Politics As Usual

Tim Russert's passing reminds me that this Obama-McCain matchup was the election the Media dreamed of. This was the one that was going to change politics.

Well, anyone watching the first week of the campaign since the departure of Hillary Clinton must have noticed that in fact what we have gotten is more of the same. John Mercurio writes:

[L]isten closely to the debate this week over the campaign's No. 1 issue, and you'll hear how comfortably Obama and McCain conform to their parties' tried-and-true orthodoxies, the ones that repeatedly set the stage for a sharply divided -- and static -- electoral map.

As a Democrat, I am glad to see the Obama team understands that Obama can not change politics, that he must engage in it. A sharply partisan campaign is very much to Obama's favor and the first rule in politics is you win before you can transform. Others have noticed the pedestrian nature of the campaign:

David Brooks: Dear Dr. Collins, can you explain this strange feeling of ennui? Why is there no zip in my zest, no snap in my vigor? Why does my mood stretch out blue and lifeless, like a patient etherized upon a table?

Here we have two outstanding presidential candidates. The Economist magazine, which is so much cleverer than the rest of us, lauds them as the best of America. And yet somehow the campaign is not exactly Lincoln v. Douglas or Plato v. Aristotle. Every day’s issue blip is more trivial than the last. McCain used some unfortunate phrase about American troops staying in Iraq and the Obama henchmen launched a thousand conference calls twisting the phrase entirely out of context and claiming that McCain doesn’t care about the fate of the troops. James Johnson, Obama’s V.P. vetter and a highly respected political practitioner, takes an insider loan or two and the entire McCain apparatus erupts as if this transgression reflects directly on Obama’s fitness for office. . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) Actually, Lincoln/Douglas was not what the mythmakers make of it now. I suggest folks read the actual debates. Demagoguery and false outrage were the order of the day then too. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The funny thing is unlike the Media, as a Democrat, I think this is a POSITIVE development, not a negative one. I was worried that our candidate might have believed his press clippings. I am much more at ease now that I see Obama is capable of the partisan slant, the persistent characterization of McCain as "running for Bush's third term," and a full throated politics of contrast/Fighting Dems campaign.

The Media mourns. I am pleased.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Well, I've been around politics (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:09:33 AM EST
    a long time and someone is going to have to explain to me how Obama campaigned on "new" politics, practiced "old" politics went beyond dirty politics, imo, and expects to "change" washington? McCain, I thought this week, was classic, feisty, McCain!

    easy explanation (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by Josey on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:33:02 AM EST
    The Establishment propped up a newbie senator for the purpose of "changing" THEM. ;>
    There are still Obama supporters who actually believe Obama's propaganda that Hillary was the Establishment's candidate.

    Most of them do (5.00 / 11) (#120)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:05:25 AM EST
    I was talking to a co-worker yesterday. An intelligent, politically aware woman. She commented on what a nasty campaign Clinton had run, and how terrible it was that she has said that Obama was not a Muslim "as far as I know". I said that she never that, but she said "I've watched the clip". She watches Olbermann (loves the show), so I assumed that she had simply been spun by that, but she said she had gotten it from other sources as well.

    I couldn't understand this, so I went on-line and found a media matters column about how the media had reported that little tidbit, and, sure enough, the common method was to say that Clinton has said exactly what my friend thought she had said. Very few bothered to even point out that her initial response was "Of course not" and the questionable phrase came about 8 sentences down after the reporter had asked her the same question 3 times. Scarborough surprised me, though. He actually pointed out that it's easy to manipulate an interviewee into saying things like that. I'm wondering if there isn't more to that man than I have given him credit for.

    People never got the facts. They thought they had them, but the facts they were given were wrong, distorted to make Clinton sound like, well, a "monster". This is the Iraq War all over again, in terms of media coverage. They simply choose the story and follow it blindly, seeking outrage as opposed to clarity. Their watchers follow along like lambs to the slaughter, nodding and getting enraged and tuning in for the next segment.

    This actually scares me, since without the media presenting facts, how can we get the truth? The government can't be trusted, and the internet is mostly biased sources. I read enough different sites to be able to sort out a version of what I think is true - but garbage in/garbage out, how can I really know? And how can people make intelligent decisions in a Democracy if they don't know the truth? We're becoming one of those nasty science fiction dystopias where information is controlled by powerful figures through the media and a compliant public goes along every step of the way.


    Well, as far as I know, Obama WAS a (5.00 / 3) (#123)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:08:23 AM EST
    Muslim as a child.. but I don't care in the least.
    Aren't we supposed to be a tolerant society?

    That's not true (none / 0) (#135)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:18:16 AM EST
    As far as anybody knows (I hope that doesn't get me into trouble), Obama was raised by parents who were secular. His father was born a Muslim, but he was not practicing by the time Obama was born. His mother seems to have been something of an agnostic, although that isn't clear. He was not raised in any particular religion.  Here is a Snopes link that explains further.

    but then there's this (4.50 / 2) (#153)
    by Josey on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:28:24 AM EST
    Obama's half-brother stating Obama grew up Muslim.
    Never heard of this site, but please don't respond I should stick to "conventional media sources" that sold us Bush and Obama and spread propaganda against the Clintons.



    Actually (4.00 / 4) (#215)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:04:02 PM EST
    he and his family were practicing muslims according to his sister when they were living in Indonesia. His step father was a muslim too.

    No she did say that. (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by Faust on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:51:21 AM EST
    She did say "not a muslim as far as I know."

    However, the broader context (i.e. what she said immediately following) clearly indicates that there was no nefarious intent behind the phrasing.

    It was a case of lack of decontextualization. The clip that was spread around cut off her response at the "as far as I know remark" and didn't show what she said immediately afterwards which clearly indicated that she regarded the muslim rumors as a smear.


    err (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by Faust on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:52:13 AM EST
    not a lack of decontextualiztion. Deliberate decontextualization was what was happening.

    not after, before (5.00 / 4) (#228)
    by DFLer on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:19:33 PM EST
    from Jake Tapper's site

    STEVE KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama's a Muslim?

    HILLARY CLINTON: Of course not. I mean that's, you know, that, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.

    KROFT: You said you take Sen. Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim...

    CLINTON: Right, right..

    KROFT: ...you don't believe that he's a Muslim.

    CLINTON: No! No! Why would I? There's nothing to base that on. As far as I know.

    "As far as I know"?

    To be fair, Clinton went on to say that having "been the target of so many ridiculous rumors... I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time."

    The Way I See It (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by talex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:21:09 AM EST
    is that Obama's primary rhetoric was an easy sell to 'bleeding heart' Liberals. He simply played to people emotions and was able to be short on substance and still barely get by.

    Now we are no longer in the primaries and things have changed, but not due to Obama's doing. I see it differently than Armando does: "I am much more at ease now that I see Obama is capable of the partisan slant".

    Well we will see just how capable he is. But this shift to the partisan slant is not Obama's doing IMO. Instead McCain is forcing it with the way he is framing the issues and Obama is responding - not vis versa. And when your opponent is framing the debate and you are just reacting and 'hitting the ball back' then you are on defense, not offense. And I don't think defense is Obama's game. He has shown he is in his element when he can frame the debate by being vague and talking in platitudes.

    But general election voters don't buy vagueness and happy talk like Dem primary voters do. So we will have to see how things unfold as the battle tested McCain keeps trying to frame the debate and keep the wet behind the ears Obama on defense reacting and having to step out of his element with having to deal with issues and not happy talk.


    you mean he lied like a rug? (5.00 / 3) (#185)
    by Baal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:41:11 AM EST
    or are you talking about some other kind of "straight talk"?

    And, was under handed... (5.00 / 7) (#203)
    by Aqua Blue on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:55:02 AM EST
    What Obama did to his Democratic opponents in Illinois and to Hillary in the Primary was just downright dirty.

    Had Obama won the Primary in a fair way...had Obama acknowledged Florida and Michigan voter fully...had Obama not stolen delegates from Hillary in Michigan...had Obama stopped the hate that spewed from his supporters to Hillary supporters  (and he could have stopped it as he is doing now)...I would be thnking of him very differently...as one of the good guys.

    But based on past behavior...Obama's character is very much in question for me.


    had the press lit a fire under the TUCC (5.00 / 5) (#210)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:00:49 PM EST
    stuff he'd never have coem within an inch of the nomination.

    Do you think they'll become more 'bulldogish' ... (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:18:10 PM EST
    ... now to honor Tim Russert? Not that he was ever far from the day's Repug talking points, but I think the media might be in more of a gotcha frame of mind after The Bulldog's hobby of bagging Dems.

    At least the (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by mikeyleigh on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:10:13 AM EST
    Lincoln-Douglas debates had the candidates addressing each other instead of simply repeating talking points in response to silly questions during what are laughingly styled presidential debates today. False outrage, yes.  Demagoguery, yes.  But also a lot of information, clear positions, and intellectual give and take.  What a novel idea.

    The Town Halls (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:39:58 AM EST
    That's why I thought the town hall idea was a good one. Bypass the inane media questioning. Too bad it seems to have foundered.

    It's my belief these were quashed by (5.00 / 6) (#113)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:59:21 AM EST
    obama...he doesn't do well in Town Hall settings or in any situation where he has to speak off the cuff.

    Almost certainly (5.00 / 6) (#122)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:08:05 AM EST
    McCain loves town hall meetings. He is very good one on one, even though he isn't a good speaker in the sense that he can't give an inspirational speech the way Obama can. It was smart of Obama to not accept the town hall formate.

    McCain camp (5.00 / 3) (#211)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:01:05 PM EST
    put out an excellent statement yesterday on Russert's death; Obama was asked impromptu and provided a few clauses full of hyperbole; it did not sound sincere or thoughtful -- at least not to me.

    Not the Reason (4.17 / 6) (#177)
    by Spike on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:37:49 AM EST
    Obama didn't reject the town hall format. He just wants to do a lot fewer of them, in addition to more conventional debates. With McCain at a serious financial disadvantage, why would Obama agree to do a face-to-face event with McCain once a week to give him all that free media? From a strategic standpoint, why would Obama want to level the playing field by giving McCain huge amounts of free exposure that he could never afford to buy?

    Well, O has countered, (3.50 / 2) (#143)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:22:23 AM EST
    somewhat smartly but not boldly, with two TH format proposals -- one on the economy, the biggest issue by far this year, and the second on Iraq/FP, the first in July the second in Aug.  

    This would be in addition to the already scheduled 3 presidential debates arranged by the (awful) pres'l debates comm'n (weirdly, not one of these 3 debates will take place west of the Mississippi, and the Veep encounter takes place virtually on the River in St Louie ...).

    I remain intrigued though by the O Team's other counter, which is to hold a series of L-D style debates instead of TH format.

    Ideally perhaps, I'd like to see 2-3 hybrid debate formats before the MCM takes over in the fall -- several two-hour debates, the first hour of each being L-D style (candidate A has a 10-minute opener, B follows with 15 min, A gets surrebuttal for 5)  on one topic area (FP or DP related), then the 2d hour given over to questions from those annoying ordinary citizens.

    Probably too much to ask in this short-attention span modern infotainment world to expect a duplication of the actual L-D format -- one hour opening remarks by A, opponent B follows for the next 90 minutes uninterrupted, A gets final word in last 30 minutes.

    I don't think these candidates are even remotely capable of speaking much beyond 30 minutes w/o notes, let alone 60 or 90 minutes.   Though I do believe O is much smarter than C-student and somewhat intellectually confused McCain.  


    It will be interesting (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by talex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:28:28 AM EST
    to see the two of them on stage and see how America reacts to Obama's smugness in contrast to the warmth that McCain seems to be able to display at will.

    I have thought specifcally that (5.00 / 6) (#169)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:33:12 AM EST
    Obama's sneering, frowning and head-shaking will be noted and disapproved when he is debating McCain, whereas it was almost completely ignored vs. Clinton. He could have Gore's problem quite easily.

    It's more likely folks (5.00 / 0) (#182)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:40:31 AM EST
    will have the opportunity to see McCain implode once or twice as he labors to keep up with his opponent and is frustrated in having to defend  truly awful and unpopular Bush policies all while outside the hall the economy continues to slide disastrously.

    They'll also notice McCain's weak grasp of economic issues and how he struggles to accurately characterize basic Sunni-Shia differences.  Then there's the age issue as the older white-haired guy from a different long-ago era goes up against a charismatic pol in his prime.


    Humm (5.00 / 4) (#218)
    by talex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:10:59 PM EST
    it was Obama that was frustrated and laboring to keep up with his opponent in the debates with Clinton. Did you see that as Clinton being a superior debater or was it just sign of Obama being a weak debater himself?

    Myself I think it was more a shortfall of his which will carry over to any debates he as. We shall see.


    Really? (5.00 / 0) (#186)
    by Spike on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:41:11 AM EST
    You mean the kind of warmth that McCain demonstated in front of his lime green backdrop? :)

    He appears to be good in townhalls (3.00 / 3) (#190)
    by Baal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:44:23 AM EST
    because he can lie at a moments notice, change his position from the speech he gave days earlier, and generally say whatever he thinks he wants his audience to hear.

    And nobody can check him on his BS in real time.

    That is the McCain modus operandi.


    Funny (5.00 / 11) (#196)
    by davnee on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:49:13 AM EST
    I honestly thought you were describing Obama until I got to the end of your post.

    Chnge we can believe in? (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:13:08 AM EST
    Transcending party lines, race, class?? I think not. Dems. and Repubs. as usual, I agree.  I also find this comforting.  It is the battle I know and trust.  All this mantra about "change" made me nervous. Did Obama and his followers want to toss out the constitution?  Did they think they had better ideas?  I think so.

    Tossing out ... (5.00 / 10) (#10)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:25:27 AM EST
    To listen to some of the more rabid followers it seems that the change is to come fundamentally from banishing Clinton ("and all her works, and all her allurements") from the party and secondarily from making conciliatory gestures to the wisdom and good faith of the Republicans. I never quite followed the logic of it.

    i propose that you have failed (1.50 / 2) (#89)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:28:37 AM EST
    to follow the logic of it, because it does not even exist. The wisdom and good faith of the GOP? What election on what planet have you been watching?

    don't insult other commentors (5.00 / 4) (#114)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:59:40 AM EST
    From Obama (5.00 / 5) (#125)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:10:59 AM EST
    He's been saying that we need to "reach out" to Republicans. He even met with right-wing fundamentalist leaders. He has been saying since the beginning of this election that he wanted to "unify" the nation. What did you think that meant? His campaign was based on rejecting the ideas of Bill and Hillary Clinton and suggesting that he was going to be able to draw in moderate and conservative voter's.

    what do I think it meant? (2.80 / 5) (#138)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:19:20 AM EST
    It meant that he wanted to win over people who have been voting Republican to vote Dems, by making the case to them that they should perhaps base their vote on some other criteria than they have been.

    Like, for instance, realizing that voting GOP is harming them economically, or realizing that the GOP vision of our national security is faulty.

    Yes, he wants to unify the nation around Democratic ideas and Democratic leadership. That is the exact opposite of respecting the wisdom of the GOP.

    Why does this need to be explained? His purpose was not to reject the ideas of the Clintons, he was competing with Clinton for leadership of this type of a movement. And despite your opinion, more Dems felt like he would be the more effective leader of this effort.


    You could have fooled me (5.00 / 6) (#147)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:24:56 AM EST
    Obama talked about the failed policies of the Clinton/Bush era. He did reject the ideas of the Clinton's. He has reached out to right-wing leaders. I don't know how much you know about the right wing, but they are values voter's and authoritarians. They are not going to simply embrace ideas that Democrats love. They expect something for their vote. What will Obama give them?

    I understand that more Dems voted for him, but I believe that they voted because they believed, as my co-worker did, that Clinton had run a dirty campaign. This idea was created by Obama's team and promoted by the media.


    oh right (1.25 / 4) (#159)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:30:00 AM EST
    your friend, and I, and the majority of the Democratic party are just mindless pieces of putty manipulated by the big bad media. Is that what you are saying?
    That Clinton supporters alone are capable of making insightful conclusions about what is going on, but everyone else was led around by the nose?

    The Clintons have ALWAYS, back since the mid-eighties, represented the centrist element of the party - the right wing of the Democratic party. THe DLC wing, the NAFTA wing, the DOMA wing. Most people (aside from some Clinton supporters) see Obama as the more liberal of the two - the most liberal nominee we have had in a long time.

    So yeah, someone is being fooled...


    Correction: Clinton supporters (5.00 / 9) (#216)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:04:23 PM EST
    were a majority of the Democratic party.
    You should pay attention to their opinions.
    WE are the base.

    Actually, more Dems did not feel that way (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:34:05 AM EST
    More members of the DNC and the RBC, sure.  Although even that is debatable as really, more of them saw the money machine.

    BTD's post doesn't line up with what you are saying.  If he's to be applauded for sharly partisan politics, then that's not trying to attract Republicans.  Unless we really have fallen into Orwell's 1984 where Unity = Division.

    The reason it needs to be explained (and I'm so glad to see the all condescending tone is gone from the Obama campaign and its supporters!) is that he tried to destroy the Clintons and pedaled as fast as he could away from its ideological and practical legacy.  And because Obama has flipped the switch off on Unity and flipped it on to something else.


    Please Forgive Me if I Lapse into... (1.00 / 3) (#222)
    by Spike on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:13:54 PM EST
    Condescension as I Make Two Points:

    1. Obama never tried to "destroy the Clintons." He was running against Hillary Clinton for the nomination and such a competition requires a candidate to draw contrasts. Just as Hillary Clinton did when she went on the attack after Wisconsin. Was she trying to destroy Obama or just to win the nomination?

    2. Obama hasn't "flipped the switch off on Unity." Strategically, both the Obama and McCain campaigns have to do two things: (a) solidify their party's base; and (b) secure the support of independent voters. Just one week away from Clinton's concession, Obama is currently taking a more partisan tone as he's trying to gain the support of 90% of self-identified Democrats. As Democratic self-identification grows, this becomes increasingly important because there is more base to secure. But when Obama has secured the Democratic base, he will once again trumpet Unity as he fights with McCain over independent voters. If Obama can succeed on both fronts over the next 4 1/2 months, he will enjoy a landslide victory that will provide a significant mandate for progressive change.

    You slipped into irrelevancy (5.00 / 8) (#225)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:17:18 PM EST
    .. is that ok?
    Attacking the Clintons' character---both of them---was central to his campaign.
    The line "She'll say anything to win" was part of his stump speech, IIRC.
    I could go on, and on, and on, and on.. but really, what's the point?
    Hillary campaigned on experience. When she said that Obama might not be ready for the challenges of the Presidency, this was considered the worst evah!
    But it was not a character attack.

    Has Obama been distorting the truth about (5.00 / 6) (#166)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:32:22 AM EST
    Republicans throughout the primary season when he says that we should not ignore the wisdom and good ideas of Republicans? Evidently he thinks that Republicans are good at foreign policy because he is considering Republicans for two key positions in his administration. According to Obama, he is considering Hagel for Sec. of State and Lugar for Sec. of Defense. Hagel, a Republican, is also on Obama's short list for VP according to news sources.

    If Republicans are lacking in wisdom and are not acting in good faith, why has Obama said they do have wisdom and why is he considering Republicans for key positions? Why should anyone vote for Obama if he is not following the logic of it, because it does not even exist? He has said on numerous occasions that it does exist.


    No the question is (5.00 / 4) (#167)
    by talex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:32:24 AM EST
    What election on what planet have you been watching?

    Apparently you conveniently mentally blocked out Obama's Fox News Sunday appearance and his concession speeches in some of the primaries where he praised Republican ideas.

    Oh and I guess you missed his fondness for Reagan too. I could go on, but what for?


    dont start with that Reagan bs again (1.50 / 2) (#183)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:40:47 AM EST
    Its really embarrassing to see people trying to still sell that line.

    Obama said, perfectly correctly, that Reagan was a transformative president. He reset the political and policy landscape of this country.

    Obama aspires to have a equally profound effect - resetting the landscape to the same extent, in our direction.

    The Clinton supporters (and campaign even!) attempt to spin that as Obama speaking favorably of Reagan's ideas, was one of the key incidents that turned so many people bitterly agaisnt Clinton. It was so dishonest - and ended up being an attack on the very notion of fundamentally reordering our politics.

    If you dont reset the landscape, then you continue to play on the landscape defined by the GOP. For the gain of a few talking points, the Clinton people were willing to trash the notion of fundamental change.


    What Democrat would talk like this: (5.00 / 14) (#206)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:56:13 AM EST

    "I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what is different is the times. I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. They felt like with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

    He is touting what Republicans consider virtues, while criticizing big government and the "excesses " of the 60's and 70's.
    I think it was in a different interview, but he has also said some very unfortunate (and incorrect) things about war protesters as well.
    The man says he wants a foreign policy in Reagan's mold. Can we expect him to invade a Caribbean country and re-start Star Wars?

    Thanks, I'll take the Clinton years any day.

    Here's a question for you. What GOOD things does Obama have to say about Bill Clinton's Presidency?
    That's not easy to answer, is it? It's much easier to find his praise of Reagan and Bush Sr.
    The main criticism he seems to have of those two Presidents is that the latter was part of the "Bush-Clinton" years.


    Excesses of the '60s & '70s (5.00 / 9) (#234)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:42:33 PM EST
    Seems to me to be a Republican talking point.  If by excesses, Obama is referring to Martin Luther King-led civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the women's movement, I embrace these things whole-heartedly, along with the women's movement. I expect today's college students might not know the significant role these movements played in making the progress we have on civil rights and women's rights, but I would have thought that at age 46, Obama would know these things and embrace the resulting accomplishments. As a friend of Bill Ayers, how can Obama make a blanket claim to reject these "excesses"? I think Obama used these lines for political advantage during the primaries -- to identify the Clintons with excesses & stake out "superior" ground.
    I don't have a problem with Obama's reaching out to independent voters, but denigrating the legacy of movements and Presidents that also represented major "transformative" changes for the nation is either scary thinking or politically expedient.
    It also seems laudable to reject the divisiveness of the 1990s, but let's not forget the role of the Republicans led by Gingrich in provoking and sustaining the divisiveness, not to mention the divisiveness of the Republican Congressional majorities prior to 2006. Perhaps Obama's emphasis on bi-partisanship will succeed, if he is elected, in shaming the Republicans into reaching across the aisle, but to assume this will happen, or to conduct ourselves as though the Republicans have suddenly become immune from partisanship seems dangerously naive to me. It still takes two to tango. In addition, I think there are still issues as to which Democrats and Republicans have fundamental disagreements and which are still worth fighting for, such as no more torture, anti-voter suppression, universal healthcare, etc., and to think these can all be solved by running away from a fight is to abandon why many of us, as Democrats and democrats, get ourselves to the polls.

    The Constitution's (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by Claw on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:42:05 AM EST
    Already been tossed out.  I'm with BTD in being happy Obama's willing to play hardball when he needs to.  If we get a dem elected maybe we can go get the constitution out of the trash-bin.  I kind of miss it.

    Amen! (none / 0) (#192)
    by Baal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:46:28 AM EST
    you got a good name (1.00 / 1) (#90)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:29:28 AM EST
    Toss out the constitution? Really?

    don't insult other posters (5.00 / 4) (#117)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:00:02 AM EST
    I think the evidence is (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:13:25 AM EST
    that he and his handlers have always understood how the political map breaks down. People who supported Clinton have recognized that, but people who supported Obama did tend to believe the post-partisan press.

    David Brooks is in the curious position of questioning a media narrative that he himself helped invent. He seems prepared, as he should be, for Obama to dash his dreams over the course of a real campaign.  

    I will say this: if North Carolina and Virginia stay as close as they appear to be now, McCain will lose by being heavily outspent. That is especially true if Obama can get the DNC's finances in order.

    Y'all praised the "change" meme (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:16:08 AM EST
    and now you praise the same ol' stuff meme. What a fickle and disingenuous electorate!

    Who did? Certainly not me! (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:24:43 AM EST
    Reading your posts of late, (2.75 / 4) (#11)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:26:37 AM EST
    I think you did. It was always whatever "he" said and wanted is what you said and wanted. We do need change in washington!

    My original response has been deleted (5.00 / 3) (#128)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:11:35 AM EST
    but let's leave it at this, anyone who thinks that what zfran says here has any relationship to my opinion about Obama doesn't know anything about me.

    Bigger doesn't make you better, it (5.00 / 2) (#229)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:19:49 PM EST
    only makes you bigger, being the loudest doesn't make anyone hear you any more succinctly...having an "opinion" doesn't make you right (or me)it is only what it is. All I've asked is that you respect my opinion, whether you agree with it or not as I have respected yours. If you must have the last word, have it. I will no longer respond to you....I know that will make you most respectfully happy!

    My comment saying you're one of the best (3.66 / 3) (#148)
    by rilkefan on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:25:13 AM EST
    commenters here got deleted as well, so I'm posting it again, even if it is OT.

    Fickle Electorate (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by indy in sc on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:26:44 AM EST
    I know that's not news to you. :)

    I abhored the "change" mantra (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:41:19 AM EST
    always.  It was a slap at the Clintons solely.

    So many Obama supporters (5.00 / 8) (#55)
    by alsace on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:01:29 AM EST
    were pre-pubescent (some were barely sentient) during the nineties, but that didn't stop them from following the campaign's cue to bash the leader of the only successful Democratic administration in decades.  They succeeded - for me, at least - in making the primary a referendum on the Bill Clinton years, and so I voted for Hillary.  I will probably reinforce that vote in the general, notwithstanding their new attempt to make it a referendum on Bush.

    Obama's "new politics" was new to me (5.00 / 6) (#102)
    by Josey on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:41:43 AM EST
    considering I wasn't aware of former Dem candidates distributing memos on how to race-bait opponents.
    And this Dem family will not condone race-baiting and divisiveness by voting for Obama.

    that is absurd (2.20 / 5) (#99)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:39:21 AM EST
    As became obvious, the American people are desparate for "change" after these past 7 years. Obama understood how people felt this at a gut level, bottom line level.

    Hillary thought that the bottom line of what people wanted was someone with lots of WH experience (a slap at Obama you might say, but that too would be silly).

    Thats what it came down to in the early part of the campaign. Two hypotheses as to where the head of the American people, esp. the Dems, was. Do they want change, or experience.

    Obama was right, Hillary wrong. Thats why she lost Iowa. Lost the air of inevitability. And why she then need to fight on past Super Tuesday where she had no plan or organization to fight with.

    To say that the "change" message was soley a slap at her is to understand nothing about what just happened.


    Empty change (5.00 / 9) (#126)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:11:16 AM EST
    Change has been used to death as a campaign chant for many elections.  It meant nothing then, it means nothing now.  It simply an empty tactic to frame an opponent and brings nothing to governing.  

    This year began as a rejection of a govt that does not represent the issues of the people.  The people wanted 'change' in legislation.  I don't know anyone who thought the change was going to be 'everyone will get along up on the hill.'  I was looking for legislation, my family and friends were looking for legislation.  

    Saying change for the sake of change without knowing what it is, is non-productive.... which is exactly what I expect an Obama administration will be.


    stop insulting other posters (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:12:42 AM EST
    I hope this dressing down works on voters (5.00 / 11) (#73)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:09:38 AM EST
    Lawd knows I couldn't get enough of it from the pester squadrons during the primaries.

    One element of change: Never before have I considered throwing a campaign a few bucks if they'd STFU and/or leave me the eff'alone about the 101 things that are wrong with me and that tasty vote and support that belongs to them (but I clutch in my bitter withered racist b!tchy talons.)


    Dash Brooks' Dreams? (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by talex on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:37:46 AM EST
    You didn't really believe all the happy talk about Obama from Brooks did you? You do realize that he was pumping up Obama as were many conservatives because that is who they wanted to run against instead of Clinton.

    Right. (none / 0) (#88)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:28:34 AM EST
    The weird stuff that Pennsylvania would shape up like South Carolina, and Obama would win, wasn't coming from his campaign (that was Booman I believe).  Right now his campaign would do better than he did in Pennsylvania, I think.  We'll see if the primary negligence of Appalachia, which did come from his campaign as well as bloggers, hurts his efforts in PA and OH and on the map in general.

    Who cares about the troops? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:17:40 AM EST
    Me too. Things like Obama's going on Fox News and mentioning Republicans for Cabinet slots had me worried.

    But I think Brooks' examples are weak relative to his point. I don't think McCain does care about the troops in any important sense-- i.e., as individuals whose lives are adversely affected. The same goes for most of the Republican power structure, especially those holding office in the current Administration.

    As for the Johnson thing, I suppose it was bad. But it seems to me the issue is a bit ironic coming from the Lobbyist Express that McCain is running.

    What is wrong with filling your (1.00 / 2) (#7)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:19:37 AM EST
    cabinet posts w/some repubs? Don't you want to fill the posts with the most qualified people?

    It depends which posts (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:36:50 AM EST
    The whole 'most qualified people' argument is a false frame. There are no independently verifiable criteria as to what makes a good Cabinet officer (or any executive). And the fact of the matter is that people with seemingly impeccable credentials often perform disappointingly.

    As I said yesterday over at the GOS I have no objection to a worthy Republican in a secondary position, but as regards the Big Five (VP, State, Defense, Justice and Treasury) the question is:

    ... aren't there any Democrats that are fit for these positions? If, after eight years out of power, the new Democratic President appoints a Republican, it promotes the Republican talking point that Democrats are not:

       1. Strong on Defense

       2. Fiscally Responsible

       3. Tough on Crime

       4. Experienced in Foreign Policy

    Clinton's appointment of William Cohen to be Secretary of Defense was a gesture of weakness and it will be the same for Obama if he appoints a Republican to one of these top posts. This is our chance to prove our collective competence as a Party.

    You have this down to the gnats science (5.00 / 3) (#162)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:30:44 AM EST
    Not as many out front loud Democrats in the military but they are there and they have just as strong defense credentials as Repubs do.  In a Democratic administration, from here on out I'm expecting to see these left leaners in the places they've earned and deserve!  I have no desire to reach out to Republicans until they can rebuild a sane party and show some leadership I can respect as a fellow human being.

    qualifications (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:38:57 AM EST
    I think for me all the republicans are tainted after buying into administration demands. The dems have been out of power for a long time but there is a large pool of talent and experience out there. Why should we pick people who don't share goals and whose loyalty to both party and the people can be questioned?
    Personally I would pick feisty partisan democrats who will advance a democratic and progressive agenda and push back against the damage done to our country and constitution.
    And I would sure put a lot of women out there in the public eye so there is a large pool for future high office.

    So why hasn't Nancy Pelosi (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:42:37 AM EST
    pushed, really pushed to get us out of Iraq. Why hasn't Reid done the same, as an example. I think they all need to go and we need to start fresh. Of course that's not possible, but both parties are guilty. The repubs. right now look weaker because they have been in power longer. When the dems were in power, there were just as many problems getting things done.

    agree on our party leaders (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:47:34 AM EST
    That is not who I meant by feisty talented progressives. Yes pour party has sucked in pushing back.
    So new talent - maybe out of non-profits rather than corporations and wall st.

    Better Democrats (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Demi Moaned on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:01:10 AM EST
    You're getting a little wild in your arguments there. As far as Reid and Pelosi go (especially Pelosi), I'm no great fan. But they are elected officials and we're talking about appointed officials.

    Reid and Pelosi are two examples of why we need better Democrats, but if you're suggesting that we can recruit them from the ranks of current Republicans, then I don't buy it.


    Why haven't they pushed? (5.00 / 5) (#70)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:09:04 AM EST
    Because frankly, the war is a good wedge issue for them.  We can't vote for the Republicans because they'll keep us in Iraq (just like the Democrats did).

    As long as they appear unable to (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:33:57 AM EST
    do anything to remove us from Iraq, America is going to vote more Dems in in an effort to get something done about getting us out of Iraq.  Sadly, Obama's latest statements about his Iraq strategy don't sound very decisive on getting us out of Iraq either.  He isn't saying anything about a 100 years but he's saying plenty about however long it takes and no set withdrawal date now.

    We need people who will (5.00 / 5) (#82)
    by joanneleon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:18:31 AM EST
    not be afraid to stand up for what's true and what's right, even if it's unpopular.  We need people who are willing to resign and burn bridges while defending the people and the Constitution.  We need that now more than ever.  There's a real risk of dems who will be drunk with power and holding the (newly turbo) unitary executive keys if we win the presidency in 2008.  They won't want to risk getting on the wrong side of those in power and getting thrown under the bus during a time of unprecedented power and influence, and while dealing with a "movement" that is ruthless.

    If you can find me some Republicans who have demonstrated this type of courage and integrity, I'd be willing to consider them.

    But I haven't seen that during the Bush/Cheney administration.  I haven't seen it in years.


    Nothing at all, if you pick carefully (none / 0) (#195)
    by Baal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:49:08 AM EST
    William Cohen, R, Clinton's Sec Defence

    withdrawing troops (none / 0) (#61)
    by lucy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:04:54 AM EST
    I have a son in the Army who has spent 15 months in Iraq and will go back in Jan. 2009, a nephew in the Army who will deploy sometime this year, and a volunteer with an organization that serves millitary personnel giving me the opportunity to interact with lots of soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen.

    I am aware that my small sample does not speak for soldiers overall, but in my experience most of these people are OK with deploying.  After all, they did enlist knowing they would deploy.  My son says that he joined the Army to be a soldier.  He is a warrior at heart and he joins with full knowledge of what that would mean in his life.

    Again, in my experience, it is not deployment by itself that soldiers don't like, it is repeated deployments without enough time to rest and recover between them, lack of equipment, poor training, poorly planned missions, and lack of services when they return.

    I'm not defending McCain, but speaking for soldiers only, I think many of them are OK with deploying.  They are soldiers, and fighting in wars is what they do.


    My husband's (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by indy in sc on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:30:44 AM EST
    family is very heavily in the military and I understand what you are saying. His brother is air force (just retired last year) and he was itching to be sent to Afghanistan (medical issues kept the AF from sending him). He wanted so badly to be out there with his "brothers and sisters" for the cause. His enthusiasm for Iraq was far less (though he would have liked to go there also). I think that while people in the miltary are not opposed to deployments, I think their morale is lower when they disagree with the war (in addition to the other things you mention like lack of equipment, etc). Disagreement with the war is something they are not really allowed to express and I think that adds to it as well.

    The younger soldiers seem to be more okay (5.00 / 3) (#213)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:03:01 PM EST
    with a deployment to Iraq.  Many of them now signed up knowing Iraq was on the menu.  I do know older soldiers though who told their command that if they got another Iraq deployment they'd rather go to jail.  To avoid creating a "scene" those soldiers are sidelined some place right now because we are too short handed to do anything else about it.  I also know a lot of soldiers like my husband who go because if they don't do their duty it'll just get handed to someone else and that doesn't sit well with their conscience.  The younger soldiers though don't seem to mind an Iraq deployment until they get past two and then I have a hard time finding anyone wanting to go back again from there.

    I never fell for Obama's rhetoric . (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by Saul on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:22:09 AM EST
    I knew that behind the Obama facade of I am different and I will change the politics of Washington there was a regular run of the mil politician.  However, he did manage to fool plenty of voters on who he really is.

    Is there any more hackneyed promise than this ... (5.00 / 5) (#51)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:59:56 AM EST
    change the politics of Washington when declared from the stump?

    It would be great to see after the fact that someone really did change things but ahead of time it's like giving oneself a kewl nickname and nagging acquaintances to use it.  


    Yep, it was just a gimmick to get votes thats all. (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Saul on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:03:53 AM EST
    It worked largely with (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:09:08 AM EST
    those who haven't been around long enough to realize how hackneyed it is.

    Short Term Memories (4.42 / 7) (#87)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:26:33 AM EST
    Obama's campaign of change, God and Unity are a carbon copy of Bush in 1999. After the disasters that Bush has created, I would think everyone would run and hide from anyone who tried to ride that pony again. Just goes to show you can full most of the people most of the time.

    It's (5.00 / 2) (#175)
    by Claw on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:36:43 AM EST
    Actually more like Bill's 1992 campaign.  Bush's campaign was based on the stunningly ridiculous idea that he was just a reglar joe and Gore was a intellecul feller who you couldn't sit down and have a beer with.  Two of the three people we're talking about can put together a sentence.  One of the three actually stole an election.  I'm not too worried about Obama becoming Bush.  

    Especially for someone who doesn't know (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by JavaCityPal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:36:36 AM EST
    enough about how it works. Does he find it too confusing in his newbie state?

    Actually, I saw the opening dialog McCain gave to a townhall late this week. McCain says he has never added an earmark to a bill. I'm trusting that to be true because it can be checked too easily.

    Obama has earmarks on his record, and some to people he's wishing we didn't know he knew.


    Those Pesky Little Details... (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Silhouette on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:26:47 AM EST
    Weird too, where ALL THAT MONEY is coming from for Obama...you know..with the majority of his supporters being under 30 and struggling, ostensibly..  Strangely, look for the money to drop off shortly just after he is officially nominated in August.

    "..the first rule in politics is you win before you can transform..."~Big Tent Democrat

    Yes.  You do have to make it past the armed guards before you can redecorate the Oval Office.  Look for a radical change in how the media handles him (like they did Hillary) just after he is officially our nominee.

    Obama cannot win IMO (and the actual backroom opinion of the GOP/Media too) and it's just sad to see superdelegates get all hopeful over a three-legged horse for the race.  That missing leg?  Experience in time of war.  Watch them exploit that more than any of the thousand angles they'll attack from come Sept. 1st.  

    Here are some of those "pesky details" (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by FlaDemFem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:31:56 AM EST
    this website shows the bundlers, mostly corporate, that contributed to Obama's campaign. Here are a couple of indications..

    Total Raised: $264,492,301

    Bundlers: 358

    Lobbyist Bundlers: 14

    If you look, you will see that many of them come from lobbyists, or their spouses. So much for the "little people" funding his campaign. So much for the "new politics". Same old, same old.


    And there will be more (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:29:30 AM EST
    Has anybody else noticed the lack of news releases about how Obama is getting most of his money in small donations? Ever since he took the lead, the big money donors came out in force. They aren't promoting an ideal, they are getting access to the machine.

    And since the DNC is moving (5.00 / 4) (#201)
    by FlaDemFem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:53:39 AM EST
    to Chicago, they will BE the machine and control the machine. Although, I read somewhere that in Chicago it's called the "Chicago Combine". Which is appropriate, since from what I can see from Obama's unity rhetoric and his pandering to the right, he wants the Dems and the Repubs to unite into one party..under him. Partisan unity at it's finest...Heh.

    Agree with BTD (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by 1jane on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:32:09 AM EST
    With the launch of 3,600 Obama "Fellows" into 17 targeted states next week, the on the ground campaign (where it really matters) is back. Each of the Fellows are taking 6 weeks away from their professions to campaign. They are in training now and report to their posts on Monday or Tuesday. Our county will welcome 10 Fellows who are working out of the county Democratic offices as are most Fellows in the 17 targeted states where they are assigned. In addition Obama offices will reopen in my state the first week of July.

    I see the Debate's as a McCain campaign ploy, one of the oldest and tiredest attempts to place an empty chair on the stage. I hope the Obama campaign agrees to less than 5 debates. McCain risks major embarrassment in the debate format.

    nice to see (5.00 / 9) (#23)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:37:54 AM EST
    you defending Obama's cowardice on the debates.

    Not a big fan of openness in a President, are you? Can't have a candidate actually answer questions if he can avoid it, I guess, is your view.

    But if your candidate is a gaffe-amatic, I can see why you'd be defending cowardice.


    BTW, when was the last (5.00 / 8) (#28)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:42:09 AM EST
    time that we had a Democratic candidate running for President who actively sought to reduce the number of debates?

    So far as I can remember, Obama's cowardice is unique in the annals of Presidential history.


    Reminds me of Bush (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by stillife on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:47:30 AM EST
    Maybe his handlers could conceal a Wi-Fi device under his suit, a la Bush 2004.

    The last time a Democrat was clearly in the lead (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:06:11 AM EST
    As a rule front runners don't want to debate, those behind do.

    Here's the thing (5.00 / 5) (#98)
    by joanneleon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:38:32 AM EST
    that makes this situation different:  How many times have you heard an Obama surrogate or a media pundit talk about how people just haven't gotten to know Obama enough yet?  They talk about how we just need to know more about him.

    The best way to get to know him is to see him actually engaging in dialog with his opponent and with other people.  A gazillion campaign commercials and big rallies don't help us get to know him.  

    For awhile I was watching the rallies and it quickly became clear that he was saying the same thing over and over, using the same phrases and jokes, etc.  Then we were deluged with campaign commercials here during the weeks preceding the PA primary.  They played the same exact commercial over and over, for weeks!  The same damn ad.  They spent millions in one of the most expensive media markets airing the same campaign ad for weeks.  Think about that.

    This isn't the way to get to know a candidate.  It's the way to shove a candidate down people's throats.  

    Honest debate is the way to do it.  Let's find out what he's really all about, warts and all.  Let's find out what he really wants to do.  Let's be able to compare and contrast.  He's got to do debates, one on one.  He can't keep talking about how he's done dozens of debates, because the reality is that most of them were with a whole slate of candidates and didn't require much from him.  

    He looked really bad when he refused to debate further with Hillary and now is doing the same with McCain.  This week he refused to do a town hall with McCain, then went on to do his own town hall, alone, the same day.  It really didn't look good for him.  


    Not Quite (5.00 / 0) (#150)
    by CoralGables on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:27:11 AM EST
    He didn't refuse to do a Town Hall with McCain. he said no to TEN Town Halls BEFORE the Convention. The Obama camp actually offered five debates. Two before the convention and three afterwards. Personally, I see no reason for a debate between these two at all before both are nominated at their respective Conventions.

    Ten debates before the Convention in August? Please God No...I'd say call me in September and we'll talk.

    McCain is desperate for press and ten debates before either is nominated at the convention was just a McCain camp ploy that fell flat.


    Dodge (5.00 / 1) (#223)
    by joanneleon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:14:52 PM EST
    Your reply seems to dodge the real issue.  Okay, maybe ten before the convention is excessive.  So how about one at a time?  Something?  At the moment, McCain is taking advantage of the situation, making it look like Obama is avoiding debating him.  Obama should be able to wipe the floor with McCain.  He's not exactly a tough opponent.

    BTW, yelling with CAPS and BOLD doesn't do much in the way of convincing me.  I've become immune to it during the last six months of dealing with screaming Obama supporters.


    I don't totally disagree with you (3.00 / 0) (#110)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:55:19 AM EST
    but every campaign in my memory since 1976 went through a period of debate about debates, how many, format, etc.

    Ask any reporter, all presidential candidates stay on message and their speeches are repeats. I would agree commercials need variety.

    McCain has his own problems. He keeps confusing, mixing up facts. This plays into the age narrative issue. Is he too old for the job?


    You're right (5.00 / 0) (#132)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:14:19 AM EST
    McCain does have his own problems in a debate/town hall setting.

    What does it say about Obama that against such a weak opponent, he refuses to use every opportunity to show off any superior skills he might have?

    Isn't the logical conclusion that he thinks he's even worse than the sometimes befuddled McCain?


    No (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:19:44 AM EST
    Unless you accept your logical conclusion vis a vis Bill Clinton and George I and Bob Dole. As I recall, there was a lot of pre debate debate there too, about format and number. Following your "logic" Bill Clinton would have accepted his opponents debating conditions without further discussion. That fact that he did not, shows he was even worse than George I and Dole and afraid to debate them. QED.  

    The fact that birds fly and chickens are birds might lead you to the conclusion that chickens fly. They don't.


    There is always negotiation about (5.00 / 1) (#209)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:59:41 AM EST
    format in debates. There is nothing new there -- everything from the size of the podium, to where they stand, to when and where they shake hands, are subject to negotiation.

    What I'd like to see is any evidence that Clinton ever simply refused a sizable number of debates/town halls, as Obama has clearly done, even when he had a commanding lead in the polls.

    Otherwise you're just making excuses for your very weak candidate (who seems to know it).


    Can't be that weak, he got the nomination (5.00 / 3) (#230)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:20:32 PM EST
    over a tough competitor.

    You are right there is nothing new here.

    Republican Bob Dole wants to meet President [Bill] Clinton in an unprecedented four one-hour debates, but that proposal met a quick rebuff from Clinton representatives Thursday as debate negotiations between the two camps began.

    See also

    The 1996 presidential debates followed a less ambitious schedule than the previous round of debates in 1992. President Clinton and his Republican opponent, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, conducted only two debates, instead of three as Clinton and former President Bush did in 1992.

    In summary, Dole, who was behind, wanted more debates, President Clinton, who was ahead, wanted less.

    Dole couldn't even get Clinton to agree to 3 debates as then  challenger Bill Clinton got George 1, to agree to do.

    Now please stop the silliness. As a rule, the candidate behind wants more debates, the candidate ahead does not. That doesn't make you a weaker candidate. You would be better off arguing politics as usual, the point of BTD's post. As is you come off as a sore Clinton supporter.

    And before you start. My record here and elsewhere is clear. I always said I would support the nominee and it did not matter to me whether it was Hillary or Obama. I am not, was not invested in either candidate. I am invested in getting the Democratic nominee elected. It is that important.


    But If Some Penguins (none / 0) (#226)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:17:56 PM EST
    Can fly so can some chickens.

    Please (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:11:36 AM EST
    Obama is ahead by 3-7 pts at most in most polls, based on what could very easily be a temporary "unity" bounce.

    You don't play protection defense with such an absurdly meager lead.

    And so far as I know, Clinton was always well ahead of Dole in 1996, but I don't recall him refusing debates.


    It's worth noting (4.62 / 8) (#136)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:18:52 AM EST
    Hillary was ahead in the polls by something like 40 points before the primaries started, but I don't recall her turning down a single debate.  I have never seen anyone give her credit for that, even though it's completely unlike how most politicians with a 40-point lead would handle themselves.

    Please (5.00 / 2) (#232)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:31:42 PM EST
    I think you are quite wrong on this issue.
    Before the 2008 primaries started, the Democrat field comprised of more candidates than just HRC and Obama. HRC, therefore, had hardly any choice regarding participation in debates if one considered the optics from the public and media POV. If she did not participate, she would have looked ridiculuous if Obama, Edwards, Dodd, Biden, Kuchinich, Gravel and Richardson did. However, it will be worthwhile to remember that HRC steadfastly refused to debate Jon Tasini during the 2006 New York senatorial campaign primaries, she also kept debates to a minimum against her republican opponents Spencer and Lazio (in 2000).
    Obama has not refused to debate McCain. He has already indicated that he will be willing to engage in more debates (3 debates + 2 townhalls) than most previous presidential contests asked for. However, he really cannot let McCain dictate his Presidential campaign schedule!

    FranklyO jumps to conclusions (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by 1jane on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:00:58 AM EST
    Wrong assumption. I don't give a rip about which Dem candidate is our nominee. All that matters is to end the Republican lock on governance at the Ex. level and to bring the troops home. Shunning corny debates that will provide the media sound bites played in endless loops is a time waster for both candidates. McCain is struggling for free airtime because his campaign is being outspent. Meanwhile Obama's campaign is on the ground going after each voter one at a time. The real campaign is on the doorsteps of apartments and homes when a campaigner knocks.

    The airways are not the campaign nor are ginned up debates. In my rural county we registered 7,500 new Dems who were Clinton and Obama supporters. All that matters to me is that they are Democrats who will help end the Republican era of trampling civil rights and sending our finest men and women into a phony war.

    This isn't about Clinton or Obama its about getting down ticket Dems elected and getting enough Dems in Congress to reverse the damage done.


    How much of what you write do you (5.00 / 5) (#119)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:04:03 AM EST
    possibly believe in, and how much do you just, well, write?

    Since when are debates between Presidential candidates, "corny debates"? Which Democratic candidate in the past has ever shunned debates with a Republican opponent -- most especially one who hardly has himself a reputation for impressive powers of speech? I submit that it has never happened -- certainly not that I can remember.

    And don't pretend that the reason is Obama's cash advantage -- hardly an excuse in any case for refusing to explain yourself in a public debate/town hall performance -- when Obama didn't refuse debates systematically until he realized that some members of the media didn't want to go to their graves being regarded as pillow fetchers?

    Face it: the man can't handle the questions. He's a lawyer, supposedly a good one, and he can't handle a difficult question without fumbling all over himself.

    Really, he's an embarrassment to the Democratic tradition of openness to public discussion and explanation.


    Just to clarify (5.00 / 5) (#121)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:05:43 AM EST
    Obama has ALWAYS had a major cash advantage.

    He started refusing debates when, at long last, the questions he got were as hard as the questions that his opponent got.


    contradictions (5.00 / 9) (#30)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:43:29 AM EST
    I hope the Obama campaign agrees to less than 5 debates. McCain risks major embarrassment in the debate format.

    Isn't that contradictory? If you think Obama would show well, shouldn't he debate more?

    I bet Hillary would take on all and any debate invites. But then McCain wouldn't be trying to get on stage with her.


    How true is that?! (5.00 / 6) (#34)
    by americanincanada on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:46:55 AM EST
    McCain would not be trying to do all these town halls with Clinton for the simple fact that she would wipe the floor with him and he knows it.

    It is different with Obama. McCain knows that if he can get him away from a teleprompter and prepared notes, he has him.


    Every time McCain gets in front of a townhall (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by JavaCityPal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:01:44 PM EST
    and opens with his invitation to Obama was rejected, it goes against Obama. People who see these on the news are reminded that Obama runs from things he doesn't do well, and we need someone who can face their fears and take on some tough issues.

    Obama is doing stump speeches, and will probably do some more townhalls (just without McCain) and the contrasting clips on the news will still show the differences.

    Enough of those split screens and he will wish he took some time to learn how to do those townhalls.


    As I said in a neighboring post (5.00 / 6) (#39)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:48:38 AM EST
    I just can't remember an occasion in which the Democratic candidate was the one running from the debates.

    When was the last time that it was the Republican who wanted more public debates and/or town halls, and the Democratic one who was putting up all the roadblocks?

    You know why the Democrats have always been eager to pursue more debates? Because they think that the more they explain themselves, and articulate their views, and the more the Republicans have to do the same, the better it is for the Democrats and the worse it is for the Republicans.

    Why is it that for Obama this is obviously not thought to be the case? What is his defect, so that he, apparently uniquely, must protect himself instead of explaining himself?


    The answer? (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:00:31 AM EST
    Obama has more money and thus would prefer to run a campaign based on outspending the other guy.

    Obama is not great at debates, sure, but it's not like McCain is some superstar.  In fact, McCain is really horrible if you can manage to get him off the standard-issue Republican talking points and actually force him to explain himself.  I certainly don't think Obama would -lose- a debate with McCain, it's just that he apparently thinks he picks up more votes in the end by sticking with his evangelical-style campaign.

    Lord knows, if I ever find myself in a position where I'm rooting for my candidate to avoid debates because I think he'll get beat up, I hope I have the guts to at least admit my reason.  It's been really depressing watching the rationalizations of the Obama supporters throughout this campaign.


    Of course it's about his cash advantage (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:06:02 AM EST
    He's always had a huge cash advantage... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:55:47 AM EST
    he started avoiding debates when he saw that at least some members of the media refused to see their jobs as pillow fetchers, and asked him a question or two.

    I don't think he likes to answer questions that require him to explain aspects of his background that aren't so rosy. He seems to have a lot of difficult with those sorts of questions. I thought lawyers were supposed to be good at that sort of thing.

    Where's the magna cum laude graduate of HLS when you need him?


    The cash advantage didn't work for him (5.00 / 2) (#208)
    by JavaCityPal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:57:52 AM EST
    in plenty of states near the end.

    I don't think the money is such an advantage anymore. Some of his negatives can't be covered up with nasty ads against McCain.


    If Obama Can Stay With Prepared Speeches, (5.00 / 9) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:04:10 AM EST
    he will not have to answer questions about the details of his policies. He can continue to present a vague outline and allow people to fill in the blank spaces with whatever Obama fits their wants and needs.

    Using this method, Obama will not have to spend any time fleshing out or actually learning what his  policies entail. He is not good at off the cuff responses where he actually needs to know the subject matter and it appears that he would prefer to avoid those types of situations rather than actually bringing himself up to speed on real issues. Hopes and dreams of solutions rather than any substance on what types of real solutions will be pursued and what can be achieved.


    Debate (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:55:50 AM EST
    After Obama's last debate with Hilary, he took a hit in the polls. He is an orator, not a particularly good debater. I think McCaon would come off much more "human" in a debate. This wouldn't help Obama defeat the elitist label that the Republican's are going to stick on him.

    Yeah, (5.00 / 5) (#67)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:07:42 AM EST
    it's obvious it's Obama's defects as a debater and explainer of himself that lies behind the decision.

    Not exactly in the Democratic tradition, is it? Isn't it supposed to be the Democrat who can prevail in such venues? Shouldn't someone who bases his candidacy in no small part on his "words" have a special obligation to speak up on his own behalf?

    And Obama's refusal of McCain's offer of an ample number of debates/town halls is also remarkable because Obama is hardly in a commanding lead in the polls. If you're way ahead in the polls, there's a strategic argument to be made that you're better off avoiding debates, because it will do you little good to debate, but do you harm by exposing you to the possibility of damaging gaffes. But Obama's hardly in a position to act as though he can just play protection defense here.

    When he refuses debates/town halls, there's only one explanation: uniquely among Democratic Presidential candidates, he is defective in being able to defend himself.


    They're just (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:47:19 AM EST
    summer interns.  Unpaid at that.

    Unpaid internships in general p*ss me off.  They're pretty self-selecting.  The fact that the Obama campaign will not finance their interns is kind of a joke to me.  But whatever, that's pretty run of the mill these days.


    Over 10,000 (none / 0) (#65)
    by 1jane on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:07:07 AM EST
    people applied to be Fellows and 3,700 were selected based upon their resumes, and an interview.

    What exactly are these "Fellows" (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:07:40 AM EST
    going to do?

    Give a personal narrative (5.00 / 3) (#172)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:34:26 AM EST
    of "how they came to Obama", in two minutes?

    Oh now, that's funny! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#207)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:57:35 AM EST
    The Fellows (1.00 / 0) (#83)
    by 1jane on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:19:02 AM EST
    are registering more new Democratic voters. The model is based on Dean's 50 state strategy which has been refined using principles of viral marketing. Grassroots Democratic supporters are the way to transform the party and boy it needs transformation.

    Transformation into what? (5.00 / 7) (#109)
    by davnee on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:53:48 AM EST
    Narcissistic oblivion?  "We are the change we have been waiting for" ... "but don't ask us what change we represent because we haven't got a clue."  No thanks.  I'll keep my careworn issue battles of the 90's.  They might be a bit hackneyed and corrupted, but at least they are real, and at least they will take us somewhere concrete.  Keep the kool-aid please.  I don't need to be transformed.

    Got the latest (5.00 / 2) (#112)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:57:55 AM EST
    jargon down pat!  Viral--or just bird-flu?

    LOL (5.00 / 2) (#163)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:31:01 AM EST
    transform!!!!  Thanks for the morning chuckle.

    Only 3,700 of 10,000 applicants were selected huh? (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:59:47 AM EST
    Now that is one exclusive shop!

    Now I don't feel so bad that it gibes with the ratio of voters that pass Obama's smell test.


    Oh, how I wish (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:50:37 AM EST
    one of those Fellows would cum-by-yah!  (Love to have my say!) But I reckon I am not in a targeted state--lots of blacks, but not enough to change us to blue.

    Ploys: good for the goose, good for the gander (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:03:45 AM EST
    Of course McCain is pushing for debates (actually he's pushing for town halls), he knows, as do most people, Obama does not come off well in them.  Esp. one on one -- no one else to gang up with him on opponents.  Obama's ploy is to avoid debates, and esp. town halls at all costs.

    They are both looking to their strengths.  In this case, Obama's stance -- as few debates as possible -- is not the stronger position.


    Obama's "Fellows" (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:13:07 AM EST
    Sounds too martial....like an organized group of bellicose Obama patriots.  Even the language is militaristic:  "launch, targeted, ground campaign, training, report to their posts,targeted states, assigned".

    What are you all going to do, attack us?


    that's just grassroots canvassing talk (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:21:10 AM EST
    when you have to work as hard for as little as they do, extreme motivation is the order of the day!

    I used to be a grassroots canvasser.  The language can be a little silly, but they do good things at the end of the day.


    Since they already learn the (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:36:29 AM EST
    language, "just grassroots canvassing talk", when they are done targeting, fellowing, launching....go enlist for Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Same old, same old.  College students are learning their own organizational language and campaigning for Obama when the poor kids are sent off to fight a war that no one wants.  In fact, some are so impressed with the ability to take off from their "professions" to campaign, that no one even mentions
    the kids in the Middle East.

    are not politics and priorities just ducky?


    I was wondering about that 'professions' thing (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:59:41 AM EST
    Here's the ad for the 'Fellows':

    This summer we are looking for students and recent graduates who want to be a part of a new generation of leadership that believes, like Senator Obama, that real change comes from the ground up.

    So really, it's student doing internships taking time off from what, their other internships?


    Why not just call it (5.00 / 3) (#152)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:27:29 AM EST
    an internship?

    "Fellow" implies a lot more academic prestige than what it really appears to be.  


    also recent graduates (5.00 / 3) (#193)
    by lucy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:48:48 AM EST
    You notice they are also looking for "recent graduates."  I know many young people who graduated from college in May and can't find jobs in the current job market.  Working on a presidential compaign probably looks like an OK option.  

    At least it may look like an OK option for a wealthy or upper-middle class kid.  Young people without a lot of options will have to take anything they can get just to survive.  Around here the restaurants and amusement parks are about the only places hiring.


    I think the canvassing talk (none / 0) (#108)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:52:29 AM EST
    is really conventional.  I think the Obama Fellows program is pretty conventional.  Four years ago, "Kerry Fellows" would be doing the same thing.  

    College students with unpaid summer jobs...it's typical for mostly upper middle class kids.  Our staggering economic inequality certainly extends itself to young people.

    Though this is a legally crude thing to say, I think unpaid internships should be abolished.  They give a leg up to kids who don't need the cash.  I don't understand why you would simply give away your labor, but then again these aren't exactly good Marxists in training.


    More academic (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:44:02 AM EST
    I thought 'Fellows' sounded more academic.  Which I didn't think sounded all that strong or menacing.  And just goes to the elite image which I'm assuming Democrats are trying to avoid.

    Also, since I was a Russian Studies major in college, the first thing I thought of was 'fellow travelers'.  Not nec. a good image.  But I wouldn't think so many folks would think of that.

    The fact they have a buzzwordy name for them, though, is a bit creepy.  Well, at least they didn't call them "Professors for Change".


    It is academic in nature... (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:24:56 AM EST
    I was a teaching fellow for a while.

    But to bring in a bunch of people, have them go out and register new voters, and call that being a Fellow?



    The Fellowship of the Bling - Hope ya got Change? (5.00 / 4) (#220)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:12:08 PM EST
    Aw crap, I just know they're going to be infesting airports soon, "selling" flowers, pens or impromptu songs and dance.

    Just when I thought it was safe to travel again.


    If they cum-ba-yah, (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:51:29 AM EST
    I suppose I'd have to ask "Are you all Seventh Day Adventists, Latter Day Saints, or Obamans?"

    They aren't Fellows... (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:29:13 AM EST
    They are interns and canvassers...

    Except isn't it a (5.00 / 15) (#18)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:34:02 AM EST
    minor problem that Obama's entire claim to the mantle of change -- that he heralded an era of unity, bipartisanship, and new politics -- has been exposed as a fraud?

    Things have reached a point that I truly don't understand what current Obama supporters might be thinking is the special message their idol embodies. Who can look at the wreckage left in the wake of the Democratic primary process and speak with a straight face about "unity", or the unifying powers of Obama? Perhaps there was a time this rhetoric might have been believed, if somewhat naively, because there was no countervailing evidence. But consider how delusional is such a belief in the teeth of what we now see before us.

    It only reinforces the view that the Obama movement is nothing more than a personality cult, where the message is irrelevant, and only the messenger is of import.

    I truly don't know how Obama supporters justify their rabid support of Obama at this stage. What do they believe in anymore?

    Aha - That's what Brooks is up to (none / 0) (#44)
    by catfish on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:50:49 AM EST
    and it reinforces McCain's green background speech "That's not change you can believe in." McCain that night in his horrible delivery said Obama was a young guy with old liberal ideas.

    Now Brooks is trying to make McCain and Obama into the same old typical right typical left politicians.


    Of course, MT, I have never been an Obama fan (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:38:32 AM EST
    What we have now is a "marriage" of convenience.

    I lack your ability to easily do the next right (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:46:27 AM EST
    thing in this situation.  In such instances I am good at helping myself though and I actively seek the friendships and fellowship that enable me to grow into doing the next right thing.  I covet your ability to shift gears in such a way and clearly finding the action that empowers the greater good.  It remains muddled and unsure for me still but I march on to a clearer day and of course any day now Obama may earn my heartfelt vote so long as I continue to ignore his "supporters" who continue to insult me.

    am in that space with you... (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:13:26 AM EST
    though I confess, I'm less inclined to search out folks who will "enable me to grow into doing the next right thing." In part, because I'm not too sure what the next right thing is.

    I don't see a heartfelt vote in the immediate future.


    Some facts can't change in the months to come (5.00 / 4) (#189)
    by JavaCityPal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:43:57 AM EST
    He's still not ready, he still doesn't have a history we can trust, he still doesn't have a solid platform, he still is looking like he's bringing religion too close to the government, etc.

    I want to hear how everything went in FL this weekend after the articles that have said what was planned. If he's so comfortable he's the nominee, why do his advisers and supporters continue to bully?


    On this issue I completely understand (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:50:19 AM EST
    and hear your voice, as my post below yours will reveal.  I have lived with insults though and learned long ago the best way to deal with such a$$h*le$ is to ignore them and continue to seek my own clear path.  I will live well, laugh too often, and love much in spite the jerks who no matter where I go or how old I become refuse to stop populating the planet :).

    Heh (5.00 / 7) (#46)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:54:18 AM EST
    When I read that quote, I was like, "What is the #1 campaign issue?  Which side has sketchier advisors that no one has ever heard of?"  Yes, indeedy!

    All you have to do is read a little history to realize there never was any Golden Age of American politics.  Since day one, it has always been about who has a bastard child and who is a secret atheist.

    But there is a legitimate battle of ideas too, even though in some cases (2004) the battle is lost simply because of a flawed banner-carrier.  But the Cooper Union speech was about something real.  FDR was about something real.  Even Reagan was based on something real, even though by saying so I am defying the liberal orthodoxy which holds that Reagan's election was all about race-baiting.

    All the focus on gaffes can't possibly obscure the fact that there is an actual battle of worldviews taking place in this election.  Both Obama and McCain are guilty of blurring the boundaries sometimes with bipartisan rhetoric, but actual events have a way of overtaking rhetoric and forcing people to change sides.  This week's Supreme Court decision was an excellent example; Obama praises the decision, McCain calls it one of the worst in our nation's history.

    From where I sit, when someone finds it unacceptable that after six years of keeping people in a hole, we are finally going to be required to sort out who's guilty and who's not, that's a person who wants to overturn what I consider the basic values of America.  On the other side, I'm sure there are plenty of conservatives who see this decision as a sign that liberal judges want to sell us all out to radical Islam.  So be it.  That's a disagreement over something real, not simply a gaffe-of-the-week entry.

    The main force that tries to keep our elections today from being about something real is the media.  Say what you will about Tim Russert, but unlike so many political journalists working today, he didn't hate politics.  He didn't hate the issues.  If I read one more column about how town halls are boring, because the reporters would rather be out drinking than sitting through them, I think I will lose it.  There's a lot of real people who don't find discussions of the issues boring at all, and would rather the media help us cut through the crap instead of adding to the pile.

    Real things (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:02:35 AM EST
    Of course. Politics in the end is about the real things. The game itself requires that we argue about the real things.

    Obama spent the primaries NOT arguing about the real things but he is spending a lot of time arguing about the real things now. To say McCain is running for Bush's 3rd term is a short hand political line that is about REAL THINGS, and pretty accurate imo.

    One last note, while I offer my condolences to Tim Russert's family and friends, I will not pretend he was not a very harmful player in the political discourse. He was a terrible journalist who distorted the political discussion with gotcha nonsense. Never did he discuss the actual substance of an issue while all the while pretending he was discussing issues.

    I will not write about this in a post, but what I will always remember about Tim Russert is his performance, and it was a performance, in the October 2007 debate.

    It was shameful. A disgrace and it is what Russert  the journalist exemplified to me. A stain on journalism.


    So can Obama simultaneously be (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:05:37 AM EST
    both "the real thing," and "the choice of a new generation?" ;-)

    In politics (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:09:36 AM EST
    all things are possible.

    LOL, he's a coke and a pepsi n/t (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by DandyTIger on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:34:17 AM EST
    He's trying too hard to (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:15:39 AM EST
    be too many things to too many different people. In the end, he winds up being not enough for anyone...

    Jack of all trades...master of none.


    I suspect (5.00 / 0) (#137)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:19:03 AM EST
    that he'll wind up coming up short on both.

    I was using the Aristotle v. Plato example the other day when I was talking to a friend about the very serious tensions between the Absolutists and the Evolutionists (not in a truly Darwinian sense).


    Russert and the Fl 2002 debate (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:15:39 AM EST
    In 2002 in Florida there was a class room size amendment limiting the maximum number of students in a class. JEB was against it, his Democratic challenger was for it. The voters were for it (and it passed).

    Russert asked how the Democrat would pay for it, if the amendment passed. The Democrat gave the usual Republican weasel answer about cutting waste etc. Wasn't good enough for Russert.

    Russert asked JEB. JEB simply said he was against the amendment. That was good enough for Russert, even though the question was, if it passes, how will you pay for it? JEB got a pass from Russert. The amendment passed and the voters never got to know how JEB was going to deal with it, before the election, because "I am against it", was good enough for Russert. (In fairness, I fault the Democrat for not pouncing on JEB for completely avoiding the question)


    Myself as a Dem (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:20:42 AM EST
    would have urged all Dems to NEVER participate in a debate that involved Tim Russert.

    His Gore/Bush interviews were worse n/t (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by rilkefan on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:30:16 AM EST
    I'm somewhat amazed that (5.00 / 2) (#237)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:14:09 PM EST
    Clinton did allow NBCs New div have so many debates.  Or that teh press was involved in teh debates in the way that they were involved.

    There's no particular need for anyone but Bill Moyers to moderate these things. Half the journo's are likely GOP voters.  They certainly colluded with Bush and Cheney enough.

    In a way the best moderator would have been the nasty Hannity. He'd have been equally terrible to everyone.


    Russert was an attorney. (none / 0) (#157)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:29:16 AM EST
    From Wikipedia

    Russert was admitted to the bar in New York and the District of Columbia. He served as counselor in New York Governor Mario Cuomo's office in Albany from 1983 to 1984 and was chief of staff to Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1977 to 1982.
    Russert graduated with honors from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law [5] and then worked on New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Senatorial campaign in 1976. He worked on New York Democrat Mario Cuomo's gubernatorial campaign in 1982. Russert was hired by NBC at their Washington Bureau in 1984

    It is mystery as to his journalism credentials???


    Not at all unusual (5.00 / 0) (#202)
    by JavaCityPal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:54:05 AM EST
    Russert, Geraldo, Dan Abrams, Greta Van Suskind, Laura Ingraham, Star Jones, Nancy Grace all attorneys, just as starters.

    It's June (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by CoralGables on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:58:44 AM EST
    It's June people. Thank goodness it's a tepid campaign the last 2 weeks. McCain needs daily free media because he has nothing else.

    The groundwork is being laid by the Obama campaign just as it would have been done by the Clinton campaign with lots of volunteers, lots of cash, and a huge get out the vote to end 8 years of disaster.

    As far as I'm concerned, let the behind the scenes work continue in earnest and let McCain drift in his sea of GOP failure.

    The GOP is in the midst of a slow and agonizing death this election year. The less done to resuscitate them the better.

    I have never heard "whine" so much (5.00 / 10) (#49)
    by befuddledvoter on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:59:02 AM EST
    as during this campaign!!1 God I hate the word now. Whenever Clinton disagreed or criticized anything, she "whined."  It is sexist, IMHO.  I have been called a whiner also for disagreeing with Obama supporters and now the word crops up again.  Honest disagreement is not whining.  Honest criticism is not whining.  

    Maybe I'd be pleased (5.00 / 8) (#50)
    by joanneleon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:59:55 AM EST
    if it all hadn't been done in such a dishonest way.  Maybe I'd be pleased if the Obama campaign hadn't completely trashed and attempted to destroy the two people in their path instead of playing and winning fairly.

    All this vague rhetoric about change has been nothing more than Republicanesque deception of a public who are discouraged from digging for the details.  It has been a classic example of saying one thing while doing another.  It's been about money -- huge amounts of money spent on campaigns while everyday people are going down the tubes.  How exactly is this any different from the Republican campaigns we've had for the last thirty years?  

    As an example: So this change that we're going to see and should believe in begins with hijacking the DNC and moving them to Chicago?  Like the worst Republicans, the only radical differences I'm seeing from this campaign is in how they run elections.  Not that this is a bad thing entirely -- this party needed some serious help with messaging and campaigning.  What I worry about is how far they're willing to go in adopting the slash and burn, authoritarian nature of Republican campaigns.  And I also worry that, like Republicans, they'll spend too much of their resources on winning, and not enough on governing.

    I was primarily looking for some real change in how we govern.

    Typical media - (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:02:55 AM EST
    The sky is falling the first week of the presidential campaign just wasn't interesting enough!!  Oh noes!

    I think it remains to be seen how interesting this campaign will be.  When Obama embarks on his biography tour, I imagine the conversation will shift to more obnoxious, media-friendly topics.  Right now Obama's on the Dem line with the economy.  His biography will probably be a more bipartisan Unity shtick affair.  But even that won't be too interesting.  Isn't it typical for Presidential candidates to just choose different pet issues and slam each other on them?  I don't see that changing.

    At what point do Obama supporters (5.00 / 16) (#69)
    by Anne on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:08:54 AM EST
    who have spent the last however-many-months waxing poetic and getting all googly-eyed over the transformation of politics and the wave of change that Obama was going to bring to Washington, the White House and the national discourse, feel like they've gotten a 2 x 4 to the back of the head and realize it was all just a brilliant advertising ploy - that Obama, for all the books he has written creating a magical and extraordinary persona, all the composite characters he created to bolster the story he wanted to tell - is really just another garden-variety politician who may not have as much "there" there as he wants them to believe?

    And if there isn't a whole lot of "there" there, what is he going to do to make sure he remains the hero of his own story?  What does that really mean for us, for the country?  Or are we even really part of that thought process, besides going to the polls to vote him in?

    Or, has Obama managed to create a support/fan base which has fully taken its cue from him in the lengths it will go to to hang onto this self-created story, believes deeply in the fiction, and will not risk tearing down that construct no matter what?

    I have to say that it scares me a little - and the sending out of Obama Fellows to 17 states, like Jonestown missionaries leaving the compound after their indoctrination, to convert the non-believers, just. creeps.  me.  out.

    I know I am supposed to be looking at the bigger picture of putting Democrats into all the agencies and departments of the government, that it isn't just about who is sitting in the Oval Office, but knowing that the person in charge would be Barack Obama, and his advisors would be all these creepy people who have been helping him get elected, and I have no idea what the real agenda for America is, I am having a really, really hard time with it.

    The Media is only interested in one thing: (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:18:11 AM EST

    As yesterday's endless self-congratulatory revelry over Russert's death proved.  A display which was as hypocritical as it was maudlin.  

    So the candidates aren't living up to the media's expectations?  After one week? Cry me a river!

    Maybe when the media lives up to even the most minimal expectations of responsible journalism, I'll care what they think about others living up to expectations.  

    Until then ...


    And the Russert Love Fest is still going (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:10:04 AM EST
    full throttle on msnbc.  I get they admired him, etc., but enough already...

    Well, who's going to choose the (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:11:24 AM EST
    President now???

    I wondered the same thing (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:21:09 AM EST
    While I feel for them losing one of their peers, it was so blatant the club that they all are (covering both Ds and Rs).  Russert was deeply committed to seeing Obama elected.  I imagine NBC will never speak against Obama now.  Should strengthen Obama's media darling status.

    I dunno about Russert and O. (none / 0) (#168)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:32:57 AM EST
    He was quoted from earlier this cycle, talking with a fellow MCMer, about the O campaign as to whether Obama was "really One of Us" (i.e., ordinary working folks from Buffalo, presumably).

    Or was he only pulling for O because Timmy and his buds and bosses at GE hate Hillary, and once she was taken care of, he would have resorted back to his usual McCain worship?

    I really don't know.  But what I do know is that GE still has GOP-friendly Brian Williams, Tweety,  Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Pitchfork Pat, Andrea Mitchell, and Rove-rappin' Stretch Gregory.

    I'd guess right now the media coverage will end up about 60-40 favoring their "war hero" McCain.


    BTD may be expecting (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:43:39 AM EST
    the reverse.  The expectation is that Obama's media darling status will hold.  The primary was run on Hillary-hate.  The primary will be run on Repub-hate.... but I think the majority of voters are tired of the Repubs and the Dems so I'm not as sure of the outcome as those who think it will be a cakewalk for the Dems.

    If you want a warm farewell (5.00 / 0) (#155)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:28:50 AM EST
    I have noticed, you should go into journalism.

    with all due respect i nearly fell over (5.00 / 0) (#221)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:13:10 PM EST
    this morning and saw the euology still ongoing. they have said what was to be said yesterday. unfortunately they can really turn viewers off with this type of approach.

    Politics is politics. (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by masslib on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:36:25 AM EST
    Of course, here in MA, we've already been through the Axelrod "new politics" thing, only to be reminded politics is politics.  What I do object to is the 700 club style solicitations.  They exploit peoples financial and emotional distress.  I'm disgusted.

    I walked by a DNC (OBAMA) ... (5.00 / 10) (#142)
    by coolit on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:21:21 AM EST
    volunteer on the street yesterday.  He asked me to donate and I explained that I am being forced away from the democratic party because of what I considered very dirty play in the primary. And, the fact that the DNC sanctioned it, supported it, and played dirty themselves.

    He then got so angry at me, started raving about Hillary.   She was racist.  It was all her fault.  

    I just walked away.  I hate being yelled at.  

    When I walked by them again later, his buddy just sneered at me in a menacing fashion.

    That is pushing me away from the democratic party.  It's too bad.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:31:01 AM EST
    That's not encouraging.  

    I wish I knew what was wrong with these (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:40:22 AM EST
    supporters.  This is going to blow up in their faces if they don't knock it off!  You have to earn the votes.  Threatening and yelling at and sneering at other Americans will get you the last thing you wanted, I can almost promise that.

    well they aren't going to knock it off. (5.00 / 2) (#224)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:15:55 PM EST
    once you open pandora's box, you can't shut it. obama doesn't really control these out of line types. he may ignite the fuse, but they'll run with it. with all due respect to the campaign and all, i want to add that some of the out line, young supporters think of this more in terms of a sort of unity of among the young who don't always have good intentions. hmmm!

    Oh... no (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:40:25 AM EST
    You did well.  My reaction would have been to smile and say 'it's all Clinton's fault' at that rant.

    Not a very nice "fellow" (5.00 / 2) (#187)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:43:36 AM EST
    I think this is a big challenge for the campaign (5.00 / 4) (#205)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:55:55 AM EST
    The most dedicated supporters behave as true believers of any 'movement' -- be it religious, political, etc. -- do not brook disagreement, and do not handle it well.  

    Having never or seldom considered any issues from more than one side, they are ill-equipped to handle it with courtesy.  We've certainly seen the same thing in the blog bubble.  

    Having not been pushed to emphathize or look beyond themselves in any way, they lack the tools to engage with people who haven't absorbed the message lock, stock and barrel.

    This is also something that is more prevalent among younger people than older -- unwillingness to consider that other people may have different priorities than they do.  Walking a mile in someone else's shoes and all that.  So the combination is fairly dangerous.

    When I see canvassers out on the street, the ones who scowl at me for not giving them money or signing their petitions are the ones who annoy me and make me less likely to give a fig about whatever they're working on.  The ones who say thank you or maybe another day with a smile have the opposite effect.


    What New Politics Means (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by abotron on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:38:48 AM EST
    Being a long-time Obama supporter myself, I never saw him as an angel. I see him as someone who aspires, but much of the time fails, to be the ideal liberal politician.

    The New Politics is an implicit rejection of Fear Politics. The New Politician is unafraid to espouse liberal values and sharply contrast himself with the right-wing. The New Politician is confident enough in his own strength that he assumes his positions are either already popular with a majority of Americans, and if not, can be made popular if the logic of the position is succinctly explained. The New Politician isn't afraid of the biases of others; He can go into evangelical churches and talk about respecting the gay lifestyle, talk about why he is pro-choice, talk about why we have a division between church and state. The New Politician is able to talk not merely about the responsibility of government but also the responsibility of citizens, about why taxes are neccessary, about why we need to invest in alternative fuels, and about why liberals values are American values.

    Obama has not lived up to these ideals. He is flawed. His personal baggage makes the espousal of these values at times hypocritical. But I've supported him because unlike Hillary I think that he aspires to be that politician. He at least tries to live up to it. He shows flashes of brilliance at times, so there is potential, but he hasn't reached the essence of his message yet.

    I've always seen him as a good #1 draft pick with ridiculous potential. I've always seen Hillary as a starting QB who would always be good but never great, mostly because there doesn't seem to be much potential for growth there.

    Obama is anything about fearless (5.00 / 5) (#184)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:40:55 AM EST
    about espousing liberal ideals.
    He is the candidate Joe Lieberman wanted to be in 2004.

    Not really... (5.00 / 5) (#200)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:53:11 AM EST
    if it really was a break from the "Fear" politics, then there wouldn't be any of the "If you don't vote for him, the new SCOTUS appointments will overturn Roe" strategy.

    There really is no "new politics." It's a rhetorical strategy that has been used time and again by various and sundry candidates.


    and swallowed... (5.00 / 3) (#214)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:03:39 PM EST
    ...by certain delusional leftists this time. Some leftists resisted it of course.

    Nowt yo can do about it.  The cynicism behind the rhetoric and perorations were never looked at by guys like Matthews Russert.    At least not yet.


    There is nothing profound in this. (5.00 / 0) (#179)
    by Baal on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:39:31 AM EST
    Candidates "conform to their parties' tried-and-true orthodoxies,..."

    It beats me why anyone would expect something different in a democracy.  Only a Washington punditocracy primarily concerned with their own privileges could decry this as a Bad Thing.

    There is a real difference in the positions taken by the two main political parties on a host of issues, and in nearly every case the position taken by Democrats -- Clinton and Obama alike -- is in the best interests of the largest number of people.  Obama's and Clinton's ratings from a host of progressive groups, e.g. the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, are nearly indistinguishable.  In nearly every case McCain is on the wrong side.

    Bush has shown that these things do matter.

    There you go again> (5.00 / 4) (#197)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:49:38 AM EST
    "It's pretty obvious to most people">
    It's actually pretty obvious to most people that Obama won in the end because he had the support of the establishment, who pressured the SD's to come out for him, and who broke the rules and stole votes to help Obama out.

    No suprise here. (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by Faust on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:55:02 AM EST
    This is exactly what I expected would happen. His change strategy was tailored to Clinton in the primary. He doesn't need it in the general since the change meme can be instantiated via the differences inherent in the pary platforms.

    I've got (5.00 / 1) (#217)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:09:48 PM EST
    to laugh at all the bloggers who have evidently been played for chumps by the Obama campaign. These people truly bought into the bogus "map changer" argument. Of course, if he had admitted that he wouldn't change the map, there's no way he would have been nominated. It would have been even more obvious than it is now that he has serious electability problems.

    You know what's stupid (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:11:27 PM EST
    The people who think Obama was any different in the Primary.

    When it comes to more of the same politics of usual character attacks, I think Obama has backed off a bit.

    Frankly, I don't know what people are trying to communicate here.  No specifics are given.

    As far as an issue I care about, the only one who landed any blows on McCain this last week was a representative of the Clinton campaign, Clark.

    Rendell drinks the kool-aid :-) (5.00 / 1) (#239)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:05:16 PM EST
    Wow (5.00 / 2) (#240)
    by Blogblah on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:36:27 PM EST
    It's a long thread to read the 196 comments up to here and it makes me sad to read some very good Dems still rankle over the primary.  

    So, first, I'll say again the truth: Sen. Clinton did not lose because Sen. Obama was underhanded, dirty, race baiting or sexist and not even because he was a media darling;  Sen. Clinton lost because her campaign did not contest the Feb. 5 caucus states and the 10 following primaries/caucuses plus Wisconsin, where her campaign started with too little too late.  

    Assuming all those things about Sen. Obama's campaign to be true, they were still not the cause of Sen. Clinton's loss in the primary.

    About the "hope" and "change" and "empty promises without substance" tropes, that was never true in my judgment because my support for Sen. Obama was always based on his anti-war credentials, my preference for his health care proposals and his willingness to place such issues as cleaning up DOJ as a high priority.  Since I have a gay son and a gay sister, I much preferred Sen. Obama to the Clinton-esque DOMA.  You may disagree and find Sen. Clinton's stances superior, but please don't think that everyone who supported the Illinois senator did so because of some magical kool-aid because it's no more true than the idea that all of Sen. Clinton's votes came from angry ex-wives.  Can we just get past those calumnies?

    As to the "town hall" match-ups, does it matter to anyone else that the first McCain effort was with a stacked deck?  That he trolled through lists to invite only the true believing dead enders?  Do you want a town hall debate that includes only questions about Larry Sinclair and non-existent "whitey" tapes?  

    For me, "hope" and "change" were always about the general election.  

    It seems to me that the Dem campaign as it is shaping up has entirely foreseeable contours.  Sen. Obama ran in the primaries and caucuses with fair consistency in some respects, one of which is creating ground up volunteer organizations in each and every state.  Look more closely at So. Car. and you will see that Sen. Clinton relied on the tried and true organizations that existed there for many years while Sen. Obama created a volunteer organization from scratch.  He's still doing the same thing and the 3,700 "Fellows" is nothing more than a continuation of how he has campaigned since last October.  Sen. Obama is forcing Sen. McCain to compete everywhere and take no state for granted and that this is a successful overall strategy for the Democrats in this election.

    Moreover, the issues between Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama are also very clear.  Sen. McCain's stand on taxes tends to favor the top income brackets while Sen. Obama tends to favor the lower tax brackets. Pretty substantive difference.  Sen. McCain continues to favor changes in Social Security that can fairly be called "privatization," while Sen. Obama's stance opposes this dismantling of the social safety net.  Sen. Obama wants to talk softly and Sen. McCain wants to brandish the big stick, to summarize a lot of foreign policy differences.  Sen. Obama is pro-choice and Sen. McCain is pro-life.  Sen. Obama wants a national health care policy and Sen. McCain wants to help the health insurance industry.  I want my civil liberties returned, I want a return to the Great Writ, I want an unambiguous end to torture as American policy, I want an end to the unitary executive and the vice presidency as a anomolous new branch of government.  

    While Sen. Clinton certainly showed an impressive grasp of policy issues during the campaign and while it may be interesting to speculate how she would have done on policy during the general, the actual choice we have in November remains to me very clear.  My ultimate hopes for change are not that America will become the Land of Oz but that we will reject the governance that has done much to destroy the government and repudiate the direction of foreign policy that has destroyed this nation's standing globally.  

    Had Sen. Clinton been successful, I would have had the same hope for the same change.  

    Some perspective, please.  These issues are more important than all this intra-party sniping about primary election events.  

    Tim Russert?  The topic?  Oh, yeah.  Well, I stopped watching the talking heads along about the time it was all Monica all the time.  I care a lot more about who got blown up in Baghdad than who died of a heart attack in a television studio.


    I've said from the start that I think people (1.00 / 0) (#68)
    by halstoon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:08:16 AM EST
    mischaracterize Obama's new politics. Expecting him to win an election without doing contrasts is unrealistic. The big changes come after the win; before the win, it's a tough campaign, one that will get heated and passionate. What I don't think you'll see from Obama is the kind of underhanded tactics Rove made so popular. McCain won't be dogged by questions about his patriotism or his sanity or his black child. Obama will deconstruct his ideas, but McCain the man will be treated with respect, and that is new politics.

    Personally, I very much hope (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:09:44 AM EST
    that McCain is treated with just as much respect as Bill and Hillary Clinton were. :D

    So you approve of gutter politics? (none / 0) (#231)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:27:02 PM EST
    As long as it isn't aimed at your candidate? This whole campaign has been disgusting so far, but I guess it can go lower still, and I'm afraid we may find out. It's sad and disheartening.

    Is it necessary to state (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:14:07 AM EST
    that Democrats would NEVER do what Rove did to McCain. EVER.

    There is no change in that and the implication that Obama is DIFFERENT as a Dem because of that is preposterous.

    The "misinterpretation" you assess to those of us who questioned the post partisan Unity Schtick was based ont he words of Obama himself. the fact is Obama was deceptive in what he was saying. I am glad  he was.

    Pols do what they do. The question to me was did he really believe the nonsense. I am glad to see he does not.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:14:18 AM EST
    A Democrat not going heavy on personal attacks and being diplomatic to the opposition is not new politics at all, on our side.

    Well (5.00 / 11) (#79)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:15:53 AM EST
    You might have better luck selling that line among people who don't think Obama won the primary by underhandedly portraying the Clintons as racists.

    Come now (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:19:36 AM EST
    Even if you buy the line, and in politics sh*t happens, the portrayal was not that the Clintons were racists, but instead willing to use race issues to win.

    The ridiculousness of the charge to me was not because I think any pol incapable of that - pols are pols and do what they do - but that it made no POLITICAL SENSE. In South Carolina the Clintons were going to race bait?

    One of the villains of this campaiogn was Jim clyburn who did as dirty a job for his candidate Obama as I have ever seen done.

    I will not forget and will remind folks about what Jim Clyburn proved to be in this campaign. a dishonest, despicable character. The lowest of the low.


    Shrug (5.00 / 12) (#144)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:23:15 AM EST
    Sure, I agree with you, but the distinction between "they're racists" and "they're perfectly decent people who just happen to be using racist tactics" is rather miniscule in my book.

    Regardless, we simply disagree about whether this is "just another tactic" in the arsenal of politics as usual, or whether it is worse.  I hate false charges of bigotry with a passion, always have, always will.  I think they have been absolute poison to the liberal cause for decades now.


    By the way (5.00 / 6) (#151)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:27:27 AM EST
    I do not "buy the line."  This is my opinion based upon direct personal observation.  I did not have to consult a blog one day to suddenly realize, "OMG, Obama is trying to paint the Clintons as race-baiters!"

    Indeed, given the complete absence of this narrative in the MSM, and virtually everywhere else outside the pro-Hillary blogs for that matter, it's a wonder so many people came to the same conclusion.  Unless, of course, there's something in the real world to base the opinion on.


    Uh...Armando, (1.00 / 3) (#235)
    by Elise on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:09:17 PM EST
    the media dreamed of McCain v Clinton...that's why they propped her campaign up for months after she'd lost.

    Of course, if it fits your worldview to revise history, I suppose I certainly can't stop you.

    But Hillary was "inevitable" was partially due to her campaign pushing that and partially due to the media coverage that announced her as and kept her as the front runner until Iowa caucused...and even well after Super Tuesday when she pretty much lost.

    Money (none / 0) (#14)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:30:59 AM EST
    There's too much MONEY at stack in being the majority party for any chance of unity.It's in the definite interest of each party to try to insure that the other doesn't succeed.

    OOPS (none / 0) (#16)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:31:54 AM EST
    stake! not stack

    IMO, it's the Economist cover (none / 0) (#80)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:17:07 AM EST
    that is most dangerous to Obama.  I saw it and thought "WTF?"  Two outstanding presidential candidates?  I want what they are smoking.  If McCain can keep equal footing in the media on that level, he will have plenty of room to cast doubt on Obama and attack away.  This is the kind of media coverage that engenders Republican victories.  Two outstanding candidates.  Give me a break.

    Well, if it said (5.00 / 4) (#104)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:43:05 AM EST
    "Two equally outstanding candidates", that would be about right.

    Ah, politics as usual, and St. Danny (none / 0) (#134)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:17:47 AM EST

    He killed Hillaycary, you know, when he said "there is no health care crisis in this country."

    We just love our heroes, don't we, even when they were just as usual as everyone else.

    BTW, sometimes David Brooks is icky, and sometimes vapid, but sometimes he is pretty sharp. He is certainly better than most of the NYTimes editorial stable, which is mostly terrible.

    You talk about understanding. You (none / 0) (#161)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:30:43 AM EST
    should show some understanding of what happened in the primaries if you want people to read your comments with any interest.

    Obama Duped Us! (none / 0) (#236)
    by fctchekr on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:12:31 PM EST
    What a hypocrit, a turn-coat chiding Hillary for playing old Washington style politics and then slipping easily into the most classic case of D.C. sameness, not otherness.

    Frankly the primary race between Obama and Clinton is the one that will go down in history. Even CNN, the pro-Obama media is crying out for her return, the bloggerss and Op Ed writers who've had a steady diet of pointing in her direction are now twiddling their thumbs waiting for something, anything interesting, exciting..

    It's not going to happen with these two. Let's face it we've been weaned on political tabloidism and the Clintons were the show, so the media is so chomping at the bit right now, I wouldn't put it past them to INVENT news. They've already  exhaustively distorted, defamed and dishonored .....now they can't mock the wives, can't step on Obama's toes, can't...

    Long Live the King (none / 0) (#238)
    by makana44 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:34:25 PM EST
    You skipped over the part where Brooks dissects the experience factor of our famous candidate:

    But let's be honest about this. Barack Obama's chief challenge if he is elected will be getting his agenda through a very polarized and devious Congress. He's an inexperienced politician and he will be surrounded by people who know the Washington game much better than he does.
    If he is to have a prayer of being an effective president, he will need insiders to help him, people who actually know how to craft complicated legislation and arrange coalitions. The people who possess these skills tend to be lobbyists, or married to lobbyists.
    If Obama sticks with his no-lobbyist pledge, then he really will be Jimmy Carter, a high-minded president reduced to impotence by his own ineffectiveness.

    Exactly the reason why most of us here clearly preferred the more experienced and more qualified candidate.

    But Obama was the one the media wanted. Mr. Russet himself gave Obama a full 1-hr MTP the Sunday right before the IN and NC primaries. Taylor Marsh reminds us of Russert's clear disdain for women's issues and aversion to women, specifically Democratic women; and most specifically Hillary Clinton.

    BTD insistently reminded us that Obama would win because he was the media's darling (the Democratic flavor, anyway). The theory being that if the media likes him better, then he's the better candidate. It's the media who decides when we go to war and who will (appear to) govern us. And it's those who run the media who run us. We have little to say in the matter.

    So the King is dead? Long live the king.

    BlogBlah's Obama Defense Holier than Swiss (none / 0) (#241)
    by fctchekr on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 04:21:17 PM EST
    Stop proselytizing. We've got CNN, NBC and MSNBC to do that.

    It's apparent from what you've written that you haven't done your homework. Yet, you have the crust to take up more space than anyone ever does to do this snake medicine sales pitch.

    Budged me not.


    Not even going to argue about the primary (none / 0) (#242)
    by tribe643 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:18:10 PM EST
    It won't do one bit of good for both sides who have been drinking the kool-aid for so long, no logical argument can sink in. I'll probably include myself in that group, although I'd like to think I can still listen to reasonable people who share the same basic ideals as me. Hillary Clinton has asked us to do everything we can to support Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. To that end, here's a few past quotes and news items on the presumptive Republican nominee for President, John McCain, that we can pass along to those unsure of who they're voting for this November.

    Personal Character, or Lack Thereof:

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will not return the $300,000 raised by a Texas Republican who joked in 1990 that women should submit to rape and "enjoy it."


    Insulting Chelsea Clinton:

    McCain: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
    McCain: "Because her father is Janet Reno."


    Temperament Issues:

    "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) said about McCain by phone. "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."


    Promising Future Wars:

    "It's a tough war we're in. It's not going to be over right away. There's going to be other wars." Offering more of his increasingly bleak "straight talk," he repeated the claim: "I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars."


    Falsely Linking Al Qaeda to Iran:
    "But Al Qaeda is there, they are functioning, they are supported in many times, in many ways by the Iranians." John McCain Feb. 28, 2008


    Admitted Lack of Knowledge of Economics

    "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said. "I've got Greenspan's book." --Boston Globe, Dec. 12, 2007.
    "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." --Stephen Moore, "Reform, Reform, Reform," OpinionJournal.com, 11/26/05


    McCain's True Environmental Record:

    ``To his credit, McCain has made global warming a priority,'' said Gene Karpinski, president of the Washington- based League of Conservation Voters. Still, ``throughout his time in Congress, McCain's voted pro-environment only one out of four times.'' Karpinski and other environmentalists criticize McCain's positions on renewable energy, livestock-grazing practices, timber sales and funding to conserve public lands, wildlife and oceans.

    In his quarter-century in Congress, McCain has demonstrated a ``pattern of voting with polluters and special interests instead of consumers and the planet,'' said Carl Pope, executive director of the San Francisco-based Sierra Club. McCain antagonized environmentalists by voting in 2006 to open 8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling.


    TRIBE643 another desperate snake oil salesman (none / 0) (#244)
    by fctchekr on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:41:11 PM EST
    There are more than two parties in case you didn't come across that in your recent internet searches. It's doubtful we'd be here if we  weren't perfectly capable of finding McCain's and Obama's short-comings. If Obama has not convinced us in 15 mos, it's doubtful he will in 5...
    Go spew at WAPO.

    AntiObamamania (none / 0) (#245)
    by phoebecaulfield on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 12:17:50 AM EST
    Is there any way we could talk about issues rather than sniping on about the campaign? Could we talk about Habeas corpus, or the senate report?

    There have been other charismatic candidates  in the past, who got lots of young folks involved, many of them didn't know what they were involved with, but joined up for fun, and passion.  I recall wearing Lowenstein buttons in my braids in high school, all I knew was he was antiwar.  (Vietnam to show my age.)  It does not mean the candidates are evil, it does give them power.  I also have lived in Canada, where Trudeau was in power for years.  He came on the scene and was smart, clever, good looking and had a massive "Trudeaumania"  following.  He ended up being a flawed but overall successful liberal politician.  The Kennedy's also attracted a following of young supporters. Bill Clinton also had a following of enamored youth.

    What seems unfair is that anger at childish Obama supporters seems to be spilling out to all supporters.  There were some differences, some folks did not like the optics of another Clinton (i.e., the bushes and clintons rule America);  some felt that Obama's charisma was worth the risk (i.e., more democrats in the house and senate and a better chance to win); some did not like that Hillary voted for the war resolution, some were worried by the anti Hillary republicans and the scandals of the Clinton years.

    I personally think Hillary didn't win (well they really were tied) because she did not win Iowa and her campaign blew the early campaign. This was prior to any significant attacks from the Obama campaign.  They should have mounted more of a campaign in all the states.  Secondly they should have fought the issues of Florida and Michigan way back in 2006.  Even  with the sexism and bad press coverage she would have won.   I just don't get the Obama and Obama supporter hatred, to quote John Stewart, "how is this helping"?

    A few thoughts (none / 0) (#246)
    by tribe643 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 12:18:27 AM EST
    First of all, to silhouette, of course there's always a choice. You have the choice and the right to do whatever you think is best in the voting booth, if you even decide to be there in the first place. I understand the hurt and the resentment that's been created during this primary campaign. If Obama had been on the other end of this result, I'd probably be saying fairly similar things. Saying how unfair the process was, how Hillary had every institutional and financial advantage going in and basically bought the primary through money and political favors. You may likely have disagreed with my assertions and definitely disagree with them today. Be that as it may, for a period of time I probably would have encouraged Senator Obama to not suspend and take this to the convention. It's so close and you never know what might happen between now and then. Maybe some new and devastating scandal will be unearthed and the dynamics of the race will change. Now, this part may be considered a leap because I'm not actually in the shoes of many having these thoughts and feelings, but I know how I felt during this primary campaign, especially during moments where it looked like Senator Obama might lose. I feel as though it would have taken me a lot of time, I would have realized something very important. No matter what I thought of Senator Clinton or what some of you may think of Senator Obama personally or of his chances in November, either Democrat would give this country a far greater chance of improving itself instead of McCain essentially running for a third Bush term. Between at least 1-2 Supreme Court vacancies in the next president's term, important decisions relating to Iraq and the overall battle against international terrorism, finding a way to help our energy problems (namely oil), and so many other important issues that will be on the next president's agenda, we can't afford to allow anger and resentment over this primary contest to allow us to forget that we all basically have the same basic ideals about how government has a role to help people lift themselves up if they are unable to and in the wealthiest nation on the planet, no one should be left behind and fail to enjoy the best this country has to offer.

    We may all disagree on the best ways of achieving that relating to the major issues of the day, but one thing I hope we can all agree on. John McCain and the Republican Party have very little interest in doing anything more than shifting the burdens of this country's problems onto the middle and lower class while the wealthy get to bask in their vast sums of money and being asked to sacrifice very little if anything at all.

    I understand it's a tough call for many of you, but I just hope at some point we can, for the most part, all be able to see eye to eye again and know who our true political enemies are and how important it is for us to succeed this November. I'm going to head off to bed now. Have a good night everybody.