Re: My discomfort knows no bounds.

1

Since I know I won't be able to resist saying this later, I might as well get it out of the way now: Hillary is indeed the "worst possible Democrat" by a distance, and if she gets nominated she will be, by a much greater distance, "the best possible president."



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 1:42 PM
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The mistake is to believe that Hillary has done anything in the last twenty years with anything other than a political motivation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 1:43 PM
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1: Yes, she'd be better than anybody the TortureAndSecretPrisons Party nominates, but that isn't an accomplishment. I'm (for now) feeling pretty confident that the Democrats will win in '08, and we have some other candidates who might actually champion some progressive causes as president. On the other hand, we have the wife of the most conservative Democrat to hold the office in decades, who by all indications is more conservative than her husband.

2: I'd feel better if I believed that, Brock. But I don't.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 1:53 PM
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This is really, really disturbing, and comes as a total shock to me. I had absolutely no idea. This article is going to change the minds of several people I know.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 1:59 PM
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It's kind of (and by "kind of," I mean "enormously, but only to the sort of person who finds that sort of thing interesting") saddening to see how patently the mainstream (by population) of Protestantism has turned its back on the insights of Kierkegaard, and the productive conflict between his individual focus and the will to community that one finds in twentieth century theologians.

Sorry. Insert [sex joke] and [anecdote of mores of rich people] here.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:02 PM
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Holy crap. More evidence that her sanctimony is sincere. It does make it a little easier to pick a candidate when you can rule out so many of them for being batshit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:03 PM
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Damn, I hate this. I swear I wouldn't be creeped out by a prayer group. But I am just as creeped out as the rest of you by a predominately conservative prayer group designed "to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan."

As a matter of political tactics, I sincerely hope no one ever mentions this again -- the "evil liberals hate Christians so much that they'll even turn against their goddess Hillary for belonging to a prayer group" rebuttal has the potential for some real unpleasantness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:13 PM
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I still don't like her. I will not vote for her in the primary. I will vote for her in the general if she's the nominee.

Unless Bootsy Collins runs on the P-Funk ticket.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:18 PM
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7: The entire field of Democratic candidates are practicing Christians. Most of the country hates Pat Robertson and his band of bug-eyed lunatics. If the Democrats can't capitalize on the difference between mainstream Christianity and Dominionist secret societies, then it's time to give up and move to New Zealand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:19 PM
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9: I really don't think we can. This organization seems to be genuinely bizarre and fucked up, but its public face is a prayer breakfast. To demonstrate that it's bizarre and fucked up, we need pages of facts. To paint us a bigots, they just have to say "They hate us for praying."

This is no win, if it goes big.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:23 PM
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I think this is the kind of thing that sounds scarier than it really is.

Guess who was the co-chair of the Senate Prayer Breakfast during his time in the Senate? You guessed it -- John Edwards.

So maybe it's not so bad. Like Oliver says.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:26 PM
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To paint us a bigots, they just have to say "They hate us for praying."

LB, they've already been doing that for as long as I've been alive. This won't change that a bit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:26 PM
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The Family. The Fellowship. They aren't trying very hard to prevent us from thinking conspiratorially, are they.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:27 PM
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Apo:

Why can't you just accept that we're fucked? Numb isn't an entirely bad feeling. It's not a particular feeling at all--that's the joy of it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:27 PM
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Mr. Collins Goes to Chocolate City.

There was a Harper's piece on the Fellowship ages ago, and I've read about them one other place since. It is indeed very distressing to see HRC's name attached to them. I feel as though I have basically zero idea of what an HRC administration would be like—she's a complete chameleon.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:28 PM
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11: From the author of the Harper's article in Oliver Willis' comments:

But as for your comment about Edwards, yes, you're right. The Senate Prayer Breakfast is by far the least ideological activity of the Fellowship, though it still tends to be very minority Democrat. Real fellow travelers, tho, don't just go to the Senate breakfast; they meet separately with smaller cells (their word, not mine) of like-minded folks. Hillary had such a cell at one point, as we write. Edwards, to the best of my knowledge, didn't. I've never spoken to Edwards, but I asked Bob Moser, who wrote a great profile of him for The Nation, about those religious connections. In Edwards' case, he said, it really was just politics -- which is fine.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Does anyone skip the Senate Prayer Breakfast? I think attendance is electorally mandatory.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Numb isn't an entirely bad feeling.

Until Roberta goes back to work next month (and really, until the following month, when she gets paid), I can't afford the amount of booze and drugs it takes to actually get me numb.

Stupid tolerance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:31 PM
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Please stop, Apo. I need to be able to feel a little bit more comfortable with a Dem win than I do at the moment.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:31 PM
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In Edwards' case, he said, it really was just politics -- which is fine.

I don't see why you wouldn't think the same of Hillary. Solely because her involvement was deeper? Or soemthine else?

The very nature of this organization absolutely drips "politics". It's not the sort of thing I can imagine anyone being invovled with solely for their sake of his eternal soul.

If she had a similar level of invovlement with a non-political religious organization with similar views, that would be much more troublesome.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:34 PM
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Personally I think it's all cynical, calculated posturing on her part. I have absolutely zero evidence for that; I just want it to be calculated, cynical posturing on her part because that is so incredibly preferable.

Unfortunately, my faith in the electorate's ability to divine fact from what the media provides them in the form of Factz(tm) is so decimated that I don't think there's any way to call her out on it. The only response that won't draw immediate fire is for a different candidate to really play up tying their religious beliefs to leftist causes.

Of course, that's worked to tremendous effect in previous decades, so maybe it'll work again. At the same time, those things that leave me despondent about religion's abuse at the hands of politicians, politics' abuse at the hands of career religionists and the fact-finding powers of the general public also consign me to a belief that the well of religion-in-public-life is thoroughly poisoned for at least a generation.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:34 PM
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Against all eveidence, I swear I do know how to spell "involvement".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:36 PM
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Did you read the article, Brock? This isn't something new. She's held these beliefs since adolescence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:37 PM
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7: I honestly wouldn't worry about that too much. If people are unable or unwilling to understand the entirely true explanation that the problem is not a prayer group in general but specific crazy elitist beliefs of this one in particular, then they probably didn't think much liberals in the first place.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:37 PM
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She's held these beliefs since adolescence.

My first thought when I read this post was, "still the same Goldwater girl she's always been." In some sense, anything a politician does is posturing, but eventually you can see a pattern in their posturing, and that's who they are, as best as you'll be able to determine.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:43 PM
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It's such a comfort to know that the most likely next president of the US will again be a half crazy christian crusader hell bent on re-imagining the Middle East.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:47 PM
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23: guilty. I'll read it later and maybe change my tune. But the latter half of 20 stands, I think.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:47 PM
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I sorta with Brock here (in that I haven't read the article.) I know about HRC's scary conservative views, but membership in this meeting on its own wouldn't be evidence for them. Prayer meetings are just part of the political culture of DC. You have to go to them, like they were a company picnic or something. Smaller cells could simply be a chance to network in a more targeted fashion.

Apo in 23 mentions that HRC has had weird religious views since adolescence. But that has to be based on a different batch of evidence than this prayer meeting.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:51 PM
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membership in this meeting on its own wouldn't be evidence for them

Well, when you read the Mother Jones article, be sure to go read the Harper's article that's linked at the end of the post, too. This is not the company picnic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:53 PM
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Have you clicked on the second link -- the 2003 Harpers article? Maybe it's simply anti-religious hysteria, but it makes the Fellowship sound like an extremely rightwing political organization supported by a sincere belief that its political goals are ordained by God. I don't have any objection to Hillary worshiping however she sees fit -- it's the implications about her politics that give me the willies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:54 PM
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ok, but after that I have to get back to work.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:54 PM
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"Christians," he declared, "should repudiate this book and determine to take no pleasure in it."

I *won't* enjoy this book. I *won't*. I *won't*.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:19 PM
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Triangulation. It's what those Clintons do best, and nobody does it better. In other words, I'm with Brock on this.

Not that she'd be my first choice if I had any say in the matter (my favourite candidate is Edwards), but I really doubt she's secretly a wingnut.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:49 PM
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It's what those Clintons do best

Of course it is. But it would be a serious mistake to assume that they have *no* beliefs. Tracing an intellectual history back to somebody's teen years is pretty solid evidence of, you know, actually believing something.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:26 PM
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The scary thing is that God doesn't even really have a plan anymore -- he's been winging it for centuries now.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:09 PM
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35: Yeah, and now that he's read Blink he just keeps doing whatever strikes him first, without really stopping to think things over.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:16 PM
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I think Ogg is right. This isn't about HRC's deep deep inner soul beliefs, its about her beliefs about how to negotiate the political milieu. ANd her take on it is to be a conservative, minus the craziness. And this is further evidence of this.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:27 PM
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this is what i love about hrc:
we can all debate whether she is sincerely bat-shit right-wing, or just so cynically political that she fakes it.

my kind of democrat!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:35 PM
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Crap. I'd largely revised my opinions of both Bill and Hillary in the wake of the Bush years (that is, the things I didn't like about them seem almost trivial these days).

Looks like I can go back to disliking the hell out of Hillary. Creep-fucking-y.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:50 PM
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Apo, one article by one author in one magazine hardly constitutes an intellectual history of such overwhelming force and persuasion that it obliges us to radically revise our perception of everything we know (or everything we thought we knew) about Hillary Clinton based on her public record.

That public record tells me that she's an inside-the-Beltway centrist with hawkish tendencies, but that she's not a wingnut. Unless she's actually, though secretly, yet another cog in the wheel of that "vast, right-wing conspiracy" of which she has more than once complained, which, if true, I'll admit would truly mess with my mental-moral mapping of the American political universe.

I dunno. Seems to me that all three of the main contenders speak openly and often of their faith and their faith traditions and such. I'd prefer that religion and politics not be mixed in this way, but, not being a citizen of your once-great republic, I don't feel entitled to much say in the matter.

If I did have a say, I'd speak for Edwards, who, sadly, seems to be running very much in the rear.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:46 PM
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Edwards, who, sadly, seems to be running very much in the rear

It's hardly his fault. All that junk food on the campaign trail can give a man the pimp skitters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:49 PM
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That public record tells me that she's an inside-the-Beltway centrist with hawkish tendencies

That in no way contraindicates any specific set of religious beliefs. I don't think "wingnut" is a useful description of anything particularly, but her public record also includes a metric shitload of right-wing issues, from video games to flag burning to walls in Israel and the Mexican border. At some point, endlessly triangulating rightward stops being triangulation. Her public record is actually quite similar to Joe Lieberman's. And while Lieberman isn't what you'd call a wingnut, exactly, I don't think he's really on my side.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:02 PM
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Right. The other long-standing criticism of Clinton is that she's a sanctimonious nanny-stater, which this seems to confirm.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:05 PM
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Let me clarify. I don't think Hillary Clinton is part of the VRWC. But I do believe that she is, personally, quite conservative on a number of issues. She's got relatively sane positions on abortion and race and orientation issues. But that's not uncommon; if you got them to speak honestly, so do a lot of the GOP guys. They just aren't at liberty to vote that way.

The inside-the-Beltway centrism you perceive is real and I suspect she honestly believes she can compromise with the other side and achieve things. It's the DLC way, but *it doesn't work*. Edwards seems to understand this and his recent emphasis on confronting, for example, the drug and insurance lobbies rather than sitting down at a table with them reflects it.

The Jesus Warrior stuff worries me, because it tells me she isn't the person who is going to really take those people on.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:24 PM
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I read the 2003 article and remember finding it immensely disturbing, by which I mean, digging a cynicism pit so deep I thought I'd probably never get out. Now, associating Clinton with that bunch of malevalent loons in light of her frontrunner status, I'm sure I'll never get out.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:50 PM
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associating Clinton with that bunch of malevalent loons in light of her frontrunner status

*That* is disturbing. Crap.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 11:01 PM
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"Christian management". Oh...Christ.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 3:39 AM
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re: 47

I think you need to qualify your use of Christ there, Alex. Is that a christ-on-a-bike? Or merely, a jesus-jumping-christ?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 4:08 AM
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Christian management? That guy couldn't delegate at all, wasn't able to keep a team of 11 employees together and only got the top job in the first place through nepotism.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 4:15 AM
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re: 49

Sounds ideally suited to the current political climate.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 4:21 AM
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OT: I stopped by the downtown Target yesterday, which is often the test platform for new products and new marketing techniques. The had an item for sale there which, as far as I can tell, is unavailable online, so I can't link to it directly: black bloc Playmobil

The set consists of a Playmobil policeman handcuffed to another figurine who is wearing black and grey clothing, including a black watch cap and black bandanna covering the lower half of the face, wielding a flashlight, with tattoos on both arms. Now, who knows, perhaps this set is available all over, and Playmobil just hasn't gotten around to putting it up on their site yet, but it seems awfully suspicious that it should appear here, where black blockers will be descending en masse next year.

(Also interesting: This police accessories set seems to only be available in countries with German-speaking populations.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 5:29 AM
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Check out the latter part of this article. It seems like if HRC cared enough about the country and about the Democratic party's principles to do all she could to produce a Democratic president, she'd drop out and throw her support to Obama. (as so would Biden, Dodd...)

Why don't they? This is an interesting idea.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 8:13 AM
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52: Luntz's numbers don't really square with Rasmussen's.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:29 PM
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Here's a great link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070906/ap_on_el_pr/candidates_religion_poll

The headline is "Clinton, Giulliani viewed as least religious candidates".

The only thing worse than having religious weirdos atop the democratic party is having to somehow fend off charges of them being too atheistic at the same time.

The McManus solution gets more attractive by the hour, man.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 5:29 PM
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As long as the Dem's nominate Edwards, I don't see how this causes any problems.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 5:32 PM
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