Re: Earning The Clinton Reputation

1

Obama looks pretty hott in that turban!

/hopelessly biased


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:13 AM
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Barack Obama is . . . African-American??


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:14 AM
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This is nothing unusual.

This year is going to be horrible, with the McCain campaign appealing to fear and xenophobia for eight months nonstop. Can Unfogged be a refuge from links to anything election-related, please? We've all made up our minds about whether McCain would be a horrible president.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:19 AM
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Whatever, Shi'a. Normal politics. Either Obama can overcome such shots or he can't. Yours is strange position coming from someone who doesn't like pick-up games with a built-in everybody-gets-to-play governor.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:21 AM
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Can Unfogged be a refuge from links to anything election-related, please?

No.

And re. the post: bleah. I forget who said that the more they see of Clinton, the more they like her, but the more they see of her campaign, the more they hate it. I'm inclined to agree.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:25 AM
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Every time Clinton does something like this, it only makes Obama look better. He's so classy, in part because he responds to all criticism by showing how it's actually a good reason to vote for him. He's never ashamed of himself the way HRC so often seems to be. And in a campaign in which Obama has so much dirt he could throw back at her, the fact that he never does, not in that way, seems to be inspiring the press and voters to do that for themselves.

And JM's right. Hott.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:25 AM
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Normal politics my ass. I think it's a reprehensible tactic.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:25 AM
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Of course, I'm one of those decadent coastal liberals who couldn't help admiring some of the Taliban's clothes. I liked the draping. So.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:29 AM
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5: Ezra Klein, seconded by many people (inc. me).

7: I'm not sure the second sentence contradicts the first.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:29 AM
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Tim, your blase attitude--"Obama can overcome this or not"--ignores the fact that whether he can overcome it depends in part on whether it's politically risky for the other side or not. Which depends in turn on whether people say, correctly, "that's sleazy," or whether they instead adopt a pseudo-sophisticated air of ennui.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:30 AM
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Maybe they aren't contradictory, but I think this is an extraordinarily low blow. And normalizing it doesn't taste good to me.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:30 AM
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4: There's a difference, surely between saying 'Obama will have to overcome bullshit like this' and concluding 'Therefore, this is not bullshit.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:31 AM
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I never understand this, "Well, this is just normal politics, so get over it" argument. Look, we all know it's "normal." This is beside the point. It's also "normal" for women to be sexually harrassed in certain neighborhoods and workplaces. That doesn't mean you just shrug it off and accept it as the way it has to be.


Posted by: JH | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:31 AM
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Normal politics my ass. I think it's a reprehensible tactic.

I agree completely. Clinton is not doing herself any favors by this kind of trash.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:31 AM
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It's awful if it's as described -- is there a link to what was actually sent out, though? I hate condemning her based on Drudge's characterization of what she did.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:32 AM
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ignores the fact that whether he can overcome it depends in part on whether it's politically risky for the other side or not

I don't disagree.

Which depends in turn on whether people say, correctly, "that's sleazy," or whether they instead adopt a pseudo-sophisticated air of ennui.

I don't think it has to be one or the other. I understand at least one theme of Obama's to be that (a) such is normal politics, and (b) we should change that. I don't object to calling it sleazy; I object to calling to peculiarly sleazy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:33 AM
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My mother told me that she voted for Obama in part because he was able to neutralise all of Clinton's attacks without descending to nastiness. I'm not sure who else she could have voted for, but she did cite that as justification.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:33 AM
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Right, I will second LB on not being too hasty re: trusting Drudge.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:33 AM
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I hate condemning her based on Drudge's characterization of what she did.

Excellent point. The right wing crazies are not above the G. Gordon Liddy style smear of doing something bad and planting it on their enemy's doorstep.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:35 AM
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ThePlank suggests that Republican operatives are sending things out while pretending to be from the HRC campaign.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:36 AM
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Honestly, this pisses me off. All through the early primary season I kept hearing 'ooh, don't criticize HRC's policies, because she might be the nominee and then you might have talked someone out of voting for her.' But I'm sure pushing the pictures will never hurt anyone in the general, and isn't it great to see the Democrats leading the charge on race-baiting.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:36 AM
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Ogged's first link to Politico says that "The Clinton campaign did not deny the charge" (of sending the photo), "but did not comment further."

I suppose that could be an extremely bad way of saying "the Clinton campaign didn't call me back in time" but it doesn't really sound like it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:37 AM
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15: Yes, my understanding is that it was circulated internally among the staff on Clinton's campaign with complaints that if it were HRC it would be all over the press. Now this might have been a "will no one among you redress this woeful press imbalance" type of thing, and clearly it did ultimately escape, but I do not know that it was being "sent out" by the campaign. Of course the prudent and ecent thing would have been to just drop it. (And the Drudge caveat that it might all be BS applies as well.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:38 AM
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The Politico (first link) says,

The Clinton campaign did not deny the charge, but did not comment further.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:39 AM
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Can Unfogged be a refuge from links to anything election-related, please?

Seconded. I come here for the Oscar picks.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:41 AM
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23:
"Yes, my understanding is that it was circulated internally among the staff on Clinton's campaign with complaints that if it were HRC it would be all over the press. Now this might have been a "will no one among you redress this woeful press imbalance" type of thing, and clearly it did ultimately escape,"

The idea that Hillary would have taken more crap about a picture like this than Obama is transparent bullshit. Perhaps it's bullshit they believed but I doubt it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:42 AM
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I suppose that could be an extremely bad way of saying "the Clinton campaign didn't call me back in time" but it doesn't really sound like it.

No, that's not what that means.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:42 AM
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I'm one of those decadent coastal liberals who couldn't help admiring some of the Taliban's clothes.

And Osama has a mellow hippy stoner face. He looks like he should be bagging up lids and offering you sample tokes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:43 AM
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"Mad Dog Realism" R Tim.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:44 AM
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22, 23: If JP's right, I can see "circulated internally to bitch about perceived comparative ill-treatment of HRC, maybe someone sent it outside the campaign while bitching about the same stuff" could leave the HRC campaign unable to flatly deny the accusation, but not really have done anything wrong.

It just seems like such an unlikely tactic to break out now. It's not a big enough deal to have a hope of making a big difference quickly, so it just makes HRC look bad and sets up a Republican narrative in the general.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:44 AM
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He looks like he should be bagging up lids and offering you sample tokes.

IME guys dressed like that are more likely to be selling hash than grass.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:47 AM
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8: I've always liked their eyeliner. Perhaps we suffer from the same Orientalist fantasies. Now if Barry Hussein had the turban and the eyeliner? Well, scrape me off the floor. (That last sentence was almost much dirtier.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:47 AM
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30: sets up a Republican narrative in the general.

Yes, almost all of the Repub attacks in recent years have had their roots in something Dems started. I am sure the Repubs would generally get there on their own, but do we have to do their spade work for them?

The "plagiarism" BS in particular pisses me off, because I am not sure that it was one the Repubs would have necessarily gotten to on their own.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:48 AM
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32:

You've grown soft.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:48 AM
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When I was a bot there was no hash, sonny boy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:49 AM
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And it really might be as bad as it looks. I just find it weird that the Politico article is reacting to Drudge only -- if the photo were really being circulated by the HRC campaign as a slur, why aren't they sourcing it to someone other than Drudge who got it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:49 AM
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30: It just seems like such an unlikely tactic to break out now.

Funny, I thought the same thing about the attempt to charge Obama with "plagiarism."

If HRC's camp is behind this, it's true that it's hard to imagine what they could be thinking. Trying to make a big deal out of the common practice of doing photo-ops in local dress is idiotic on many levels. But it wouldn't be the first stupid or inexplicable thing they've done this campaign, and I think most signs point to the probability that they're not really thinking, they're panicking. Panicked campaigns tend to transition to monkey-flinging-feces mode.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:49 AM
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I can see "circulated internally to bitch about perceived comparative ill-treatment of HRC, maybe someone sent it outside the campaign while bitching about the same stuff" could leave the HRC campaign unable to flatly deny the accusation, but not really have done anything wrong.


"there are a lot of people who are concerned that Obama has Muslim ties. I am not saying that it is true, but, a lot of people are concerned that someone with close and secret Muslim extremist ties might become the President......I am not suggesting that he has them, of course."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:51 AM
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37: Yeah, but that wasn't likely or unlikely, the HRC campaign was right out in public talking about plagiarism. This is non-public.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:51 AM
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The other reason the Obama campaign has reacted this way: they have noticed that the "he's a Muslim" rumors increase sharply in states right before Democratic primaries & they hold Clinton supporters responsible.

To say nothing of Bill Shaheen, the Jesse Jackson stuff, Clinton touting Obama's supposed ties to the Weatherman etc. etc. ad infinitum. You have a situation where each incident reminds everyone of every previous incident & makes everyone more retroactively suspicious

If this made its way from a paid staffer to Drudge--& it really sounds like it--they should apologize profusely.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:52 AM
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38: Litotes was in the other thread, Will.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:53 AM
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When I was a bot there was no hash, sonny boy.

Bots don't need drugs, John. They just run until fail.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:53 AM
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36: because if they are doing it, they want to retain plausible deniability. There's a reason they're called whisper campaigns.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:54 AM
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The right has been trying out a number of smears on Obama, but they've been fairly careful to find the right sort of framing. There's a shit-ton of whispering going on---those craptacular forwarded emails about the hand not being over the heart or the madrassah business that will never ever die---and it seems to coalesce together in this Redstate broadside.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:54 AM
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What's aggravating is that this move comes after Clinton's purportedly soft-hearted concession speech at the end of the last debate. Primarily I just feel suckered for believing her when she says that she intends not to drag the party down with her if she doesn't win outright on March 4, i.e., if she loses but it's not a clean victory for Obama. She wants to play this dirty, fine, I guess. I just wish that she wouldn't signal that she's not.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:55 AM
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could leave the HRC campaign unable to flatly deny the accusation, but not really have done anything wrong.

Keep stretching.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:55 AM
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oudemia is going to be on my scrabble team.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:55 AM
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Whatever, Shi'a. Normal politics.

I don't think it's asking too much to expect that my party not engage in "Come on now, you're not going to vote for a darky, are you? "


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:56 AM
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45:

I just hate that those darn Texans have so much importance. We cant trust them to do the right thing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:56 AM
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Of course it was intentionally released. They're desperate, and have said publicly they intend to use harsher tactics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:57 AM
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43: Right, but it's got to get out somehow. I'm not seeing anyone but Drudge saying they got the picture at all, regardless of who they got it from.

There's a couple of levels of public: Hilary holds up the picture, and says something that can interpreted as calling Obama a Muslim -- absolutely her fault. A whole bunch of people get an email with the picture and text that can be interpreted as calling Obama a Muslim -- if it's from the HRC campaign, it's her fault, if it's not obviously from the HRC campaign but it makes sense as serving her electoral purposes, there's a very good chance it's her fault. Drudge, and no one else, claims that someone received the picture and doesn't quote any accompanying text, and there aren't widespread reports of having received the picture? I hate handing out blame based on Drudge alone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 8:59 AM
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Normal Republican politics, but I would hope not normal Democratic politics.

The possibility that it's a phony Drudge ratfuck should be seriously considered, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:00 AM
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Yeah, and it's especially reprehensible to be attacking Obama exactly in the vein of the racist insane email-forward speculations about him. Imagine if Obama's campaign was leaking pictures of Hillary that supported the misogynist craziness that's followed this whole campaign. If he for one second failed to treat her as anything less than a respected non-gendered adversary, it would be disgusting. (Even that "You're likable enough" crack came close.) But to validate insane racism and xenophobia on the level of the kind of shit everyone's crazy drunken uncles like to spread? Who the fuck do they think they are?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:00 AM
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||

For those of you who were playing with the no-knead bread recipe a while ago, let me just note that the CI variant here seems quite an improvement ...

->


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:01 AM
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I disagree that the picture doesn't hurt Obama. Not only is there the muslim angle, but he looks quite a bit younger than he does now, and he's looking down while being addressed by a much larger man; it makes him look like a religious novice, which ties in with the muslim thing, the madrassah/secret agent thing, and the inexperience thing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:02 AM
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54 might be old news.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:02 AM
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I don't think it's asking too much to expect that my party not engage in "Come on now, you're not going to vote for a darky, are you? "

Your party, not your politicians. The Clintons seem to me to be, on the whole, super sympathetic to civil rights and minority issues. But they are also either DLC or DLC-friendly, and the DLC is nee-Dixiecrat.

IIRC, this isn't the first time during the campaign that the HRC campaign has famously leaked to Drudge to get stuff into the wider media world. I seem to recall the blogosphere (or some part of it) bitching about this in the past.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:03 AM
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he looks quite a bit younger than he does now

It was taken in 2006, pretty recently. But I've also noticed Obama looking significantly grayer over the past year. I think he's grown his hair out a bit to show it?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:04 AM
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51: It makes me wonder about the mindset of a campaign that would even internally circulate a picture and whine that if their candidate was wearing a funny hat, it would surely be on the news.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:04 AM
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Mad dog realist or no, Tim hates Hillary worse than I do. Ha!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:04 AM
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I was kind of stunned last night following links into one of the rightblogs running this story -- I forget which one, it was one step less sleazy than L/G/F or Fr/ee Repu/blic. Normally the comments there are a cesspit, but on the "Obama in muslim garb [sic]" story, the attackers only half-heartedly gnawed at their red meat and a few people even said things to the effect of "this is bullshit, there's plenty of legitimate things to criticize Obama for, this isn't one of them."

So, uh, I think we've been using the term "teflon" wrong in politics for the last 20-odd years.


Posted by: d7c | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:05 AM
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59: Whiny, sure. They're in the process of losing. But if that's what happened, it's not reprehensible, just lame.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:06 AM
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59: I dunno. I bet a lot of campaigns are like this. You have a bunch of super-devoted volunteers and staffers who are being paid to think their candidate is the sun, moon, and stars. How do you let off steam? By mocking your opponent. I don't think it's reasonable, but I can see it happening, especially in an embittered campaign like Hillary's.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:06 AM
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Mad dog realist or no, Tim hates Hillary worse than I do. Ha!

Like her, do not like some of the people around her. I think I've said this pretty much from the beginning.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:07 AM
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Btw, the photo also just appeared not long ago in the National Examiner, some supermarket tabloid.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:07 AM
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Everyone talks to Drudge when they want to launch a story into the widest media world possible without sourcing. I'm surprised that there's this much debate about whether the Clinton campaign is responsible. Of course they would say so if they weren't!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:07 AM
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I'm surprised that there's this much debate about whether the Clinton campaign is responsible.

Yeah, weird.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:08 AM
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And I think the "hey, that's politics" angle is wrong, even on its own amoral realist grounds. Hillary got booed for "change you can Xerox," so people can speak up and make a difference in how sleazy a campaign can be before it alienates voters.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:09 AM
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(And I'm arguing about this because I don't trust Drudge even a little. But I'm certainly not committed to a belief that the HRC campaign didn't do it, just that I wouldn't condemn her on Drudge's work alone. If someone shows up who received the email, and it plausibly came from the HRC campaign, it's incredibly sleazy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:09 AM
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I cannot believe that we really have to address the "Obama is a Muslim secret agent!!1!" rumor, but I suppose dragging it out into the light of day couldn't hurt Obama too badly. Maybe Michelle Obama could deal with that one.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:10 AM
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The timing on this seems wrong. If this is the Clinton campaign's big move before next Tuesday, they struck too early and not hardly hard enough.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:10 AM
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I cannot believe that we really have to address the "Obama is a Muslim secret agent!!1!" rumor

Dude, a lot of people believe that one.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:11 AM
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68: You seem to be saying that you can't both say "hey, that's politics," and boo. I can't think why that's true. The Knicks were thugs, but the refs let them play that way. You don't need to allege something peculiarly untoward or a special kind of cheating; you can say (a) the Knicks are maximizing the talent they have, and (b) the league should stop that style of play.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:11 AM
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Since when is Drudge considered a reliable source?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:11 AM
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It also doesn't help the HRC campaign that Obama looks sort of awkward and white-boy in this outfit, while he looked pretty confident and natural in that cowboy hat. If you're looking for a pick that would make xenophobes' hair stand on end, you'd have to have a big line of dudes all wearing this same outfit, and Obama nearly indistinguishable among them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:12 AM
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I'm surprised that there's this much debate about whether the Clinton campaign is responsible. Of course they would say so if they weren't!

Yeah, this is something where I find media codewords baffling enough that the Politico story doesn't tell me much -- particularly, it doesn't tell me exactly what the HRC campaign didn't deny.

Everyone talks to Drudge when they want to launch a story into the widest media world possible without sourcing.

So, the thinking is that the HRC campaign planted it directly with Drudge only, and there wasn't a broad email? At that point, why wouldn't you think he'd just picked it up from the Enquirer?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:13 AM
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CBS:

Clinton's campaign manager Maggie Williams said, in a written statement, "Enough," adding that just because it's being circulated doesn't mean it's being done so in an underhanded way.

"If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely," Williams continued.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:14 AM
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If someone shows up who received the email

What do you mean? I think you're being too generous, LB. Look, the Politico's going to have reporters who are in regular contact with the Clinton campaign. The paper's going to be able to call someone on that side and say "You know why I'm calling" and the campaign's going to say "We have nothing on that" and that's how these things move. Not a chance is the paper calling Clinton and they're saying, "Oh, really? No, hadn't seen that, will you forward me the link? Let me see whether anyone around knows about that."

Apologies if I'm misstating your issue with this. Just saying, in this case, a nondenial probably isn't attributable to process.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:14 AM
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63: I'm only arguing that it's lame, not reprehensible. She's had very good media coverage, by and large.

66: I also find it implausible that the Obama campaign would respond as harshly as they did based on a Drudge rumor.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:15 AM
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It makes me wonder about the mindset of a campaign that would even internally circulate a picture and whine that if their candidate was wearing a funny hat, it would surely be on the news.

In the heat of battle highly competitive people say all kinds of harsh things in internal communications, often in the form of "jokes". If there was no attempt to get the picture out there in public, it's not a very serious case. I'm sure that Obama's people are talking nasty about Hillary too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:15 AM
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72.---I guess so. When the rumor first surfaced, I thought it was a triple-sow-cow inverted ironic twist à l'apostropher. Alas.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:15 AM
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77 was me.

I think we can safely call that a non-denial?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:15 AM
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77: Oh how cute.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:17 AM
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Since when is Drudge considered a reliable source?

What does this mean? He isn't a reliable source. He isn't because he'll pass along rumors and reports without sourcing. But photographs are reliable enough (well not really but anyway) and he's a very outlet for relaying photographs.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:17 AM
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77: That seems to settle it. But I really wish they'd quoted whatever part of the statement that directly addressed what the campaign actually did; that's a really annoying choice of bits to paraphrase versus quote.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:17 AM
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Not only is it a non-denial, but it makes the picture part of a clear strategy to paint Obama as weak and whiny and divisive; to make him talk about it, while they say, "what? what's wrong with native Somali dress?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:17 AM
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Well, scrape me off the floor. (That last sentence was almost much dirtier.)

Whoa, cleanup aisle oudemia!


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:18 AM
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It's clever, in the defense-in-the-principal's office sense. 'The only reason you think calling someone a cocksucker is an insult is that you hate gay people.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:19 AM
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Williams' complete statement.

Enough.

If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.

We will not be distracted.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:19 AM
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I suppose this means that Hillary has given up on the African-American vote.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:20 AM
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89

Shame on Clinton.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:21 AM
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So far ogged's 24 was pwnt by 22, and his 89 was pwnt by 77.

You've gotten soft, ogged. What was it Leo Durocher said to scandalize the old ladies, about that guy who stopped being able to hit once he got married?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:22 AM
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Ned, your reading skills are as sharp as ever. 89 was the complete statement, in response to LB's complaint of selective quotation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:24 AM
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I suspect that Ogged knows whether Obama is a secret al Qaeda agent or not, but that doesn't mean that he'll necessarily tell us everything he knows. He has his instructions, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:24 AM
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Like her, do not like some of the people around her.

At some point it's time to acknowledge that she surrounds herself with shitty people because she is in fact a shitty person herself.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:25 AM
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I completely agree that Obama will just have to overcome this, which I think he's doing. I also completely agree that we don't just shrug and say of the campaign doing it, "Well, that's normal". E.g., Hillary is showing you just exactly how she'll run the executive branch, and it turns my stomach.

Where this gets interesting is that the "fight back, fight dirty, fight hard" progressives now have to make an interesting choice, the people who've been arguing for a left-wing Karl Rove. Clinton's shown you that she's exactly what you allegedly want in that regard. The question is whether you trust her to fight hard and dirty for the end goals that you believe in, whatever those might be. My view is that people who are primarily driven by the desire to achieve power for themselves are not particularly good stewards for a program of principled social change. In the end, even the Bushies have done more to maximize the power of the executive and to try and lock in their own party's political advantages than they have to accomplish conservative social change.

If you favor an "any means to the end" candidate, you tend to get a candidate who never gets to the "ends" part, who sticks largely with the means.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:25 AM
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77: bwahahaha.

I'm feeling a touch of Obamamania.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:26 AM
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94: He has made us all a part of his Sleeper Cell, and Jackmormon is their Mata Hari.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:26 AM
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How the hell does a campaign rebut the argument that the candidate is a closet-Islamic-secret agent? It's so ridiculous! It's wierd hind-brain stuff! The only rebuttal I can think of would involve screen-captures and clown music.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:28 AM
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How the hell does a campaign rebut the argument that the candidate is a closet-Islamic-secret agent? It's so ridiculous! It's wierd hind-brain stuff!

The only way is with ridicule.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:29 AM
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Where this gets interesting is that the "fight back, fight dirty, fight hard" progressives now have to make an interesting choice, the people who've been arguing for a left-wing Karl Rove.

We really didn't mean using Republican smears against Democrats. But the one thing I do like about Hillary, almost the only thing, is that I think she's combative enough.

Everything else aside, sliming one of your own core constituencies like this has a whiff of desperation to it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:30 AM
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But I *would* join his sleeper cell, IYKWIM---AITYD.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:30 AM
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I believe that there's a Jackmormon alert at all Obama rallies. There's a reason why we just had this flap about inadequate security. One inappropriate smooch and Obama's career is over. He doesn't need a Gennifer eruption.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:35 AM
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There is NO QUESTION that Obama is a radical left wing communist Muslim!

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID=656B62BA-7A61-4DF8-BDF7-B3937EFDECB4

http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID=1F297C14-C64D-41B1-AEBB-E0325C823CD8

He is related to radical Communist Muslim Kenyan revolutionary Raila Odinga, whose followers are currently burning Christian babies!

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/01/obama-islam-and.html

WAKE UP, AMERICA! WAKE UP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

http://www.freedomsenemies.com/_more/obama.htm

Many of his key staff are Nation of Islam Muslims!

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2008/01/obamas_nation_o.html


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:37 AM
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His Secret Service people are SO HUMORLESS!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:38 AM
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John McCain suffered brainwashing at the hands of the Viet Cong and is secretly working to turn America communist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:39 AM
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104.---Have you heard that Obama may also be the Anti-Christ?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:39 AM
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But the one thing I do like about Hillary, almost the only thing, is that I think she's combative enough.

Combative enough to do what? To bring down the rest of the party around her? I don't want a fighter who's going to fight only for themselves; I want a fighter who's going to fight to make the country and the world a better place - to end the wars, to end torture, to pass significant climate change legislation, to curb executive overreach, to turn America away from imperialism and militarism. Clinton doesn't care about any of that, any more than her husband cared about strengthening the party or the liberal cause when he was in office; they're only as "combative" as they need to be to further their political careers. And to the extent that they think their interests diverge with the interests of liberalism and the interests of the Democratic Party, that "combativeness" translates into ratfucking.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:40 AM
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106: Just keep him away from Jessica Fletcher.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:40 AM
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No, Oudemia, it's cool. Frank Sinatra gave the programming a little chin music back in the day, and besides, all that reprogramming stuff was overstated anyway. Let's get back to worrying about the bigger threat, of President Hussein Osama's turbanocracy.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:42 AM
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105: JM / Gennifer, if I were them I'd be laughing constantly. But you know, guys like me never get the plum jobs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:45 AM
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My view is that people who are primarily driven by the desire to achieve power for themselves are not particularly good stewards for a program of principled social change.

I'd be curious to know who Timothy holds up as an example of a president who wasn't primarily motivated by the desire to achieve power.

The US is a better country when it incentivizes power-seeking politicians to behave decently. It speaks well of the Democrats that Hillary's past appeals to race have fallen flat, but I'm not sure I'm all that troubled by Hillary's attempts to use them.

SCMTim's 73 sums this up to my satisfaction.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:46 AM
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Neither Kerry nor Gore knew how to deal with the Republican slime machine. They ran horrible campaigns. I think that Hillary does. She has multiple other flaws, both as a candidate and in policy matters.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:47 AM
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The US is a better country when it incentivizes power-seeking politicians to behave decently. It speaks well of the Democrats that Hillary's past appeals to race have fallen flat, but I'm not sure I'm all that troubled by Hillary's attempts to use them.

Maybe our power-seeking politicians would be better incentivized to behave decently if more people were pissed off by their grotesque race-baiting.

I'm putting most of the reluctance to denounce Clinton here down to a desire to preserve some enthusiasm for a possible Clinton run in the general. If McCain had pulled this exact same stunt, everyone here would be flatly, and correctly, calling him a racist.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:53 AM
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I'm not sure I'm all that troubled by Hillary's attempts to use them.

Fuckin' what?!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:53 AM
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I don't want the moral culpability of linking her, but Michelle Malkin has a sort of interesting compilation of photos re: this flap up on her page.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:54 AM
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Maybe our power-seeking politicians would be better incentivized to behave decently if more people were pissed off by their grotesque race-baiting.

I'm not sure if you think you're contradicting me, but this is exactly the point I was making.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:56 AM
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re: 117

You said you weren't bothered by it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:58 AM
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89. You'll note she didn't admit to circulating it; she just said the Obama campaign was being upset over nothing. As LB said, this is quite a contrast to, for instance, the plagirisim charge. I'm dubious that this was a smear the campaign cooked up. Hopefully we'll get some more information, but right now it looks to me like a random staffer may have sent it to Drudge.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 9:59 AM
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As always, my concern here is mostly to keep the Obama people and the Clinton people fro going too ballistic. Whatever can make this incident be forgotten a month from now is best. I'm completely innocent of ever having liked Hillary at all, and I support Obama, but let's keep the bloodletting down.

Maybe Clinton really has given up and is just giving Obama a chance to sharpen his response skills.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:03 AM
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Neither Kerry nor Gore knew how to deal with the Republican slime machine. They ran horrible campaigns. I think that Hillary does.

Kerry and Gore were largely hurt by their inability to perform in front of a camera. Hillary Clinton has a very similar problem; I honestly don't know where she personally got the reputation for taking on the Republican machine, except through osmosis from her husband - it's not like Rick Lazio was some tough GOP warhorse. Telegeneity wins over the public and the press, and that has more to do with "dealing with the Republican slime machine" than anything else. Obama manages to deflect attacks without muddying himself in the process, for instance, but that's a tactic that depends entirely on his performance skills in front of an audience. So I favor Obama over Clinton when it comes to that, too.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:05 AM
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As always, my concern here is mostly to keep the Obama people and the Clinton people fro going too ballistic.

We're working at cross-purposes here again, since from the outset of this primary season I've thought the best possible scenario would involve the premature end of both Clintons' political careers.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:09 AM
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Maybe Clinton really has given up and is just giving Obama a chance to sharpen his response skills.

ha! I was wondering, though. "Obama is a muslim" is going to be McCain's underground campaign and his only possible hope of winning. And it's an attack Obama hasn't really had to face it yet.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:10 AM
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Random staffer? Shouldn't 'don't forward shit to Drudge unless you mean it' be tattooed on someone's forehead by now?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:12 AM
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You said you weren't bothered by it.

Not in the sense that I think it's particularly shocking or anything. In a democracy, it's pretty inevitable that political candidates are going to reflect, in a general sort of way, the level of decency in their society. Hillary is running for presidency of the United States, and for the nomination of the Democratic Party.

I think there's a very good chance that the Democratic Party has moved beyond this sort of appeal. I'm hopeful that the United States has.

As stras suggests, it's a citizen's responsibility to denounce this sort of behavior, and I do. I don't think that's inconsistent with noticing that this is a presidential election taking place in a deeply racist country.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:15 AM
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Isn't "rogue staffer just recently fired" the well-established alibi for campaign shenanigans by now?

The lines being taken right now are more or less exactly the lines I expect Obama and McCain to take on this in the general: Obama reacts with indignation, Clinton plays dumb. "You're offended we called you a muslim? Well, what's so offensive about looking muslim?" My real worry is that there's no really effective counter to an attack this base.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:18 AM
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As stras suggests, it's a citizen's responsibility to denounce this sort of behavior, and I do. I don't think that's inconsistent with noticing that this is a presidential election taking place in a deeply racist country.

Question: if you repeatedly make racist appeals in an attempt to win over racists in a racist country, does that make you... racist? Not racist? Our country's First Black President™?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:22 AM
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123: yeah, I want to see Obama weather this. Problem is it probably won't have nearly as much impact in a Democratic primary as in a national election.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:23 AM
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Question: if you repeatedly make racist appeals in an attempt to win over racists in a racist country, does that make you... racist?

Racist. Sure. Yes. Absolutely.

I guess the problem that I'm having is that I don't think it would be a particularly shocking or unusual thing to elect a racist president.

I'll make an even more extreme statement: Black voters have sometimes been wise to overwhelmingly support racists for political office.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:26 AM
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I just wish all concerned could re-focus on policy and making America a more hopeful place, instead the endless worrying on the scandals, sleaze, and internecine games.

America can be better than this. We have problems, and a campaign is the time to find consensus on solutions.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:30 AM
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Why does Bill Clinton have a good reputation for taking on the Republican slime machine? He helped to make it vastly more powerful. On his watch, it became a dominant force in public life, making the Reagan years look like a fount of decency and restraint by comparison. If Bill Clinton was an effective fighter against Republican slimery, I have a hard time counterfactually imagining the alternative with an ineffective Democrat in office during the same time period.

On the proposition that indecently power-hungry politicians are only incentivized to decency by public pressure, notice the brain-boggling paradox of this argument. That pressure only exists if we maintain some kind of moral objection to indecent power-hunger. If you say, "Oh, well, that's just politics, I expect to see my candidate fightin' dirty and being combative", then there isn't any political pressure on power-hunger, there isn't any incentive to restraint. Now you could say, "Well, I'm going to pretend to have a moral objection in order to construct the proper incentive, but really I'm too realistic to believe in any such thing". I tend to think that approach is kind of the problem rather than the solution. It's like "strategic essentialism": it's ultimately the conceit of someone who thinks they're really with the elite, and everyone who believes in what they're saying about morality and ethics is just one of the dumb proles.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:31 AM
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My real worry is that there's no really effective counter to an attack this base.

If someone is not voting for Obama because he's a secret Muslim agent, I'm not sure that person can be reached. You just have to win the election without him or her.

But the real problem is that Obama has a cult following. It really really concerns me.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:31 AM
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Why does Bill Clinton have a good reputation for taking on the Republican slime machine?

Yeah, I think this is sort of the political version of the Republican's 9/11 rhetoric. Part of you wants to say, "If you're such a great leader, how did all this shit go down on your watch?" but they keep trumpeting their experience of swimming in shit and failure as sentimental reasons for supporting them. I think the Clintons have gotten a lot done by making America feel sorry for them, arguing that they deserve yet another chance to succeed in creating lasting social and political change. But I think we've gotten to the point where Americans are way too busy licking our own wounds to feel bad for Hillary that she's never gotten to be president (except PGD, who feels bad for her). Like, actually, the fact that the Clintons failed to inspire a legacy of progressivism is a huge fucking failure that has ruined millions of lives. And I'm supposed to feel bad for them?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:37 AM
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131:Tim's right, we need to stop saying bad things about Republicans. We must seek comity, and ways to get along and bridge our difference. You will not see Obama using the politics of personal destruction during the election. Obama seeks an America where all speak with a single voice...wait, that was Mussolini last night in the book.

Can we talk about the various mortgage plans? Which plan is adopted could determine the future of America for decades. I'm tired of the hate and dissension.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:37 AM
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If someone is not voting for Obama because he's a secret Muslim agent, I'm not sure that person can be reached.

I'm not sure this is true. Word during the Illinois race was that rural whites who had been voting Republican came to like Obama, and I think they're willing to vote for a black guy, but a muslim is too much.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:38 AM
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Not that I lay the blame for Bush at the Clinton doorstep entirely, but there's never going to be the kind of ongoing WJC worship among Democrats, and the desire to follow in his footsteps that Reagan inspires in Republicans. And that's partly because you get the sense that WJC expects this kind of legacy in his name. He's really proud of his years in the White House, and compared to Bush, he was a truly amazing president. But he was hamstrung at every turn, and then has gone on to complain loudly about it at every opportunity.

I really loved My Life, and thought it was a lovely book, but the bitching about Republicans being unfair got really old. Yes, they're unfair and horrible, which is why you don't give them endless exposed flesh to sink their teeth into.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:41 AM
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Like, actually, the fact that the Clintons failed to inspire a legacy of progressivism is a huge fucking failure that has ruined millions of lives.

That's an awful lot to lay at the Clintons' doorstep. In fact, Bill departed office after weathering Republican and media collusion in the most determined slime campaign imaginable, and he nonetheless left Gore in an excellent position to be his successor.

I don't blame Gore's failure primarily on Gore - there were a lot of powerful forces working against him. But it seems highly counter-intuitive to blame Gore's failure on the Clintons.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:44 AM
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137 was me.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:44 AM
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137 was also before reading 136.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:45 AM
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If someone is not voting for Obama because he's a secret Muslim agent, I'm not sure that person can be reached.

I think this is a great point. Does Obama's response need to be anything beyond 'Oh, yeah, that's when I participated in a traditional ceremony that celebrates xxx. That picture's been out there for some time.' and trust that there are enough voters that will support him. Otherwise, you're always on your heels, not an effective way to campaign.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:46 AM
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Ok, fine I'll go to the econblogs for substantive discussion.

What we gonna have here, 500 comments on how bad a person HRC is?

But this primary campaign is about policy differences, not personal character, preferences about style, charisma, emotion, and eyes whirling either clockwise or counterclockwise?

But wait, whether the picture was accidentally leaked or not is a question about policy and programs, beacuse what kind of policy could you expect from a sleazoid like this?

What-the-fuck-ever.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:46 AM
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I think they're willing to vote for a black guy, but a muslim is too much.

It's like some of the more earnest commenters on apostropher's thread who say, "Jeez, I really like this fella, but if he's the Anti-Christ, I guess I'm just falling for his charm."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:48 AM
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I think they're willing to vote for a black guy, but a muslim is too much.

Don't know whether the Obama photos are effective, but they belong to a class of political attacks aimed specifically at nitwit extremists, and such attacks have a history of efficacy.

Think Swiftboats.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:49 AM
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140: This, of course, is more-or-less how Kerry responded to the Swiftboaters. I don't know what the correct response is, but you can almost guarantee that any response that fails will be, post hoc, second-guessed as an extremely foolish strategy.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:51 AM
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wait, that was Mussolini last night in the book . . . Ok, fine I'll go to the econblogs for substantive discussion.

HAHAHAHA


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:53 AM
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140: I don't even think he is participating in any ceremony. He is in his suburban dad weekend loungewear -- polo and khakis -- and the guy is putting the traditional costume on top.

Sort of like the pictures of me in old-timey clothes when I was a kid that look like fake daguerrotypes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:53 AM
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Josh Marshall has an update:

"We have over 700 people on staff. I don't know if someone on our staff sent it out or not," Elleithee said. "If someone on our staff makes the point that we are treated differently by the press than Sen. Obama, we agree with that sentiment. We don't think there's anything wrong with this photo. Sen. Clinton has herself, while traveling abroad, dressed in traditional, local dress. And there's nothing divisive about that."
The Clinton campaign should STFU until they get their message straight.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 10:59 AM
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Where's the evidence that the SwiftBoat attacks brought Kerry down?

Is the world in which 2% of Ohioans vote the other way and Kerry wins the election visibly different from the world we actually had in 2004? With the naked eye?


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:00 AM
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145:Deliberately and maliciously misquoted again. You left out the strike tabs. I do not make a habit of lying about what other people say. We should be careful about means in our political discourse, because lowering our standards blah blah blah blah.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:03 AM
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147.---Completely incoherent. They didn't expect to get called on this, obviously.

First! Email photo to Drudge.

Second! Deny it's an attack.

Third! Support for Obama disintegrates and we WIN! YAY!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:07 AM
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Or it was a real lower level fuckup -- someone forwarded an internal email to Drudge without authorization, and they're trying to cover.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:10 AM
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137: It wasn't Republican and media collusion that made Clinton govern as a moderate conservative who prioritized balanced budgets, corporatized trade agreements and deregulation over health care and civil liberties. And it wasn't the GOP and the media that made Clinton sign DOMA, or gut habeas at the federal level, or ratchet up mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession, or pass "three strikes and you're out" legislation, or cut nine million women and children from the welfare rolls, or send prisoners abroad to get tortured through the CIA.

The reason Bill Clinton didn't leave a liberal legacy is because he wasn't a liberal. He came into office as part of a movement that saw American liberalism's greatest accomplishments as political weaknesses and ideological embarrassments, and he set out to take them apart bit by bit - to make the Democratic Party tough on crime, tough on unions, tough on poor people and blacks and immigrants. And for all that selling out, the Democratic Party lost both houses of Congress and the White House to a GOP as radical and transformative as Clinton's democrats were conservative. That's Bill Clinton, political genius.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:10 AM
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150: I agree with JM entirely. They didn't expect this to go over as poorly as it did (as people mentioned above, the Drudge spin was not what the HRC campaign might have hoped) so now we get non-denial denial 2.0b.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:11 AM
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Or it was a real lower level fuckup -- someone forwarded an internal email to Drudge without authorization, and they're trying to cover.

Thereby making it a high-level fuckup. We'll see how broadly it circulates, but it's not reflecting well on the Clinton campaign at the moment, and whining about unfair press coverage in a non-denial denial doesn't help.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:14 AM
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Argh. This one could be a lie -- people do lie -- but it's not a non-denial denial. Someone at the top levels of the campaign responding to inquiries about this by saying I don't know of anyone sending it out, but I can't say that none of our 700 staffers did is denying that the campaign authorized the sending of the email. I could be convinced that it was a lie, but we're really out of non-denial denial world here, aren't we?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:14 AM
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Why does Bill Clinton have a good reputation for taking on the Republican slime machine? He helped to make it vastly more powerful

How did he help it?

the fact that the Clintons failed to inspire a legacy of progressivism is a huge fucking failure that has ruined millions of lives. And I'm supposed to feel bad for them?

It takes a village, Bear.

All the progressives spend too much time on blogs.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:16 AM
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155.---That would make more sense, LB, if the first response hadn't been the too-cute-by-half "What's wrong with Somali native garb, huh? huh?"


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:18 AM
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155: No. Though it might seem to confirm your preferred theory, which you are floating in a bleg based on no evidence, if the campaign in fact did not send the email, they would have told the Politico. The fact that they're willing to address your what-if? theory with a who-knows? says nothing to that first question and answer.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:19 AM
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The Clinton campaign is trolling LB.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:23 AM
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Has anyone asked Williams what the point of sending the photos around was, if they're as innocuous as she says?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:24 AM
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158: Look, I'm not saying it's impossible that the spokesperson lied, people do. But if the campaign authorized the sending of the email, and a spokesperson is responding by inquiries by saying she knows nothing about it, she's lying. If they sent it on purpose, that's not a non-denial denial, it's a lie (either by her, or by whoever made sure she was insulated from the authorized sending of the email and then let her answer questions about it).

It's still perfectly possible that the email was intentionally sent to Drudge by the campaign and they're lying, but you can't argue any more that the failure to deny is an admission.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:27 AM
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Someone at the top levels of the campaign responding to inquiries about this by saying I don't know of anyone sending it out, but I can't say that none of our 700 staffers did is denying that the campaign authorized the sending of the email.

I don't think non-denial denial is the only bag of tricks available. Once upon a time, in the ancient mists of yesterday, people would segregate information and decisions so that there would be at least one set of clean hands that could deny any and all knowledge.

Hell, maybe the GWB campaign really didn't know anything about and didn't have anything to do with the "illegitimate black baby" whisper campaign in SC in 2000. Their denials could have been true. But I doubt it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:27 AM
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So LizardBreath is Tom Maguire. I had no idea.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:28 AM
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If they sent it on purpose, that's not a non-denial denial, it's a lie (either by her, or by whoever made sure she was insulated from the authorized sending of the email and then let her answer questions about it).

Isn't the second part of that paranthetical common spokesbot practice, and not even really thought of as a "lie" in DC?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:29 AM
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161: It's not a lie. To the Politico the Clinton campaign said officially nothing at all when asked the question (which is as good as an admission to most readers). Then in other statements they said that they have 700 people on staff and that they personally don't have any problems with the photos allegedly floated by the Clinton campaign, which may give clues that there is a real and grace-saving answer that they for their own bizarre reasons refuse to give (that the Clinton campaign did not circulate those photos) or could be further dodges on the matter.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:31 AM
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But if the campaign authorized the sending of the email, and a spokesperson is responding by inquiries by saying she knows nothing about it, she's lying.

She's not saying that. The Politico reports that the Clinton campaign would neither confirm nor deny. They're pleading the Fifth.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:33 AM
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Oops, autopwned.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:34 AM
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Mo Ellithee (who's apparently a man, I got the gender wrong), is making statements about this on behalf of the Clinton campaign and denying knowledge of the sending of the email, while admitting that out of 700 people, someone might have sent it. That's a denial.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:35 AM
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The email was sent to Drudge so it could spend more time with its family.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:39 AM
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Well, stras, I suppose we've hashed this one out, and you already know my objections to your theory here. But I will say this:

The reason Bill Clinton didn't leave a liberal legacy is because he wasn't a liberal.

I think that's substantially correct. My 137 - which I somehow failed to sign three times - was really intended as an explanation of why Bill's centrist legacy failed to catch on. I didn't properly make that distinction.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:44 AM
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That's a denial.

As I recall, Ari Fleisher and Scott Whatever also issued denials, and sometimes it turned out that they just had not been informed, so not a lie.

I think people are overexcited on this point, in any case. Either you believe the HRC campaign would do something like, or could have done something like this, or would never do something like this. I don't think any statement by a spokesperson helps us choose among those possibilities, particularly.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:44 AM
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I think we can ask ourselves one easy question: Who would you trust more, HRC or Drudge? That's simple. Now, as to the denial, couldn't it simply be read as saying, "Well, I don't know that anyone sent it, it wasn't authorized that anyone send it, but someone could have sent it on their own. (subtext being: I sure as shit hope no one sent it, but if I deny it outright and it turns out someone did, then we look like lying fuckers.) I'd have to call that a reasonable attitude.


Posted by: The Critic | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:51 AM
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"As I recall, Ari Fleisher and Scott Whatever also issued denials, and sometimes it turned out that they just had not been informed, so not a lie."

Yes, Williams' response DOES remind me of theirs.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:54 AM
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Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

GIVE ME A BREAK.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:55 AM
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I think people are overexcited on this point, in any case. Either you believe the HRC campaign would do something like, or could have done something like this, or would never do something like this.

Well, I think whether or not they actually did this would be useful evidence in reaching a conclusion.

But in the end, yeah, who cares whether it was authorized or not? If it came from a staffer who was acting alone, then the media still has an obligation to grill the campaign about it, and the campaign is still obligated to repudiate it, with an explanation of why it's unacceptable.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:56 AM
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I think we can ask ourselves one easy question: Who would you trust more, HRC or Drudge?

There are easier questions than that available: "What is the fastest land animal?"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:56 AM
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I should read the whole thread first, but any thoughts on whether putting out this kind of stupid BS now actually helps to defuse its potential usefulness come the general? Not saying this is anyone's intent, but it seems to me that it could be useful to Obama to have all the "best" smears thrown at him now by HRC, who the right so violently hates, especially now when it looks so pathetically desperate. Should McCain attempt anything similar down the line, it will already be pre-imbued with the taint of desperation and sleaze. If every handful of mud can be shaken off with a resigned sigh, "Man, this is just what Clinton tried to do,' well, it seems like that could work out ok.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 11:58 AM
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172: simple, yet irrelevant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:00 PM
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These guy are real terrorists.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:02 PM
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As I recall, Ari Fleisher and Scott Whatever also issued denials, and sometimes it turned out that they just had not been informed, so not a lie.

It would be great if, after the first instance of something like that happening, reporters appended to every attribution to a press sec'y or spokesbot the note that, since evidently no one takes any particular care to inform them of what's going on, attaching any credence to what they say is risky behavior.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:03 PM
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176: Given your pseud, I expected you to propose: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:03 PM
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178: I don't think so, as this variety of smear tends to work by repetition.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:04 PM
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178: I don't think so, as this variety of smear tends to work by repetition.

Disagree. I think there's something to what Di suggests. Sometimes repetition matters, and sometimes people get inoculated. And I think those are the sort of problems campaigns have to learn to solve.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:06 PM
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151

"Or it was a real lower level fuckup -- someone forwarded an internal email to Drudge without authorization, and they're trying to cover. "

In the link Drudge doesn't say the Clinton campaign sent it to him, Drudge says he "obtained" a copy. So it could have been sent to him by a Obama supporter within the Clinton campaign.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:07 PM
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176. the cheetah!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:08 PM
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156: Let's start with Monica Lewinsky. That wasn't real helpful.

But it's kind of after the fact. The key thing to focus on is Gingrich and the "Contract with America". You have to look at that and ask how Clinton's first term fed into that.

A large part of it, in my view, was that he was always totally poll-driven in his public persona. That's the charisma, but it's also the Slick Willy. His people told him what people wanted to hear, he said it. That included talking wonkery with wonks. But he didn't really have any driving agenda of things he wanted to accomplish. Clinton took the position that government could do good things, but he didn't have strong ideas about the good things it ought to do. The one major thing he tried to punch through early was health care reform, which he subcontracted to Hillary. Who screwed up due largely to tactical and strategic ineptitude. Because Clinton didn't really stand for much besides Bill Clinton, he was a big target. When the targeting got to be manifestly unfair, and when the "Contract with America" was clearly revealed as being just as insincere and calculated, Clinton got some traction back. But standing up for Clinton was always a matter of standing up for something you hoped he do or believe or think, or because he was a bulwark against far worse from the right, not necessarily because he'd made some kind of concrete political achievement that it was necessary to defend. There were a lot of good smaller things that I think came from his staffers--his Administration was the most stellar on questions of transparency and disclosure in the modern history of the United States--but other areas where not much of anything was going on for eight years. Which is still better than active malevolence in those same areas for the last eight years, but in many ways, Clinton's meandering focus on his personal power was the opening the right had been seeking. I wouldn't even call him a principled or committed centrist, just a centrist-of-convenience.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:23 PM
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186: I think that's the strongest form of the case against Clinton, but I'm not sure it's the fairest. That may be a function of our different politics.

Clinton came in with a laundry list of things that he wanted to accomplish. (Changing the rules on gay people in the military springs to mind, as does his Cabinet that looks like America.) He pulled back because he thought he had to. The extent to which he pulled back because he was wrong about the need, or the extent which the need existed because of his own weaknesses as politician, are constantly debated.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:33 PM
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186 and 187 approach comity. Anyway, I mostly agree with 186 and entirely agree with 187.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:39 PM
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I dunno. Maybe my WJC revisionist thinking of late is inspired by having thought he was such a brilliant political mind, and now watching Obama and thinking, Jesus fuck, WJC is pwned all over. Obama's far better at creating consensus without losing sight of his own agenda, far better at being slime-proof, far better (hopefully) of not finding himself in shady deals and stupid affairs. I was impressed by WJC, very much so, but I think we're only now coming to terms with how much he compromised and how little he accomplished, nevertheless. Compromise and centrism, apparently, has very little to do with across-the-aisle success. Conservatives loathed him for it and demonized him to the point of madness, but in the long run, they've cut their own legs out from under themselves.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:40 PM
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You're doing that thing with your url again, Tim.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:40 PM
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Maybe my WJC revisionist thinking of late is inspired by having thought he was such a brilliant political mind, and now watching Obama and thinking, Jesus fuck, WJC is pwned all over.

Clinton didn't come in on the heels of an Administration that was anything like as disastrous as the one Obama and HRC are running against.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:43 PM
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Tim, Ben has lost his mind to your demented form of lust.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:44 PM
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At least, the story WJC tells in My Life is of a presidency so constantly beset by trumped-up scandal and by crises all over the world that it took his superhuman abilities just to staunch the flow of blood. There was very little energy left for actual, like, reform. I sincerely hope Obama does not get stuck playing this role as president.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:44 PM
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193: Help us keep JM away from Obama, then.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:47 PM
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I'm off to go teach, but I highly recommend watching some of Obama's Senate-floor stuff at his senatorial website, especially those of you who fear that he's all fancy rhetoric and throws no real elbows. He's serious, often to the point of being a little boring, but he argues brilliantly and in a wonderfully inclusive way. That is, he talks like a really good attorney who makes his point sound reasonable and feasible.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:49 PM
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Maybe my WJC revisionist thinking of late is inspired by having thought he was such a brilliant political mind, and now watching Obama and thinking, Jesus fuck, WJC is pwned all over.

What Tim said in 191. WJC defeated a Republican incumbent whose party had already perfected the art of the smear and whose war was entirely successful. That's not a small political accomplishment.

With luck, Obama won't be confronted with the dire political climate the WJC was. Certainly Obama has staked out a political position to the left of Bill's.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:55 PM
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The URL thing is weird...the personal-info remembering checkbox appears to have Alzheimer's when it comes to my URL.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 12:56 PM
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195: I've heard it said, but forget where, that the idea that Obama has always been a brilliant public speaker fails to take into account his history of giving boring wonky speeches until he realized they weren't working.

Clinton polled a lot and based his actions on polls. This doesn't make him different than other successful politicians. He is different to the extent that he was successfully smeared as a guy who couldn't take a shit without polling about his brand of toilet paper.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:01 PM
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The good news is that, if they can't get this off the ground now, it'll be that much harder to whip it up in November.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:07 PM
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193: it took his superhuman abilities just to staunch the flow of blood.

mainly from cuts he inflicted (or allowed to be inflicted) on himself by not letting Congress and the Supremes know ahead of time that he was NOT going to cooperate with any civil suits against him while in office.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:10 PM
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Certainly Obama has staked out a political position to the left of Bill's.

Obama's position is helped by Hillary, who's at the same place but even farther to the left on healthcare, the highest-profile of domestic issues, and Edwards candidacy, which was to the left of both of them. Bill, by contrast, had the most liberal economic and social policy views among the serious candidates of '92. I'm not really expert enough to say if that's because the Democratic party was further to the right back then, or if the more serious liberal candidates were just unwilling to run against the popular President. Anyway, having his own party run to his right certainly made it harder for Bill to go to the left.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:11 PM
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199: "they" is not the same people now as it will be in November.

The media is more likely to depict this as a desperate and contemptible slur by the despised Clintonoids. Whereas the exact same thing, if it were clearly designed to benefit the beloved McCain, would be taken very seriously indeed, as raising serious questions about blah blah yak yak experience fit to lead? besieged campaign blah blah where there's smoke there's fire.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:11 PM
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Whereas the exact same thing, if it were clearly designed to benefit the beloved McCain, would be taken very seriously indeed, as raising serious questions about blah blah yak yak experience fit to lead?

It helps that McCain would probably be smart enough to have this emerge from an unaffiliated party, giving him actual deniability.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:15 PM
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That is, he talks like a really good attorney who makes his point sound reasonable and feasible.

This makes perfect sense to me, but there are some folks who just don't understand that talking like a really good attorney is actually a compliment...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:19 PM
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or if the more serious liberal candidates were just unwilling to run against the popular President.

Mario Cuomo certainly sat on his hands. If we're going to blame centrists for the failure of liberalism, we ought to take a closer look at the liberals, too.

Or not. The 90s were an ugly, ugly time among the actual populace of this country, and I think Mario's judgment was probably right that he couldn't beat HW Bush.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:20 PM
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This makes perfect sense to me, but there are some folks who just don't understand that talking like a really good attorney is actually a compliment...

clear & concise.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:25 PM
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I remember the crazy rightwing economics teacher I had in high school going on and on about how Clinton was supposed to be a throwaway candidate against a popular incumbent.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:26 PM
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I remember the crazy rightwing economics teacher I had in high school going on and on about how Clinton was supposed to be a throwaway candidate against a popular incumbent.

My understanding is that Clinton initially thought the same thing. The run was initially intended to raise his profile for a run down the line. And then circs. changed.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 1:28 PM
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Funny how Republicans are always popular even when they're not.

And, stuck record, how Democrats are always intimidated.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-08 2:12 PM
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