Politics As Usual: What Obama's Advisor Meant

By Big Tent Democrat

I have written on this before, but this new AP story sheds further light on Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee's meeting with the Canadian consulate in Chicago:

Barack Obama's senior economic policy adviser said Sunday that Canadian government officials wrote an inaccurate portrayal of his private discussion on the campaign's trade policy in a memo obtained by The Associated Press. The memo is the first documentation to emerge publicly out of the meeting between the adviser, Austan Goolsbee, and officials with the Canadian consulate in Chicago, but Goolsbee said it misinterprets what he told them. The memo was written by Joseph DeMora, who works for the consulate and attended the meeting.

Goolsbee disputed a section that read: "Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign. He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."

This is a memo about a meeting that the Obama camp said never occurred, and if it did occur, the Obama camp said NAFTA was not discussed. Now it appears, the Obama camp accepts the meeting DID occur and NAFTA WAS discussed, but not in the way portrayed in the meeting. Riiiight. Thank Gawd for the Obama Rules. Hope they hold if he is the nominee. Imagine what the coverage would be like if this was a Clinton economic advisor.

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    Fever. . . (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:59:18 AM EST
    Those with Obama fever won't be affected by the (to them) insignificant fact of contemporary written support for the original report.

    Am I the only one who noticed, by the way, that last week in his exchange with McCain Obama said both that he would keep troops in Iraq to fight Al Queda if they established a presence there and that he was already aware that they did have a presence there?

    It doesn't take a lot of fancy parsing to see that that is a statement that he will keep troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future.  Yet he has hordes of supporters who apparently believe he'll have the troops out within six months.

    The guy impresses me more and more each day with his political skill at being all things to all people.  That's a backhanded compliment, but still a complement.  He's very, very good.

    Obama is right on that issue (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:05:05 AM EST
    Right or wrong. . . (none / 0) (#7)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:08:22 AM EST
    what I'm remarking on is not his grasp on policy (which I think is generally good, and more-or-less identical to Clinton's) but his ability to say one thing fairly clearly but have hordes of supporters who oppose that position apparently hear something completely different and continue to adore him.

    In this he is, indeed, Reaganesque.


    I disagree (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:09:47 AM EST
    Ronald Reagan was not ambiguous at all. He CONVINCED people that what he was arguing was right.

    But his actual belief. . . (none / 0) (#14)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:13:59 AM EST
    and behavior was the opposite of what he sold to the public.  The scene in Stockman's book in which Reagan refuses to act against subsidies to citrus fruit growers has always stuck with me.

    He found a popular vein in American political thought of the time and mined it for all it was worth, notwithstanding that he neither agreed with it nor actually executed on it.

    I guess Obama is a little more honest than Reagan -- if you actually look at his statements (and, I guess, those of his economic advisers) he actually does provide evidence of what he's really thinking -- with Reagan you weren't really sure how much he believed in his own shtick.


    Ahhh (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:22:51 AM EST
    That is different. The American People thought he was cutting "waste in governent." They voted for that.

    They voted for cutting taxes, tripling the defense budget, etc.

    He sold them on his stated policies.


    That's a Compliment? (none / 0) (#16)
    by cdalygo on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:16:35 AM EST
    Do we have to run down the disasters of the Reagan years? The contra wars (which still contribute to our immigration problems). The soaring deficits (which took Clinton years to pay down). The hardening of the racial divide (which plays out every day on our streets).

    To you and some of the posters above, don't be fooled. He's not only succeeding due to Reagan-like rhetorical skills. It helps to have an indifferent press corps seeking a new victim to carve up in the General. It's even better to have scads of followers that project every desire on him and refuse to listen to negative news.

    My partner put it best. Obama is the dot-com presidential candidate. Incredible amounts of hype  for a product that (a) either doesn't work or (b) can be found for free elsewhere. Do we really have to wait until we wipe out like the stock market before we figure that out?


    Certainly it's a complement. (none / 0) (#20)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:21:59 AM EST
    Ronald Reagan was one of the most skillful politicians -- if not the most skillful -- I've ever seen.  He managed to get elected and then re-elected despite a disastrous record, doing the exact opposite of what he said he'd do (establish fiscal responsibility).

    As far as the press corps goes, I don't buy the "they're just setting him up to have someone to tear down in the general election" conspiracy theory, not withstanding the fact that I think scrutiny will increase in the general.  I think they press corps genuinely likes Obama and I think he's been able to help that liking along.  That's also an important political skill.


    You could be describing McCain here (none / 0) (#69)
    by JoeA on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:21:58 AM EST
    in the Republican Primaries.  It amazes me that he managed to lock up the "anti war" elements of the Republican party and the independents voting in their primaries against Romney, Huckabee et al.  It goes to show that for some people a "maverick" image is more important than a crazy "1,000 years in Iraq" policy platform.

    not maverick (none / 0) (#70)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:26:32 AM EST
    its about electability.  they think he is the most electable of the candidates.  and I agree with them.
    like many democrats, it seems, their prime concern is that Hillary does not become president.

    But why was the electability argument so strong (none / 0) (#71)
    by JoeA on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:31:22 AM EST
    with the Republican Primary voters for McCain who also tended to disapproved of the Iraq war?

    If I let my prejudices take over I would suggest a hypothesis that there a correlation between the following  : being against the Iraq war, electability being an important issue for you, and not being insane.


    off the top of my head (none / 0) (#72)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:32:50 AM EST
    they are more against Hillary than they are against the war?

    He's very, very good (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:07:24 AM EST
    if he is so good why hasnt he fooled us?
    I think some gullibility enters into it.

    also (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:10:17 AM EST
    I think for many reality no longer enters into it.
    they simply hate Hillary with this blinding hate that allows him to do or say anything.
    anything is justified in their minds as long as it prevents Hillary from getting the nomination.
    I have gotten the idea from talking to some that they agree that she might have a better chance against McCain.  but to them it doesnt matter.

    That may be true. . . (none / 0) (#18)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:18:07 AM EST
    in the demento-sphere, but in the real world many, many Obama supporters seem to quite like Clinton, and vice-versa.

    the blogosphere maybe (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:23:09 AM EST
    but I had a conversation with one last friday, the kind of conversation I have begun trying to avoid because they seem more and more pointless, who probably never read a blog in her life.
    I said something like it looks like he could take the nomination but I dont think he will be president.the response was "well, as long as Hillary doesnt get it"  
    I pressed a little.
    "well, I just hate her so much".  
    she could never tell me.  there was some vague mumbling about her being a war monger but I could tell she was getting really pissed that I even expected her to be able to give a reason.

    This si the kind of last minute story (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:14:30 AM EST
    that could deflate his hopes in Ohio. I doubt it will have any impact on Texas, unless his honesty is  called into question. I suspect that he'll just be offered a pillow.

    IF it gets coveage-- (none / 0) (#62)
    by jawbone on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:13:40 AM EST
    So far, Obama seems to be getting the kind of coverage BushBoy got before the MCM decided his Excellent Iraq Adventure had gone cowpie.

    Good emphasized, bad ignored or on Pg 16.

    Right now, IOKIYAO (It's OK if you are Obama), the old IOKIYAR approach by the MCM.

    Yes, if this had been Clinton's economic adviser the stories about her untrustworthiness, political machinations, etc., would be non-stop.

    It will be interesting to see what today brings from the MCM. Note that the AP article opened with the Obama camp's spin and denial of the central point about NAFTA. It did not open with the actual content of the Canadian memo. Seems telling to me.

    I read Hillary has called a press conference for this morning, can't find where--wonder if she'll bring this up. Of course, if she mentions it the MCM will play it as he said/she said--not CVA said/he said absolutely false/the Canadian memo said/he said something else/she said. If she's asked about the memo, wonder how the MCM will play it....


    If TPM is any model... (none / 0) (#96)
    by Oje on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 01:12:12 PM EST
    You just need to read this article on Clinton's response. In Greg Sargent's mind, it is all about NAFTA. The only question is: what is Obama's position on NAFTA.

    Obama acknowledging to a foreign consulate that his campaign rhetoric is designed to win votes, not articulate policy positions? Not so much. Obama's effort to cover-up this story? Not a word.


    How did MCM handle this: hesaid/shesaid: (none / 0) (#97)
    by jawbone on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:25:31 PM EST
    I watched NBC and NewsHour this evening, and both mentioned the NAFTA thing--as something Clinton brought up to attack Obama.

    No CVA said/he said/CVA said more/he said/CVA produced memo/he said--then Clinton talked about it. Nope, just he said/she said.

    Isn't it interesting that a report by a reputable Canadian news source, CVA, and the attendant denials, spin, now respin by the Obama campaign is somehow something Clinton brought up?

    NewsHour did have more time for video of Obama explaining and denying today, then attacking Clinton for attacking.  He did not look very comfortable until he go to the dissing Clinton part.

    See, it was that pesky Canadian embassy person who called up Goolsbee, and only as a matter of courtesy did Obama's economic adviser go to meet with that person, and it wasn't official or anything, and he never said anything that Obama hasn't said on the campaign trail--and Obama knew nothing about it, fer cying' out loud--even after the story broke, nobody told him about it, including Goolsbee--until just recently. So, sheesh, just leave a poor candidate alone.

    For me, this had a strange, sad echo of...BushBoy.


    He gets it both ways (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Steve M on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:20:44 AM EST
    Obama's loyal followers seem ready to excuse away just about anything.  And to the many people in Obama's coalition who are pro-NAFTA (like BTD!) now here's some solace that he's not actually a rabid Lou Dobbs type on trade.

    Personally, I assume that no Democrat will roll back the clock very far on trade, a position that makes it very hard for me to end up disappointed.  I think the honesty is the more important aspect of this issue.  Here we have Obama deriding Hillary as some sort of right-wing pro-NAFTA zealot notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary, and it turns out it's Obama who's the one trying to have it both ways.  If he hadn't been trying to use the issue as a bludgeon against Hillary, this new revelation would have much less salience for me.  But it exposes the totally disingenuous nature of his attacks on Hillary.

    I have to agree with this. (none / 0) (#80)
    by liminal on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:15:43 AM EST
    I don't live in Ohio, but my local media market includes big portions of rural Ohio.  Last night I saw my first two candidate sponsored ads on TV.  (We've had the SEIU-sponsored pro-Obama ads for about a week on local programming.)  The two ads were back to back.  First, an Obama campaign ad featuring an Ohio factory worker who claims to have lost his job - along with 2700 others - because of NAFTA.  "Hillary Clinton supported NAFTA - " the text read.  

    I think that Obama's position on trade (generally free, with protections for the environment, worker safety, wages, et cetera - something closer to fair trade) is perfectly reasonable, and virtually identical to Clinton's. So why couldn't he say that?  For all his vaunted strengths as the candidate of hope and change, he's running negative ads and launching disingenuous attacks on Clinton.  The gist of that ad was deeply disingenous.  

    The Clinton ad that followed starred Ted Strickland, was entirely positive w/r/t Clinton, and said nothing whatsoever about Obama.


    To Blindly Vote (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by zfran on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:10:53 AM EST
    for someone (Obama)and not look further is being naive especially when it comes to world politics. Saying "I was against the war from the beginning" for instance, when the fact that you weren't even a U.S. Senator at that time to cast that vote, doesn't make you wise, it provides a devious cover. If, after looking at his politics, then and now, and you still want to vote for him, then it is an informed vote. Look at how he makes "light" and/or "fun" of others running, is this a "new kind of politician" or one that knows how to play the game and get elected and then it's either the same old thing, or an inexperienced lightweight. JFK had a whole political family backing him, Obama does not.Just do not follow blindly......

    I don't think it's fair (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by ChrisO on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:21:32 AM EST
    for us to make a judgment on this until Obama's mind-reading supporters on the Internet have had an opportunity to tell us what he really meant.

    and i'm just certain (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Turkana on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:15:36 AM EST
    that certain "a-list" bloggers will cover this on their front pages...

    Obama and his campaign (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Grandmother on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:04:41 AM EST
    lied about the meeting plain and simple but really it won't make any difference.  Senator Obama has been crowned the king, the savior, the One, the Almighty, the next Ronald Reagan, the next Uniter, whatever people want him to be that's what he is today.

    I'll write in Hillary in the GE or vote for McCain. I won't contribute a vote to the "new" Democratic party.  I'm not part of it, I don't understand it.  I don't like it.  I don't recognize it.

    I will, however, enjoy sitting back and watching what is called the Democratic Party self destruct if this man is elected President.  When he can't come through on  his promises to "change" "unite" or "turn the page" or "bring us together" it will be a happy day for me.  You all have bought into epmpty rhetoric that is meaningless except as to what it means to each individual. You will never know what "change" means to Obama and how to compare/contrast it to what it means to you.  You don't know what he really means by "turning the page".  We don't know what he means by "uniting" everyone.  Everyone just speculates and hopes for the best.

    When his wife who makes over $300,000 a year tries to tell women in Ohio whose income is 1/10 of that how difficult it is to be a working parent, that is laughable.  As someoen whose household income exceeds that amount there is no way I could understand the plight of a single mom working a couple of jobs, living from paycheck to paycheck.  And then to have her tell people they should go into public service rather than corporate America is just as arrogant.  Why is she there?  Why doesn't she give her job up and go work for Legal Services or as a Public Defender making $35,000 a year.  

    Both my husband and I are attorneys for corporate America and we live a good life as a result of that.  However 30 years ago I was that single mom, working three jobs trying to raise my daughter on my own while going to school.  To hear Michelle Obama talk aobut the difficulties of spending $10,000 a year for extracurricular activities and summer camps" is just disgusting.  And they thought Teresa Kerry was a problem.  

    Is there a link for the how to spend $10K? (none / 0) (#98)
    by jawbone on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:34:26 PM EST
    This is a real story (none / 0) (#1)
    by david mizner on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:52:49 AM EST
    He's playing populist in Ohio while privately assuring the conservative, corporate-sponsored Establishment that he doesn't really mean it. And when he's found out, he lies?

    That what seems to have happened.

    It puts all the other silly stuff that the Clinton camp has thrown at Obama (plagiarism?) in perspective.

    Yup, folks, he's just another pol--and a not very progressive one at that.

    And I hope he wins. Strange days indeed.

    Why do you hope he wins? (none / 0) (#2)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:56:44 AM EST
    One thing I like about Hillary is that in many areas, you can tell she is stating her actual policy preferences, because she will do so even if the audience won't like it.
    For a small example, when she would NOT promise to do something about immigration reform in her first 100 days. Clinton does far LESS pandering than most Presidential candidates.

    This is a long discussion (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by david mizner on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:06:51 AM EST
    I'm an Edwards supporter who voted for Obama in New York for four main reasons. 1) He's less hawkish than Hillary. There are votes of hers I can't get past, like her opposition to banning cluster bombs in civilian areas. 2) He's inspiring people like no pol I've seen. Politics isn't just about whom you like, it's about whom others people like, and lots and lots people really like him--that means a lot. 3) I think the significance of having a black president would be even greater than that of having a female president. 4) I'm guessing he'd be more likely to beat McCain, primarily because of his political talent and his popularity among McCain's base--the press corps.

    2,3 and 4 seem right (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:08:55 AM EST
    1 seems iffy. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that. I am a hawk myself.

    I also support Obama's win but I also support holding his feet, as we should hold all pols' feet, to the fire.


    Now, please explicate #3 (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:13:38 AM EST
    a bit more. A black president more significant than a woman president? So would a black woman president be even more significant for you than Obama? Maybe Condi Rice could reconsider.

    Now Cream, (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kenoshaMarge on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:17:53 AM EST
    being offended by that is so feminist of us. Isn't it?

    Sure, I'm a feminist, but (none / 0) (#34)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:42:14 AM EST
    my question is asking for logical explication, which is oh-so-male of me to not simply accept pronunciamentos. The answer to the question as to why it is more significant to elect another man is answered by saying . . . it is more significant. Again, I ask for explication of why it is more significant -- and especially to the majority of Americans, women of all colors.

    Symbolically (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:23:48 AM EST
    Even I think it would be more significant.

    I think it is this fact that contributes to the continued acceptance of rank sexism.


    Yes, but again -- why? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:35:47 AM EST
    Why is it more significant? Just numerically, in terms of race, 12% of Americans -- Americans of color -- have not been represented in the great pantheon of presidents. Or it could even be said that 6% of Americans -- men of color -- have not been represented. But 51% of Americans, women, have not been represented. . . . Or historically, in terms of race, 12% of Americans have not been represented, Americans of color whose roots go back hundreds of years here. However, 51% of Americans, women, go back more than ten thousand years here (possibly including Clinton's foremothers, since genealogists suspect that her "French Canadian" foremothers -- like mine -- may have been metis). Or is the symbolism because of slavery? If so, let's do remember that women were the majority of slaves, like the majority of the population of this country historically and today. So what is the significance of another guy president to you guys? Seriously. To keep saying it is significant without explaining the significance . . . well, it reads like some of the student papers I grade, by the students who know that they're supposed to note significance. :-)

    Slavery (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:40:33 AM EST
    Jim Crow.

    Jane Crow (none / 0) (#38)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:47:12 AM EST
    happened to women, too -- and to more of them, women like Ida B. Wells-Barnett who called it "Southern Horrors" in her extraordinary work of that title. And she was exemplary in explicating her argument with logical and prescient use of statistics, which finally won anti-lynching laws. She was a founder of the NAACP, but she also was a woman suffragist -- and wanted to see a woman president. So if you only have two words for me, perhaps you could find a few more words to explain to Ida B. why a man -- and one not from the heritage of slavery himself -- ought to be elected before a woman.

    Well (none / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:53:39 AM EST
    The last thing I want to do is fight with you over this, and I am aware that black men could vote before white women and were elected to Congress before white women, etc but I think it is not fair to say that racism has not been as institutionally pernicious as sexism.

    Both of course have been terrible.


    I think the significance (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:41:20 AM EST
    is pretty evident.
    "more" significant.  I believe I said that is a matter of opinion.
    I think it would be.  not just because of his race but because of his name and background.

    His background (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:47:36 AM EST
    that is not from the legacy of slavery?

    Give it up Cream (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by kenoshaMarge on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:08:17 AM EST
    I was being "snarky" when I said your question and my outrage was because of feminist leanings. That's usually the rationale when a woman gets steamed up about something we find wrong about a remark about women. (No, before I get pummeled, I am not including BTD in that group.) But it is apparent by the ongoing conversation that your point is not understood or thought of importance.

    no (none / 0) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:49:55 AM EST
    if contains Muslims.  Muslims that are still alive.
    that is what I meant.

    damn (none / 0) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:50:32 AM EST
    that should say IT contains Muslims.

    btw (none / 0) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:49:05 AM EST
    I am still a Hillary supporter.
    I believe we need to clean up our own back yards first.  I would not elect him simply for this reason.
    its just an observation.  and an attempt to find a basis for seeing a glass half full if I have to.

    While I wouldn't (none / 0) (#45)
    by Lena on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:52:24 AM EST
    have necessarily agreed with Cream BEFORE the primaries started up, I have to agree with her now.

    There is so much rank sexism that has been revealed in the press and populace that electing a woman president would in fact be more significant than electing a black man.

    Especially at this point, where the black man in question seems to be all about telling people what they want to hear, throwing bones here and there to progressivism, nixing universal health care, and being basically your regular glad handing pol.

    I.e. he just seems like another lyin' politician to me at this point.


    significant to whom? (none / 0) (#48)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:57:21 AM EST
    the only point I was making was based on our reputation in the world community.
    I would never argue that electing a woman president would not be totally earthshaking.
    however, I do not think we have the credibility problem, at least in the world community, when it comes to the rights of women that we do when it comes to the rights of blacks and possibly more importantly the rights of Muslims.

    Great point, (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Lena on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:14:55 AM EST
    but I think a woman president would be as significant as a black president, albeit for different reasons.

    The status of women has plummeted significantly in our country, what with the rise of the Christian right under Bush in recent years. The legal moves against abortion rights, as well as the cuts in funding to social safety nets for the poor (disproportionately women), and the cultural moves towards a better time when women "knew their place" can't be denied.

    Around the world, i.e. in the poorest countries that depend on U.S. aid, the U.S. has denied funding for birth control organizations that offer abortion, which leads to a worsening in conditions for women. And women's rights in Iraq seem to no longer exist at all.

    I think a woman president would be equally significant to both the national and international audiences, and I would expect her to be more sensitive to all of the above issues.


    That's what "experience" does (none / 0) (#64)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:15:44 AM EST
    to us, Lena -- experience as women, being treated as women, no matter what we do or how hard we work. I also was not a feminist, until those experiences -- and mine came in the courts of our so-called justice system (although I had been subjected to nonsense in the workplace and more, but I kept justifying those). I'm glad that for you, it was only from watching sexism happen to someone else. But however you got here, welcome to the ranks of the radicalized -- the sadder but wiser girls, as the song says. It's just not a tune that a lot of guys can hear . . . until it happens to a mother, a wife, a sister, or especially a daughter.

    Well, (none / 0) (#74)
    by Lena on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:47:23 AM EST
    I've been a feminist for 24 years... so I'm pretty tuned in to issues of sexism. Especially with my sisters and sister-in-law and best friend being in academia - I've learned a lot about sexism in the university setting, and the stories are pretty consistent about how bad it can be. But your story sounds particularly tough - the courts are often NOT a woman's friend.

    Anyway, my point is that I would have been hard-pressed before this campaign season to say who would have it harder: the black man or the white woman. It seems that people of all colors and both genders can be convinced to vote for the African American before they can be persuaded to vote for the woman. Then again, this situation just reiterates the way that black men were given the right (unrealized, I know) to vote before women of any color had it. It would seem that black men can be universally recognized for their struggles against discrimination before white women. That held true back then and today. Note that I'm not saying that black men are less discriminated against than white woman - just that their struggles are seen as more valid than women's.

    Anyway, this is precisely why I think it'd be more significant to elect that woman that the man.


    Very good point re validating (none / 0) (#81)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:16:40 AM EST
    the existence of sexism -- and that it can be overcome. If it is seen as a reason for failure, imagine the impact for generations to come -- as we have seen that before re Congress and the pipeline, the lower levels of politics . . . and far beyond. I was in academe at the time of the Anita Hill hearings, and I can tell you that the impact was immense at my campus then, with committees of men turning down women for tenure -- and I even was directly told that it was to punish women for the Anita Hill hearings. I keep wondering what the impact of this legitimization of sexism today may have on our daughters . . . and, as Susan B. said, our daughters' daughters. And our sons, who may continue to see their mothers, sisters, and wives making less for the same work, as that affects men's lives so much, too.

    I think (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:32:30 AM EST
    there is an argument to be made that electing a black man as president, particularly a black man with his name and background, would be somewhat earthshaking.
    it would go a great distance in convincing the worlds capitals that we are not the insane, redneck warmongering, reactionary, isolationist, racist, maniacs we have seemed for the last 7 years.
    it is true that electing a woman would do some of this too but I think there is no question in my mind that Obama would do more of it.

    And about convincing all the countries (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:38:05 AM EST
    that have had women leaders that we are not sexist? Countries in which most of the people also are women?

    THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS (none / 0) (#60)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:10:43 AM EST
    to have the best president for the country. i for one will never support anyone because of their race. that is as wrong as not voting for someone because of race. the race card can be played both ways. i also deeply deeply, resent saying obama should be president over hillary because he is african american.

    Now, this is the correct answer (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:17:02 AM EST
    at last. Thank you. I also did not vote for Clinton because she is a woman, nor did I vote against Obama because he is not a woman. I voted for the candidate closest on my issues.

    I would like to point out (none / 0) (#67)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:21:00 AM EST
    that I never actually did that.

    capt howdy, my post wasn't aimed at you. (none / 0) (#76)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:55:05 AM EST
    i aimed it at the idea of electing someone because of race. that is just as wrong as not electing them. i for one don't much care about making history as i do electing someone who will be right for the country and help restore my beloved country.

    thank you (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:18:56 AM EST
    we agree completely

    Sure (none / 0) (#36)
    by david mizner on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:43:02 AM EST
    Give me a lesbian Native American and I could get really excited.

    Seriously, this is another huge topic that I'll try to boil down to a single crude point. It's that not that racism is more prevalent that sexism (this campaign alone disproves that point.) It's that women by and large and more integrated into the mainstream of American life, more engaged, less alienated, etc. We're losing generations of blacks, especially black men, to violence, despair, prison, etc, and millions of others doubt that this country holds much promise for them. An Obama presidency of course wouldn't reverse those trends, but hey, it would help. It would help change not only blacks' views of their whites-dominated country but whites' views of blacks.


    Women are more integrated (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:49:42 AM EST
    into American life? Do see the statistics on poverty in this country. Pffft.

    actually we are losing our country thank (none / 0) (#77)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:56:00 AM EST
    you very much. this presidential race is about the whole country. thanks

    I think 3 (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by dk on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:31:11 AM EST
    is questionable.  Depends on who you are I guess.  I think from the disparate treatment the two candidates received, it's pretty obvious that sexism is more alive and well in politics than racism, but again that's just my opinion.

    Obama inspired me (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by DaleA on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:50:55 AM EST
    to vote for anyone else. His psuedo-religious style of speaking turns me off. Telling me I am 'hermetically sealed off' from people of faith did not help. Nor his constant flirting with 'exgays' which is a deal breaker for me.

    Well said. . . (none / 0) (#10)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:09:58 AM EST
    he'd be more likely to beat McCain, primarily because of his political talent and his popularity among McCain's base--the press corps.

    it could be interesting (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:34:30 AM EST
    to see who they ultimately like the most.
    my money would be on McCain if it came down to it.

    This assumes (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:42:55 AM EST
    that the love affair the press has with McCain will die, and Obama will continue to get the same kind of love in an Obama-McCain contest as he has had in his race against Clinton.

    Just my opinion, but I think that is unlikely.  It's always a good guy-bad guy set-up, and I don't see the media turning on McCain.


    less hawkish! race is more important? (none / 0) (#51)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:59:02 AM EST
    playing the race card here aren't we? hawkish? i sure didn't see hillary threaten to bomb pakistan. geez!

    So if Hillary was president and she had (none / 0) (#66)
    by JoeA on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:18:13 AM EST
    intelligence on where Bin Laden was (in Pakistan) but the Pakistani government wouldnt or couldnt take action then you would support Hillary sitting on her hands?  

    i don't deal in well mabe this what will i do (none / 0) (#78)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:57:08 AM EST
    and maybe that what would he do. thanks

    I would support (none / 0) (#99)
    by BrandingIron on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:42:14 PM EST
    what Hillary said she would do, and be sure to take the very real truths about the region into consideration before bombing Pakistan outright.  Obama thinks he can bomb Pakistan without talking to them or talking to India beforehand (of course, sure, why not, let's start WW3)?  You've got to be kidding me.  His statement about Pakistan is one of the glaring proofs of his ignorance about foreign affairs.

    CNN (none / 0) (#12)
    by OldCoastie on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:12:33 AM EST
    has picked up the story.

    So did Joe Scarboro (none / 0) (#30)
    by TomLincoln on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:39:19 AM EST
    on Morning Joe. And he went as far as saying that if Hillary won Ohio, she should go on.

    No doubt Mr. Scarborough. . . (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:43:17 AM EST
    has nothing but the best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. . .

    Heh (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:51:45 AM EST
    and you do with your desire for (none / 0) (#53)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:01:38 AM EST
    hillary to drop out? maybe obama but not the democratic party!

    Take it easy (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    Larry never said he wanted Clinton to drop out.

    Me? (none / 0) (#56)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:06:38 AM EST
    I have no desire for Clinton to drop out.  I just don't think we should be taking political advice from Joe Scarborough -- regardless of whether I happen to agree or disagree with any particular thing he says.

    this is something (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:10:10 AM EST
    I have been asking Obama supporters for months.
    do you really believe that Joe Scarboro REALLY want Obama to win because he wants him to win.
    or is it more likely he wants him to win because he wants him to lose?
    Scarboro and the rest of the legions of republican talking head who have been fluffing Obama for months.

    must have had his cheerios spiked (none / 0) (#57)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:08:03 AM EST
    this morning.
    I even heard him say he thought he detected a "shift in sympathies" toward Hillary.

    Political campaigns (none / 0) (#25)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:31:45 AM EST
    Political campaigns are matters of expectation. When Clinton talks about how her healthcare plan is better than Obama's, what she fails to say is that neither plan is anything more than than an artist's conception of something. That plan will have to get through a Congress with more or less Dems, with some politicians beholden to the healthcare industry, etc.

    But people will imagine the future lives saved by one healthcare plan over another and will become motivated to fight over this. In reality, only a single-payer healthcare program that fully reins in Big Pharma and cuts all private health insurance companies out will solve our medical problems.

    Back to NAFTA: Canadians also have denied the meeting in question, so maybe our friends to the north are also lying. Or not. It would not be the first time that false memos have been circulated for political reasons.

    NAFTA and its role in trade and jobs between the US and Canada is far less damaging to either country than to what NAFTA did to Mexico's average citizen. And the damage that NAFTA did to the American working class is nothing compared to other trade deals that went down during the Clinton years.

    H. Clinton has been talking to her oligarch constituency over the years about her pride in NAFTA. She even wrote about it in a book, apparently. Now she says she had doubts and wants to change it, like Obama wants to change it. The difference is that she was on board with NAFTA from the beginning. I don't recall any flap about the First Lady battling, or even speaking publicly, against NAFTA.

    Changing one's position on the subject is good, if true. But when President Clinton looks into trade agreements in 2009, how much will she change? Is she any less in debt to the oligarchy than Obama?

    The story about this meeting, at best, shows that the Dems have two hypocrites in the debate over NAFTA. So which hypocrite is more electable? This morning one poll puts Obama up by two points in Ohio, another shows H. Clinton up by four points but down from eleven a week ago. The shifting demographics seem to favor someone who is something to all people.

    I agree Bob (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:39:51 AM EST

    I'd Feel Better (none / 0) (#49)
    by BDB on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:57:51 AM EST
    If Obama had remained someone who is something to all people after a bit of press scrutiny.  It's pretty easy to be something to all people when the press is carrying your water 23/7 (I'll grant the coverage hasn't been entirely positive).  Anyone can close a poll when the voting public is repeatedly told his Jesus Christ and his opponent is Satan.  But can he hold onto any of them when the hits start coming?  Put me down as skeptical.  

    Whatever else this NAFTA thing shows, it does not show good management by the Obama camp. If anything, their initial spin makes it worse because they look like they lied about lying.  They'll probably get away with it against Hillary, but I'm unconvinced they'll be able to get away with it against St. McCain.  


    Since perfidy is alleged (none / 0) (#47)
    by AdrianLesher on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:53:58 AM EST
    let's look at what Goolsby says:

    Goolsbee "was frank in saying that the primary campaign has been necessarily domestically focused, particularly in the Midwest, and that much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more reflective of political Themaneuvering than policy," the memo's introduction said. "On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more `core' principles of the agreement."

    Goolsbee said that sentence is true and consistent with Obama's position. But he said other portions of the memo were inaccurate.

    He said he has been surprised that such a banal and trivial meeting with a low-level consulate official has created so much controversy and resulted in such an inaccurate depiction. He said he was invited to the consulate to meet the officials and get a tour.

    He said the visit lasted about 40 minutes, and perhaps two to three minutes were spent discussing NAFTA. He said the Canadians asked about Obama's position, and he replied about his interest in improving labor and environmental standards, and they raised some concerns that Obama sounds like a protectionist.

    He said he responded that Obama is not a protectionist, but that the Illinois senator tries to strike a balance between the economic struggles of working Americans and recognizing that free trade is good for the economy.

    "That's a pretty ham-handed description of what I answered," Goolsbee said of memo's account. "A: In no possible way was that a reference to NAFTA. And B: In no possible way was I inferring that he was going to introduce any policies that you should ignore and he had no intention of enacting. Those are both completely crazy."

    The original denials were about a senior campaign staffer calling the ambassador. Goolsby is a policy advisor, not a senior staffer, and the ambassador is not the same as a Chicago consular official.  CTV subsequently changed their reporting to reflect this.

    Oh, for crying out loud... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:51:03 AM EST
    Now Goolsbee wants to critique whether the memo properly reflects what he said?  I guess that is supposed to distract us from remembering that the campaign assured us that no one had said anything, because there had been no contact with anyone from the Canadian government.

    What's next?  A dissertation from the Obama campaign on what the meaning of "is" is?


    Heh (none / 0) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:58:31 AM EST
    And the Obama camp continued to deny it.

    They lied. I am not shocked.


    Uh (none / 0) (#52)
    by Steve M on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:00:18 AM EST
    If you want to claim the denials were "technically accurate" you are not only wrong, but you're engaging in the same kind of gameplaying that we typically deplore when anyone except our own candidate does it.

    Exactly ... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:35:22 AM EST
    and I think Obama supporters should remind us again how Obama relationship with the truth is different than their portrayal of Clinton's relationship with the truth?

    The Obama supporter spin on this is that the original CTV story was incorrect because the meeting wasn't with the ambassador.  Second, that Goolsbee isn't a "top advisor," despite the fact that he's been described as such.  And that he was speaking for himself, not the campaign.

    And, finally, that it's just another smear engineered by the Clinton campaign. In short, blame Clinton.


    Clinton Rules? (none / 0) (#84)
    by AdrianLesher on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:39:06 AM EST
    Let's start with the knowledge that the Globe in Mail is supportive of the Tory government in Canada, and that the Globe and Mail and CTV are both owned by the same conglomerate.

    Remember that that the Tory government is quite sympathetic to GWB.  

    Also remember that Goolsby's knowledge of what he said can't automatically be imputed to the larger Obama campaign itself.

    That being said, the language used in the memo is much different than what was claimed in the original article, and clearly states that Obama would seek change in NAFTA:

    "On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally changing the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these as more `core' principles of the agreement."

    And don't forget that CTV claims that the Clinton campaign called to say she didn't mean what she said too.

    Is CTV credible about the Clinton campaign too? Or do Clinton Rules apply here?


    Are you suggesting that Goolsbee (none / 0) (#86)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:04:20 AM EST
    is mouthing off about Obama's trade policy to foreign representatives WITHOUT Obama's approval?
    That would be a far more serious breach.

    I think Obama's campaign makes ... (none / 0) (#89)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:13:22 AM EST
    it clear that Goolsbee was speaking for the campaign.

    They demagogued NAFTA for political purposes (misleading fliers, speeches), but when put on the spot in the debate Obama agreed with Hillary's more sensible view of NAFTA reforms.

    The Obama campaign wanted to have it both ways, and they got caught.  I think voters see this now, as evidenced by how they're polling on the issue in OH.


    Nothing in the posted link (none / 0) (#95)
    by plf1953 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:57:46 AM EST
    states, as you do, that "the Clinton campaign called to say she didn't mean what she said too."

    The Clinton campaign has unambiguously denied they made any such call

    The CTV exclusive also reported that sources said the Clinton campaign has made indirect contact with the Canadian government, trying to reassure Ottawa of their support despite Clinton's words. The Clinton camp denied the claim.

    If you've got anything that supports your statement produce it.

    This is about Obama NOT Hillary.


    staffer.  Because this is what the Obama campaign has to say about Mr Goolsbee    "Goolsbee is the Senior Economic Advisor to the Obama campaign. ".

    another case of what obama meant! (none / 0) (#54)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:03:14 AM EST
    frankly i don't want to live through 4 years about what obama meant.

    Well I am sorry to say but (none / 0) (#83)
    by Florida Resident on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:34:14 AM EST
    take out the pre-made form fill in the blanks.  What______meant was______.  

    BTW What retrograde an expression "I think the significance of having a black president would be even greater than that of having a female president." is.  And I get excoriated every-time I dare to hint there might be a bigger problem of sexism than racism in this country.

    significance of having a black president (none / 0) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:03:06 AM EST
    I dont believe anyone actually said that.

    I copied and pasted the quote (none / 0) (#88)
    by Florida Resident on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:09:28 AM EST
    from a comment above.

    let me rephrase that (none / 0) (#92)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:44:28 AM EST
    I never said that

    I didn't say you did (none / 0) (#93)
    by Florida Resident on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:48:04 AM EST
    This was a stand alone comment not a reply to anyone.  

    Geffen (none / 0) (#91)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:29:04 AM EST
    Said all politicians lie.

    He never said "except Obama."

    Meet the new boss.