Politics As Usual: Obama Refusing To Debate Clinton

By Big Tent Democrat

Let me get this out of the way first - given Hillary Clinton's money woes, Barack Obama would be crazy to agree to once a week debates with Hillary Clinton. He is coldly and remorselessly pressing his money advantage by NOT debating her. I would think less of him if he did agree to debate once a week.

But this does underscore a fact that is always glossed over if not simply falsely spoken about - Barack Obama is a run of the mill politician in his tactics. There is no "new" politics here. Even worse, his "unity schtick" is not good for the Democratic Party and Dem values. It may be good for the Party of Obama, but that remains to be seen. But one thing is clear, this is politics as usual:

When asked whether he would accept the invitation from Mrs. Clinton to attend four more debates in the coming weeks, he laughed. I dont think anybody is clamoring for more debates, he said. Weve had 18 debates so far. I think weve had 10 more than weve had in the last Democratic contest.

That is a pol being a pol. And good for Obama. But please, no more about how he is transcending the usual politics. There has been one one on one debate. Just one. And it was a terrific debate. As a citizen, I say more please. As a Democrat I say more please. As an admirer of Abraham Lincoln, I say more please. But Barack Obama is a pol, doing what is best for his campaign. As he should. Being a pol is what he is supposed to do.

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    The real reason is that the more people see him (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Angel on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:32:13 AM EST
    on the debate stage the less they like him.  He comes up short on the issues and his temper leaks out.  Maybe HRC can make hay out of this, but she will need the MSM to do so.

    Maybe . . . (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by IndependantThinker on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:06:02 AM EST
    But this isn't a game, and I for one, am tired of the Obama folks thinking like it is. Don't they realize how much damage Obama could do to the nation in 4 years.

    After witnessing the gridlock (none / 0) (#126)
    by halstoon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 02:58:03 PM EST
    created by the first Clinton administration, what makes you think HRC would be any different?? If anything, it'll be worse b/c they are now a known entity. You've seen this movie before, and yet you want to watch it again?

    I'll take my chances with the new blood.


    Great strategy (none / 0) (#140)
    by delandjim on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 06:09:51 PM EST
    This is very good strategy on Clinton's part. Either way Obama loses, she bests him in debates and if he refuses he looks like he can't defend his positions.  

    I applaud the Clinton campaign.


    I like his excuse.. (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:48:55 AM EST
    He said "I want to spend time with voters".

    Uhm, yeah, because holding a campaign rally for a few thousand people is a better way to reach voters than having a debate watched by millions. Right.

    Of course he won't agree to more debates, because it's tactically not good for him to do so. But please, drop the "new politics" crap.

    The new politics (none / 0) (#127)
    by halstoon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:01:16 PM EST
    does not mean that you do the exact opposite of what has been done before, or what would be expected of a professional politician at every turn.

    The new politics is his calling on people to come together, to create a movement, and demand that our collective voice be heard. Hillary's tactic is to ask us to trust her, that she will--once elected--take care of the heavy lifting. You saw what happened when we trusted the Clintons before. You want more of the same, she's your woman.

    If you really want to change our political environment, Obama is the man...


    Wonder if they'd let Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:54:26 AM EST
    debate alone!  Just answer questions from folks.  It's not her fault that he won't join her if invited.

    Yeah, he's afraid of letting the world see what a lightweight he is.

    Great idea. She could answer the (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:20:17 AM EST
    questions for both of them.  

    Nevermind that she would do the same (none / 0) (#129)
    by halstoon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:04:28 PM EST
    if she could raise the same amount of money.

    Hillary is not itching to debate; she needs the free publicity.

    If you want honesty from the Obama camp, the HRC camp should come with the same...


    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by MO Blue on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:04:07 AM EST
    He is a politician doing what any politician would do. Nothing more and nothing less.

    Personally, I would like to see more debates, but I understand why Obama would be foolish to agree to them.

    Debates (none / 0) (#99)
    by piezo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:20:32 AM EST
    Yeah you can see why he won't agree because he loses every debate. Maybe he'll just refuse to debate McCain too because it's just so unfair to be confronted on the issues. But hey, he's tough, he's from Chicago.

    I Agree That Hillary Does Better In The Debates (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by MO Blue on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:07:36 PM EST
    It is just that pols do not voluntarily agree to do things that benefit the other candidate. None of them do. Not Obama and not Clinton.

    While I may wish that pols didn't always act like pols, I have to accept reality and know that is just the nature of the beast.

    I, like BTD, just wish that it was universally understood that Obama is just a pol doing what pols do. I do not like people viewing candidates as heros rather than politicians. It is harder to view a hero objectively and hold him/her accountable than it is a politician. I have the same view no matter who is the candidate under discussion.


    Big Tent's omission (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:12:40 AM EST
    There is a big reason why Clinton wants to debate. Her campaign is broke and cannot match Obama's money right now. Debates are free publicity.

    Further, Clinton "accepted an offer" from FOX, where the public will be guaranteed vapid questioning about meaningless things. Maybe they can ask Obama if he salutes the flag.

    Clinton is in a weak position now, something that Big T and others couldn't imagine a few weeks ago. To impose your definition of how Obama should act to help the flailing Clinton campaign as some test of his themes of hope and unity is laughable.

    Clinton will have to look for help with the merged megatelecoms her husband helped make a decade back to even out the publicity.

    I ask again (none / 0) (#68)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:29:25 AM EST
    Do people NOT read the posts before commenting?

    No, apparently they do not. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:31:30 AM EST
    "Some people," please. (none / 0) (#90)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:01:54 AM EST
    Isn't this trolling? (none / 0) (#122)
    by IndependantThinker on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:45:58 PM EST
    Clinton has raised about 5M (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by dk on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:22:40 AM EST
    Since Tuesday and shows no sign of slowing down. I think she'll be ok money-wise.

    I think Obama is refusing the debates because he thinks that they would distract from the caucus wins he will rack up in the next week or two. I agree it is a logical political move, but if he is only doing it because of the money situation I think he is misreading things.

    Obama (none / 0) (#100)
    by Josey on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:20:55 AM EST
    has always performed better selling "hope" than confronted with his voting record that contradicts his rhetoric.
    Bill Clinton is right - Obama is a fairy tale on Iraq.

    Re: (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Steve M on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:25:03 AM EST
    One of my favorite things about BTD is that he refuses to play the faux outrage game.

    steve, i totally agree. it is a relief to come to (none / 0) (#75)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:32:48 AM EST
    a blog where a blogger like btd is leading the way with honest comments and tries to see both sides of the picture. i can't and won't return to the blogs that are so biased.

    This morning I realized (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by blogtopus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:35:29 AM EST
    I still have faith that Hillary will pull a victory. Her money problem is disappearing fast, and the flow may continue to huge amounts. People may have had to be reminded that campaigns cost money.

    Obama has lost his momentum, and has acquired a negative direction at least temporarily. Hillary can easily afford to go to the states that she deems most strategically valuable. As we've seen with Super Tuesday - winning the most states isn't necesssarily the most important thing.

    The fact that he is refusing to debate is going to resonate with a lot of people in the upcoming states. And she can hammer him with that for as long as he refuses to do so; most people don't keep up with what the candidates decided as per Fox earlier, just us internet junkies. They'll just know that Obama is 'too busy' to debate Hillary, or 'thinks that's enough', or 'sees a desperate move', and all of those sound like excuses for not facing your enemy.

    Shrewd it may be, but shrewd for which crowd? Shrewd for us, who know more of the details, but not for the masses at large. Think of how much Fox would like to have Hillary and Obama debate on their network. Think how they'll approach Obama's reticence to join in. It's another win-win move by Hillary, who seems to be a few moves ahead of the rest of us.

    Yes, the Clintons are excellent (none / 0) (#130)
    by halstoon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:10:33 PM EST
    at this kind of triangulation. Nobody ever accused them of being ineffective at politics. They're brilliant people! But at the end of the day they represent what a lot of us want to get away from it, even if BO only offers a better looking "hope" of what may be a mirage outcome.

    If she beat him 2-1 in donations last month, would she be dying to debate on Fox??

    People know that the Clintons place honesty way way down on their priority list. Power is #1, and that's why Obama has the support he does.


    Absolutely this is about Party Obama (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Salt on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:05:50 PM EST
    .......but me thinks the DNC is perpetuating this approach and Kennedy is not without blame

    The vote Dem for a Day,
    The RR stuff,
    The Heath Care Adds Harry and Louise,
    The white man Bill Clinton is mean to the black man group grudge launch two sides have been chosen,
    The Obama attack false attack ad that Hillary will say or do anything to be elected new RNC bot bite,
    Michelle Obama not sure she can vote for Hillary tone you see,
    The vulnerabilities from the Party from the Rezko home purchase and indictment pending trial.....
    The threat of non support by Obama if Obama is not chosen,
    The disfranchisement of the more diverse demographics in Fla and Mich Voters and elevation of SC.

    You want to talk non support??? (none / 0) (#112)
    by Reader on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:15:51 PM EST
    Go over to Taylor Marsh's site and read those comments. Most of them say they will refuse to support Obama if he wins the nomination, and some have said that they will vote for McCain. So let's not just attack Obama supporters for that, ok? It goes both ways.

    That's supporters talking (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by echinopsia on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:52:37 PM EST
    Not the candidate or his spouse.

    Not the same thing. And they weren't the first to make this threat - Obama was.

    I really shouldn't have to point this out.


    Speaking of politics as usual.... (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by BrianS on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:27:52 PM EST
    Could this website possibly be any more biased against Barack Obama? Are you guys working for Hillary's campaign? Calling his supporters "a cult", playing up only Hillary's contributions while ignoring Obama's superior numbers, criticizing him for not wanting yet ANOTHER debate (how many times do we need the same answers to the same exact questions??), claiming certain networks have an Obama "bias", trying to say he failed on Super Tuesday, etc.

    I don't even understand your argument that not debating for the millionth time is a tactic to press his cash advantage. How is that the case? Have debates somehow become a way to raise large amounts of money? What are you basing that on???

    I also love the irony of seeing a screen name of "Big Tent Democrat" attacking Obama for trying to appeal to more people. Newsflash: we won't get any progressive policies through government if we refuse to work with Republicans, or draw support from Independents. Are you suggesting Obama should isolate and alienate large groups of Americans? Haven't we seen how that works under Bush and the lap dog Republicans???

    These kind of posts just push me to support Obama even more.

    Wadda ya mean? (none / 0) (#115)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:37:49 PM EST
    BTD's already told us numerous times that he isnt anti-Obama.

    And dont even start with the that bit about how the closer to the Right you are the more disengenuous you are.


    Big Tent has said (none / 0) (#116)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:46:12 PM EST
    he tepidly supports Obama. I have always expressed my preference for Hillary or Edwards. Bloggers aren't entitled to opinions? This website isn't biased against Obama. It will support him if he's nominated, as I've said 100 times. He's not my first choice. If you don't like that, please read another blog.

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#118)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:55:07 PM EST
    Do you really believe Hillary can carry swing states against someone like McCain?

    Im not anywhere near as concerned about lack of substance as I am about electability. Can you think of anyone else who has had a more concerted, prolonged demonization campaign waged against them as Hillary?


    She Absolutely Can (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by BDB on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:32:40 PM EST
    In fact, I'd say she's more likely to carry swing states than Obama.  McCain and Obama have the same narrative - straight talkers who can reach across the aisle, mavericks who want to change Washington.  Now, I might think in McCain's case that's crap, but that's what a lot of people, including democrats think about him.  But in some ways McCain has much bigger successes in this area to tout - McCain/Feingold, for example.  There's nothing that makes Obama particularly special or unique against McCain.  

    Also, while I don't think hispanics are hostile to Obama, they haven't really warmed to him either.  That wouldn't matter if Romney were the nominee.  I think it's a potential problem if McCain is.  Clinton proved in California that she can not only win a lot of hispanic voters, she can bring them to the polls.   Hispanics typically make up 12-15% of democratic primary voters in California.  Tuesday they made up almost 30%.  They didn't come out because of some vague racial animus towards Obama, they came out FOR Clinton.  And in a lot of purple states, particularly out west, the ability to turn out hispanic support can make a huge difference in terms of our ability to turn it Blue.

    Clinton is never going to win Georgia or Alabama or Idaho or Utah, but neither is Obama.  Clinton does have very strong support in Florida and Michigan, two key states for Dems.  And don't tell me about how Obama didn't campaign there so we don't know how he'd do.  He didn't campaign there so he hasn't done anything to build a base of support (dumbest thing ever was stripping Florida and Michigan of its delegates).  We saw in Florida a record number of Dems came out even without campaigning to vote and they supported Clinton.  So she's naturally stronger there.

    And I believe she'd turn Arkansas blue and solidify other purplish states because polls show she better unites the democratic base.  The most recent one I read she only lost 9% of Dems to McCain.  Obama lost 18%.  Right now he makes it up with independents and Republicans, but they are going to be harder for him to hold onto than Democrats once the GOP machine kicks in.

    I'd feel a lot better about Obama's ability to withstand McCain and the GOP if he'd ever run a tough race against a Republican.  The primary season has been a cakewalk for him in terms of attacks.  Clinton hasn't run negative television ads.  The press hasn't even really tried to rough him up.  That will change and I have no idea how he will react.  To date, I've been unimpressed with his ability to play defense on the rare occasions when he's been pressed.  

    Plus, what I fear most about Obama is that he hasn't defined "change."  Sure, he has policy papers, but most voters don't read those.  They listen to the rhetoric.  Obama's is all about fixing D.C. and "change".  That's working for him in the primary because it allows folks to project onto him what they want to believe, making him popular with independents and Republicans.  But if he doesn't define change, then the GOP will define it for him.  Just as they defined Al Gore and John Kerry.  

    People think Obama benefits from being new, I think that won't last.  Whatever else can be said about Hillary Clinton, people know her.  Yes, she's polarizing, but polls show she's not so polarizing she can't win.  And her numbers aren't likely to get worse because folks have already decided about her.  In fact, there's some evidence that the more she campaigns, the better her numbers get.  She gains by simply not being the evil witch the rightwing claims.  

    Obama has relatively low negatives not because people know and love him, but because they don't know him.  By the time he gets to the election, he's going to be polarizing, too, only we don't know how bad his numbers will be.  They could end up worse than Clinton's.  Even more, minor issues will look worse on a candidate that the pundits have basically hailed as the second coming.  What would be chalked up as politics in any other candidate will look like hypocrisy on Obama.

    Finally, the way things are moving it appears that the economy will be the number one issue for the GE.  That is Clinton's biggest strength and McCain's biggest weakness. Obama can talk about Iraq, and it's certainly important, but that probably isn't going to be the issue that swings independent voters.  


    Thanks, and I will.... (none / 0) (#128)
    by BrianS on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:02:12 PM EST
    ...find another blog (real smart move driving fellow Democrats away). I'd rather not read one anti-Obama post after another from such a blatantly biased website.

    Supporting Hillary is fine (I like her as well), but what I take issue with is bashing Obama at every chance you get. Just since my last post, this blog put up another post about the "media" having "unabashed support" for Obama. It's one anti-Obama diatribe after another, and is bordering on obsessive at this point. It's like you find any possible way to spin every story into an attack on him. You criticize the media over "bias" while displaying yours in every post.

    The fact is, both candidates are running a Presidential campaign. I think it's wise to try to get Independents and cross-overs to our side. It does not make Obama disingenuous at all. Look at his voting record. His progressive credentials are extremely solid. It's smart to try to run as a "big umbrella" candidate in a national election. If we don't win the Presidency back, we won't be able to implement any of the progressive changes our nation needs so desperately.


    Sheesh (none / 0) (#136)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:37:50 PM EST
    What a cry baby.

    Uh no, we drove him away.


    Crybaby??? (none / 0) (#147)
    by BrianS on Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 09:00:26 PM EST
    Look in the mirror. This whole blog has turned into one big whine session about Obama.

    I doubt you guys are even liberals at all. You were a corporate lawyer for Clorox, a company destroying our environment, and Jeralyn was a lawyer for murdering right-wing terrorist Timothy McVeigh. I hope you're both proud of your "work".

    Now, if you don't mind, I'll go back to my "cult worship" of Barack Obama, an actual liberal.


    just because he is a pol doesn't mean he (2.66 / 3) (#2)
    by georgeg1011 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:32:36 AM EST
    is stupid.  The question to ask yourself, is would you if you were in his position.  And don't give me what's best for the people crap.  You wouldn't...and neither should he.  They should have 1 or 2 more debates from now until March 4th...but really why not get out and meet the people...oh I forgot, she doesn't have any money....easier to sit in a debate format than to spend money campaigning.  Obama has a tactical advantage and he is exploiting it.  That just being smart.  

    Ehm. (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:37:48 AM EST
    Yes, he's doing what's best for his chances to win. As he has done all along, very much according to the standard politics-as-usual playbook.

    And there's nothing wrong with that.

    What's wrong is doing that, while claiming that you represent a new kind of politics.


    And a new mystifying criteria emerges (none / 0) (#20)
    by byteb on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:54:52 AM EST
    Mystifying? (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:06:19 AM EST
    Who said this:

    We began this campaign one year ago on the steps of the old statehouse in Springfield. At the time, we made a bet on the American people. That bet was simple - we weren't going to change anything by relying on the same Washington games; instead, we were betting on the American people's hunger for change, and your ability to make change happen from the bottom-up.

    or this:

    It is time for a new generation of leadership, because the old politics just won't do. I am running for President - right now - because I have met Americans all across this country who cannot afford to wait another day for change.

    Or this:

    If you choose change, you will have a nominee who doesn't just tell people what they want to hear. Poll-tested positions and calculated answers might be how Washington confronts challenges, but it's not how you overcome them; it's not how you inspire our nation to come together behind a common purpose; and it's not what America needs right now.

    ..while actually spending considerably more on polling than the Clinton campaign?

    Or this, during the Kennedy endorsement:

    Ted Kennedy stands apart from the prevailing wisdom in Washington that has reduced politics to a game of tactics and transactions, in which no principle is beyond sacrifice. And his public life is a testimony to what can be achieved when you focus on lifting our country up, rather than tearing political opponents down.

    Or this:

    We are up against the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election. We know that this is exactly what's wrong with our politics; this is why people don't believe what their leaders say anymore; this is why they tune out. And this election is our chance to give the American people a reason to believe again.

    All this from a guy who rejects a chance to talk directly to millions of voters because it is simply not to his tactical advantage.

    He set himself a higher standard by saying the things that I quoted. Of course, he can't live up to those standards, because he's just another politician. And you need to be a shrewd politician to win. Just don't tell me that you're different in that respect.


    Obama is a politician. A very good one at that. (none / 0) (#86)
    by byteb on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:48:41 AM EST
    I don't know too many ppl who don't 'get'that.I don't remember Obama campaigning on a theme of forsaking politics or forsaking the use of political tactics. He does campaign on not practicing unprincipled political tactics or running a down and dirty campaign based on negatives and mud slinging..a la Bush v Gore, Bush v Kerry, Bush v McCain. I think he's done that. You might disagree. Fine. But being a politician, running for office, holding office is not an automatic negative nor is making tactical decisions when you are running for office whether to hold another debate or not, a sign of somekind of blemish. Nor does it mean that your campaign theme of building consensus from the ground up or trying to run a campaign not based on a Rove playing-to-your-base-red-stat-strategy hypocritical. Sometimes I get the feeling after reading such critiques that Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#95)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:11:54 AM EST
    I think the problem we're running into here are with words or phrases that mean different things to different people.

    "Change" and "new politics" obviously mean different things to different people. For you, the difference you see in Obama is that you see him as a consensus builder, and that's what you think he means when he talks about a new kind of politics.

    However, what I am seeing is a politician who is using every tool available (including negative ones), and has run a good campaign; but certainly not a campaign that has used negative tools any less than other campaigns. So to me, that does not represent a new kind of politics.


    Okay so... (none / 0) (#37)
    by sterno on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:13:49 AM EST
    So exactly how many debates does he have to have before he's considered to be supporting a "new kind of politics?"  3?  4?  12?  He's agreeing to at least one more.  Is that not enough?

    He recognizes that his style is better suited to in person appearances and meeting voters one on one.  So he wants to play to that strength.  Can you blame him?  Is that dirty politics?  Is that somehow unfair?  I just don't see how you can read it that way.

    I mean if you look at what Obama's been saying he's never been a fan of debates.  When the early schedule was turning into an endless series of debates, he was the first one to say, "nah, I've got better things to do."  So it's not like he's just suddenly going, "well now that I'm the front runner, screw that business."  He's never liked debates.


    And where he doesn't have to (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:14:42 AM EST
    face his controversial issues...where he smiles and says hi and the loyal follower swoons.



    What controversey? (none / 0) (#101)
    by sterno on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:27:01 AM EST
    What controversial issues?  I'm not saying there aren't any, I'm just curious as to what you think he's avoiding considering that he and Hillary are like 95% in agreement on the issues.

    obama is no good at debates. in comparison (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:19:27 AM EST
    to hilly for sure! also he has to put out on the table more of his policies and explain them. duh! we get to see more of the real obama versus the rehearshed (written by others) speeches he gives.

    so why more debates? of course, that answers it self. to see the real obama and not some film that says nothing about the real person.


    His policies (none / 0) (#102)
    by sterno on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:29:53 AM EST
    How many debates do you demand?  I mean are we really discovering anything new about the candidates now?  It doesn't seem that way to me.  I mean the California debate was practically a love fest between the two candidates.  Both taking their positions but saying how complex the issues are and that they respectfully disagree on a few.

    the majority of the debates was very helpful. (none / 0) (#106)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:02:06 PM EST
    maybe you don't need them. but judging from the comments i see here and in the media, more debates are a must.

    This isn't about me (none / 0) (#125)
    by sterno on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:58:02 PM EST
    I think another 1 or 2 debates would be plenty.  He's being attacked for not being willing to debate but he said he'd do at least one more.  So how many does he have to agree to to be considered  acceptable?

    i don't have a number except to say (none / 0) (#141)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 06:12:51 PM EST
    one more is not enough.

    Did you read my post? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:37:21 AM EST
    It seems you did not.

    Yes but... (none / 0) (#29)
    by sterno on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:06:07 AM EST
    Did you read the article:

    He said he would agree to at least one debate, but noted, "It's very important for me to spend time with voters."

    So he's not agreeing to 4, but said he would do at least one debate.  So what's the big problem?  


    Because he is a pol.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:41:46 AM EST
    he is playing games.  It may be smart politics, but it's horrible leadership.  And cowardly.

    Sun god forbid a candidate have too many debates, the public might finally figure out what a fraud you are.  I guess Clinton is more confident in her spinning and wool-pulling capabilities than Obama.


    wool spinning? that is your personal opinion (none / 0) (#50)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:20:19 AM EST
    and not shared by me and others on here. thanks

    Goes without saying..... (none / 0) (#76)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:34:30 AM EST
    I claim to speak for no one but myself....all 4 major candidates are professional wool-pullers.

    so have to debates where they challenge (none / 0) (#79)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:37:09 AM EST
    each other in person and in some cases the truth and real picture comes out. you disagree with that?

    See above..... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:54:27 AM EST
    I'm calling Obama a piker for refusing to debate.  Any candidate who would weasel out of an opportunity to present their views to the people is a coward in my book.  A good candidate is willing to debate anytime anywhere.

    You took my comment that Clinton must be more confident in her ability to pull the wool over our eyes than Obama and ran with it. I'm not supporting either of these candidates, for the record.


    kdog, thanks for updating me. (none / 0) (#98)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:18:13 AM EST
    before i come on talk left again, i'll make sure i have two cups of coffee and not one.

    No worries dude..... (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:05:22 PM EST
    you've got a long way to go before you catch up with me in the foot in mouth dept. here at TL....I've been doing it for years:)

    two points (none / 0) (#5)
    by NJDem on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:38:24 AM EST
    1. the last two series of debates (on CNN) were the most watched ever.  So, unlike what BO says, the people do want to see more debates.  

    2. remember how great we all felt as Democrats after the last HRC/BO debate?  I think the party needs that sense of unity (assuming it stays as civil and is about the issues).

    we don't need unity at the expense of truth. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:37:46 AM EST
    Sure (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:40:18 AM EST
    But Obama would be crazy to agree to these debates.

    As a typically shrewd pol, he will avoid doing that.

    And frankly you would not want him as the nominee if he did anything else.


    Yep.... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:43:27 AM EST
    we need "shrewd pols" in charge, not leaders confident in their ideas and abilities.

    Pfft (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:51:25 AM EST
    Good leaders in the political world are SHREWD pols. They can't lead anywhere if they do not understand politics.

    That is why this Unity Schtick is so galling to me. It is a political dead end for the Democratic Party, if possibly very favorable to the Party of Obama.


    The awful leaders.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:01:04 AM EST
    are shrewd too.

    I'm waiting for a leader who can lead without playing shrewd games...now wouldn't that be a change.


    Good point re shrewdness (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:18:58 AM EST
    either way.  But don't hold your breath waiting for a leader without shrewdness; they have to be that way.  They just don't have to be cynical manipulators with no faith in human nature.

    For Him it's Shrewndness - For Her it's Shrewness (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by cdalygo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:32:16 AM EST
    Can you imagine the outcry if roles were reversed and she refused to debate?

    As for the idea it makes look good, forget it. A lot of folks -- who don't live on the net - are starting to focus on campaigns. All this does is point up his immaturity and fear.


    I suspect if Obama campaign's (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:16:48 AM EST
    internal polling discovers people fault Obama for not agreeing to the debates, his laughing refusal will change to courteous assent.  

    hahaha (none / 0) (#48)
    by blogtopus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:20:11 AM EST
    I'm thinking that will be the case. Out of courtesy.

    courtesy? that would be helpful since (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:22:28 AM EST
    at times courtesy is not the obama way. (personal opinion here)

    Totally Agree (none / 0) (#103)
    by BDB on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:46:01 AM EST
    Right now it's not in Obama's interest to agree to debates.  It may never be.

    But as these debates things go, I suspect the next step is for the Clinton campaign to denounce his unwillingness to engage in debates.  I fully expect it to go something like:

       "While it's true that there have been a lot of democratic debates, there has only been one that was just the two of us.  I think hearing from both of us - where we agree, where we disagree - is critical to voters making a decision in this election.  But I'm not surprised Senator Obama would rather give a speech than participate in a meaningful debate where he might have to explain why he's chosen to leave millions of Americans out of his healthcare plan."


       "The Obama surge leading up to Super Tuesday ended once voters got a chance to see him and Senator Clinton debate their policy differences in Los Angeles.  So we can't blame him for not wanting to lose another debate to her."

    Now, will the folks cheering Obama's decision as the smart political move also cheer the Clinton's campaign calling him on it (which is her smart political move)?  Not bloody likely (except for those like BTD who haven't drank the Obama Kool-Aid).


    I agree (none / 0) (#9)
    by Lora on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:46:59 AM EST
    You said it.

    Run of the mill? (none / 0) (#10)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:47:35 AM EST
    I don't think so.  He's a politician, sure (not the Messiah some people imagine) but he's a damn good politician -- possibly the best of his generation.

    oh and just why is the best of a generation? (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:24:37 AM EST
    you see i don't agree! i don't see where he has done much in the way of legislation or really taking a strong stand like hagel or others to get out of iraq. he has taken no risks. he won the race for senator because the gop imploded.

    if you mean making good speeches? that's fine but it is not the earmark of a leader. others have been fine speakers and some live in hollywood. so in my mind that doesn't fly.


    Nobody said leader. . . (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:01:15 PM EST
    we are all talking about politician.  He's a politician.  He's good at winning campaigns.

    winning campaigns? i have some reservations (none / 0) (#144)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 08:37:29 PM EST
    about that. when obama ran for his senate seat, the repubs imploded. my cat could beat keyes!

    It's not like.. (none / 0) (#139)
    by Reader on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 04:50:26 PM EST
    ...Hillary was running a tough race for the Senate herself! I mean, we ARE talking about the NYGOP. Let's be honest here.

    actually the first time hillary ran for (none / 0) (#142)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 06:37:01 PM EST
    the senate seat, she had to prove herself in a number of areas of new york state that are very republican. rudy imploded, but at one time he did pose a threat to her campaign. she plodded on in a very relentless manner to get acquainted and get herself elected.

    TACTICS (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:49:49 AM EST
    Read that sentence again.

    Indeed. . . (none / 0) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:54:20 AM EST
    you already made that distinction.

    I need to read tactically, rather than strategically.


    Hm.. (none / 0) (#14)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    How do you judge a politician? What are the criteria?

    In other words, what is he "damn good" at, and better than others?


    0 to national contender. . . (none / 0) (#16)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:53:30 AM EST
    in twelve months.  That's a good politician.

    I suppose (none / 0) (#32)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:11:04 AM EST
    Though I have a hard time using just getting elected as a yardstick. I mean, Bush is a very good politician if you judge it that way.

    It's really the only. . . (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:27:04 AM EST
    yardstick to judge people on as politicians.  They're "job" is to get, and stay, elected.  Obama -- notwithstanding that he's caught (or made) some good luck -- is a master politician.

    You nailed it..... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:15:51 AM EST
    they've all been shrewd since Truman, and they all have sucked to varying degrees.  Good politicians make lousy leaders.

    Maybe we don't want or need shrewd...we need upfront, we need honest, we need anti-shrewd, we need anti-manipulative.


    maybe a clone of truman would do. (none / 0) (#145)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 08:38:54 PM EST
    i happen to be a fan of truman!

    No, national contender since 2004 (none / 0) (#42)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:16:32 AM EST
    and the keynote speech at the Dem convention -- in John Kerry's kingmaking for Obama to be a national contender.

    So because he's wise enough not (none / 0) (#15)
    by byteb on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:51:50 AM EST
    to want to debate Hillary and play her game, this means his political message of reaching out to moderate Republicans and independents is bogus?

    Where did I write that? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:55:46 AM EST
    Is it that Obama supporters WON'T read or can't read?

    I am assuming the worst on this one - you are intentionally misunderstanding me.

    Please either stop that or find a site where that is smiled upon.

    What I wrote is obvious to anyone - he is playing a political game on these debates. HIS game, in your parlance.

    That is independent of my longstanding critique of the Unity Schtick, which is NOT about reaching out to Independent voters, it is the "pox upon Dems and Republicans" High Broderism - two different things.

    If this is what you plan to do today at Talk LEft, I would prefer you head to another site.


    yup, his message in my mind is bogus! (none / 0) (#61)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:26:18 AM EST
    it is politics of the worse kind.

    It's a very good call by Obama (none / 0) (#17)
    by kmblue on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:54:13 AM EST
    Let's see how Senator Clinton responds, or if
    she responds at all.
    I'm not sure what her best response would be.
    My first instinct is to say attacking him for
    not debating would be a bad move.

    and why is asking obama the reason for (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:39:54 AM EST
    his refusal to debate a "bad" thing? oh, his supporters will be offended? hmm, they are offended no matter what she does.

    Time Has Passed for That (none / 0) (#81)
    by cdalygo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:39:41 AM EST
    Any comment from the Clinton campaign or its supporters is viewed as an attack by the Obama people. At this point, a compliment is viewed as an attack.

    Let her go for it. She needs to get her message out somehow.

    Besides she's great on her feet. Apparently she greeted Teddy with a big laugh the other day about how she was sure glad not to get his endorsement. Teddy just laughed it off because it was funny. Americans actually like that . .


    Once again (none / 0) (#22)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:56:08 AM EST
    Imagine if Clinton did this. Imagine if Clinton had the money advantage.

    Re: (5.00 / 6) (#57)
    by Steve M on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:23:19 AM EST
    But we already know what Hillary would do in this situation.  When she was way ahead, she agreed to debate after debate after debate.

    she is well on her way to having the money (none / 0) (#83)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:41:02 AM EST
    siuation well in hand. so then what is obama's big advantage? the answer is nothing.

    Well, when her last opponent asked for a debate.. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Reader on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:10:00 PM EST
    ...she suggested that they wait and 'see how the campaign develops', and basically refused the debate, as Ben Smith points out over at Politico.
    So BDT is right, Obama is not doing anything that other politicians wouldn't do. Especially his rival.

    He did say... (none / 0) (#23)
    by mike in dc on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:58:04 AM EST
    he'd probably agree to one debate, which i'm assuming is the end of February one already arranged with CNN.  

    I could see also maybe one debate at the beginning of April, if this thing is still going.

    Past Pennsylvania, I don't see a point in further debating.  There's only a handful of contests left after that, and it won't have much impact.

    Ditto for national polling--why are we still doing national polling, when 28 states have already voted?  Makes no sense.

    Will there be a "national tracking poll" after 2/19 and before 3/4?  With 36 states having already voted, what would be the point?  After 3/4, it'll be 40 states.  national polling of the primary contests is pretty much irrelevant at this point.  It possibly gives an insight into whether Democrats are coalescing behind one candidate, but that's about it.

    national tracking polls may influence (none / 0) (#55)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:22:29 AM EST
    people who haven't yet had the opportunity to vote in a primary/caucus.  Kind of like how exit polls influence voters on the west coast; shall I bother to vote or is it all wrapped up?

    let me tell you what people of all stations (none / 0) (#66)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:28:00 AM EST
    and groups are saying in texas. we want debates here. we don't want another speech. i was listening yesterday to various shows. we want our town halls and debates. and we have over 200 delegates.

    He'll do as few as possible (none / 0) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:32:15 AM EST
    If he could, he would do none.

    Obama Money (none / 0) (#24)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:59:12 AM EST
    When this is over, he will have to get tents, with all the money, to put all the "inspired" for group therapy when they start feeling the "truth", he is a politician not "change agent" "preacher" "philosopher' etc, pick whatever you want.

    We know he's a politician (none / 0) (#33)
    by independent voter on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:11:04 AM EST
    Or at least the people I speak with about him do, and that is exactly what we want him to be. How can he possibly get anything done in this world without being politically smart?
    Here is why he is not politics as usual: He tells his supporters that they are the agents of change. After going on 8 years of an administration that does not care what the people want, and in my opinion , does not value any of us, that is a wonderful and resounding message.
    I do not hear this from Clinton's camp. I hear how SHE will enact change, and honestly, it scares me after the first go around on health care.

    Go over to DailyKos (none / 0) (#38)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:14:01 AM EST
    THEY don't know he's a politician.  There, he's God...which is what scared me right to Clinton.

    I am not trying to be contrary (none / 0) (#78)
    by independent voter on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:35:54 AM EST
    but I truly do not care what DailyKos thinks, it does not influence me.
    I feel that some of the comments here are a bit dismissive of the fact that Barack Obama has been able to come from virtually no where and touch people's hearts in the way he does. I clearly see he does not have that effect on you, but many, many people are giving him $10, $15, and memorably, $3.01. That says something important about this candidate. The drinking the KoolAid thing is definitely getting a little old. We are not all young, starry eyed kids.

    Most appealing part of his message (none / 0) (#44)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:18:30 AM EST
    His focus on what we must do is, to me, the most appealing part of his message.  It's not enough to win me over, but I agree it is powerful.  People want to be asked to contribute to society.  (They should just do it anyway, but the fact is that they like to be asked.)  I recall a lot of criticism after 9/11 that Bush didn't ask us to do anything other than shop.  Obama is asking, and many people respond well to that.

    Yes but (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:15:25 AM EST
    It seems that his request is to help him be president, I don't know what he is asking people to do after that. When it comes for example to mandates, he says, no you don't have to do it. Where is the sacrifice?

    I agree (none / 0) (#113)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:20:36 PM EST
    Listening to him, you get the feeling he is asking for your help, and that you are a part of the solution to some problem. But you are correct that he doesn't specifically ask for supporters to do anything but help him get elected. (Caveat: Most of my opinion on this is from listening to the debates and to his speeches, so I may not be completely informed.)

    It's a nice oratorical skill to get people to feel a certain way. That may be all it is.


    Wow (none / 0) (#53)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:21:15 AM EST
    Transformation, when did that happen? Is he LBJ now and not MLK?

    I think it's a pol looking chicken (none / 0) (#25)
    by MarkL on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:00:27 AM EST
    They've only had a single 1 on 1 debate.
    I'm sure the public would LOVE to see more.
    Hillary should gain an advantage out of this---but not as much as she will be debating him!

    I think it will disappoint many people (none / 0) (#59)
    by blogtopus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:24:46 AM EST
    Fence-sitters who like both, and would like to see more of both, will frown on his refusal to show them more of himself and Hillary. It will leave a distaste, an emotional quality. They won't be able to name what it is, but they won't like it.

    Enough (none / 0) (#28)
    by cdelarge on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:04:53 AM EST
    I agree with BO. No, I am not clamoring for another debate. After 17 debates what is new to know. We all know where both candidates stand pretty much. Both of their policies are pretty much a like.  To be honest, it smells of desperation on her part.

    I'd like to see a couple more (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:10:17 AM EST
    With just the two of them.  The last one made me feel better about him as a potential president, and I don't think I'm the only person who had that reaction.  If they can strike a civil tone and have an intelligent discussion about where each wants to take the country, I think that's good for party unity and for the prospects of a Democrat being elected in November.

    I understand why she's asking for weekly debates and why he's unlikely to agree.  I don't think "desperation" has anything to do with it.  They are both adopting the best strategy to win the nomination and there's nothing wrong with that.


    Good point. Perhaps Republican voters (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:26:18 AM EST
    are watching the debates to get an idea what the opposition in the GE will be.  Perhaps some will decide to vote for the Dem.

    no, no, not nearly enogh! more debates. i say (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:29:58 AM EST
    many more debates. let obama get out there and take the hits and explain himself. no one should be elected on sound bites.

    The ratings are climbing (none / 0) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:12:31 AM EST
    which means people are starting to get interested in the process and want to see debates now.  This is no time for a politician to suddenly scream NO DEBATES...unless he's afraid of getting trounced, which is what regularly happens when he debates Hillary.

    Besides, if people actually SEE Hillary, his villanization of her is actually seen for what it is, a load of traditional politician's Bullsh*t.


    Good point. I don't consider him to (none / 0) (#65)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:27:50 AM EST
    be the chief villifier of HRC, but I do think the more people actually see and listen to her, at least some people will realize Hillary het is over the top.

    It smells (none / 0) (#52)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:20:26 AM EST
    like someone without money looking for free face time. And good for her. Maybe she can figure out a venue to tell everyone all the positions on all the topics that she's witheld so far. Maybe she'll even explain how come her foreign policy advisors supported and still support the war in Iraq, as Stephen Zunes reports in CommonDreams.org.:

    "Her most influential advisor - and her likely choice for Secretary of State - is Richard Holbrooke, who prior to the invasion of Iraq insisted that that country posed "a clear and present danger at all times," insisted that Bush had "ample justification" to invade Iraq, and has written that those who protested against the war and foreign governments which opposed the invasion "undoubtedly encouraged" Saddam Hussein. Holbrooke has been severely criticized for his role as Carter's assistant secretary of state for East Asia in propping up Marcos in the Philippines and supporting Suharto's repression in East Timor, as well as his culpability in the Kwangju massacre in South Korea."

    So now you know why Clinton can't say that she believes giving Bush his war powers was a mistake. Underneath she is a warmonger, although I'm sure she's a triangulated warmonger.


    Thank you Bob..... (none / 0) (#133)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:26:24 PM EST
    readers of this blog need to know and remember this.

    Unfortunately I don't see Obama's foreign policy being any different....perpetual occupation, confrontation, and war.  This is the Democratic (and Republican) platform.  


    Add Kicker..... (none / 0) (#134)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:30:47 PM EST
    The kicker is good-hearted , peace-loving , well-meaning Americans sent these war mongers money and think they are supporting change!!!  Cue Twilight Zone Music....

    BO not believe that (none / 0) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:30:52 AM EST
    and it is amazing to me that your comment takes this at face value.

    What a day at Talk Left.

    I guess I am in a bad mood but I am no fan of ingenues today.


    You must have read last night's (none / 0) (#84)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:41:10 AM EST
    comments about rioting in the streets.  Whaa happened?

    Actually (none / 0) (#36)
    by Coral on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:13:34 AM EST
    I'm sick of the debates and the never-ending primary process. I wish it were over, and I'm glad he's refusing more debates.

    Said as a strong HRC supporter.

    At this point, she looks like the underdog, but she still has a slight edge if she can stay even up to OH, TX, and PA.

    Will debates help her? Not so sure. I'd prefer her to work on her online fund-raising ability. Her web site could use an infusion of pizazz, especially her blog and add some way of showing her $ contributions. Then more and better ads, and as many town halls, Q&A with voters, etc., less staged. She does extremely well off-the-cuff with real people. She should do more of it and find a way to get it out in the media.

    Plus, she needs to find some surrogates (NOT Bill!) to point out Obama's weaknesses - on substance not personal characteristics.

    One thing, though, if Obama is to win the nomination, he would do well to do the debates because he's going to have to do well against the Republicans in the fall -- McCain, I guess, and the more practice he can get the better.

    Looks like the (none / 0) (#41)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:16:11 AM EST
    money problem is temporary for Hillary, but your point stands about Obama.

    Another chance to say -that's not what he means (none / 0) (#47)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:19:40 AM EST
    I know you hate when people do this, but you really are misinterpreting what he means by politics as usual.  It doesn't mean not pressing your advantages.  It doesn't mean not sending out poll watchers cause you trust the other guy.  This is still politics.

    He has to debate again soon. He's much stronger in debates coming off wins, I would guess he'll wait till after next tuesday.

    Um (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:28:34 AM EST
    What DOES he mean then by politics as usual?

    Obama has admitted to falling short (none / 0) (#88)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:53:32 AM EST
    on this goal.  A better example would be the corporate lawyer jab or the health care flyers.  That's politics as usual.  Not giving a cash strapped opponent a free ride in advertising is just smart.

    I have referenced both of those (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:04:34 AM EST
    This is the latest business as usual bit.

    Then what does he mean? (none / 0) (#85)
    by herb the verb on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:41:13 AM EST
    There is a reason BTD doesn't like it when people say that: it's because Obama is the human Rorhsach test.

    Seriously though, if the whole "not politics as usual" schtick doesn't mean what BTD clearly gave examples of it meaning from Obama himself, then what does it mean? If something that central to his campaign can't even clearly be articulated then what use is it?

    I forget, it does have a use (in Rove-land): "Oh, something shiny!"


    RhondaLucy (none / 0) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:27:29 AM EST
    I had to delete your comment as your link was breaking the margins.

    At least Obama didn't say we all (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:31:53 AM EST
    agreed not to do a debate on Fox and now she's breaking the rules again.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:03:09 AM EST
    Part of the Unity Schtick does not allow slamming Fox.

    Tactically shrewd? (none / 0) (#87)
    by herb the verb on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 10:53:26 AM EST
    I'm not all that sure. Frankly, he would have been better to just stall out on that question and play the clock.

    I can see why he doesn't want to debate, but saying flat out something that is demonstrably false (people aren't interested in debates, oh really?), plus something which will negatively impact the talking heads (which had been in the tank for him) at a critical time is IMHO not shrewd.

    The last thing Obama needs is Chris Matthews screeching over and over, "What's Obama so afraid of, is he afraid of a girl?", just because he is pissed that they won't get debate ratings.

    IA suggestion I read last night: (none / 0) (#91)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:03:05 AM EST
    how about a debate between HRC, Barack Obama, John McCain, and Romney and/or who else left int eh Repub. field?  

    Nah, boring. (none / 0) (#96)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:14:48 AM EST
    I say have them play dodgeball. Dems vs. Repubs.

    Clinton Needs to Tie This to a Larger Attack (none / 0) (#104)
    by BDB on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 11:52:41 AM EST
    As I mentioned earlier, HRC will come back and attack him on this. That sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  I think it will be more successful if the Clinton campaign can tie it to a critique of Obama that's already out there - he's all style, no substance.  To the extent they can use the debate issue to undermine Obama's strength, it could work for her.

    And unlike in virtually every other area, she might get talking heads to support her.  A debate a week is a lot of $$$ for the television networks and more airtime for their talking heads.  So it might be an issue where she can get some traction.

    Then again, the Clinton hatred is strong in the mainstream media.

    MSM like Kos and Huff Post you mean (none / 0) (#110)
    by Salt on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 12:09:13 PM EST
    It is not just the MSM it is the AHs of the world out there on talk shows acting like she they speak for all the Dems...all they have to do is allow people like her to chew off the Parties leg...and they are.

    Kos and Huff Post (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by BDB on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:05:07 PM EST
    Have very little influence.  They don't reach that many people in the scheme of things.  That's particularly true if you look at Clinton supporters - who are older, make less money, have less formal education, and are more likely to be female.  The Obama demo - young, white male, well educated, upper middle class/student - is tailored made for the internet.  

    Which is why the big blogs are slowly turning into echo chambers.  Their demos were never the Clinton demos and to the extent a few Clinton supporters participate, they are overwhelmed by the Obama Fan Base, driving them away and making the site even more of an echo chamber.

    I do think Talking Points Memo has improved in the last few days.  I'm not sure if their Obama fever broke or Josh heard some of the criticisms he was getting.  We'll see if it lasts.


    Where is your (none / 0) (#121)
    by IndependantThinker on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:36:33 PM EST
    proof that Hillary's supporters are all old women or poor and uneducated? MSM?

    Exit Polls (none / 0) (#131)
    by BDB on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:16:47 PM EST
    That's not all of her supporters, but if you look at the primaries and caucuses, her base support tends to come from people in those categories.

    That's not an insult, btw.  I think it's something she should be proud of.  It hurts her in some of the caucuses because of the skewed participation, but it's why she's done well in a lot of primary states.


    The ducking of debates (none / 0) (#123)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:51:32 PM EST
    Is just another reason for me to see Obama as Bush lite.  This may not be the strategic move that some people believe.

    About the lack of influence of blogs:  I predict in 5 years (as more people are out here) that blogs will be annointing candidates just as MSM does now.  

    Rush on Clinton (none / 0) (#124)
    by Reader on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 01:51:51 PM EST
    I hate to mention anything from Limbaugh today, but he was suggesting, half-jokingly, that he was going to start a fund raising drive for Clinton so that she could win the primary to face McCain; his complaint was that the Republican leadership was relying overmuch on Clinton-hate to motivate the base instead of nominating a 'real conservative.' He argued that if Obama were to win, most of the Con base, both men and women, would stay home anyway. If it were Clinton, more might rouse themselves to vote against her.
    And I know anecdotes are not data, but I teach in a high school in central Florida. When I proposed some research and role playing of various candidates, most of my students immediately said they would walk out of the room rather than be assigned Clinton. They aren't getting that in isolation.
    Another point: Florida is going to have an anti-gay marriage intiative on the ballot in the fall. This will, no doubt, drive up conservative participation in the general election, especially since the Republicans dominate the state...and we have a popular Republican governor who is backing their candidate, and may even be on the ticket.Phew! long winded! :)

    debate (none / 0) (#132)
    by diogenes on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:24:16 PM EST
    Five more debates means five more chances for gotcha moments (like the one about illegal alien driver licenses).  All those sound bites for McCain. Nothing new will be added from a policy standpoint; everyone will watch for debating skills and mistakes.  All anyone remembers from the Kennedy-Nixon debates is Nixon's 5 O'Clock shadow.

    Unless Obama sacrifices his campaign, (none / 0) (#135)
    by halstoon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:34:07 PM EST
    BTD and all the others on this site will disparage him as more of the same, a hypocrite, a liar, or worse.

    Meanwhile, HRC is allowed to literally practice politics as usual and none of them criticizes her for that.

    A new kind of politics does not mean that you allow your opponent to get away with dirty tricks, underhanded tactics, etc. It does not mean you appease your opponent when their broke by going on TV once a week so they don't become the forgotten candidate. It doesn't mean pretending that your opponent is not vulnerable to attacks, or that they are not a divisive figure in American politics.

    A new kind of politics is one where you recognize that you can lay out a 1,000 point plan for the war in Iraq but that Congress is going to make that largely unrecognizable in the end. It means you admit that don't know all the issues in minute detail, and that you'll rely on the best talent available (which would include HRC, as he has said) to help you gather the facts. It means that instead of making people dread your opponent, you make them admire you. It means making people believe America can be great, free, and peaceful, instead of convincing them to vote for you b/c otherwise they'll be beheaded on national TV by terrorists. That's what Obama is about, and that's why he has supporters who are fervent, are emotional, and are involved in a process they have previously despised.

    So, yes, Obama is a pol, but he is a new kind of pol. If you don't recognize that, you shouldn't be pretending to understand politics. If you do recognize that and you still choose to belittle him, then simply admit that you like the usual method of campaigning. That's what this race has come down to. Some people like our battle royal politics, and that's fine. That's why we have campaigns to begin with.

    In the end, though, a lot of us are betting that America is ready to turn a corner, and soon we'll know whether we're right or wrong.


    sacrifices his campaign? please explain just (none / 0) (#146)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 08:52:40 PM EST
    how he does that? you mean by having debates and talking about what his real policies are about health insurance, foreign policy, social security in detail? now that is just amazing to me. he sacrifices by having debates. he is a new type of politican? ok, please prove that! from where i sit, it is the same ole story!

    Okay, I'll try to convince you (none / 0) (#148)
    by halstoon on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:46:13 PM EST
    The original point is that allowing HRC to set the tone and dictate the course of the campaign would put the game on her turf, and that's a losing proposisition. He can outline the specifics you mention much better at events where his time is not limited to 90 second sound bites and backhanded comments and spurrious issues. Why do that on Hillary's terms? He doesn't have to. And to say he's more of the same for not doing that is disingenuous.

    How is he different? He believes in the transparency of gov't, as opposed to Hillary (re: televising healthcare negotiations), he believes in a politics of hope over fear (he believes we can work with our enemies, Hillary believes we must continue to alienate them, specifically Cuba and Iran), he believes people don't have to be forced to do the right thing (re: mandates), he believes people should be able to see their money at work (re: database of gov't spending), he believes in personal transparency (his tax return is public, HRC's is not, and she won't release her gov't documents), and he believes that a campaign should rely on people, not interest groups (no money from lobbyists vs. HRC's higher contributions than anyone else running, and STILL he dominates her), and on and on.

    Want more proof? Or do you really just want Hillary to be president? Not that there's anything wrong with that...


    Per HuffPost headline (which I (none / 0) (#137)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:43:39 PM EST
    couldn't open) HRC invited Obama to join her town hall in Maine.  Clever, no?

    You Need To Do This!!! (none / 0) (#138)
    by LetMeDoIt90 on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 04:37:15 PM EST
    Know matter what it comes down to the votes and if they keep their promises. I just came across "The Leagues" FaceBook page. They ask you to vote for your favorite presidential candidate and your three top issues. After you vote they give you the result of your city. The result surprised me. I thought that my city were complete democrats. Check this out heres the link Apps.facebook.com/theleague

    Do you really want the Republicans to Win???? (none / 0) (#143)
    by lindalawyer on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 07:37:06 PM EST
    Please stop! Dems need to look at the big picture----winning in 2008. There is too much at stake to continue these harsh criticisms. Frightened,