Re: What Are The Boundaries Of Plagiarism?

1

It's a huge deal where it applies. But it doesn't here, and it wouldn't in a comparable situation in an academic context either.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
2

Here's my thinking on this issue: Someone whose political rhetoric is overly derivative might be dull, or hackneyed, but calling them a plagarist seems just mistaken.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
3

Yeah. It's a bad word to throw around where it doesn't apply -- in a context where the plagarism rules aren't in force, using someone else's ideas and words isn't kind of unseemly, it's not wrong at all.

I cut and paste big chunks of other people's writing all the time, and doing anything else would be cheating my clients; no one cares if a brief I write is an original work of my own mind, and putting in the time necessary to duplicate someone else's work would be useless makework.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
4

What can you expect from a guy who uses dog whistle words like "periodically"?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
5

Especially given that if I've got the story straight, Obama and Patrick have worked together and traded ideas. So it's not even like Obama used the words of a politician he doesn't know.

It's more like he had a discussion with a friend before a job talk where they both discussed how to make a good point, and the friend used a particularly memorable turn of phrase, and then he used it in his job talk. Not usually the sort of things that would need to be cited.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
6

#5 is my understanding, also. I'm sure I've repeated phrases I've seen here. I'm sure I've repeated them here.

(Also, my recollection is that what qualifies as plagiarism is a fairly tricky problem except in the most obvious of cases.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
7

Argh. You know, not a huge deal, it wouldn't have changed my vote even if he'd said it before New York voted, but that was kind of sexist. Not 'periodically', that's silly. But saying that Clinton was attacking him because she felt down? No, her emotional state doesn't enter into it. She's attacking you because she's trying to win the goddamn election.

Now, it's kind of sexist in the weakest sense -- it's a personal jibe, and for a personal jibe to function, it's going to be shaped for the person under attack. You can't snipe at Clinton in the same words you'd use to snipe at McCain; they wouldn't make sense. But it's a jibe that works because it's playing off her gender.

It's not the biggest thing in the world, but I'm getting a little tired of the repetition that thinking that was sexist is the looniest thing ever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
8

So, they're just doing this because it worked against Martin Luther King, right? Am I missing something?

I generally think of plagiarism as a deeply flawed concept, mostly applicable in rigidly proscribed academic settings. An "original" thought, put to paper? What the fuck does that mean?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
9

Obama and Patrick have worked together and traded ideas

And, y'know, both used David Axelrod as an advisor and speechwriter.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
10

When Clinton said Obama felt "frustrated" after New Hampshire, that was also condescending and there's really no place for that in politics.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
11

5: Somebody has posted an excerpt from a speech in December where Obama jokingly namechecks Patrick and says something like, "He's my buddy and we steal each other's lines all the time."

I find it interesting that the "just words" lines he is accused of unethically ganking were used by Patrick to counter the precisely same sort of attack: that man is all style and no substance!

Curse you, flashy black men!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
12

But saying that Clinton was attacking him because she felt down? No, her emotional state doesn't enter into it.

My understanding is that it was "felt [she was] down in the race," "down in the polls." Someone pointed out he has used the up/down charge precisely that way in the past about Clinton, except he made explicit "the race" or "the polls" or whatever. So, yeah, you're right: emotional state doesn't play into it. But he didn't say it did.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
13

It's about as loony as thinking that Clinton was dogwhistling when she said Obama was 'frustrated.' It was a personal jibe, it incorrectly attributed her campaign's flailing to her feeling bad about losing, but the "periodically" stuff pretty much qualifies it for the loony.

It was a dog whistle that only some radical feminists understood?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
14

"Plagarism"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
15

Yeah, Obama was cleverly sending a signal to radical feminists that he knew what they were up to and he DIDN'T WANT THEIR VOTE.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
16

It was a dog whistle that only some radical feminists understood?

Right, that's the crazy thing: you dog-whistle to men on gender I'd think, but I would bet that men read it as I did: "down in the polls," "down in the race."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
17

Eh. I don't want to fight about this one, and I said pretty much everything I think about it in 7.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
18

This actually started a couple weeks ago--someone claimed that Obama's "Yes We Can!" was taken from Patrick's gubernatorial campaign. Except, I remembered being in Hyde Park in March 2004 & seeing "Obama: Yes We Can!" posters all over the place.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
19

13.2 incites highly unoriginal jokes about feminism, and thus may be contributory plagiarism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
20

6: It is. I used to be on an honesty board that had to decide what counted as plagiarism and it's a hard call even when the evidence is written and revised, not off the cuff.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
21

12: I feel like I definitely ought to be hearing the feminist dog whistles (if not me, who?), but I couldn't take the "felt down" statement to mean anything but "perceived she was down in the polls."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
22

I thought he said "periodically when she's down" not "periodically when she's feeling down." But boy do I not want to have this discussion.

One interesting note on plagiarism: when I was working as a writing tutor, it became clear that the Chinese (from China) students had a very different sense of what needed to be cited and what the point of a paper was; their view of even academic scholarship was much more like a lawyers: the language/work exists, and you can just incorporate it and add your own little bit. The whole notion of ideas being new and being owned is, to coin a phrase, socially constructed, to quite an extreme degree.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
23

"pliagarism"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
24

14: I don't know what you could possibly mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
25

The difference between what Obama did and plagiarism seems plain - but it's interesting to see what they'll try to fling and make stick.

What is this year's I-invented-the-Internet-and-faked-war-wounds smear?

I like the one that was linked here the other day:

Obama's commie mommy.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
26

You haven't been as thorough as you might be in the post, LB. See the word before "in writing for a publication".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
27

22: It was "feeling down", but of course that doesn't settle the interpretation at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
28

I'm wrong, he said "feeling down." Video here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
29

"I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she's feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
30

Damn you, w-lfs-n. (It's always surprising finding words I genuinely don't know how to spell. Although it happens often enough, I don't know why I'm surprised.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
31

17: Yeah, me neither, because it was a snide and condescending comment in response to a snide and condescending comment. But even B doesn't think it was sexist.

18: The piece ogged linked yesterday was from April 2007. The Clinton campaign is not impressing me. Plus, the whole plagiarism thing: does she really think that's going to win over Obama voters or undecideds? Like we were all dumb enough to think the man took notes only from the Form of Rhetoric and now we'll vote for her? Why would I vote for someone who thinks I'm an idiot?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
32

>i?I cut and paste big chunks of other people's writing all the time, and doing anything else would be cheating my clients; no one cares if a brief I write is an original work of my own mind, and putting in the time necessary to duplicate someone else's work would be useless makework.

I'm really bad about this, actually, because I have a very hard time seamlessly blending someone else's work into my own. It takes conscious effort for me not to keep reinventing the wheel.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
33

The point is to tarnish Obama's image as somehow holy or above the fray; make him seem like just another politician.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
34

Well, it could have worked if the media had picked it up and run with it as indicating dishonest, which actual plagarism would have. I think that was the Clinton campaign's hope.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
35

The Clinton campaign is not impressing me.

Word.

This is the candidate who's trying to sell me on how her ability to wage a political battle? Plagiarized? "Periodically" is dog whistle? Christ this is some weak stuff.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
36

There was an interesting plagiarism case where I was a student. A Ph.D. student had memorized a large section of a book, word-for-word. She used that as her answer to a question on the qualifying exam. She was charged with plagiarism.

When I answer questions on a test, I just assume as given that none of this is my own work. I don't cite Newton when I do calculus, for example. Nor do I cite the professor when I use his lecture notes to answer a question. Etc.


Posted by: Anon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
37

She's battling uphill. I'm not saying she's run a flawless campaign, and I didn't vote for her. But if the media were in the tank for her, either one of those could have hit and hurt. (Again, not the word "periodically". But the "feeling down... to preserve her appeal" is at least arguably a gendered attack, and if enough people were spinning it as way out of line, Obama could be in trouble over it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
38

34: But it just seems like a bad hope when the guy has cited Patrick before, and Patrick says 'no harm, no foul.' Is her campaign out of money?

I want Obama to win, but I don't want Clinton to botch things so badly that it becomes the new reason why we can't run a woman for president.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
39

33: which again, I'm half convinced they're aiming for blue collar whites with abiding memories of the "MLK was a plagiarist " hoopla 20 years ago. But maybe that's unnecessarily conspiracy-minded of me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
40

36: How did they find?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
41

I don't want Clinton to botch things so badly that it becomes the new reason why we can't run a woman for president.

She made it to January as the frontrunner, and Obama's a respectably strong candidate to lose to. I think she could spontaneously combust on network TV and the record of her campaign over all would still count as credible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
42

I don't want Clinton to botch things so badly that it becomes the new reason why we can't run a woman for president.

What problems her campaign has had are not gender related. I think my Dream Ann Richards would have knocked Obama out of the box.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
43

I don't understand how Clinton is still in the race. None of the Democrats I know voted for her.


Posted by: Pauline Kael | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
44

But if the media were in the tank for her, either one of those could have hit and hurt.

Sure. But "I'd win lots if only the refs were in the tank for me" is pretty much an admission that she has no game.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
45

41,42: It doesn't have to be related to gender to have people going 'The last time we ran a woman....' I think she ran a campaign that depended on winning on Super Tuesday, and since then it's just been embarrassing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
46

40: As I recall, they finally decided not to kick her out, but they did fail her, forcing her to take it again. I think it would have been reasonable to fail her on the merit of her answer, since memorizing something verbatim doesn't really demonstrate mastery of the material, but I don't really think what she did rose to the level of plagiarism.

On the other hand, it could be argued that any professor who asks a question on a Ph.D. qualifying exam that can be adequately answered by copying straight from the book deserves what she gets.


Posted by: Anon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
47

Seems a little bizarre. I'm having a hard time imagining a situation where original work would be expected and memorization of one of the reading texts would be a plausible answer.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
48

Plagiarism for a politician is merely training wheels for what comes later.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
49

46: Yeah -- if the memorized passage was a respectable answer to the question, penalizing it seems screwy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
50

I take it this wasn't a science major. Because memorization is exactly what you need in those classes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
51

My department doesn't use exams as a pre-requisite for candidacy, something which I support on the grounds that the exams seem like a waste of time 99% of the time.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
52

But I don't know what qualifying exams are like at all. The penalty might seem reasonable in context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
53

It doesn't have to be related to gender to have people going 'The last time we ran a woman....'

I guess I don't think of us as having run a woman so much as having run a Clinton. It's a poor comparison, but if RFK had managed to win the nomination but lose the general, I imagine people would say that the Kennedys were rejected, not that running a Catholic was a mistake.

Note, again, that she's not out of it and may be the nominee.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
54

At this stage the Clinton campaign is just throwing a whole bunch of random crap against the wall and seeing what will stick. They better win Ohio and Texas by a lot or this thing is over.

The Republican campaign against Obama is more interesting right now. McCain hits him high with 'inexperienced and untrustworthy', the talk-show types are hitting him low with all the stuff about his wife. The games begin!


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
55

Tee hee:

But it was Obama supporters for whom Buffenbarger saved his most vitriolic contempt, and he proved that the Democratic Party's coalition is nothing if not fragile. Channeling Howard Beale from the movie "Network," he yelled into the microphone, "Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter."

Teamsers Union to Endorse Obama.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
56

the talk-show types are hitting him low with all the stuff about his wife.

Oy. She's great, but she's got to be careful -- that 'first time I've been proud of America' line was something she should have known would blow up. I hope she doesn't either turn into a loose cannon or get disappeared for fear she will -- she's got such an appealing presence I'd like to see a lot of her in the campaign.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
57

Actually, Teamsters. Damn it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
58

47: It was in the music department, for what they call their Doctor of Music degree at IU. The questions were fairly open-ended, from what I could see from my wife's exam. Along the lines of music history, etc. (She was in the same department, going for the same degree.)

This degree was a bit odd, because many of the students were performers, such as my wife, but they had to do a significant amount of book-learning (musicology, history, etc.) to pass the exam. Furthermore, many of the students did not have English as their native language, and the texts in this area often tended to be hard to read.

My guess is that the answer was not a very good answer for the question given, but the student was probably desperate. Or she may have done some re-assembling to make the answer better, but still had substantial portions that were verbatim.


Posted by: Anon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
59

The Clinton campaign is not impressing me.

Got that right. If Obama's such a lousy candidate, how come he keeps beating her so badly?

It's getting harder to understand why she's still being treated as a serious candidate. Everything I've been reading suggests that the numbers just don't work for her unless he collapses in some really epic fashion and she starts running up 20% margins not just in Ohio and Texas but also in North Carolina and Oregon. If that's true, she's just about in Huckabeeland.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
60

It doesn't have to be related to gender to have people going 'The last time we ran a woman....' I think she ran a campaign that depended on winning on Super Tuesday, and since then it's just been embarrassing.

This is sort of interesting: you mean, people will say, "The last time we ran a woman she couldn't manage to overcome the perception that she was weak"?

Against anybody but Obama, Clinton's campaign would look great. Even the fact that she's a Clinton (a Rodham Clinton, whatever) could be overcome given the mess that the Republican party has become. Or ... perhaps Edwards would have come out strong against her.

Really, this game is being run by Obama, and how do you fight that?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
61

I hope she doesn't either turn into a loose cannon or get disappeared for fear she will

Chicks, right? (Totally agree with you. What could she possibly have been thinking? Next up: "Global test.")


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
62

It's getting harder to understand why she's still being treated as a serious candidate.

Because she is one, by whatever measure you want to use.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
63

If Obama's such a lousy candidate, how come he keeps beating her so badly?

Has anyone ever called him a lousy candidate? She's losing, and she's flailing right now as she goes over the line from 'still has a real shot' to 'no hope in hell', which is an ungraceful process, but she's run a respectably solid campaign up till now, and losing to Obama's no shame.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
64

55: I think the Prius is on the list of approved vehicles sent to me in Solidarity! by my union, the UAW.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
65

Forgive me, but what have the talk-show hosts been saying about Michelle Obama? And what has she said, for that matter? I make the mistake of not following those shows, or the reporting about them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
66

that 'first time I've been proud of America' line was something she should have known would blow up.

It's important to remember that she said "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country." Not that this is a smart thing to say either, but the "really" is important, and I happened to see Pat Buchanan mis-state/lie about it for five minutes straight last night without being called on it.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
67

63: I guess I've taken all the "he's not a fighter" comments as a way of saying that he's a lousy candidate.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
68

66: Listening to Cindy McCain sneer about it was rather more than I can bear.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
69

Furthermore, many of the students did not have English as their native language, and the texts in this area often tended to be hard to read.

Well, that's an interesting twist. Non-native speakers, IME, are more prone to "plagiarizing" entire turns of phrase for the simple reason that they have a more limited selection of phrases to choose from. When I was first dating him, a good 50% of UNG's conversations in English could be traced directly to rock and roll lyrics. He wasn't deliberately stealing from Pink Floyd, it was just the only way he knew how to express the particular thought in English.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
70

65: She said that once Obama was in the "White" House (and she signaled air quotes), White America would finally see "the chickens come home to roost."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
71

67: Huh. I've been making some of those comments, but from me they're not meant as questioning his ability as a candidate, it's fear that he'll get swept into office on a pink cloud of roses and love, and then the Republicans will steal his lunch money and rub his face in the gravel. I'm not sure that I'm right to worry about this, but the worry's about performance in office, not about campaigning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
72

70: Dammit. The Plan was supposed to remain secret until 1.21.09


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
73

70: Oh my. I'm off to look this up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
74

I hope she doesn't either turn into a loose cannon or get disappeared for fear she will -- she's got such an appealing presence I'd like to see a lot of her in the campaign

Michelle is OK, but I think compared to Obama she is not a particularly appealing presence. She's much more sharp-edged and comes off as more impatient and angry than he does.

But I think the real agenda here is that highlighting her helps connect the Obama campaign to the electorally toxic Angry Black vibe -- Obama doesn't come off as angry, and he doesn't even really come off as black. His look and accent aren't standard black American. But put Michelle up there and people make the connection.

I also suspect this is why the Obama campaign was putting her out there in the primaries, BTW. She massively improved his credibility with the black community, which is key in the Democratic primaries but can be taken for granted in the general.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
75

She's much more sharp-edged and comes off as more impatient and angry than he does.

Okay, my sense of 'appealing' may be unconventional.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
76

I'm not sure that I'm right to worry about this, but the worry's about performance in office, not about campaigning.

You are right to worry about this. It's not just the Republicans who might rub his face in the gravel, it's the Democratic party machine (read: DLC). Which is why the people he brings on board, assuming he wins the primary and the general election, is so extraordinarily important.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
77

71: Clinton's addressed both campaigning and governing? The whole "I've been vetted by the Republican noise machine" line seems targeted specifically at the question of electability, not time in office.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
78

77: Oh, she's saying he'll be a weak candidate in the general, but she has to, she's running against him. I don't think anyone says he's been a bad candidate in the primaries, such that losing to him shows shameful incompetence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
79

OT note on legal plagarism: I'm doing research right now, and this, from Siegel, the primary NY Procedure handbook, struck me.

A general relief clause favored by lawyers for its reassuring prolixity is to ask, after reciting the specific relief sought, for "such other, further, and/or different relief as to the court may seem just and proper". The last clause, too, has the sort of archaic word order and patronizing pomposity that many moving lawyers find moving. Limiting the adjectives and conforming the word order to Modern English Usage are acceptable alternatives, but only in well established law firms.

I love the last sentence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
80

57: Yeah, Buffenbarger is Machinists.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
81

Has anyone ever called him a lousy candidate? She's losing, and she's flailing right now as she goes over the line from 'still has a real shot' to 'no hope in hell', which is an ungraceful process, but she's run a respectably solid campaign up till now, and losing to Obama's no shame.

Isn't that what all the "not ready for Republican attacks" stuff is all about? And I dispute the idea that she's run a decent campaign. You know more about her 2000 Senate campaign than I do, but didn't she work her ass off convincing people upstate that she was a whole lot better than the "Clintons suck" narrative they started out accepting? This time, it feels more like her campaign spent the first few strategy meetings identifying everything about Hillary Clinton that voters were predisposed to dislike and then going out and reinforcing the hell out those views. They were effective in the early, strong-arm/careerist phase of the campaign in getting the establishment on board, but it's basically been all downhill since the voting started.

62: Assertion is lovely, but what might some of those measures be? How does she win without some sort of deus ex machina?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
82

Too slow.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
83

73: Be sure to bring back a couple snipes from behind the gym, parsimon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
84

It's not just the Republicans who might rub his face in the gravel, it's the Democratic party machine (read: DLC).

I think people overestimate A) the existence of any kind of organized Democratic party machine, and B) the influence of the DLC.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
85

I don't think Michelle Obama's appeal is limited to black voters though I do agree she may have won South Carolina--she's a very good antidote to the "Obama's not a fighter", "Obama's not tough enough," "Obama's an Ivy League liberal who doesn't understand working people" shtick (she's great on work/family issues, the public figure I've seen who *most* seems to get it), & she's a very good speaker w/o sounding like a politician. OTOH, politicians sound like robots precisely to avoid gaffes like that one, & her appeal probably is much stronger in the primaries than the general.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
86

84: Also, this primary contest is partly about who gets to be the Democratic machine, to the extent that such a thing exists.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
87

83: Huh?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
88

87: I fell for it too, and went off googling "michelle obama chickens roost". I don't think she said anything of the sort -- Tim was just fucking with us, the rat bastard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
89

Here is the problem with Clinton going to the "plagiarism" shtick.

Some places you just know the Repubs will go to (Ratso Rizzo Rezko or whatever his name is, for instance), but the plagiarism one, maybe not. And now it is out there for the various fuckwads in the press who just love this kind of "feet of clay" trope. For instance via TPM this BS from Dana Milbank on Obama "borrowing" from John Edwards.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
90

such other, further, and/or different relief as to the court may seem just and proper

So how do you say it there in BigLaw?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
91

90: "all his money, all his stuff, his wife and children, and his head on a plate"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
92

Oh, I say it like that. Or, rather, I paste the sentence in from the last brief. But someone really bold might say "such other relief as seems proper to the Court."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
93

"all his money, all his stuff, his wife and children, and his head on a plate"

Ha! Well, that's our approach too, but I believe LizardBreath is someplace too august for that.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
94

88: Oh, dammit. Sure enough, though, when you google such a phrase, you get all sorts of results that are quite fascinating boring.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
95

88: Oh yeah. And when Obama was asked what the status of women was in his movement, he answered, "Prone."

89: I almost asked whether McCain would dare make hay about Rezko, considering the creepycrawlies in his closet, but then I recovered from my coma.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
96

Somewhat off-topic, folks here might find this latest measure of Bush approval edifying.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
97

I paste the sentence in from the last brief.

I must confess that's what I do too--why bill for fixing something that is not broken. Although this is what leads to the persistent use of such wording. In the future, I shall adopt Not Prince Hamlet's construction, which is superior.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
98

But will you cite to him for it?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
99

re:55:"This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.":

I really like this line. Anyone who feels that "poet" and "fighter" are mutually exclusive is clearly unfamiliar with the career of a certain Colonel Walter Kurtz.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
100

But will you cite to him for it?

In a just world, of course. In fact, . . . .


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
101

I fell for it too, and went off googling "michelle obama chickens roost". I don't think she said anything of the sort -- Tim was just fucking with us, the rat bastard.

Sorry about that. "Chickens come home to roost" was the phrase that got Malcom X in trouble when responding to a question about JFK's then-recent assassination.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
102

"Rat bastard" is a term of respectful admiration, rather than genuine annoyance. I was an idiot not to have caught the reference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
103

Regarding Clinton's campaign, she did waste an enormous amount of money on her 2006 Senate reelection campaign (in which she was basically unopposed). And it has been claimed that like Bush she selects her minions based on loyalty rather than competence which seems a fairly serious flaw.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
104

minions

Henchpersons. Please.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
105

Has everyone seen the video of Matthews stymieing an Obama-supporting TX state Senator by asking him to name one legislative accomplishment (and then changing it to one Senate accomplishment, but the Senator didn't seem to know any for Illinois either) of Sen. Obama's? Infuriating. The Obama campaign could just hand out hilzoy's post on Obama from October 2006 and they'd never have this problem again.

Henchpersons.

I prefer the personal touch of hired goons.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
106

101, 102: But actually, a lot of online journalistic articles use the chickens phrase to describe a long deserved take-down of the Clintons. I hadn't realized it was such a popular theme at the moment; I find it vaguely disturbing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
107

I prefer the personal touch of hired goons.

Maybe if their finances are in good shape again. Otherwise it's going to have to be volunteer goons.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
108

62: Assertion is lovely, but what might some of those measures be? How does she win without some sort of deus ex machina?

HRC is a female candidate who got the big issue of the last seven years badly wrong and who started out with stratospheric negatives (sometimes as high as 50+%), and yet she managed to convince a lot of people that she was the inevitable President. Through the Super Tuesday primaries and a bit beyond, she was considered the frontrunner. She has been raking in cash, as measured by any previous haul. And she is still in the race. She's the only other person in the race. And nobody thinks she's Huckabee.

How does she win? She waits for Obama to fuck up. That, as I understand it, is how Ann Richards won Texas, and it's more or less how Obama is (assuming for the moment that he is) winning this set of primaries. In my limited experience, that's usually how most things are won.

And it has been claimed that like Bush she selects her minions based on loyalty rather than competence which seems a fairly serious flaw.

I think they're always selected for loyalty at that level. The assumption is that you're picking out the loyalist from a set of competent people. It's not always clear what the baseline is for competence, but I'd be surprised if HRC's people didn't meet any reasonable one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
109

Here is an early Obama Derangement Syndrome warning:

Expect this bullcrap on "Obama's Commie Mentor" from AIM a-hole Cliff Kincaid to hit your favorite MSM outlet sometime soon.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
110

85: I agree, Michelle Obama has decent chops as populist everyday folks who's pissed off and isn't going to take it any more. It's just that A) she's black, and her anger has a different resonance, and B) it's not hard to be less appealing than Obama, one of the smoothest and most unaffectedly ingratiating politicians I can ever remember.

Bottom line, the more people see Obama the more they like him, he has rare and transcendent gifts as an orator. To the extent that they forefront her rather than him it's a plus for the Reps.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
111

Matthews stymieing an Obama-supporting TX state Senator

Proving once and for all that I was 100% correct in not supporting that Texas state senator for president.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
112

Bush selects his minions specifically for unbounded loyalty -- willingness to do anything whatsoever. And people willing to that are often those who are grateful because they know that they have been raised higher than they deserve -- incompetent people and people with no reputation to lose, who cannot make a horizontal shift since they owe everything to The Big Guy and have nothing to offer elsewhere.

That's probably a definition of "minion", but in the Bush administration practically everyone at every level is a minion, not just a few hit men scattered here and there. In the Bush administration hard-right Movement Republican guys like Negroponte and Ashcroft have at times behaved (from Bush's point of view) with dangerously independence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
113

109: If you remember, they tried to make Bill Clinton out as an actual Communist spy during the '92 election. (He made a trip to Moscow in his youth.) Even then, red-baiting was obsolete.

Heck, they called Reagan a reactionary, racist nut - a charge that had the added benefit of being true - and he still won.

Obama shows early signs of being a Reagan-Clinton class politician. Nothing has stuck to him so far.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
114

62: Assertion is lovely, but what might some of those measures be? How does she win without some sort of deus ex machina?

According to this delegate count, HRC is behind by 124 pledged delegates and there are 1,119 left to be won. Although I haven't seen any polling or analysis that leads me to think she will, it's not entirely inconceivable that Clinton could make up the difference... say, if she were to start winning some primaries.

108: It's not always clear what the baseline is for competence, but I'd be surprised if HRC's people didn't meet any reasonable one.

So you missed The Atlantic's piece on Patti Solis Doyle?


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
115

65: In case anyone actually is curious about what Michelle Obama said that's supposedly controversial, here it is.

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud* of my country," she told a Milwaukee crowd today, "because it feels like hope is making a comeback." "and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

The candidate's wife said something that could be construed as less than completely patriotic. This is a major issue for, well, the people who you would expect to make a major issue of it.

*"am proud" s/b "am really proud," as an update has it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
116

112: Hey Emerson. I teach Hannah Dustan tomorrow. Any suggestions?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
117

So you missed The Atlantic's piece on Patti Solis Doyle?

No, I saw that, but everybody sucks when they're losing. HRC doesn't strike as the sort who gathers the incompetent at her knees.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
118

86: Also, this primary contest is partly about who gets to be the Democratic machine, to the extent that such a thing exists.

I guess I'm willing to buy that; though a political party in power presumably looks quite different from a party out of power. I suppose I'm thinking that Clinton-style Democrats still hold a lot of power, so to the extent that Obama tries to fly in the face of that, once in office, he'll have an uphill battle. I'm not sure how well Obama's "I'm running things now" works in the face of entrenched establishment Democratic interests. This is not a reason not to support him; just to say that it's not just the Republicans he'd have to worry about.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
119

Yeah, I really don't have that much worry about an incompetent federal bureaucracy under Clinton (though I think Obama's would be better, on account of better recruiting.) I think the main problem with her campaign people is that they've got bad political judgment & a paranoid/depressing view of the electorate & how politics works, which is going to continue to be a problem in office. Mark Penn-ism. As far as basic competence: her campaign has been run pretty well; Obama's is just better, but it's also the best Dem. primary campaign I've seen.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
120

it's also the best Dem. primary campaign I've seen.

Yeah, I think this is under-remarked. How the fuck does a freshman senator running an insurgent campaign have a steamrolling national organization? It's incredible.

(I realize he has a lot of old hands working for him, but he didn't just tap into an existing organization; they built it, and quickly.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
121

People keep on saying "he's a community organizer", but don't other campaigns hire community organizers? And if not, why not?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
122

"insurgent" might be a bit of an overstatement, by definition: you don't have such a steamrolling national organization in that case.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
123

How the fuck does a freshman senator running an insurgent campaign have a steamrolling national organization?

Magic penis.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
124

120, 121: He seems to be a pretty freakishly talented politician on a bunch of different levels.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
125

Obama's is just better

The Obama campaign reflects his years as a community organizer. The focus on traditionally Republican states and caucus states, driving turnout through active volunteers, accumulating huge numbers of small donors, etc. The Clinton campaign has been a pretty traditional, top-down, media-driven campaign. The Obama campaign has been more creative and definitely more aware of the actual name of the game (every delegate counts the same, acquire them wherever you can), which I think bodes well for the general.

It's a fitting metaphor that Clinton is essentially waging a 20th century campaign and getting beaten by a 21st century one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
126

125 written before I read 121.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
127

I realize he has a lot of old hands working for him, but he didn't just tap into an existing organization; they built it, and quickly.

My real suspicion is that (a) he's better at this than anyone thought, (b) Axelrod is better at this than anyone thought, (c) he got lucky in some major hires, and (d) maybe most importantly, to some extent an anti-Clinton machine was already all-but built, and just waiting for a driver. They found a good one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
128

124 to 123.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
129

Obama shows early signs of being a Reagan-Clinton class politician. Nothing has stuck to him so far.

To what extent do you guys think this is the result of an ability to not react to accusations? My impression is that guys like Gore and Kerry shot themselves in the foot by reacting -- "I didn't say I invented the internet, I said..." "I've got papers and witnesses and everything to prove I did win my purple heart fair and square." For the most part, I don't remember Clinton responding to most of the mud (until Monica) and it seems like Obama's approach has likewise been to either ignore these things outright or respond in a way that makes it clear that he thinks it really silly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
130

The strength of his campaign may also have to do with the fact that he's incredibly inspiring to hear speak.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
131

127 (d): Tim and I seem to be on the same page.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
132

But I don't know what qualifying exams are like at all. The penalty might seem reasonable in context.

Not really. For my qualifying exams, I was expected to know what other people had said and how they'd phrased it. I mean, I couldn't have recited Raymond Williams on "structures of feeling" verbatim, but that's a personal failing, not plagiarism.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
133

Obama responds, but his strategy is to admit some smaller wrongdoing and act as if he's dismissed the larger charge as well; so far it's worked, but I think his real advantage on this score is that there's just not a lot of dirt on him. ConLaw prof, come on, how wild and crazy are they?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
134

ConLaw prof, come on, how wild and crazy are they?

Um, wasn't Bill Clinton one of those too?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
135

ConLaw prof, come on, how wild and crazy are they?

Just wait. Come the general, we'll have former students cropping up with stories about how he would talk crazy shit in class about upholding habeas corpus or respecting the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
136

133: Even boring people screw around -- academics too, I've heard. Not that I've heard anything about Obama, but there could be anything. And it's very common for someone non-rich starting a political career to have made money in some offbeat way that looks kind of like a contribution. Again, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
137

136: IIRC Obama did make a pretty nice slug of cash from a reprinting of his book around the time of the 2004 convention, but that's legit. The Rezko (sp?) thing is worrisome but there doesn't seem to be much to it so far. (OTOH, Whitewater.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
138

116:

Just take the mythic approach, with the good violent sister and the bad violent sister. Try to find a suitable analogue pair of sisters, perhaps human-animal chimeras. What it would be like to be personally counseled by Cotton Mather while waiting to be hanged. Elizabeth eloquently making her case, Cotton speechless. The henpecked Mr. Dustan. The Abenaki point of view: a failure to communicate. Two feminist heroines, one recognized in her own time, and one only today. "No one messed with the Emerson girls".

In short, no, I don't know how I would handle this in a classroom.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
139

129: Di, I think your impression of this is the opposite of mine. Bill Clinton was noted, if I recall, for his rapid response team, and Gore and especially Kerry were widely excoriated (fairly or not) for letting smears fester and grow before finally being forced to respond.

I still remember the Clintons appearing on 60 Minutes to talk about Gennifer Flowers. That's a scandal that we know would sink a candidate who wasn't willing to take it on directly - we know this because a similar scandal did sink Gary Hart.

I'm with you on Obama. He does respond at times. Most recently, he's been battling this all-talk, no-substance stuff directly and personally.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
140

"Leslie Fiedler regards Hannah Dustan from a somewhat resentful masculine perspective, calling her a "Great WASP Mother of Us All" and her tomahawk the weapon of the castrating "termagant wife" akin to Mrs. Rip Van Winkle in Washington Irving's story."

Thorwau: "This seems a long while ago, and yet it happened since Milton wrote his Paradise Lost"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
141

121: Maybe to run their field operations in Iowa & NH, but they don't put them in charge & try to organize the whole damn country. It's really, really not a glamorous job; I remember looking at those jobs after college & thinking: (1) what exactly is that? (2) It does not sound like I'd be any good at it.

In general, I don't think Democratic insiders tend to have much respect for non-insiders, & the conventional wisdom until very recently was that you win with ads.

And to some extent they were right: the web helps an awful lot w/ making this sort of campaign logistically possible. Also, like Sifu said, the organizing feeds off of the great speeches, & the crappy place the country is in right now.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
142

In my experience, community organizers are people who are extremely idealistic and are really, really dedicated to doing anything possible to make people realize that even though corporations and fat cats are evil, they aren't all-powerful. This is why despite all the disturbing things we hear about Obama's love of compromising with Republicans, I find it hard not to trust him.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
143

Quite an extensive thing by Thoreau:

http://www.infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/etext03/7cncd10.htm


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
144

Another thing that occurs to me is that Obama is lucky that he was at the University of Chicago and not Harvard or some other recognizable elite university, because while U of C is just as rarefied as any place, most people in the country have no idea what it is or what kind of place it is.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
145

Turnout also seems to be a big factor, no doubt due in part to the so-called historic mythos of both campaigns. But it seems that Obama has been very good at getting people to show up (and to register ahead of time.) This means that at least part of his success is due to not relying on people who were already registered and trying to convert them, but getting new people out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
146

138: Yay! They are a feisty bunch and I am looking forward to tomorrow! Thanks, John.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
147

"Honey, I'd be more comfortable talking to you about this if you weren't standing so close to that axe. Nobody blames you for what you did, but there are peaceful ways of dealing with conflict."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
148

People keep on saying "he's a community organizer", but don't other campaigns hire community organizers? And if not, why not?

The real new paradigm seems to be whoever their hedge fund organizer is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
149

The link in 96 is almost depressing.

Among Republicans (29% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 45% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 50% disapprove. Among Democrats (43% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 1% approve and 99% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job.

So, 45% of 29% of the population wants this guy to stay in power. One might think our system of government isn't as responsive to the voters as it could be. Can we please eliminate the office of "president" and have a parliamentary system, please?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
150

To what extent do you guys think this is the result of an ability to not react to accusations?

If my theory that he has internalized confict resolution techniques holds, then I would expect him not to engage the content of an attack, but instead to call attention to the attack behavior.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
151

The recent politician who came closest to running Obama's strategy, of course, was Dean. Small donations rolling in through the website, the campaign as movement, Marshall Ganz, etc. But Obama is a much more compelling & less gaffe-prone speaker, & his campaign organization is a lot more professional & efficient & realistic about meeting people where they are.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
152

To 127 and 151, I'd add "e) they really looked closely at what lessons could be learned from Dean's successes and failures in 2004 and the rise of MoveOn". Further, unlike the Edwards campaign, they didn't take "butter up prominent bloggers" away as an answer. That's the key one -- someone described Obama's use of the Internet in a previous thread as a "force multiplier", which I think is perfectly correct. Gary Hart couldn't have run this campaign, because the technology to leverage that huge small donor base (and, MoveOn-like, rope them into doing things like going out and suffering through three hours of caucusing) wasn't there.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
153

God damn it, 152 was me. Stupid Firefox 3.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
154

151: Also, I think Dean showed that it--the style of campaign, overcoming the DLC-flavored establishment-- could succeed with a better candidate, and I suspect that convinced some talented people that it wasn't stupid to take a risk on working for Obama.


Posted by: SomeCAllMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
155

Right. Among other things: Dean campaign was very good at raising money (though not on the level of Obama), but not very good about spending it, or about getting people involved other than by having them donate.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
156

153: Plagiarist!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
157

That was more like a forgery.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
158

144: Another thing that occurs to me is that Obama is lucky that he was at the University of Chicago and not Harvard or some other recognizable elite university, because while U of C is just as rarefied as any place, most people in the country have no idea what it is or what kind of place it is.

Huh, the double edge of Harvard's outsized reputation: other top-tier universities are perceived as less prestigious and less snooty than they really are in comparison.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
159

Wait, weren't there so-called Deaniacs, though? Involved beyond donations. Perhaps not on Obama's scale, nope. A confluence of events: the melt-down of the Republican party + Obama's oratory + a Dean-style campaign.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
160

159: + (I think) better staff. Dean was a real outsider, I believe, in a way that Obama hasn't been.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
161

Have you read my recent blog comment, Vortigern?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
162

150: If my theory that he has internalized confict resolution techniques holds, then I would expect him not to engage the content of an attack, but instead to call attention to the attack behavior.

Isn't this exactly what ineffective liberal politicians have always done: "Look at how mean the Republicans are being! It's not fair!" instead of "Plagiarism, yeah whatever... When did you stop beating your wife?"


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
163

160: Yeah, hence the hesitation about calling Obama's an insurgent campaign.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
164

Hillary's campaign leadership is too wonky for their own good. Seating Florida/Michigan delegates; lobbying super delegates; plagiarist accusations. How about going out and getting some boring, old primary votes?

Extra credit for semi-colons, please.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
165

162: A lot of this is not reducible to method. It's a bit like asking what the secret words are to get women to go nuts for you. Either it's not the words, or it's not just the words. Obama's pretty good, it seems to me, at deflecting attacks with a sort of "are you kidding me?" smile, instead of going bitchcakes.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
166

162 - The distinction is that this ties into a larger narrative for the Obama campaign. "This is the same old small-minded and destructive politics of the past. Why can't 72-year-old John McCain embrace the future and bring people together?"

In other news, Bill O'Reilly apparently said he wasn't sure yet if it was time to organize a "lynching party" over Michelle Obama's "proud of my country" comment. I have no words. I suppose fantasizing about a group of people setting him on fire then celebrating with a picnic and photo shoot would be wrong of me.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
167

Dean was a real outsider, I believe, in a way that Obama hasn't been.

The big difference, I think, is that Obama held Dean's coalition together while consolidating and turning out the black vote in a way no Democrat has done before.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
168

going bitchcakes

Sexist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
169

159: yes, I was more involved in the Dean campaign than in Obama's. But attending meetups & writing starry-eyed letters to random Iowans didn't do that much. There's some effect: if you're actively involved, you're bound to have some influence on your circle of friends & family too. But as far as actually mobilizing volunteers in a useful way--the Obama campaign is much better at it. Trainings, online databases for phone banking, trying to keep volunteers on-message, building *local* organizations in the early states so that when it's time to bring in the out-of-state people they're used in a useful way, etc.

Dean, I think, spent most of his money on ads, & lousy ads at that. Obama has better ads, but more importantly--while he's spent a lot on ads, he's also spent a lot hiring more paid organizers than most campaigns & on opening offices all over the place.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
170

hiring more paid organizers than most campaigns & on opening offices all over the place

Bingo. Everybody is going to be studying the hell out of this campaign for the next four years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
171

168: It's OK if its an homage to Phil Hartman ("IOKIIAHTPH," in future use).

In other news, Bill O'Reilly apparently said he wasn't sure yet if it was time to organize a "lynching party" over Michelle Obama's "proud of my country" comment. I have no words.

That's fine and good. It protects Obama, I think, because he can say, "He misspoke, she misspoke."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
172

Obama's pretty good, it seems to me, at deflecting attacks with a sort of "are you kidding me?" smile, instead of going bitchcakes.

Oh, I agree completely. But Megan seems to be ascribing success to the tactic and not to the man wielding it.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
173

But Megan seems to be ascribing success to the tactic and not to the man wielding it.

Megan needs to see the Chris Rock bit on Anita Hill and Denzel Washington.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
174

It's OK if its an homage to Phil Hartman ("IOKIIAHTPH," in future use).

"Bitchcakes" was Beth's coinage. Does credit for all things Newsradio devolve to Phil Hartman? Is this settled house policy?


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
175

172 - I do actually think that it is learnable technique. It works better if the user is charming, but I think the tactic by itself is powerful.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
176

Does credit for all things Newsradio devolve to Phil Hartman? Is this settled house policy?

We like to try not to speak non-ill of the non-dead.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
177

173 - No doubt. I'll look for that when I'm not at a work computer.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
178

I think the technique demonstrably useless in Presidential campaigns, because of the documented effect that your opinion of someone is still colored by information that you've learned be false. But Obama is the exception. The dude's Teflon.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
179

I do actually think that it is learnable technique. It works better if the user is charming, but I think the tactic by itself is powerful.

Can you draw a distinction between "the technique" and ineffectual whinging?


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
180

Can you draw a distinction between "the technique" and ineffectual whinging?

Let's not start talking about BPL's ex again.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
181

someone is still colored

Walt is using dog-whistle racism.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
182

"Bitchcakes" was Beth's coinage.

Fair point., but...

Does credit for all things Newsradio devolve to Phil Hartman?

No, but all references to NR are made because of the greatness of Phil Hartman. So "pale, friendless virgin" is still a tip of the hat to Phil, because without him, NR would be unremembered.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
183

The dude's Teflon.

I'm not convinced of this yet. What should have stuck to him, but hasn't?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
184

Finally someone noticed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
185

But Obama is the exception. The dude's Teflon.

Like Reagan! Charisma matters. I've argued the opposite with countless women, to no avail.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
186

What should have stuck to him, but hasn't?

A potbelly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
187

What should have stuck to him, but hasn't?

The charge that he's black.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
188

183 - The stuff about his childhood. I bet by November we're going to have the spectacle of voters telling TV cameras, "I know that he's a Muslim who went to a madrassa, but I just feel that he's the right person to lead America."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
189

Ineffectual whinging is in the delivery and could as well be present when you say "Am not either! OK?!?!"

Returning the attack dignifies the content. Calling out the person's behavior draws attention away from the content to the nature of the attack.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
190

pale, friendless virgin

Hey!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
191

183: Well, the plagiarism charge and the lack-of-substance charge, for two. Sillier things have stuck. (See Swift Boats and Internet Invention.)

It's too soon, of course, to put Obama up there with Reagan and Clinton as natural politicians. They have elections and play the Super Bowl for a reason.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
192

Obama has told his daughters that if they move into the White House they can have a dog. Do you not want those little girls to have a dog? You bastards.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
193

The strategy that has historically worked best is a) using proxies to address the attack in the media, and b) attacking on something else. In Presidental campaigns, it's repetition that dignifies the content. If the media decides to make something an issue, then it's an issue. The Swift Boat attack was the lamest piece of bullshit ever, but repetition made it stick.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
194

189: Agree, you need more than the right strategy, there needs to be a certain timing/naturalness/non-chalance/charm/who-knows-what to pull it off. I think this where Kerry got it wrong even when he got it right (like the stuck in Iraq "botched joke").


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
195

He's also a coke dealing communist, keep in mind. And the antichrist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
196

193 gets it right.

When Obama faces someone whom the media loves as much as him, the attacks will suddenly seem a lot less distasteful.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
197

I havent read the thread, but lawyers are trained to plagarise.

We hope to write nothing original.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
198

Is 192 true? that's cute.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
199

It's about matching your response to your personality, and you have a lot more wiggle room when you're perceived as charismatic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
200

198: I did see him quoted as saying that. But who wouldn't give those two a dog? Seriously.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
201

When Obama faces someone whom the media loves as much as him, the attacks will suddenly seem a lot less distasteful.

One of McCain's biggest strengths is the uncritical and near-worshipful treatment he gets from the press.

But Obama will be strong against him. Change vs. more of the same. That avenue wasn't as open to Hillary.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
202

197: indeed, you plagiarised LB's spelling.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
203

193: Repetition and repackaging sometimes. It is generally forgotten that the Swift Boaters made an unsuccessful attempt to get traction in May '04. It riled up the usual suspects but soon fell softly dead (seemingly). They later had a meeting to "get their stories straight" (per Knight-Ridder in one of the only true pieces of actual journalism in the whole affair) before the re-launch in August with the book (and Bob Novak's conflict of interest), and the coordinated lies. (And I do think that the big emphasis on his military record at the convention did in the end play into it a bit.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
204

The charge that he's black.

So far, Hillary and McCain have been using total falsehoods, rather than half-truths.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
205

On the lighter side of plagiarism, there was a chef here who recently got caught stealing blurb-o-licious copy for his website. I hoped that his stealing from sources such as Charlie Trotter and SF Chronicle critic Michael Bauer indicated a dedication to sourcing top-quality ingredients, but I'll never know, because the place folded shortly thereafter.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
206

Ah what's the difference between Steel-belted radials and Obama supporters? Steel belted radials don't sing when you put chains on 'em.


Posted by: JebStuart.com | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:15 PM
horizontal rule