requisite details, nor will you be able to argue that he can't deliver a speech on these subjects that is as compelling, in its own context, as any policy speech you have seen.


    Personally (5.00 / 4) (#106)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:16:08 AM EST
    I watched his full one hour interview with the Reno Journal, side by side with Hillary. I found him really lacking in knowing what it takes to structure policy, staff up an administration, speak about programs, understand what needs to be done in a time of crisis and actually rather confused about the role of the President. I am sure it's not up anymore, but I found it disturbing the way he acted in that interview. I also find his halting speech incredibly grating. I know a lot about Community Organizers. They are fine people, don't get me wrong. But I don't think they have the qualifications to run the executive branch at the Federal level. He will be lost in a state of crisis, he will want to process, discuss and consult without being able to make a decision. I don't think he is ready for the buck stopping at his desk. Particularly because he was a community organizer and a legislator.

    could someone please tell me (5.00 / 2) (#193)
    by Kathy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:59:41 AM EST
    what, exactly, he accomplished as a community organizer?  How did he unite people?  How did he lead?  Where are the testimonials?  Where are the people he helped?

    Perhaps you were pre-disposed (none / 0) (#145)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:34:36 AM EST
    against Obama....He has plenty of detail....Obama will continue to improve....Hillary has topped out....

    People generally like listening to Obama; It doesn't seem to be the same for Hillary outside her core supporters.  


    People generally? (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:18:30 AM EST
    Well I guess I'm people and I don't like listening to him. His halting speech and his um um stalls where he appears to be searching for the right word are definitely annoying. I have gotten to the point that just the sound of his voice annoys me so much I turn the channel when ever he comes on.

    I forced myself to listen to all the debates and he didn't convince me of anything. But that is probably because I am "predisposed" to dislike him. Maybe sort of like you are "predisposed" to believe that Hillary Clinton thinks she's the smartest person in the room and is going to shove something down our throats.

    Funny that's exactly how I feel about Obama supporters trying to shove their feelings about their candidate down mine.


    You keep repeating WRONG info as if it's a given (none / 0) (#159)
    by Ellie on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:43:11 AM EST
    You find the Obama phenomenon as inspiring, ergo the "fair and balanced" truism of his rival is that she can't inspire crowds, or has topped out.

    Expecting everyone to take the foundation from which you proceed as a given to give a factesque feel to the concern trolling is fallacious reasoning.

    Sen Clinton has shown she CAN motivate a crowd, CAN mobilize activists and supporters and CAN wrangle support for issues in DC.

    The onus actually is on Obama to show he can do the same, quite apart from having a slogan that claims he can. Whipping up excitement in a crowd? He can do that bigtime.

    Pretending that the excitement or that skill will automatically carry over into wrangling support from fellow Dems or -- ::snort:: -- lockstepping, obstructionist Republicans?

    That's (pick one) knuckleheaded optimism, naive, stupid, arrogant or plain deluded. "All of the above" could count here, too.


    An SML (Senate Majority Leader) (none / 0) (#87)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 02:57:02 AM EST
    Should not be knocking heads together.  You can't knock heads around to corral votes.  

    I admit she's capable of bipartisanship, but I believe she values execution greater than bipartisanship.

    Obama I think is different in this regard.


    huh? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:00:40 AM EST
    you should read Caro's book on the best SML ever, LBJ.

    I Probably Should (none / 0) (#100)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:08:45 AM EST
    I just think the Oval Office is the realm of execution.  This is what Clinton claims to be good at.

    The Majority Leader works to build consensus.  This is what Obama claims to be good at.

    Maybe I'm wrong.  It's not absolute functions of each in any case.  


    Didn't (none / 0) (#164)
    by ding7777 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:04:29 AM EST
    LBJ have more Dmocratic Senators to work with?

    And LBJ quid pro quo of harnessing regional block voting would not be as effective in today's internet/grass roots movement


    Nope; wrong. (none / 0) (#112)
    by Fredster on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:41:37 AM EST
    I saw Obama, in one debate, state that his health care plan was NOT universal.  He stated that we could not get there from here.  Clinton's plan (if passed) does offer universal coverage.

    not single payer (none / 0) (#114)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:46:06 AM EST
    thats the one we cant get to from here.

    He offers universal access.
    Throw in Hillary's mandate, with enforcement (undefined for now), and you get closer to universal coverage.


    Hillary is making the same mistake as in 1994 (none / 0) (#137)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 05:13:46 AM EST
    She is going to ram this huge behemoth down the throats of the evil Republicans and evil corporations....It didn't work then, why should it work now?

    The lack of mandates makes Obama's proposal easier to sell.....


    Lay off the "cult" language (none / 0) (#115)
    by AdrianLesher on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:48:05 AM EST
    I agree with the posters who constantly talk about the "cult" of Obama. Obama is right that motivating people will make positive change more likely. Using "cult of personality" language usually applied to Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il or L. Ron Hubbard isn't appropriate.

    If Obama is able to use his tremendous charisma to beat McCain, and then to build a substantial democratic majority, will that be a bad thing?


    And whatever you want to say about FDR's excesses and faults, he pulled this nation through one of its toughest times and helped make the country a more equal society. His charisma was an important part of achieving this.

    and because of his charisma (none / 0) (#118)
    by Tano on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 03:52:43 AM EST
    they said he lacked substance.
    Some people can't imagine the two qualities in the same package.

    They called him, Ol' Featherduster - a lightweight who would be eaten up in DC.


    that's the title of the New York Times Article (none / 0) (#160)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 07:46:35 AM EST
    We're discussing it. I decide the topics here. If you don't like them, please read elsewhere. Don't tell me what to write about.

    you are right (none / 0) (#170)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:23:08 AM EST
    Not till the 4th paragraph does it say:

    Would we call this a cult of personality?

    Today that term is all around Barack Obama -- perhaps because there seems so little other way to explain how a first-term senator has managed to dazzle his way to front-runner in the race for the presidency, how he walks on water for so many supporters, and how the mere suggestion that he is, say, mortal, risks vehement objection, or at least exposing the skeptic as deeply uncool.

    Sorry for the mischaracterization of it as the headline. It's what stuck with me.


    WSWS: The Nation endorses Barack Obama (none / 0) (#119)
    by Andreas on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 04:21:17 AM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    In an editorial in its latest edition, dated February 25, the liberal magazine The Nation has given its endorsement to Senator Barack Obama in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. ...

    Hayes would have us believe that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were simply the product of the minds of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, although they were endorsed in advance by the principal leaders of the Democratic Party, and funded for years by bipartisan congressional votes, with the support of the two finalists for the Democratic party's presidential nomination, Obama and Clinton. ...

    A President Obama, whatever his antiwar rhetoric today, would find himself confronted by the same strategic imperatives that now face President Bush: American imperialism cannot withdraw from the Middle East and cede regional domination to Iran or allow other major powers--Russia, China, Japan, the European Union--to displace the United States.

    The principal difference between Obama and Bush is of a tactical, not a principled, character. It is not over whether the United States must maintain access to oil and control of strategic territory, but over what methods should be used. Obama advocates a greater emphasis on diplomacy, economic penetration, covert action and political subversion, in combination with military force.

    The "circularity" of hope: The Nation endorses Barack Obama
    By Patrick Martin, 15 February 2008

    Success against Hillary is not success (none / 0) (#173)
    by tkelly on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:30:26 AM EST
    Obamaniacs are deluded. He's stomping on Hillary because she cannot do what Republicans can and will do.

    She can't go after his race, his church, or his policies without losing the black electorate in the general.

    Republicans can and will remind the voters that he is an inexperienced black man with a chip on his shoulder who attends a radical black church and advocates policies that are socialist. They don't have to worry about losing the lefties and blacks, they were never going to get their votes anyway.

    So keep cheerleading your messiah all the way to November but remember that the American electorate is totally different from those that participate in Democratic primaries and caucuses.

    I'm encouraging all my Republican friends to cross over and vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary in order to keep the Democratic race as long and nasty as possible- revealing further the true character of the candidates and their spouses.

    She also does not have (none / 0) (#176)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 08:39:51 AM EST
    The corporate media to tout her every word and deed as wonderful while denigrating everything a Democratic candidate says or does. Watch all those talking heads that are oh-so fond of Obama suddenly rediscover their "love" for Senator McCain.

    It will be Anchors Aweigh for all the Switftboaters and their crews on television and in the press.


    The article is Pro-Obama (none / 0) (#184)
    by IndependantThinker on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 09:19:11 AM EST
    and is an attempt to diffuse the impact of any "cult of personality" argument that the Repubs will use in the GE.

    Relax, your precious golden boy will be elected POTUS. It was decided over 1 year ago.

    35 years ago (none / 0) (#195)
    by white n az on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:02:21 AM EST
    I would have agreed with your sentiments, like this one...
    Obama is special, no doubt about it, and that is why I believe he will be the 44th president of the United States.

    but I have seen too much and have lost some of my blind optimism...probably when RFK was shot.

    I am glad to see that the youth has found some of the same things in Obama and if he is elected, he will have the awesome burden of having to deliver more than just soaring rhetoric.

    The fact is, neither Obama nor Clinton are all that progressive. Obama has embraced many of former president Clinton's economic team (the one that gave us NAFTA) and then speaks out against NAFTA when in fact he is just as much a free trader, if not more so.

    There is a simple metric...since joining the Senate, Hillary has impressed colleagues by getting involved in a wide variety of legislation and even worked with Republicans and Barack has accomplished little, though admittedly, he hasn't been there long.

    I find it telling that he passed on a few votes like Kyl/Lieberman and the condemning of the 'Petreus' ad by MoveOn.org yet still felt justified in commenting on them nonetheless.

    As I see it, Barack's posture that he represents a new kind of politics is just utter bullcrap.

    He has not been there long is important (none / 0) (#206)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:46:03 AM EST
    I will give Hillary credit that she said she ran for Senator, not President and served out her first 6 year term. She was very upfront about it and did her time, kept her word and learned the ropes from the Senate eyes to the WH. She already knew the WH to the Senate. Thus, she has the experience needed. I was very impressed with Obama when he gave the speech in 2004 at the convention and saw him as a future leader. But, Obama had an easy election in Ill (Incumbent quits over kinky-Send in Alan Keys at the last minute)and he has had an easy short time in the Senate. I believe a Senator should vote yes or no on a vote. Voting present or just not showing up for the vote is not leading, it is weakness.

    Undecided Voters (none / 0) (#202)
    by 1jane on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:34:17 AM EST
    Most voters who've decided to support Clinton made their decision long ago. Her campaign struggles in attracting undecided voters while Obama's campaign attracts undecided voters. Catchy journalism leads with words "cult of personality" don't depict the tide of tiredness with the same ol' way of conducting business. Just as McCain surrounds himself with old White men as his followers, Clinton has baggage going back to White Water, old ties to establishment figures and her scalding partisanship. History books will reveal there was no cult. What will be revealed is a major mistrust of the players in Washington.

    They found in California (5.00 / 1) (#214)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:57:44 AM EST
    Expit polls in California showed that the majority of people who decided who to vote for ON THE LAST DAY before the election, voted for CLINTON.

    In addition, the "baggage about Whitewater" was just fluff and hot air created by the Republicans.  After many years of costly investigation, they found nothing.  Because the Republicans invent a scandal, that means it should be baggage for the Democrat?  Ohhhh, wait until the Republicans get ahold of Obama. The no-leg Rezko situation will suddenly become a mutant 18-legged octopus.

    And scalding partisanship?  Have you been to KOS recently?  That notion cuts many ways.

    So don't be sure about who people are going to break for.  Just because you can't stand Clinton, doesn't mean the whole US feels the same way.


    very true (none / 0) (#204)
    by voxvox on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:38:34 AM EST
    polarizing figures do not attract new voters.  hillary is polarizing, this cannot be denied.

    actually no (5.00 / 1) (#210)
    by white n az on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:49:38 AM EST
    and I find this evidence of how incredibly naive Obama supporters can be.

    Bill / Hillary being polarizing figures is simply the Republican meme that gets adopted by certain main stream media outlets and pundits and when democrats start repeating them, it simply demonstrates that they have no clue on the coming avalanche.


    Vox Vox (none / 0) (#207)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:48:35 AM EST
    You are limited to four comments a day. You csn come back tomorrow.

    Comments at 200, thread now closing (none / 0) (#211)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 10:50:16 AM EST
    Thanks for your thoughts.