Re: Lead Us Not Into Temptation

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I propose this post be subtitled "This is why individual voters thinking about electability sucks."

I mean it, too: meta considerations about what it would take to get one's candidate elected, or whether one's candidate can appeal with disparate groups, indulges all of our worst stereotyping instincts. Soon enough you start thinking it's perfectly reasonable for somebody to use issues like this in a campaign because, hey, they are issues with those racist/sexist/classist/appalachists over there (not saying you think it was reasonable, LB, because you didn't say that).

The only chance Clinton's strategy has had of succeeding -- at least since the run of states Obama won in February -- is to play on voters (and more importantly, superdelegates, who don't really have more expertise in this, but think they do) prejudices about the worst instincts of people they don't know, and will never meet. That's anathema to the spirit of freely choosing democratic candidates for office, because you're letting your own preferences be proscribed by inventable, manipulable, tribal beliefs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:47 AM
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I've been surprised and proud at how little racism has actually seemed to hurt Obama with the voters.

Touching. But let's wait until after the general election to start singing "America the Beautiful", okay? I think it's going to hurt him plenty.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:49 AM
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I was expecting 2008 to be a year for angry populism. I supported Edwards, besides his positions, in part because I expected him to get the populist vote, including the black populist vote.

Now populism has often been associated with racism or nativism, but I myself have some difficulty separating the resistance to Obama's urban(e) cosmopolitan intellectualism from racism.
Apparently others have less problems.

As an example, I have sincerely worried for decades if my preference for Delta blues over Motown is some kind of racism. To go back decades, did the preference among urban Italians for Sinatra over Nat King Cole contain racist elements? Or mostly tribal? Is it really so easy to deconstruct?

Reading Rorty heavily this week, and maybe he will help with arguments as to why a racism frame, even if partly accurate, is counterproductive. Of course, I can see why the racism frame, in these particular circumstances, would be very attractive to Obama supporters.

We may find out in November.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:50 AM
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That's right. If there's a problem with what you say, it's that it's an explanation for why thinking about electability is morally and socially a bad idea, not that it doesn't work. I think it also doesn't work well at all for most people, but it's hard to say to someone: "Don't think in these terms -- while it might tell you something useful and true, it will corrupt you!" I think that's right, but it's hard to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:51 AM
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I believe that apo also thought that it would be hard for a black man to win. He's just dead certain that Hillary can't win, and, of course, he preferred Edwards.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:54 AM
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As an example, I have sincerely worried for decades if my preference for Delta blues over Motown is some kind of racism.

That's an interesting question. I've definitely noticed a preference among white people (construed as those I know who are not over-informed about music made by black people) for black music of the past; people deriding current rap, for example, in favor of the old-school, or praising funk over hip-hop or (as you say) old blues over all. I'm a little loath to ascribe this to racism (first of all because I'd be implicitly accusing like half the commenters here) but it is interesting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:54 AM
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4: well, I also think it won't tell you something true, but even more pernicious, it will tell you both true things and false things but -- because we're talking about personal stereotypes -- leave you singularly unable to judge your prognosticatory ability.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:56 AM
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tribal beliefs

You think there's something else?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:56 AM
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8: I am relatively confident in the ability of the observable world to create at least a fragmentary universally shared reality, yes. With certain caveats about lunatic fringes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:58 AM
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I've definitely noticed a preference among white people (construed as those I know who are not over-informed about music made by black people) for black music of the past; people deriding current rap, for example, in favor of the old-school, or praising funk over hip-hop or (as you say) old blues over all. I'm a little loath to ascribe this to racism (first of all because I'd be implicitly accusing like half the commenters here) but it is interesting.

This phenomenon is not limited to music by black people, nor even to music. I think it can be explained by a (1) the verneer of respectability that comes with age; (2) the snob appeal of "authenticity"); (3) the composite impact of Sturgeon's Law and survivor bias (i.e. new stuff is mostly shit, but the proportion of shit declines over time as the shittiest stuff is deservedly forgotten).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:59 AM
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10: yeeeeaaaah, maybe. I feel like I've noticed it more specifically in the context of black music listened to by white people, but maybe that's just my inherent biases about other's racism messin' with me (topically!).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:03 AM
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10.3 is right. Just as most people, including me, would choose listening to Beethoven rather than John Adams, if we couldn't have both. Although I'm intellectually convinced that Adams will still be played in 100 years time.

Also it neatly rationalises my preference for Robert Johnson over 50cent.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:04 AM
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*Sigh*. Shit these days just isn't what it used to be.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:06 AM
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My rooommate does statistics for a pro-labor third party here in New York, and he's fairly convinced Obama can't win. He has loads of examples of demonstrably racist voting patterns from recent elections, with race swinging 20% or more of voters who are otherwise willing to vote Democratic. That's just the reality, he says. (He doesn't think Hillary can win either.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:12 AM
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We could get an electoral system with some amount of preference balloting in it, so that people didn't feel like strategizing their first-choice vote was so critical.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:12 AM
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U.S. African Americans have often preferred white candidates over black candidates for public office explicitly on electability grounds.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:13 AM
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16: Isn't the conventional wisdom that African American voters were largely willing to support Hillary over Obama on those grounds until Iowa, which demonstrated his ability to get white votes? (Or is it not the conventional wisdom, but merely my own crackpot theory? Sometimes I lose track.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:17 AM
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Muddy Waters & BB King were in the 50s mostly singing to black factory workers who had migrated North. Now you could say that Merle Haggard was singing to white factory workers, and it is true that the factory workers of either race listened to different musics, but compared to keeping a job and supporting a family, I am not sure that race was the more important issue or identity. It may have been how they themselves differentiated, but people like to do that. And of course, there were real racial problems, like competition for union positions, but the frame itself created some of the problems.

(Schrader's Blue Collar is a great movie.)

Now it could be that the time for labour solidarity has passed, and Edwards proves it. But I can't help feeling that the age of racial framing has also passed, and that Obama is a nostalgic candidate. But omnipresent nostalgia is what one should expect in a declining Empire.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:23 AM
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This doesn't excuse the racial tactics her campaign used, but it does make me want to avert my eyes, thinking "Under the same pressures, that could have been me," rather than wallow in what a terrible person she is.

This, I think, is what ogged was getting at in his post about the Democratic party being the anti-racist party. I don't think that's quite right. I think that the Democrats are, or aspire to be, the anti-undue advantage party. But there are always undue advantages--race, gender, class, and sexuality are the obvious ones, but it obviously includes things like attractiveness, accent, or educational background--and it's impossible not to take advantage of them. Worse, it's impossible to keep yourself out of situations when you'll feel inclined to make use of them. I think, in part, that is why it was infuriating to see the calls to that undue advantage becoming more and more explicit from the Clinton campaign: it seemed to violate one of the cardinal beliefs of the Democratic party. And maybe, in doing that, it seemed to allow the use of undue advantage for the rest of us, as perhaps you're suggesting.

That said, all of this will go away if Obama becomes the nominee. The Clintons will again be heroes to their old friends, because people can distinguish between an act of ambition and life in full, and can see how equivocal a thing the first is. People may not want you to make use of undue advantage (and, it should be admitted, what is seen as undue advantage reasonably varies a lot by person), but they're happy to settle for it not working.

(This, I think, is also why we end up with the differing accounts of how brutal and nasty the campaign has been. Nobody worries about two equally matched foes slugging each other as hard as possible. But watching a fully fit person beat the hell out of a guy in a wheelchair is distasteful. (Unless the guy in the wheelchair is Krauthammer.))


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:24 AM
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17: I think it is the conventional wisdom, and I wrote and deleted that observation from my original comment. I'm still working out whether that's actually true, and how it fits into this discussion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:29 AM
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but compared to keeping a job and supporting a family, I am not sure that race was the more important issue or identity.

Mmm, okay. There was a growing movement at the time that begs to differ.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:32 AM
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17 and 20 are what I'm saying: we crash ahead in the fog, unaware of the true obstacles surrounding us.

18: Bob I wonder if the fondness you evince for (not even the sixties but) the thirties and the apex of the American labor movement isn't a little nostalgic it's own self.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:32 AM
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The identity/empathy politics of Obama or Clinton simply cancels itself as a frame.

If Obama can get elected, there wasn't such a big problem. If Obama can't get elected because of his skin color, there simply isn't any way you can distract or educate the racists enough in a Presiential campaign, especially considering that only 30-50+ percent of the electorate are open to a Democrat at all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:42 AM
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I miss those days of yore when apostrophes weren't used incorrectly.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:42 AM
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1: you can't not think about electability, Sifu. I mean, maybe I'd vote for you for President if I wasn't concerned about electability. The question is where the balance is. Thinking about it too much can result in choosing the worse candidate, since electability tends to come in as a reason to ignore your first choice. Dean might have been a better candidate than Kerry in 04.

Stereotyping -- tribal or racial -- while thinking about electability is common, but that really doesn't bother me. I mean, the fate of civilization could hang in the balance here.

Now populism has often been associated with racism or nativism, but I myself have some difficulty separating the resistance to Obama's urban(e) cosmopolitan intellectualism from racism.
Apparently others have less problems.

I think this is true, and would add in Obama's general "foreignness", perhaps that's what Bob meant by cosmopolitan.

It's been a little weird -- Obama's urbane and cosmopolitan nature allowed him to effortlessly sidestep a lot of racist stereotypes, but created a whole set of other weaknesses in connecting to a populist narrative. That's why the Wright thing was bad. Obama himself is so obviously thoughtful, measured, and even professorial that you can't portray him personally as a "scary black guy", except now in Wright you had a scary black guy to hold up next to Obama. You could hit him from both ends at once. Fox will be running Wright clips nonstop for the next six months. I think that stuff is already wearing thin, though.

I also liked what Bob said about it being difficult to separate racism from tribalism. Even though I actually prefer Motown to Delta Blues.

But you know, given Republican success at connecting even liberals who are white male military vets to their favorite divisive stereotypes, can it be that much worse with Obama? They've already maxed out that vote. This is a Democratic year, and Obama's personal strengths (particularly his composure and calm) and political skills are impressive. Less electable than a generic white southern governor with no real weaknesses? Yes. Less electable than Hillary? Much harder to see that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:43 AM
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especially considering that only 30-50+ percent of the electorate are open to a Democrat at all.

Don't believe that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:47 AM
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22.2:Of course it is nostalgic. It is where I'm from.

The urban creative cosmopolitanism may be the only viable future, but I doubt I will ever connect to it emotionally.

I love my neighborhood of construction illegals.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:50 AM
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it does make me want to avert my eyes, thinking "Under the same pressures, that could have been me,"

Racist.

And, really? I mean, I suppose human frailty and all that, but I think we're setting the bar awfully low. Wasn't there some famous anecdote about Gore refusing to use a particular line of attack against Bush because it was unsavory? I can't get on board the "there but for the grace of God, I'd be race-baiting too" train. It doesn't even feel sanctimonious to say that. I wouldn't molest a kid either, even if it was 2006 Hermione.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:54 AM
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You could hit him from both ends at once.

Your Obama fantasies are getting seriously out of hand, PGD, but anyway who were you envisioning as the other person in your threesome?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:56 AM
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Less electable than a generic white southern governor with no real weaknesses? Yes. Less electable than Hillary? Much harder to see that.

To me, this is what has made Sen. Clinton's conduct inexcusable. There's a certain slice of the population happy to supprt her against the black guy who won't give her a second look in the general, and then there's her high negatives. She can't win. She can knock Sen. Obama down. That's she's doing with some glee puts her in Nader territory, and her apologists in Nader-supporter territory. Intolerable, again, when the fate of civilization could hang in the balance here.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:57 AM
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Oh, and I concur with 28.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:59 AM
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Yeah, I can't agree with this. Or rather, I could have maybe, up to a point, but once they started a little race-baiting and people pointed out that it was beneath them, they should have knocked it the fuck off. Several reasons why:

1. I assume that Clinton's smart enough to know what her campaign is doing.
2. If she wants to lead the country, she ought to give a shit about its well-being; and a big part of the well-being of America depends on discouraging, not encouraging, racism.
3. She's a feminist, for fuck's sake. I realize that doesn't necessarily also mean she's progressive about other shit, but she should at least recognize that racism plays into the "only white men are qualified to lead" nonsense as much as sexism does.
4. Practically speaking, I just think that lowest-common-denominator politics are depressing. Then again, both Clintons are pretty good at that game, and for all I know they actually don't mind being the brunts of it all that much; they may ver well see it as a game of hardball rather than anything particularly meaningful. Which if so, okay for them, but personally, I can only take so much of that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:00 AM
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14: How does your roommate reconcile that claim with recent polling showing Obama up 5 over McCain nationally (even after pastorgate, clingingbitterlygate, secretlyblackgate, and all the rest)? Just the electoral vote math?

I'm not saying it's a sure thing for Obama, but it seems clear that he can win.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:02 AM
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Wasn't there some famous anecdote about Gore refusing to use a particular line of attack against Bush because it was unsavory?

Does anybody know what Ogged is talking about here? It's not ringing any bells for me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:05 AM
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28: Yeah, this is where arguing with you gets unattractive -- the inner knowledge you have of what's in Hillary's heart and how inexcusable her racism is doesn't leave a lot of room for discussion. In the counterfactual world where she wasn't festering hellspawn, destined for damnation from the very beginning of the universe, everything her campaign has done on race has been pretty close to the line. Individual incident by individual incident, it doesn't look to me like a wholeheartedly corrupt attempt to make race work for her. It looks more like the recognition that racism helps her; shading into wishful thinking about how racist the electorate is; shading into attempts, colored by denial about what they're really doing, to make that racism more active.

It's still wrong, and I'm terribly glad it didn't work -- it would be an awful position to be in deciding whether to vote for her in the general if her tactics had worked. But I can see how it happened, and she didn't need to start out meaning to be evil to get there.

(Anyway, empathy with wrongdoers obviously isn't going to be something you can muster, Mr. "the worst thing I ever did was put glue on a caterpillar.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:05 AM
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Then again, both Clintons are pretty good at that game, and for all I know they actually don't mind being the brunts of it all that much; they may ver well see it as a game of hardball rather than anything particularly meaningful.

This, I'm thinking, pretty much sums up Clinton's appeal, for those to whom she appeals.


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:07 AM
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even if it was 2006 Hermione.

So you say.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:08 AM
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Mr. "the worst thing I ever did was put glue on a caterpillar."

Dude, I also called my friend "blackie." I know racism.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:08 AM
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It's over. It always was over. If you think HRC ran a racist campaign, there obviously weren't enough racist Democrats for it to work.

If you think continuing to bash Clinton and her supporters as racists will get them to vote & work enthusiastically for Obama until November go for it.
They are only 45% of the party. Maybe by trying to alienate them you can gain enough white guilt Republicans to create your new coalition.

You are always running against somebodies, in the primaries and general, and however pretty your tribal rhetoric might be, it is always unfair, stereotyping, and divisive.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:08 AM
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To me, this is what has made Sen. Clinton's conduct inexcusable.

I have no trouble at all forgiving her for being unrealistic about her chances of success. Anyone running for president is going to be monomanaical on the subject. She's just been stuck out in public under circumstances where she does have enough of a chance that her unrealistic beliefs about how big that chance is are exposed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:08 AM
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She can't win.

But I wouldn't say this either, Napi, and it's very much a judgement call. Suburban women really seem to connect well with her. The best real evidence we have are the national polls that have consistently shown her running roughly as well as Obama against McCain. Somewhat different situation than Nader. That's why I'm not personally pissed at her about this: if you work your ass off for years to do this and come so close, it's going to take you a few months to resign yourself.

For a candidate who has come as close as she has to drop out before the convention is extremely unusual, and I would put down money she will concede well before the convention.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:08 AM
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I've been extremely disappointed in her. If she had been a Republican, I might have expected her actions and not been so disappointed.

Mainly, I am disappointed that I didn't realize that, given the opportunity, she would do anything to get elected. It really pisses me off that the Republican hacks were somewhat correct about her.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:09 AM
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it would be an awful position to be in deciding whether to vote for her in the general if her tactics had worked.

The thing is, I really feel that we have to vote for the Democratic nominee, even if by some fluke at this late date it turns out to be HRC.

There's no way that Massachusetts won't go for the Dem, but I feel strongly that it's important for McCain's opponent to get as many votes as possible to repudiate the Republicans.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:16 AM
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I am disappointed that I didn't realize that, given the opportunity, she would do anything to get elected.

Want to see somebody who would do anything -- who would tear the party apart -- to get elected? Look at Ted Kennedy vs. Jimmy Carter in 1980. Hillary hasn't even approached that yet.

Yet I bet we all respect Kennedy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:16 AM
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I didn't like Kennedy for a long time, and I'm sure that we all respect him, but 30 years have passed.

As an aside, you know that MA went for Reagan in 1980 because of Anderson's third party candidacy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:19 AM
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Yet I bet we all respect Kennedy.

We do now. If Clinton returns to the Senate and spend the next thirty years as a leading liberal and getting significant legislation passed, we'll respect her too. It probably wouldn't take five years.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:19 AM
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Clinton has apologized for the race-baiting, or at least the most blatant instance of it. She sort of had to if she wanted to retain what little African-American support she had left, but still, it's pleasant to read a story about her and not think, "WTF?!"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:20 AM
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Is it totally naive of me to believe that if Clinton had taken the high road at every opportunity in this campaign, using, at the nastiest, mild condescension against her inexperienced opponent, she'd be the nominee-presumptive at this point?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:21 AM
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I read that story and thought, "WTF? A Presidential candidate is admitting that something she said to a journalist on the campaign trail is the dumbest possible thing?"


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:22 AM
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I'm not saying she has to drop out. I'm saying she has to run a campaign that enhances the brand, rather than degrading it. It is as a direct result of her campaign's conduct that non-trivial numbers of her supporters are announcing that they'll stay home or vote McCain.

She's not hellspawn. She's allowed ambition to eclipse her values. Same as Nader.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:23 AM
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Is it totally naive of me to believe that if Clinton had taken the high road at every opportunity in this campaign, using, at the nastiest, mild condescension against her inexperienced opponent, she'd be the nominee-presumptive at this point?

Probably not, if she still allowed Obama to run up a big delegate lead in the caucus states.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:23 AM
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48: Yes.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:24 AM
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48: Yes, it is. What really doomed her was getting totally outorganized in every single caucus. There didn't seem to be any popular votes obviously swayed by gaffes or rhetorical choices on her part.

The bad blood didn't really emerge until she realized how screwed she was.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:24 AM
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33: Bradley effect? We haven't discussed this particular issue in the past couple of weeks, so I don't know. And his expertise is New York politics, which is really heavy on the ethnic tribalism, so his data and his gut feeling might not generalize well to the whole country.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:25 AM
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47: "I'm sorry my race-baiting didn't work out." Yeah, not feeling the love yet. Well, I'll give her three months and thirteen days.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:25 AM
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Wasn't there some famous anecdote about Gore refusing to use a particular line of attack against Bush because it was unsavory?

If there were, I'm not sure why you would bring it up to support the idea that unsavory attacks ought not be used. George W's ancient DWI was probably not an appropriate electoral consideration, but I sure wish it had turned a few more votes in Florida.

The Unfoggetariat thinks that politicians ought to work toward making Americans better people. That would be nice, but what really needs to happen is that Americans need to make politicians into better people. Victorious politicians, by definition, are the ones who do what is necessary to win. Real social change is the result of constructing a society where "what is necessary" becomes less despicable.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:26 AM
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48: To amplify slightly on 52, Hillary did run a quite clean and non-negative campaign, until it was clear that she was losing.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:27 AM
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||

Probably OT. Two more links about the idea that Obama is centralizing everything in his personal machine, which will absorb the Democratic party and freeze out all advocacy groups.

Stoller's followup to his earlier piece

Crooks and Liars cites Politico

One response to an earlier comment about this was "What's the big deal? Politicians always do that if they can?" To me, that's too meta. Sure they do, but there are problems with that. I think that this is the kind of thing that OFE was talking about when he compared Obama to Blair: he's put together a noparticipatory personal machine, unresponsive to anyone outside it, and eventually will use it to take over the Democratic Party machine, leaving the independent groups holding the bag.

A second was just to insult Stoller for being whiny, etc., and talk about how the netroots / internet left have become too big-headed, and never really were a big deal and never will be. Beyond being false -- they made an enormous difference -- this seems hostile to the very idea of citizen participation, which is one of the things that the netroots made possible after several very bad decades. It would be a very bad thing for this development to turn out to be nothing more than an episode on the way to a reconstituted machine politics.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:30 AM
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I really hope the "American's are too racist to elect Obama" theme gets plenty of coverage leading up to the election, as its likely to make the racists confident that they can stay home on election night while turning out the anti-racist vote.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:31 AM
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57 -- But she ran an incompetent campaign. I think the loss is very largely self-inflicted (but a good thing because I think her high negatives are poison in the general). If she'd set out to run a positive 50 state campaign, she'd have won it already. Instead, they seemed to think that her victory in California would make everyone else drop out.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:31 AM
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What really doomed her was getting totally outorganized in every single caucus.

What really doomed her was voting for the Iraq AUMF, then refusing to admit it was wrong.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:34 AM
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Hopefully the racists won't be thrilled with Juan McCain, either. Maybe they can vote for Barr.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:34 AM
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Perhaps I am not an ideal observer given that a) ultimately I want either to lose to McCain, and b) I find Obama much more appealing than HRC, such that I basically think McCain vs. Obama is a win-win for America. That said let me venture the following:

1) I don't think HRC ran a terrible campaign in terms of moral culpability: Often at the line, maybe a couple of times beyond, but nothing awful.
2) It's not like she had no chance. She'd be a formidable general election candidate. In an alternative universe where the Florida and Michigan primaries aren't butchered, she probably wins the primary. The state-by-state calculus is also more favorable to her than to Obama.
3) By the actual rules of the party, she can still win. The supers can vote their conscience. There's no single standard of 'democracy-ness' that binds the supers. Now, in terms of political reality, maybe it's all over. But what's the damage to her of testing this? It's not like she's going to lose her senate seat, or lose her influence.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:35 AM
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The important line in the Crooks & Liars post is "it's still unclear what's really happening."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:38 AM
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And I'll just mention again at this point the existence of uncommitted racists -- those who are uncomfortable with the aggressive attitudes, strange pantaloons, and hippity-hop music favored by some African-Americans, but seeing Obama as "one of the good ones".


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:39 AM
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In an alternative universe where the Florida and Michigan primaries aren't butchered, she probably wins the primary.

Isn't this demonstrably false?


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:39 AM
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56: THANK YOU.

58: Obama needs outside groups pressuring him from the left. I can't quite believe he doesn't understand that. If he doesn't that's a problem. But it's hard to tell from those articles whether he is motivated by wanting a bigger war chest for the general (outside groups are fine, but right now I want as much money as I can get), or by some kind of active animosity to outside groups.

61: right, no contradiction. Obama probably wouldn't have gotten any traction without that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:39 AM
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56: People may be thinking of the Kerry campaign. Mary Beth Cahill (on loan from Ted kennedy) was very effective in the primaries, but in the general she insisted on taking the high road. She was blamed for the campaign's weak response to the Swift Boats, etc., and also for the campaign's unwillingness to go after Bush the way the Bush people were going after Kerry.

I can't find a good link but this is one of the very few things I have direct knowledge of. Other, more important bloggers who were shunned were Hesiod and Kos.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:41 AM
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no contradiction

Indeed. One leads to the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:41 AM
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47: Something of an interesting article, seemingly all part of Hillary slowly pulling back from the brink.

However, I was struck by one throwaway line (not from Clinton) in the piece: Obama is running to become the first black president. WTF? I know it is basically just a sloppy use of idiom, but gadzooks.

Also, I am completely with LB in the first part of 35. The complacent high-roadism on display is utterly offputting within the context of a society with such a high-level of ambient racism (and sexism).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:42 AM
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50: She's not hellspawn. She's allowed ambition to eclipse her values.

Allowing exigencies to eclipse one's values is practically the definition of evil.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:42 AM
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Damn, I can't remember the specifics. Maybe it was Kerry. But there was a "no, we won't go there" moment in one of the contests; just an example of someone who can hold the line even in the face of temptation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:43 AM
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She can't win
Hillary Clinton'd been to our parts, my friend attended her lecture, i couldn't, had to be elsewhere
and i've read somewhere that there's something politically mystical about it
for example Sharon, Chen Shui Bien, the South Korean president i forgot his name, Putin they all won their offices after their visit to our fair country
so, i bet she'll win
or Obama can spend his summer vacation in the steppes for a change

/joke


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:47 AM
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72: Kerry refused to come out in favor of anti-gay ballot amendments even though Bill Clinton urged him to.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:47 AM
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This seems to be entirely about 527s, not outside groups. I didn't realize that the "netroots" were synonymous with 527s; I thought they were individuals who didn't mainly participate through 527s. Some of the 527 ads last time were pretty good, though, so I do question this strategically.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:48 AM
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In my understanding, the word "527" means "organization that is allowed to run television commercials on behalf of a candidate without the candidate being blamed for whatever slanders and lies might be in the commercials". Is it that MoveOn falls into the category of both "527" and "netroots", and therefore the three concepts must be synonymous?


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:50 AM
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Yet I bet we all respect Kennedy.

J.F.K., so incredibly priapic so long ago, was protected not just because men protected their own (which they did) but also because at that time you literally couldn't describe what he had done. (There is a story Gore Vidal tells about J.F.K.: having sex in the bath, he liked to suddenly push a woman's head back underwater, causing her to fight for air, just as he was about to climax.)

Appreciate his political achievements, yes. Respect?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:52 AM
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Per Katherine, in the original discussion I completely missed the impetus behind Obama's request; he's seeking to insulate himself from charges of outsourcing his smears to "shadowy internet groups", and simultaneously push McCain to do the same thing he is, which would leave McCain in bigger trouble, probably.

He probably also would like to conserve message discipline as much as possible, and given that he has no problem raising money from small donors it's not like he needs quasi-associated outside groups to funnel big-donor money to after they've maxed out.

So, yeah, tempest in an over-gazed navel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:54 AM
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72: Kerry refused to come out in favor of anti-gay ballot amendments even though Bill Clinton urged him to.

Yes! That's what I was thinking of. I'd totally forgotten that it was Clinton who urged him to do it. Heh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:54 AM
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||

How much would a cab ride from JFK to Midtown Manhattan cost and how long would it take?

Just an out of towner trying to make plans...

|>


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:54 AM
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(If it is just 527s running ads, it could be a goo-goo thing. But a lot of 527s really are independent & really run decent, totally legitimate ads, & I don't see what the principled goo-goo objection to that is. I also think that funding TV ads is a poor use of resources except in extremely rare cases--the ideal TV ad is (1) factually accurate (2) designed to get free media coverage of a story that would not otherwise be reported. Like the swift boat ads without the disgusting lying.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:55 AM
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OFE, to quibble slightly, we're talking about his younger brother Edward, the Senior Senator from Massachusetts, not John.

Having said that, Ted Kennedy does have some personal foibles. It sounds like he was a perfectly awful husband and womanizer.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:56 AM
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Ted Kennedy does have some personal foibles.

What?!? Lies!

Okay, okay, maybe. But he's great with kids!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:57 AM
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It's not like she's going to lose her senate seat, or lose her influence.

I think you're wrong: the latter is precisely what's at risk.

58: Give me a break, Emerson. In this thread? If he wins, he'll still be a black guy named "Barack Hussein Obama" on Jan. 21.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:57 AM
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78: Sifu misses the point, as often. The Obama campaign will be safe from DFHs, and that reassures Mr. Tweety.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:58 AM
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OK, though I have to admit I was outraged by Chappaquiddick before 9/11, but call me unfashionable.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:58 AM
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a cab ride from JFK to Midtown Manhattan

It's all about helicopter shuttles now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:58 AM
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80: Flat fare of $45 plus tolls. Could take from half an hour to an hour or more, depending on traffic. 45 min during the day outside of rush hour, I'd guess.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:58 AM
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85: no, you miss my point. That's fine, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:00 AM
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55: Yeah, I hear you.

63: I don't think HRC ran a terrible campaign in terms of moral culpability

She did, however, set new standards for naked, last-minute desperation. The "sniper fire" story is probably in the hall of fame of political stupidity for good, and her (basically) endorsing McCain as a candidate over her opponent from her own party is not the sort of thing you see every day. And yes, she could have won in an alternate universe in which she wasn't blindly overconfident, but we're obviously not in that universe.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:01 AM
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i was charged around 45 from JFK to midtown Manhattan
77 what a considerate gentleman he was
that's b/c hypoxia enhances the climax that's why
so he was perfect in all circumstances


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:05 AM
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If hypoxia really enhanced his climax, he should have charged you less than 45, read.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:06 AM
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that's b/c hypoxia enhances the climax that's why

Unfortunately, it was her hypoxia and his climax.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:09 AM
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There are shuttles from the airports to Manhattan for about $20. I remember no details, but I did take one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:09 AM
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the cab costed me 45 i meant
not his, her climax, i meant
well, i should capitalize and use the proper punctuation of course


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:11 AM
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And to be clear, if I bought this:

"Two more links about the idea that Obama is centralizing everything in his personal machine, which will absorb the Democratic party and freeze out all advocacy groups."

I WOULD think it was a big deal. But the actual bits of evidence we have are: (1) Obama has an impressive fundraising machine, which he could use to try to raise funds for other candidates (2) Obama has an impressive get out the vote organization (3) Matt Stoller & some other bloggers feels Obama has been unresponsive to the netroots--to which I say: compared to who? Dean 2004 & Edwards 2008, I guess; that's about it though. (4) Obama is discouraging large donors from giving to 527s.

There is no reasonable objection to (1) & (2); it's not only that all politicians do it, it's that they SHOULD be doing it. (3) annoys me a bit at times, but large presidential candidates tend to be unresponsive on my pet issues--and I am more annoyed by the general impossibility of getting involved in a campaign substantively w/o a connection than Matt Stoller's access woes, but it just sort of seems like the nature of the beast; I have had the same experience with every large campaign.

(4) is the only thing that's unusual. The reports on exactly what he's doing on (4) are extremely vague; Stoller's original one had both no real content and crap sourcing. The follow ups are a little clearer, but if they're referring to Obama telling his big donors: "no, don't go through the media 527s" it does not seem especially sinister to me. 527s are mainly for running ads during election years--they may be useful in the general, or they may not, but the kind that gets funded by the Democratic candidates' big donors are not major means of keeping-the-Democrats-honest. They are a way to run negative ads w/o getting blamed for them. There's a place for that, but opting out of it doesn't seem much like "freezing out advocacy groups."

I can see how 527s could also be used to specifically pressure individual Dems on bad votes, or to raise issues that the Democratic party won't talk about, but those sorts of 527s presumably would not be funded by the lead fundraisers for the Democratic candidate in any case. And all of the anti-outside group actions that Obama's supposedly taking seem confined to word-of-mouth communications to big donors.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:11 AM
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(It's the DLC that actually bad mouths advocacy orgs., unions, etc. as "interest groups" that drag on the party. Not that Emerson or Stoller has any brief for the DLC.

I mean, look, there are several advocacy groups I identify with more strongly & trust more than the Democratic party. But it's not David Brock's Media Fund, or whatever.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:14 AM
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86: I was too. It's just that most of the stories I've heard about Chappaquiddick were related by my wingnut uncle. (A lawyer friend of his saw the phone records from that night.) Since that uncle is now okay with torture and Ted Kennedy isn't, I lean toward respecting Kennedy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:17 AM
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And yes, she could have won in an alternate universe in which she wasn't blindly overconfident, but we're obviously not in that universe.

DS, as ever, you're careful. You qualify "have won" with "could." But most people I talk to and read don't do that. In other words, there seems to be emerging CW that if the Clinton camp hadn't screwed up, she'd be the nominee. I wonder if this is right (not that there's any way of knowing). And I'm pretty sure that, right or wrong, the story that he only won because she didn't run a good campaign is pretty damaging for Obama. It undermines what really allowed him to win: his qualities as a candidate coupled with his superior organization. Regardless, if he wins the general, I suppose this all goes away. But if he doesn't, I imagine that Clinton will take it to the bank for 2012.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:20 AM
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Can I just pre-emptively assent to everything Katherine says on the topic of Obama and [ whoever ] in this thread? Good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:21 AM
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I wouldn't want my daughter to marry a guy like Kennedy, but I respect him as a legislator and politician. People have difficulty keeping these things apart.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:21 AM
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Also, I'm just not sure the substance of this is right:

I've been surprised and proud at how little racism has actually seemed to hurt Obama with the voters.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:21 AM
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I haven't made up my mind about Obama, but there are a number of bad signs I've picked up on. Time will tell.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:23 AM
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Oregon voters are taking on deep-seated prejudices in this primary. Not only is Obama on the ballot, but one of the Senate candidates is 4'9". And he has a prosthetic left hand.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:23 AM
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104: Short people are a bridge too far, Jesus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:25 AM
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I can't get on board the "there but for the grace of God, I'd be race-baiting too" train. It doesn't even feel sanctimonious to say that. I wouldn't molest a kid either, even if it was 2006 Hermione.

Not to pick at scabs, or anything, but if we were talking about torture right now, and someone said he'd be above all that, you would accuse him of enforcing liberal orthodoxy and lacking moral seriousness or some shit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:25 AM
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104: And he has a prosthetic left hand.

He's exorcised the sinister and this is supposed to be a bad thing?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:25 AM
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Ben, for fucks sake, you know I made a distinction between what was done to someone after they'd been convicted of a crime and what people mean when they discuss, for example, the Bush administration's use of torture.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:29 AM
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I wouldn't want my daughter to marry a guy like Kennedy

It sounds like he's gotten a bit better on that score with age.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:30 AM
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105: You're telling me. I'm supposed to vote for a guy who can't even see the top of Robert Reich's head? Fuck that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:30 AM
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Also: Stoller et. al are quite right that Obama will certainly need to be pressured from the left & kept honest, & that doing so requires an infrastructure separate from the Obama machine. This is true of any politician who gets that powerful, & Obama is no Russ Feingold; he's given liberals some real reason to hope but also some real reasons for skepticism. Digby's written some very good stuff on this lately...I'm somewhat more apt to give to advocacy groups than to his campaign. I've done more volunteer work for advocacy groups than his campaign. If I see a 527 that wants to run a brilliant ad, I might give to them. And I'm going to make my own calls on other candidates to donate to, and in making those calls I'm going to rely a lot more on netroots consensus on the promising challengers than on mass email solicitations from Obama. So I don't disagree about how it'd be a bad idea to let a lot of the energy of the last few years be absorbed into a centralized organization devoted to supporting Obama. It's just, I think all those things because they're good practices in general; I don't see any real evidence of sinister centralization moves.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:31 AM
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I do think Ben is right that once you've accused other people of being unthinkingly sanctimonious for saying "I'd never do X" you are going to run into problems any time you want to say you'd never do Y or Z; either you trust people's self-representation on counterfactuals or you don't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:31 AM
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111 just reinforces how smart I was in 100.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:32 AM
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And anyway, there's no rule or principle that keeps someone from identifying a low moral bar in one case and orthodox sanctimony in another.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:35 AM
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Thanks for the NYC taxi info!


Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:36 AM
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given the opportunity, she would do anything to get elected

I continue to fail to understand why people see this as a bad thing. Do we want to win the fucking election or not?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:40 AM
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I was outraged by Chappaquiddick before 9/11, but call me unfashionable.

I used to subscribe to the then-fashionable neo-lib distaste for Kennedy. I made a mildly disparaging remark about him in earshot of a crotchedy old Italian gentleman who worked in a manual job at my college (we were pretty well acquainted), and he chastised me, saying, "You fuckin' punk, you tell me who else would be lookin' out for the old people if Teddy wasn't there."

And I had to admit he was right. So I've given the younger Kennedy brother a free pass on pretty much everything since then.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:41 AM
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114: there isn't, but when you say "I don't believe you" when other people fix their various moral bars at different heights than yours it's a little frustrating, and could incline one to just as summarily dismiss your stated moral certainty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:41 AM
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116: I continue to fail to understand why people see this as a bad thing.

"I remember landing in the airport under sniper fire." "Anything" should not include "really really stupid things."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:42 AM
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I probably agree with katherine, but I'm not sure whether it's transitive because I don't know what Tweety was trying to say.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:42 AM
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117: I've heard from many a knowledgeable source (don't really have the facts to back this up, myself) that Teddy has been the single most effective Democratic legislator of the past thirty or forty years.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:42 AM
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120: essentially Katherine's response to (4) in 96.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:43 AM
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I'm also fine with adopting Katherine's comments above.

he funny thing about these discussions is that whatever flaws can be anticipated in an Obama Administration, it's obvious that a Clinton Admiistration would be worse.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:43 AM
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99: I do see what you mean. But I don't know that it's all that damaging to him if Clinton's camp chooses to believe the "would have" version. I note how the focus of the media is already shifting to other things than what Clinton or those around her believe. And if Obama does lose the general, then I suppose they deserve to be able to take it to the bank for '12.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:45 AM
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My mom's family probably voted for Lodge in 62. I know that my maternal grandmother did, because she always voted Republican. Her father had been a Republican, and she stuck with them for that reason for teh rest of her life. She was totally politically ignorant. She just voted for the person with the R next to his name. I'm pretty sure that my grandfather did too. He was exposed to a lot of Democratic state legislators in his job, and he didn't care for them much. Republicans in MA were a different beast then.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:47 AM
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when you say "I don't believe you"

Have I done that?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:48 AM
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126: well, yeah, that was pretty much your response to people (like me!) who said "no, I would never do that" in the torture thread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:49 AM
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Ben, for fucks sake, you know I made a distinction between what was done to someone after they'd been convicted of a crime and what people mean when they discuss, for example, the Bush administration's use of torture.

Was that caterpillar convicted of a crime, ogged?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:49 AM
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116: The Southern strategy, in all of its guises, was really awful. It helped Nixon, and then Republicans after him (see: Horton, Willie), get elected. But it was unacceptable. I don't want to be a member of a Party that does things like that.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:51 AM
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I made a distinction between what was done to someone after they'd been convicted of a crime and what people mean when they discuss, for example, the Bush administration's use of torture.

If we're scab-picking, surely you realize that being convicted of a crime =/ actual guilt, necessarily.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:51 AM
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130: Surely you're not questioning the integrity of the Iranian courts, b? At long last, have you no decency?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:53 AM
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The funny thing about these discussions is that whatever flaws can be anticipated in an Obama Administration, it's obvious that a Clinton Administration would be worse.

Is it? From over here it looks like a Clinton administration would be basically more of the same, while Obama might be notably more successful, or equally he might crash and burn. I'd think it would depend how desperate you are which prospect you'd think was worse.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:53 AM
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Also, how much weight you put on health care.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:54 AM
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118: OTOH, you know, there's the other option, which is that having experienced how irritating it is to have someone say "I don't believe you" when you say "I'd never do that," you know better than to say that to them when the shoe's on the other foot.

(I think it's to Ogged's credit that the race-baiting crap is a real bottom line with him, and that the rest of us honkies should be better about this, just like his Arab self should be better about not entertaining the idea that chopping off heads is a-ok in some circumstances.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:55 AM
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124: I think there are at least two ways the meme is damaging, and neither have to do with the Clinton camp. First, the single biggest reason she lost is the war. Apo is right about that (not that he's the first to make the point). Any argument that suggests otherwise, including that she lost because of Mark Penn, takes away from the key lesson of the primary: don't vote for stupid wars and then stand by your lousy vote. And second, the CW diminishes Obama's competence by suggesting that he didn't win so much as she lost. Obviously there's some truth in that. But he won because she voted for the war, stood by her vote, and then he ran the best campaign a Democrat has run in modern memory. He deserves the credit for putting together his campaign team; he deserves credit for being a good manager (which is something people suggest he isn't). Otherwise, we're left with, "Well, he's a good talker. But Clinton would have won on the merits if Mark Penn hadn't screwed the pooch."


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:56 AM
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132 -- I was speaking of the need for pressure from the Left, the impulse to control the Party apparatus, general elitism, etc, etc.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:57 AM
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133 -- I think prospects for UHC are better with him in office than with her.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:58 AM
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134: did I say that to him? No. I just pointed out how his divergent stands on these issues might be frustrating for those of us hoping for productive dialogue (whoever they might be).

In fact, I do believe him, just like I believed me when I said I wouldn't torture when put in the position of senior Bush administration officials. In general, I figure you should take other people's words for their personal lines in the sand unless you have a good reason not to, and the fact that your line is a couple hundred yards down the beach isn't a good reason.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:58 AM
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119: Meh. It was stupid only because she got caught (and for all I know, with Joe and Jane Sixpack, it worked). If the alternative is "Clinton, who's willing to do anything to get elected!!" vs. John McCain? Give me the ruthless bitch, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:58 AM
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137: Agree with that. But they suck over the short term in any case.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:59 AM
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Obama has a plan and agenda for change, only some of which he has made public. Like all such plans, there will be winners & losers.

The example is globalization. Now globalization hurt factory workers and helped hedge traders and urban creatives, and supposedly the globalization losers were supposed to be retrained and otherwise compensated but somehow that money wasn't found.

The next plan may involve moving away from the carbon economy. I got involved in an energy thread the other day, and to paraphrase one of my opponents:

"Those suburban morons can go live in their SUV's, can freeze in the dark, their kids starving in ignorance, because here in the city I recycle and bike to work, and I'll be damned if I will take any hit whatsoever on my lifestyle to help those gas-guzzling racist rednecks."

Now those blue and pink collar suburbanites are an active vocal part of the Democratic Party, not to mention AARP, so of course Obama will have to have a tightly disciplined and controlled street militia to screw them over again, after Bill Clinton screwed them over to benefit and gain the lifetime gratitude and loyalty of Matt Yglesias & Hilary Bok.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:01 AM
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135 -- He's run an incredible campaign, coming from way behind to overtake a huge favorite with huge built-in advantages. I don't think it takes anything from him to say that unforced errors from the other side helped.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:01 AM
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I think it's to Ogged's credit that the race-baiting crap is a real bottom line with him

I'm not sure it's totally altruistic. Ogged has probably the single scariest racial/ethnic background for an American to have right now. Could make you particularly desperate to see evidence that your country is better than it's been showing recently.

Sorry to talk about you like you're not here, Ogged! I will always be grateful to you for transforming my spelling!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:02 AM
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If the alternative is "Clinton, who's willing to do anything to get elected!!"

But that's a malformed issue. It matters what she thinks is necessary, and what she is more comfortable thinking is necessary. If she thought rolling 3/4 of the way over on Roe was OK, you might feel differently. Not only because of Roe, but because you would disagree with her on the what was necessary.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:02 AM
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141: You planning on trying that lame "performance art" excuse when somebody calls you on this, bob?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:03 AM
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See 141 is what I'm talking about. Any reason to believe Clinton would be better than Obama on this front? None at all.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:04 AM
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Ogged has probably the single scariest racial/ethnic background for an American to have right now.

Oh, come on. Would you rather have my background or be black? It's not a close call.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:04 AM
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Now those blue and pink collar suburbanites are an active vocal part of the Democratic Party, not to mention AARP

Now start counting noses, Shaman bob.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:04 AM
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Half-Iranian, half black would be scarier. Like Young Buck, or T.J. Houshmanzadeh.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:06 AM
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135: agreed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:06 AM
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I'm not sure it's totally altruistic.

It doesn't matter if it is or not. It's an admirable clear bright line regardless.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:07 AM
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142: Right, of course they (the unforced errors) helped. I agree with that. Still, the question is one of causation. If one suggests that he could not have won but for the unforced errors, that diminishes the quality of his campaign and his stature as a manager. It also shifts the emphasis away from the importance of Clinton's war vote. That's all I'm saying. I'm not suggesting, for example, that the meme originiated with the Clinton camp as a kind of Trojan Horse that will only reveal its true uses in 2012. I'm also not saying that's wrong. (I kid.)


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:08 AM
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Would you rather have my background or be black?

But you can dunk with the women's ball, right?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:08 AM
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I would love to be T.J. Houshmanzadeh.

Sigh. It's all so complicated.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:09 AM
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Okay, 135 does seem right to me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:09 AM
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139: Bp, will you grant that there is a difference in a Primary campaign than a general election? You know if Hillary really wanted to run an "electability" campaign that had a chance of resonating with me she could have been relentlessly tearing McCain a new asshole even during the Primaries, unleash some of that patented Clinton "do-anything" sleaze, give me an inkling of what it will be like I the general. Instead we got the Me & John have what it takes, Obama doesn't BS, which pissed me off more than any of the coded racial stuff.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:10 AM
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with the women's ball

Tokenism only buys you so much good will, Republican.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:10 AM
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||

Somebody just sent me a picture of the biggest sociopathic shithead I've ever known posing, wearing his '08 pin, with Ralph Nader.

It all fits!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:14 AM
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156: ha ha. That's a good point, very good point in fact.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:16 AM
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146:See, that's what I'm talking about. Clunton was not mentioned, and certainly not as an better alternative to Obama.

The point obviously was to try to put pressure on a President Obama toward fair and balanced policies, and to seek help in that project.

But the Obama constituency is fanatically tribal, and resistance to a totality of Obamism viewed as radically evil. This has at least as much to do with a narrow understanding of interest as fealty to Obama.

Which is why many of the less fortunate and vulnerable in our society are so fucked now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:17 AM
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I don't think you're radically evil, Bob. Just pretty silly sometimes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:21 AM
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Hell, resistance to NAFTA, even to the extent of demanding clear compensatory riders and I don't know how many here are even old enough to remember it, was characterized as stupid, ignorant, selfish, racist crazy evil. Sound familar? And still is.

Here we go again.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:22 AM
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the biggest sociopathic shithead I've ever known

what does someone have to do to qualify for this? You strike me as a man of wide and varied acquaintance.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:29 AM
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The urban creatives have pretty much dominated American politics for decades now.

For the first era it was the Republican urban creatives (finance) who ruled, although the arty Democrats also benefitted from war and globalization. Now the googoo green urbanites have their candidate.

From flyover country, both factions of the rapacious elite suck, as they always have.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:30 AM
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163: oh, the list of fucked up things he's done is long and ignominious. I won't get into it here, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:31 AM
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Cheney's backing Nader? I guess that makes some sense.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:34 AM
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From flyover country

What, you mean like Illinois? Or just Texas, from which we drew the most powerful person in Congress for most of the last eight years and the President?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:39 AM
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165: We don't want to no, Tweety. Don't think that you're piquing our curiosity, or that we're going to beg you to say more. We're above that. We just don't care. Not a bit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:42 AM
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"know"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:42 AM
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Well, if you insist. Gather around, boys and girls! The story I'm about to tel....


Posted by: A-Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:43 AM
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I think Clinton could have won the nomination notwithstanding her vote on the war. Her failuire to get more delegates from Texas, to pick just one? That's totally on the head of the campaign. Kansas, which she lost by more than she won West Virginia, for another. Agreeing re Florida and Michigan, only to reneg: she might well have been able to fight the party administration to a draw on this, if she'd taken it up before hand, and had both states come in with half delegations. Or get both to have caucuses in the proper timeframe.

Oh no, it wasn't the airplanes. Twas beauty killed the beast.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:46 AM
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Oops.

Twas beauty Inevitability killed the beast.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:50 AM
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A lot of different things have to go right for the challenger to beat the frontrunner, & Clinton was no slouch as a frontrunner. So looking for a single cause is odd. The war vote & refusal to apologize were certainly necessary, & are getting overlooked because the press can't quite fathom that something that happened six whole years ago would be relevant, but they didn't make the outcome inevitable.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:51 AM
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More on the stuff Stoller was talking about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:58 AM
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173 and 171: Are these directed at me? If so, I'll just reiterate that I'm not saying there's a single cause (as noted in each of my previous comments) for Obama's victory. All I've said to this point is that the emerging CW that Obama won because Clinton/Penn screwed up is toxic. That's all. But, if we're going to make a list of reasons that he won, I'd put the excellence of his campaign and candidacy at the top and her Iraq vote just beneath that. Then we can move on to other issues, including the fact that her campaign made some egregious tactical and strategic errors.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:09 PM
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173 gets it exactly right.

That said, as MY has hammered home again and again, the overwhelming evidence is that HRC voted that way and didn't apologize because she thinks that she was right - the war vote wasn't craven, it was considered.*

I think that underlying fact is why HRC couldn't get past Obama, even with a credible and comparable withdrawal plan - too many anti-war voters (even the ones who were for it before they were against it) looked at HRC and BHO and said, "He's the one who'll end the war. Her? Who knows?"

* This isn't to say that I'm certain that HRC would've done what Bush done, but she was and is clearly willing to choose war too often.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:16 PM
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Ari, driving a stake through Penn's heart is more important than the stuff you're talking about. People should hire him for speaking engagements specifically for the purpose of pelting him with rotten eggs.

Clinton sure brought a lot of creeps into the party. Morris and Stephanopolous are pretty bad too. I liked Carville up to a point, but wrongly so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:17 PM
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shorter LB:

I supported Edwards and worried about the electability of Obama.

You supported Clinton despite her desperate attempt at racial divisiveness.

He supports McCain because he is a Republican, and is therefore a racist.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:34 PM
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176 -- There are still too few votes at stake over the war. Had Sen. Clinton's campaign contested caucuses in addition to primaries, she would have won enough delegates to make the math possible. Texas is a great example: even she knew it was do or die, and in fact she got a majority of votes. But she didn't have the organization needed to translate those votes into a delegate win. That's really not about the war.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:36 PM
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Not that this is a post that remotely lends it self to shortering, but I think you're pretty far from nailing it, TLL.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:40 PM
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Extraxt extraneous spaces; discard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:40 PM
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John, I'm as great a fan of the personal vengeance school of politics as the next guy (though I haven't yet begun raising hogs). But I really do think that Penn is already done. Will he rise again? Probably. They always do. But suggesting that Obama didn't win so much as Clinton lost could have more significant repercussons for the Party and the country down the line even than the resurrection of Penn's career.

Really, though, we can have it both ways. Penn sucks and contributed to Clinton's loss. As did a bad vote on a key issue. At the same time, though, Obama ran a great campaign and is an excellent manager (good for a Democrat to be known as such).


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:41 PM
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179: Again, I don't deny most of what you're saying. I'm just quibbling with what I read as the causal emphasis you're suggesting. And now I have to go teach. I'll check back later.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:44 PM
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My point, Sifu, is that this particular forum seems to be quite sure that Republicans won't vote for Obama because Republicans are racists, not that they might have policy differences.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:55 PM
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183 -- I understand why you want this to have been about the war. And, as Katherine says, the war played a causal role too. But it's just not correct to say that the war and nothing but the war did her in.

Let's think for a minute about the 2000 election. In order to win, Bush had to have (a) a bunch of elderly Jewish ladies vote for Pat Buchanan; (b) nearly 100,000 Floridians buy the there's-no-difference line; (c) the Gore campaign fail to argue about overvotes in the early going; (d) the Supreme Court intervene in a particularly lawless way; and (e) at least 3 other things I haven't remembered, each less likely than the last. All elements were necessary, as the failure of any one of them would've made the rest insufficient. Bush may well see the hand of the Almighty in this confluence of coincidences.

On the other hand, I don't think the Swift Boat smear campaign cost a single electoral college vote.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:55 PM
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But it's just not correct to say that the war and nothing but the war did her in.

I didn't say that. Really, I didn't even imply it. Again, were I to make a list explaining Obama's win, it would read:

1) excellence of the Obama campaign and candidate Obama
2) Clinton's war vote
3) tactical and strategic screw-ups from the Clinton campaign
4) everything else.

Okay, I'm now in class and need to think about my upcoming lecture. Sorry to be abrupt.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:59 PM
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Penn stinks as a strategist, but he also stinks, because he's a union buster.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:02 PM
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A little late to troll this thread, but what I actually think about electability is this:

--Contra Napi, both Hillary and Obama could win. In fact, given the massive pro-Democratic groundswell building up, either would be favored over McCain (who is mainly viable because his "maverick" rep gives him a little crucial distance from the Rep brand).

--I think Hillary would have a slightly easier time of it than Obama, or at least her win is a somewhat safer bet. Basically, the Clintons are firmly identified with the Democratic party, people actively want to vote for the Democratic party this year, and it strains credulity to think that people are all of a sudden going to be confronted by something new that makes them think "Hillary...worse than I thought the last 15 years!".

Obama is more unprecedented than Hillary, hence harder to predict what will happen. There's just more uncertainty.

--but given that both should be able to win, and that Obama's competence and assurance as a candidate lead you to believe he will run an excellent campaign, "electability" arguments against him just don't fly in the end.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:06 PM
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188 was sort of lame. Why bother. sorry.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:08 PM
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184: not quite sure where you're getting that, but no, I think Republicans will fail to vote for Obama because they're Republicans, which at this point means they've come to grips with positions and actions taken by their party that I can't begin to imagine justifying or rationalizing away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:14 PM
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I'll agree with PGD this one time. I think that we're in a strong position, either candidate could win, and that we really don't have to skulk and tiptoe around this year, the way we've been doing since about 1976.

It's possible that the media will swing Obama's way, or at least refrain from sabotaging him, but I'm not completely sure that we even need that. The Republicans are incredibly damaged, and voters even in Mississippi have figured that out without a lot of media help. (At my URL).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:18 PM
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190- Comity!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:18 PM
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189: 'bout them Cavs last night, eh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:20 PM
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suggesting that Obama didn't win so much as Clinton lost

It isn't an either/or. Clinton lost (not exclusively, but largely) because the anti-war wing of the party wouldn't have anything to do with her after her infuriating performance from 2003-2006. Obama ended up being the person that beat her due to running an exceptionally smart campaign. Had Obama decided not to run, I suspect somebody else would have taken her out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:26 PM
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193: grumble, mumble, mumble. Best game I've seen the Celts play this playoffs, though.

Had Obama decided not to run, I suspect somebody else would have taken her out.

That's why Edwards fans came into this with a bit of a grudge against Obama -- because it looks like Edwards might have taken her if he hadn't. Of course, Edwards voted for the war, but at least he had the decency/intelligence to totally disavow his earlier self.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:29 PM
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it looks like Edwards might have taken her

I thought that until he developed that weird blinkyblinkyblinky thing during the debates. Not a good omen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:35 PM
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186:I remarked on the importance of the black vote this year in another thread, but I didn't really develop it completely.

Ari's the historian, but IIRC anti-war candidates have not done well because anti-war factions have historically had trouble forming coalitions with other factions. Stopping the war is an interest of feminists or gays (or unions or blacks), but it isn't a direct interest, and other factions may offer more compelling direct benefits in forming a coalition.

IOW, I think Clinton could have beaten some imaginary white antiwar strong candidate this year.
We didn't have one.

That may just be contingency, or brilliant strategy starting in 2002. Did Obama leave any room for Russ Feingold to enter the race? Feingold, looking at the three candidates, probably couldn't see a base. Perhaps Obama has a long history of opposing wars. Or he grabbed the perfect niche.

It had to be a black anti-war candidate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:36 PM
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I'm late to this discussion, and no doubt am missing several layers of argumentation, but when did 527s become favored by the left? I'd interpret Obama's rejection of 527s as the practical implementation of campaign finance limits in the gaps left by Buckley. To me, it seems like a principled stand. Besides, by funding his campaign largely with small, individual contributions Obama has effectively ensured that his campaign is uniquely answerable to the will of those contributors, who, by the way, include many people who participate in the netroots and are members of the Democratic Party. These are not three monolithic organizations competing for power. I thought one of the virtues of the Obama campaign was that it was not beholden to the interests of lobbyists and corporations. Many people cite Obama's commitment to reengaging Washington with the citizenry via open government and additional campaign finance reform as the reason for their support (e.g. hilzoy). I'm frankly a bit baffled by the "Obama machine" talk given the extent to which he is beholden to grassroots donors.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:38 PM
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I know we on this blog like to think opposition to the war is ubiquitous in the Democratic Party, but was any part of Clinton's base "Democrats who reluctantly accept the war?" Like Jews, for instance?

Katherine said coalitions other than Obama's could have been possible. but I am thinking that Clinton targeted white working people partly in her support of the war, because they are marginally more militarist than other factions. Edwards failed miserably.

Anti-war plus economic populism? I don't think so. Debs & Wallace didn't do so well.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:43 PM
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it looks like Edwards might have taken her.

I think all of Clinton's justifications for her getting the nomination over Obama apply equally well, if not better, to Edwards, and I've been mulling over starting a petition to get all of the super and pledged delegates to throw their support behind Edwards as the most electable candidate against McCain.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:44 PM
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Did Obama leave any room for Russ Feingold to enter the race?

Somebody once told me they were in a room when Russ Feingold was asked about a Presidential bid, and Feingold replied something like, "yeah, right, a short Jewish guy with three divorces has a good shot".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:45 PM
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I've been mulling over starting a petition to get all of the super and pledged delegates to throw their support behind Edwards as the most electable candidate against McCain

You just mull the hell out of that idea, you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:45 PM
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Now of course blacks were among the demos most opposed to the war, but I don't remember blacks voting based on that. They supported Humphrey over McCarthy.

The "urban creatives" were a solid base for an anti-war candidate, but some were turned off by Edwards hints at protectionism, and frankly his accent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:48 PM
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IOW, I think Clinton could have beaten some imaginary white antiwar strong candidate this year.

1. I think you might (or might not; I certainly don't feel confident about this) be right about requiring a black anti-war candidate.

2. OTOH, I think you mistake "anti-war" if you think it primarily means against the war. The war decision is a good proxy for a lot of other types of decisions, I think. In some sense, Obama vs. Clinton is something like northern neolibs vs. the DLC.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:52 PM
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"Democrats who reluctantly accept the war?"

Hell, there are Dems who enthusiastically supported the war. But I suspect they're a decided minority of the Democrats who come out to vote in primaries.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:54 PM
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You just mull the hell out of that idea, you. sweetie.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:55 PM
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Obama vs. Clinton is something like northern neolibs vs. the DLC.

More like the traditional liberal/black coalition vs. the "L stands for Leadership, not Liberal!" DLC, I would think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:56 PM
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It's interesting to me how much initial levels of affection influence how we treat people when they do things that offend us. Two people with otherwise very similar views and principles can have very different reactions to a third person's screw ups depending on how much they liked the person before hand.

I know that I've been less likely to cut Senator Clinton some slack because I was basically indifferent to her before the campaign. On the other hand, I've always like Bill Clinton and even now I find myself apologizing for him (he's just a slick pol who'd totally be behind Obama if he didn't have to campaign for his wife). Clearly there's quite a bit of sexism involved in that double standard. Having realized that, I've tried to tamp down on my outrage at Senator Clinton and her supporters for some of her campaign's racially insensitive tactics.

All the same, I've always like the idea that the Democratic Party is the party that likes black people. I don't think I could bear to see Clinton's tactics normalized as "politics as usual" in my party. That'd just be too depressing.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:57 PM
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More like the traditional liberal/black coalition vs. the "L stands for Leadership, not Liberal!" DLC, I would think.

All the traditional liberals are older (and many are supporting Obama), and I'm not sure that, at the DC level, there are that many under 50 liberals left anymore. I think Bill Clinton moved the party a lot.

That said, I think Obama is more liberal than Hillary Clinton, and that old liberal support is a result of recognition of that fact. But I think old-fashioned populism may have to come from somewhere else. Feel like running, Apo?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:00 PM
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I don't think you needed a Black anti-war candidate to beat Clinton, just an anti-war candidate who could personally appeal well enough to Black voters to overcome institutional inertia. In other words, I could definitely an anti-war version of Bill Clinton beating Hillary Clinton this year. In fact, if Obama hadn't been in the race, Edwards might have been that candidate.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:01 PM
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I know we on this blog like to think opposition to the war is ubiquitous in the Democratic Party, but was any part of Clinton's base "Democrats who reluctantly accept the war?" Like Jews, for instance

In 2008 opposition to the war is close to ubiquitous in the Democratic party. Certainly a lot of those Democrats (like Yglesias, Spackerman, Marshall, etc.) supported the war in the past.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:06 PM
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The war decision is a good proxy for a lot of other types of decisions, I think. In some sense, Obama vs. Clinton is something like northern neolibs vs. the DLC.

You're telling me? Lyndie England understands military Keynesianism, as does Colin Powell.

Now Barack & Michelle Obama understand a different kind of Democratic Jobs policy. But those kind of jobs won't be available to Lyndie England, and she knows it.

FDR & LBJ made sure to think of the Lynddie's, with Hoover Dam, TVA, the War on Poverty.

Lynndie? Lynndie? whatever.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:08 PM
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210:In order for a strong white anti-war candidate to have beaten Hillary Clinton in SC or Mississippi, you have to move a whole lot of that white working class away from Clinton, because against another white candidate she gets a solid share of the black vote.

Even in a bad war, blacks will vote for the best civil rights candidate, as labor will vote for the best jobs candidate. It is hard to imagine another white candadte being better on civil rights than the Clintons.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:15 PM
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But those kind of jobs won't be available to Lyndie England, and she knows it.

There's a lot of support gathering in the Democratic party for good old infrastructure and public works spending, Bob. Especially if given a green twist.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:16 PM
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213:
I don't think civil rights register highly in the preferences of Black voters in a democratic primary. Usually it's institutional loyalty and cultural/class signifiers that sway the black vote. Cultural signals were the reason blacks warmed to Bill. The vague sense that he was "down".

A white anti-war candidate with similar sensiblities could definitely have beaten Hillary Clinton amongst black voters. And while it wouldn't have been by 80 points or more, he would potentially have gotten more of the southern white vote because, ironically enough, the same mannerisms appeal to southern whites too.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:29 PM
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you have to move a whole lot of that white working class away from Clinton

Which wouldn't be that difficult considering Clinton's support among white, working class voters is more of an anti-Obama coalition than a pro-Clinton coalition. Clinton became the populist candidate out of necessity after Obama won over the "egghead and African American" coalition.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:38 PM
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Which wouldn't be that difficult considering Clinton's support among white, working class voters is more of an anti-Obama coalition than a pro-Clinton coalition.

What is this based on?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:46 PM
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A white anti-war candidate with similar sensiblities could definitely have beaten Hillary Clinton amongst black voters.

This strikes me as completely wrong. It took a remarkable set of circumstances for a black anti-war candidate to beat a Clinton amongst black voters - unless this hypothetical white anti-war candidate manages to sweep Iowa and New Hampshire with the Obama coalition, it's not going to happen.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:49 PM
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It is hard to imagine another white candadte being better on civil rights than the Clintons.

Did y'all just hear stras's head go "pop?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:51 PM
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It took a remarkable set of circumstances for a black anti-war candidate to beat a Clinton amongst black voters

Why do you think this? Barrack Obama beating Hillary Clinton among black voters was a forgone conclusion. The only question was by how much.


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 2:58 PM
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I agree with 217; I don't think 216 is right at all. HRC was always presumed to do well among the gente, because they are presumed to vote for familiar names, Clinton is associated with good times, and the liberal complaints about HRC weren't expected to gain traction with that group (as they haven't).

The big question, going in, was supposed to be whether working class white males were more sexist or racist. But Edwards' lack of traction suggests that this question was overwrought (not that he did terribly with that group, but it's not like he was winning 90% of them).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:06 PM
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Are people still talking about monocausal theories for Clinton's loss? That seems odd. Single-cause explanations for complex (historical) processes are almost always wrong. In this case, it wasn't just the war vote that did in Clinton. It was also a very well run Obama campaign. And it was tactical and strategic errors from the Clinton camp, self-inflicted wounds. And it was shifting demographics, which yielded a set of voters not especially drawn to the played-out arguments about the culture wars. And it was too many other things to grasp or catalog.

Again, though, the key thing from my perspective is that it not become the conventional wisdom that Clinton lost rather than Obama won. That allows too much room for the inevitability argument to roam, it takes too much away from Obama's organization, and it undermines the idea that the war vote hurt her with primary voters. So there.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:08 PM
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220: A generic black anti-war candidate - a Dodd-like character - might very well have lost the black vote to HRC, at least until/unless he proved that he could win a lot of the white vote, as well.

Bill & Hil were/are well-liked by the black community - not just as generic Successful Dems, but for substantive and symbolic reasons. For that reason, HRC had reason to expect an absolute majority of black support in Dem primaries - until Obama showed up and proved himself a real contender for the General. But, say, Carol Mosely Braun (assuming that she's credibly anti-war) wouldn't have taken that away from her.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:12 PM
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FDR & LBJ made sure to think of the Lynddie's, with Hoover Dam, TVA, the War on Poverty.

1. That seems fair, and a fair criticism of the Democratic party today. That said,

2. There's no reason to think Clinton would have been better (nor do you suggest otherwise).

3. PGD is right that there seems to be more support for efforts in that direction these days. Also, I think Obama's going to have to make moves in that direction because that's a big sized population. But we'll see.

4. Maybe the Lynddies of the world shouldn't have rolled over on LBJ's party just because he wanted to extend rights to African-Americans. That might have helped keep the band together.

What is this based on?

Stereotype matching results, the fact that (as I understand it) Democrats have done poorly with that group since '80 or before, and the number of white voters who supported Clinton and reported considering race as a factor for choosing who to support (and anecdotes to that effect in various papers) in OH and WV (and I think PA).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:19 PM
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In September of '05, I had a conversation with a Dem governor of a red state -- he'd just come back from a retreat with, among others, a recent Dem Senate Majority Leader -- about this race that's stuck with me: he said that there would be Hillary, and a race-within-a-race for the position of anti-Hillary. And whether the a-H could beat H would be up in the air. BHO wasn't on the radar, really, but there were half a dozen obvious candidates for the position of a-H, and his view that it would be close didn't depend on which of them emerged, or whether they'd supported the war.

In the event, I don't think anyone but BHO could have done it. BHO's comeback from NH, and that Yes We Can video was electrifying when it first came out, would not have been available, in the same way, to anyone else.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:27 PM
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What is this based on?

What Tim said. And the fact that, outside Appalachia, Clinton hasn't really "won" the white, working class vote, gender and age being much more telling than socio-economic class or self-identification as "white." Then there are these sorts of anecdotes. Clinton didn't become the populist candidate until polling suggested that she could make inroads in that demographic, at which point she painted Obama as the combo effete intellectual / angry black man, after which came Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and then Clinton's new story about why she's more electable. You have to have a pretty short memory to buy Clinton as the candidate of the white, working class voter.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:34 PM
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...his view that it would be close didn't depend on which of them emerged, or whether they'd supported the war.

That the race to be the a-H or between the emergent a-H and H herself would be close?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:38 PM
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In the event, I don't think anyone but BHO could have done it. BHO's comeback from NH,

You don't think that there are other candidates who could have won in New Hampshire? Mark Warner maybe?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:42 PM
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227: I'm pretty sure he meant the latter. After 16 years, there's always a decent sized population that hates the boss.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:42 PM
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222:Ari, you're just spinning, which I suppose is okay as the campaign continues. But it also looks like you are trying to turn your particular spin into public and exclusive history for ideological reasons.
I didn't know that was approved in history departments.

You're the only one who's trying to be monocausal. The war is a factor, one among many. The election of Obama is probably doesn't indicate a historical change in American attitudes toward war. For one thing, it was a Republican war, and general hatred of Bush is likely a large part of antipathy toward the war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:52 PM
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Maybe the Lynddies of the world shouldn't have rolled over on LBJ's party just because he wanted to extend rights to African-Americans. That might have helped keep the band together.

They didn't. 1968 exit polls show that Humphrey won the union and ethnic votes handily. The ones that turned on the Democrats for racist reasons were the middle and upper middle class white urbans. The riots were too close to home.

Those darn urban creatives, the ones who abandoned Edwards so quickly this year, showing that their supposed attraction to economic populism and social justice is very shallow now as it was then.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 3:59 PM
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Ari, you're just spinning

The sieve says the colander leaks.

It could also be that Ari actually prefers the "Obama won" to the "Clinton lost" perspective because he thinks it's more accurate as well as more helpful. But his obvious fascist cultism probably rules that explanation out.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:02 PM
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232:Bullshit, the problem isn't "Obama won", the problem is why.

My problem is that Ari wants the color of Obama's skin to have nothing at all to do with why Obama beat Clinton in the primaries, and the war to be everything.

Now if Obama wins the general, I am willing to say race will be an almost insignificant factor in his victory. But not the Democratic primaries, expecially as they played out.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:10 PM
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233: My problem is that Ari wants the color of Obama's skin to have nothing at all to do with why Obama beat Clinton in the primaries

Ahhh, the "he's lucky he was black" meme that Clinton's camp tried and failed to push. Let me guess: "performance art," right? Because otherwise this would just sound blatantly racist, and you like to be able to just sort of throw that sort of thing out and then walk away from it as convenient.

A sane assessment would be that Obama was able to win because race failed to be the factor it would normally be.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:20 PM
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The key fact in the history of the blogosphere was one of the earliest:Matt & Ezra et al supporting George Bush's fucking war because they wanted to down with the kewl kids and not be dirty fucking hippies. And then turning against the war when they hit Washington and discovered that intelligent liberal DC women wouldn't fuck hawks. I coulda told them that.

Slaves to fashion & buzz are the urban creatives. Carbon tax? Globalization? War? Obama? Whatever is way cool, dudes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:22 PM
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Fucking black guys Canadians, always feeding the trolls.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:22 PM
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It's entirely possible it took someone black, antiwar and as charismatic as Obama to beat Clinton's frontrunner status, association with her husband's economic record, and excitement over the first female president. But counterfactuals are hard. If Edwards was the only other candidate--he was clearing going at Clinton from the left on policy. Maybe he gets more credit for leading on policy in a two person race, & wins with a coalition of anti-war liberals, labor, southerners, & electability-driven voters. Or maybe Richardson gets a little more traction with Obama not in the race & splits the Latino vote. Or maybe Feingold--who doesn't seem to like Edwards very much for whatever reason, and who's the most straightforwardly antiwar, anti-torture, anti-abuse of exec. power, etc.--runs if Obama doesn't. It's really hard to predict the outcomes of elections that didn't occur.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:26 PM
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234:Yeah, "race failed to be a factor" in South Carolina and Mississippi. Tell that to Clinton and Edwards.

Certainly if Obama could get only vlack votes he would have lost. But give Clinton half the black votes as might have been expected, or split them three ways, and Obama is toast.

I suppose Edwards was also race-baiting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:26 PM
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227 -- The latter.

228 -- I think BHO had something that Edwards didn't coming out of NH. And I think the HRC strategy would've likely worked against just about anyone else. Partly it's because of the black vote, but it's also because of the campaigning style of BHO himself.

Two and a half months ago, I was saying that without BHO in the race, HRC would be getting as many votes as she was then, and her nearest rival would be getting half as many as BHO. In the interim, she's captured more of that 'surplus' as folks have come down out of the hills to vote against the black guy. But if you imagine the race without him, she wins pretty easily -- my friend the guv was wrong, but it was 30 months ahead.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:38 PM
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236: It's just taking me back, is all. I've missed a troll who could match the Troll of Sorrow's degree of sheer twittery, and seeing Bob morph into one is admittedly pretty diverting.

238: Certainly if Obama could get only vlack votes he would have lost.

Yes, more whites voted for Obama than any other black Presidential candidate before him. Outside Bizarro World, Bob, that right there is a pretty strong case for race playing less of a role than usual.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:40 PM
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So, to sum up the thread: Obama didn't win, Hillary lost -- mostly because of Mark Penn. Everyone in favor say "Aye".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:43 PM
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These polls #s make me less inclined to believe Edwards could've won. They also give the lie to the idea that the fact that more educated & higher income whites favored Obama proves that he is out to screw the working man & doesn't care about health care--unless Edwards was also out to screw the working man & didn't care about health care. Bradley's more ambitious health care plan didn't get him much traction with lower income voters in 2000, either. People default to supporting the incumbent, or quasi-incumbent like Gore in 2000 or Clinton in 2008 w/o a compelling reason not to. The war was compelling enough for a lot of people, but I don't think it would've been sufficient by itself.

Speaking of Gore, I think he might've been able to beat Clinton had he wanted to run, but who the hell knows.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:50 PM
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240.1: Everybody needs a hobby, but you might want to consider fishing or analingus or golf or something.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:50 PM
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THESE poll numbers.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:51 PM
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243: From what I understand, analingus is more of a vocation.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:53 PM
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I think BHO had something that Edwards didn't coming out of NH.>/i>

I'd almost forgiven that "warhawk as fashion statement" era before the same people turned on Edwards.
Why? What did Edwards do wrong?

He couldn't win, wasn't cool, wasn't fucking popular enough anymore? I ain't cool, I voted for him in Texas.

Okay, okay, Obama isn't the black candadate. Obama is the effete urban twit candidate. Been my point all along.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:53 PM
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Obama isn't the black candadate. Obama is the effete urban twit candidate.

He's both. That's what we've been trying to say. No other candidate could have pulled off that combination. That, along with running a brilliant campaign to maximize delegates in every state, is why he was the only candidate that could defeat the designated successor to the only Democratic president to be elected twice since FDR in a Democratic primary campaign.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 4:57 PM
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245: Nun of that, now.

246: Let's see...lives in Texas...hates them interlecturals and urban-type people...cranky when challenged...Bob, is there something you haven't been telling us?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:00 PM
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Edwards voted for the war too & while his policy proposals were left of Obama's, his record in office was very much not. You can say: well, Obama never had to get elected in North Carolina. But Edwards also wisely realized that the room for him to win the presidential race was on the left. Overall, I trusted him a bit more on domestic policy, & Obama a bit more on foreign policy, vastly preferred both to Clinton, & vacillated between them until Iowa. And no one turned on Edwards; I'd say he got the most favorable coverage from blogs; but after Iowa there was a perception that it was a two person race.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:00 PM
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The better effete urban twit, more likely to enoble Clinton-bashing, won.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:00 PM
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Bob, I'm not sure Edwards did anything wrong. If he had beaten Obama in Iowa, he might have done better among blacks in SC. The signal that Obama wasn't going to be a marginal candidate was strong from Iowa, and made a big difference. Thus, Bill Clinton's attempt to marginalize SC fell flat.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:01 PM
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Des Moines is notorious for its effete urban twits.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:02 PM
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I've missed a troll who could match the Troll of Sorrow's degree of sheer twittery, and seeing Bob morph into one is admittedly pretty diverting.

Bob's no twit. He's got some kind of Old Left survivalist working-class misanthropy thing going and he's just pushing it to the max.

Gabriel is right in 247, in that Obama is the only candidate ever who could so easily unite the two most powerful factions in the modern Democratic coalition, blacks and highly educated urban cosmopolitan types. But there are others who could have beaten Hillary -- Gore for one. I actually think the nomination was Gore's if he wanted it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:04 PM
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247 + 251 get it right.

DS, I think you're right to qualify the "Obama won because he was black" thing; however, I believe that once Obama proved himself as a viable candidate to black voters--which, as you've pointed out here before, wasn't inevitable--they took themselves out of the game, leaving a very small pie for everyone else to fight over. Black voters are a critical component of a Democratic coalition. I don't know the history as to how unified they have been in other primary contests, but I don't think, for example, Dean ever polled very well with them.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:07 PM
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245: And how.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:09 PM
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Bob is not anti-intellectual and I don't think that he really claims to be working class.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:11 PM
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254: Yes, I think that's pretty accurate, but I don't know that the rest of the pie was all that small. Maybe I'm misremembering, but I'm pretty sure Jesse Jackson was able to mostly unify the black vote without achieving overall success, esp. in his second outing. Am I wrong on that? I could very well be wrong on that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:13 PM
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256: You mean he's an Obama class traitor? The nerve!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:13 PM
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257: I'm still looking, but I did learn that the 1988 presidential ballot included both Eugene McCarthty ("Consumer Party") and Ron Paul as Libertarian. Not to mention evergreens Lenora Fulani and Lyndon LaRouche.

My dorm-mate voted for Lenora Fulani in 1992. He was on to Clinton early.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:18 PM
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Bob has already admitted that he comments as performance art. Why you people continue to sift his turds for bits of gold, I will never understand.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:18 PM
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260: So did the ToS. (Okay, okay, Bob's not quite on the same level overall, but on this topic his close.) Sifting the turds? I kinda think they're just turds.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:21 PM
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Still can't find a breakdown that good, but check out the states Jackson won in 1988. More than I remembered, and more than 1984, which I'd thought was more successful an outing.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:21 PM
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his s/b he's obvs.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:21 PM
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262: I think he doubled his '84 performance in '88.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:22 PM
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Don't defend me John

I got like seven football & wrestling coaches in my extended family, and every one of them has an advanced degree. So there. Anti-intellectual, phooey.

Most days I don't know what "working class" and "intellectual" mean. Except that I should be reading & thinking stead of playin on blogs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:23 PM
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262: Jesse Jackson won Vermont & Alaska? That I did not know.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:24 PM
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Dukakis won the Vermont primary, but Jackson was the caucus.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:27 PM
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Bob, the football and wrestling coaches I can't accept. 3 or 4, maybe, but 7 is over the line. No more biscuits for you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:28 PM
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1968 exit polls show that Humphrey won the union and ethnic votes handily.

So England now counts as ethnic? Who knew. Or are we assuming she would have been union (whose members, according to wiki, had to be aggressively won back from Wallace for Humphries)?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:31 PM
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At the risk of coining a phrase, the personal is political. Clinton's lousy campaign, with its failure to consider contigencies, ignorant arrogance, and blithe disregard for the significance of alternatives is almost inevitable, given her whole Washington history. If you want to be a pro-war "centrist" Democrat, you're going to be part of the DLC scene, and that's how they run campaigns. Mark Penn is a special jewel in the Tid-E-Bowl crown, but if it wasn't him, it'd be someone with the same stupid views about how to campaign. If you wanted to on DLC-ish ideas but competently, you'd have to go entirely outside her circle of long-time friends and colleagues, and they have a history of revenge-seeking for perceived slights, let alone real ones.

I don't think Clinton could have run a radically better campaign on her policies, given the society of Washington DC since her husband's first administration.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:47 PM
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Dick Morris is vengeful? George Stephanopolous is resentful? I never heard such a thing.

Mark Penn still goes to the hogs. He may not be solely to blame, but he's utterly hogworthy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:50 PM
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Bob has already admitted that he comments as performance art

What ogged, you're blogging about swimsuits to change the world and improve mankind?

Now commenting as self-expression may be inferior to commenting as persuasion, enlightenment, or conversation, but I am not so clear as how one clearly distinguishes.

Rorty and his son Matthew don't help much in their skepticism about the efficacy of persuasive speech and futility of argument.

I am trying to think more socially as I solipsize online.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:05 PM
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he's utterly hogworthy

Comity.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:15 PM
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Mark Penn really is hogworthy; I think that a significant chunk of Clinton's problems do come from her continued confidence in him and his continued utter incapacity for the kind of job this primary called for. It's just that I think nobody available in terms of being acceptable in that circle is capable of running the kind of campaign it would take.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:23 PM
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I'm all torn up about this contest, and I don't even have a vote.

Given how things have played out, I do think it's a bit unfortunate that it had to be the unprecedented African-American candidacy versus the unprecedented female candidacy. I can't help wondering how things would have looked had it been either the black man or the white woman against a white man. One "unprecedented" at a time, in other words.

Then again: It's a bit much to read the smug punditry of someone like Brooks, doing a concern-troll gloat over how this campaign has exposed the deep divisions within the Democratic party and blah blah blah. Yeah, I guess the GOP is more unified, since their slate of presidential hopefuls only included white guys who qualify for the seniors' discount at the Red Lobster.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:50 PM
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white guys who qualify for the seniors' discount at the Red Lobster.

But would never in a million years actually eat there, unless they were campaigning.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:55 PM
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Not that I blame them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:57 PM
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For that, I mean.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:57 PM
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This is hilarious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:58 PM
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Rory loves Red Lobster. Because I let her order the lobster. It's very exciting.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:02 PM
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279 *is* hilarious. Watching the right eat itself is awesome.

OTOH, it's kind of turning my stomach to think we may owe an Obama presidency to Chris Matthews, at least in part.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:16 PM
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Yeah, I guess the GOP is more unified, since their slate of presidential hopefuls only included white guys who qualify for the seniors' discount at the Red Lobster.

They're so unified, the money backed one candidate, the churches backed another, and the Cryptkeeper snuck away with the nomination.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:20 PM
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Mary Katherine, a whole lot of agreement about #275. And, for that matter, with the original post, LizardBreath.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:22 PM
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You have to have a pretty short memory to buy Clinton as the candidate of the white, working class voter.

I'm sorry, this just isn't true. At fucking all.

Who (conventionally) votes for recognizably-named, dynastic candidates? Working class voters. Who has always (in the last 5 years anyway) mistrusted Hillary Clinton? Cosmopolitan/sophisticated/elite/highly educated/Unfogged-commenting voters.

So who the fuck was supposed to be making HRC the universally-acknowledged frontrunner? Was she the black candidate?

Talk about revisionism.

To be fair, HRC didn't start out running a working class-targeted campaign. As frontrunner, she was basically playing the "All Dems should vote for me" game. But it was always treated as a given that she would be strong with working class voters (white and black). The questions were whether Edwards could take away whites (no) and/or Obama could take away blacks (yes).

I think some people are confusing the fact that the Clintons (since 1992) have been part of the elite with them actually being the candidates of the elite. It has never been so. Not in '92, '96, '00 (Gore, who was challenged by elite-beloved Bradley), nor in '08. HRC won over New Yorkers not by wooing elites (TBH, she already had their $$ through Bill), but by going to every godforsaken county in upstate New York and talking to working class people until she convinced them that she wasn't an elitist.*

* One of her tricks was not calling them "Sweetie" while utterly dismissing their concerns for their own livelihoods


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:28 PM
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Holy crap, 279 is awesome. I'm no fan of Chris Matthews, but that was just excellent.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:52 PM
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285: Yes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:04 PM
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285: He called a reporter sweetie. In other words, not really somone from the ranks of the hallowed working class. Still, not a great move, to be sure. But before you suggest that Obama dismisses the concerns of working-class people, you might want to get the facts straight.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:10 PM
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You also might want to stop fucking using "elites" to disparage people for getting college degrees. Unless you don't mind sounding like Karl Rove.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:12 PM
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284: You're ignoring or forgetting Edwards. The claim as I understand it, is more against the idea of Clinton-the-populist-candidate rather than arguing that the Clintons haven't been appealing to white working class voters. She didn't start that way; she started as someone who had reasonable support from all areas of the Democratic Party, which is why she and her campaign thought this would be over quickly and decided in her favor. She wasn't the candidate of the working class; she was the presumptive front runner.

The march of the past few weeks towards 'the only real Americans are the 17% of WVians who acknowledge they won't vote for a black man' is a new strain, not one that was in the campaign from the beginning. Read some of the older news articles for how the breakdown went; two months ago we were hearing 'elderly voters,' 'older women', 'Hispanics.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:15 PM
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287 to 284, I imagine, unless you want to start somethin'.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:18 PM
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I think 284 is entirely fair (I haven't followed the argument that led up to it). It's not discouraging people from getting college degrees to acknowledge that for a lot of blue collar workers, a college education is a mark of being "in another world." I'm thinking of my best friend's mother, who has said that her daughter "doesn't live in the real world" for *years*, because it was always clear--even in h.s.--that said daughter was going to college and was going to identify with the educated classes. And this is a woman (the friend, not her mother) who is about as down with the gente as you can get while still earning your PhD.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:21 PM
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Sure it is. Get that college degree, you'll be elite and no one will want to talk to you any more because you're not really like them.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:22 PM
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287: Be fair, though; he blew off a reporter who was specifically asking about what he was going to do for working people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:22 PM
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287: Ari, I think he had called a factory worker sweetie earlier.

Would Gore have been a strong candidate? He was antiwar, but I think that he'd lose his personality and turn all wooden as soon as he was running for office.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:24 PM
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290: You talkin' to me?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:25 PM
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292: Sure it is discouraging people?

I see your point as far as the larger discourse goes. But I don't think that it's at all fair to say that that's what JRoth is doing. And I also don't think that acknowledging that that does, in fact, happen--that people get the degrees and then they're seen as "different" and that presents problems--is the cause of that problem. Ignoring something doesn't make it go away.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:25 PM
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Clinton also lost upstate--overall & most counties--in 2000 & won on the strength of the dread New York City elites (not that there aren't poor people in NYC, naturally). Admittedly, she kept it closer than might have been expected, & I'm sure the listening tour thing helped an awful lot; she held Lazio to a small margin in the suburbs & upstate & won on the strength of her landslide in NYC.

Treating education & not wealth as the mark of class is a GOP strategy which Rove uses constantly. Our policies are screwing you over in favor of the rich? Look over there, a latte drinker in Cambridge thinks he's better than you!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:25 PM
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293: Be fair: it was a stupid, leading question. He shouldn't have called her sweetie; he should have ignored her.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:26 PM
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That the GOP uses the education-as-class-marker thing doesn't mean that, in fact, education isn't a class marker. It is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:27 PM
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Well, b, the word "elites" sets off blaring alarm bells in my head. It is pretty much always used disparagingly.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:28 PM
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Whatever, b. I find it insulting & hostile.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:29 PM
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it was a stupid, leading question

Was it? Other than that one clip, I really haven't looked into the rest of his actions/statements there. It doesn't on the face of it seem like an unreasonable question at all: candidate is taking photo op with working people, reporter says "what are you actually going to *do* for working people?" I wish more reporters did that sort of thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:29 PM
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Oops, I didn't actually intend to post two consecutive comments saying the exact same thing.
Here's an attempt to be more reasonable: Trying to drive a wedge between students & workers based on cultural resentment rather than actual conflicting interests has been a right wing tactic for decades if not longer. And that is what 9 out of 10 people using the word "elite" to mean "college or postgraduate educated" are doing.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:32 PM
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287: Ari, I know the facts goddamn well. Are you seriously suggesting that the Obama who casually and condescendingly dismisses the concerns of a reporter asking questions about the jobs of factory workers would never, ever, do something comparable to an actual factory worker (if it were a female, of course)?

Please.

That said, it was a dig, of course. Digs aren't always scrupulously fair.

You also might want to stop fucking using "elites" to disparage people for getting college degrees. Unless you don't mind sounding like Karl Rove.

Respectfully, screw off. It's in a list with "Unfogged commenters." Is that also a favorite term of Karl Rove? I was (playfully) suggesting that the opposite of "working class" is not easily phrased.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:33 PM
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294: Really? When? Where? Given the current sweetie-gate, I'm surprised that I haven't heard about this earlier transgression. Which isn't to say that it didn't happen. I'm just surprised and somewhat incredulous.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:33 PM
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Here you go, Ari. End of the piece.

303: It has, yes. That said, the wedge exists. Just ask non-traditional college students (usually blue collar) on a campus where they're surrounded by traditionals (usually middle class). I think resenting the *way* "elites" are dismissed by the right is fair, but resenting the fact that education is part of social class is silly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:37 PM
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Sure, it's a class marker. But look, if you go to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, you're probably not having the same kind of life as someone who went to Brown, and 'elites' conflates the two.

Quick example. Obama's support is only from elites, right? Trust fund scum bags whose biggest decision is whether to have their cherimoya before or after their latte. We can ignore those people and his support, because they're nothing like you or me. Not like the kid working through the state school.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:37 PM
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Are you seriously suggesting that the Obama who casually and condescendingly dismisses the concerns of a reporter asking questions about the jobs of factory workers would never, ever, do something comparable to an actual factory worker (if it were a female, of course)?

I'm genuinely sorry that the candidate you admire lost. Well, I'm sorry for you. Seriousuly, I can totally empathize, having never had my favored candidate win before this primary (A portent of doom? Perhaps.). That said, I don't even know what to say about the above hypothetical. Especially because it's followed by a suggestion that you were kidding around. If that was the case, my bad. If not, I think you're way, way off base -- in the first instance and here.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:37 PM
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Of course, the kid working through the state school does count as that 18-30-year-old elite support.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:38 PM
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if you go to Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, you're probably not having the same kind of life as someone who went to Brown, and 'elites' conflates the two.

Absolutely true. OTOH, an awful lot of us here assembled have been to Ivy League or equivalent schools, right? Plus 306.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:38 PM
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Ummm, has JRoth seen the post about SweetieGate with the link to Obama's apology? I don't get the impression he has.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:39 PM
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306: Huh, he apparently calls women sweetie semi-regularly, which is incredibly stupid and easily construed as insulting. Still the real issue is whether he dissmisses the concerns of working people, which was (or wasn't) the point of JRoth's comment and also the implication (as I read it) of Bostoniangirl's.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:41 PM
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310: I think it's a stretch to argue that by 'wooing elites' in NY JRoth meant Unfogged commenters, but whatever.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:41 PM
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311 - Maybe he just read the asslicking parts.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:42 PM
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Right, well, for the record I don't believe that Obama dismisses the concerns of working people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:44 PM
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Whatever. Yes, that's how that term is used. It's equivalent to "Democrat Party." You really didn't know you sounded like Rove?

1. In his interview with Rush Limbaugh this afternoon, Karl Rove claimed that the people criticizing Bush are "sort of elite, effete snobs who can't hold a candle to this guy. What they don't like about him is that he is common sense, that he is Middle America."

2. "You argue the son of a single working mom can't be an elitist. But it's not where you start in life; it's where you end up. After a prestigious prep school, Columbia and Harvard, you've ended up with the values of Cambridge, San Francisco and Hyde Park. So you're doing badly in Scranton, Youngstown and Erie, where ordinary Americans live."

etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:44 PM
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Oh, and I see that B has my back. Thanks, B.

289: I don't think I really disagree with this, Cala. But my objection to the bit I quoted in 284 is that it suggests (falsely) that Clinton wasn't originally supposed to get working class white votes.* She was - especially those of women (as I'd said above, the men were in some doubt). There was an idea that Edwards might get those votes, but, as it played out, he didn't.

But it's not as if Clinton only started getting working class white voters after Obama started winning blacks and down-with-the-gente yet educated voters, or after Edwards quit. She was always getting a chunk of those, and was expected to.

As Katherine said in 297:

Admittedly, she kept it closer than might have been expected, & I'm sure the listening tour thing helped an awful lot; she held Lazio to a small margin in the suburbs & upstate & won on the strength of her landslide in NYC.

Upstate NY is Republican country. It doesn't say anything bad about HRC's connection with working class voters that she didn't actually win those counties. It would've said something had she been blown out in them. But no Dem without upstate roots or incumbency could be expected to win (much) upstate. Rendell doesn't win Cambria or Lawrence Counties, but it's not because he doesn't get working class votes.

* I apologize if the original comment wasn't intended to suggest that


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:44 PM
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As I said up above, even here in the boonies where we marry our sisters we have people called "teachers" and they all have college degrees. Most have more than that. We also have doctors and lawyers. Really.

Course, as I have seen in thread after thread here, most went to landgrant or state colleges, so it is not like they are educated, really, not like a Harvard or Stanford grad.

It is not a college degree per se that blue collars find elitist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:46 PM
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312: No, Ari, I don't worry that he's dismissing the concerns of working people. I just was being nitpicky about the fact that one of the women whom he'd called sweetie was definitely working class.

JRoth, if it's any consolation, I can find you to a blog post by a healthcare guy in DC who says that Clinton's health plan wasn't likely to cover more people than Obama's despite a mandate.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:49 PM
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That the GOP uses the education-as-class-marker thing doesn't mean that, in fact, education isn't a class marker. It is.

Where I come from, no, it isn't. Those football coaches, doctors or lawyers make a little more money, but they aren't "better"



Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:49 PM
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I have to agree with JRoth in 284. I live in a basically white (or "ethnic white," I guess, if that makes any sense) working-class neighbourhood, where Senator (Hillary) Clinton's visit to the local diner a couple of years ago (well before the primaries, I mean) was a real event. There is genuine affection/admiration for her here, and not just on the part of old women, or "women of a certain age," or however that demographic is currently labelled and/or dismissed. There's an odd disconnect between what I read on the blogs, and what I've observed over the past six years in my own neighbourhood. Her appeal to working-class voters is nothing new, and runs deeper than some, apparently, would like to think.



Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:50 PM
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311: As I said in 304, my line was a dig, not a serious political argument.

That said:

1. I don't care that he apologized. I don't mean that it's unforgivable, or uniquely awful, or proves him unworthy of the presidency. But I'm very serious that I don't think that what he said, and how he said it, was just a slip of the tongue. He calls it a bad habit. Whatever. It was incredibly disrespectful, something I couldn't imagine saying in that way under any circumstance. I think of situations where I'm dealing with someone asking me a question I don't want to deal with (because I think it's dumb, or I'm otherwise occupied), and I think of acting that way, and I cringe. If it somehow slipped out, I would stop everything and apologize on the spot.

2. The word sweetie was condescending to the reporter. The blowing off of the reporter was condescending to the workers on whose behalf the reporter's question was asked. Maybe it was an insubstantial question. Fine; give an insubstantial reply. That's a pol's job. Remember how all the journos made fun of that town hall meeting HRC held where she answered every goddamn question from the audience, and everyone got bored? Whatever else Clinton was doing that day, she was being respectful to the people who had come to see her.

3. I don't think that clip proves Obama hates white workers, or that superdelegates should subvert the voting process. It cost some of my respect for Obama, but that's about all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:54 PM
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321: Because I make it a policy never to disagree with Mary Catherine -- this is a matter of Canadian solidarity -- or Cala, I just want to clarify that I wasn't quibbling with that part of JRoth's comment.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:55 PM
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"But it's not as if Clinton only started getting working class white voters after Obama started winning blacks and down-with-the-gente yet educated voters, or after Edwards quit. She was always getting a chunk of those, and was expected to."

This is quite true. I wasn't disagreeing--upthread I linked to exit polls showing how much better Clinton did among lower-income voters than Edwards. It's just, "elites" is so commonly used a certain way that it has a real fingernails-on-the-chalkboard quality, and it is so close to ubiquitous in the media & among GOP operatives that I find it hard to believe people are genuinely not aware of that.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:55 PM
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Ok, let me put it this way. If you are born in Waxahachie, live and eat lunch and raise our kids in Waxahachie, and die in Waxahachie, nobody much is going to mind your three doctorates.

If you think your three doctorates make you too good for Waxahachie, guess what, you are elitist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:56 PM
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There's an odd disconnect between what I read on the blogs, and what I've observed over the past six years in my own neighbourhood. Her appeal to working-class voters is nothing new, and runs deeper than some, apparently, would like to think.

I'm sure that's true, but, as suggested by Katherine, that's an attribute that they worried a lot about when she ran for the Senate initially, and she spent $30 mil. while effectively unopposed to get her numbers up in her second run. But, as well, the Clinton years were good years for many people, and I'm sure that there was also always a lot of fondness for her among working class voters who voted Democrat.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:59 PM
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319: Oh, sorry about that. My mistake.

322: Given that you were kidding, I'm sorry to have jumped on you. And I was serious about empathizing with what I imagine must be your frustration over Clinton's loss.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:00 PM
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322: So, it wasn't a serious political argument, but it's a serious political argument. Okay then.

The word "sweetie" was condescending, but I can see it being unintentionally so, and the working-up of ultra-dudgeon over this rather reminds me of other major Obamian political scandals like PeriodicallyGate and ClawsGate and FiftySevenGate. The fainting couch is going to well and truly worn out before August at this rate.

The blowing-off of the reporter's question is much more serious. To make up for that, Obama's team had certainly better schedule an interview with Agar and had better have an answer to her question.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:03 PM
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308: Ari, sweetie, I voted for Obama. But please try to psychoanalyze me again later. Maybe you'll get somewhere in the right neighborhood.

I don't know what the hell whipped up this frenzy. I guess it was time for a 2 Minute Hillary Hate. But here's how the word "elite" was first used in my comment:

Who (conventionally) votes for recognizably-named, dynastic candidates? Working class voters. Who has always (in the last 5 years anyway) mistrusted Hillary Clinton? Cosmopolitan/sophisticated/elite/highly educated/Unfogged-commenting voters.

Are all of you so deep in the political morass that you really think I was trying to gin up Republican-style class war with the latter phrase? Shit, it says "cosmopolitan" - I must be an anti-Semite!

It was supposed to be light, people. In one corner, working class voters; in the other... the other kind of voter.

As for the other part, talking about whether HRC was a candidate of the elite... I was thinking out loud. I'm not sure what part of that read like Daily Report from Rove Central. I guess Katherine thinks we shouldn't ever use that word again, even amongst ourselves. I eagerly await report on other Banned Words. Maybe "liberal."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:05 PM
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323: Canadian solidarity

Ari, you are a very, very funny guy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:05 PM
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Whatever.

Here's one for y'all rule lovers, and I should link. Bob Bechtel says the VP is HRC's if she wants it, because she will have a little less than half the delegates, because many of the supers will give the VP especially if they give Obama the Presidency, and because who becomes VP is fucking not Obama's decision to make.

The delegates choose the Vice Presidential candidate with more autonomy than when they select the Presidential Candidate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:12 PM
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DS: Here, in this thread, I was making a light reference to the news of the day in an asterisked aside. It was a funny (I thought) way to contrast a candidate recognized as getting support from factory workers with one who acted poorly in a factory the other day. That's why I say it wasn't a big deal. "Sweetie" was in no way central to my claims that HRC spent a lot of time rubbing elbows with working class New Yorkers in order to develop a base of support with them.

But, as I said in the other thread, I took Obama's words and actions as a pretty offensive breach. I don't think you can wave them away with references to fainting couches - as you evidently agree, with your note that he owes Agar an interview.

I'm not sure what your disagreement is here, except maybe not liking it when Obama steps in it. He stepped in it. It's OK. Just don't pretend it doesn't smell bad and mark up the carpets.

Oh, and Katherine, 329 came before I saw 324; I would've used a nicer tone. I understand how "elites" makes you feel, but as I said, we're all friends here, and the race is over - no need to be touchy when we're just talking.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:12 PM
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Have a doughnut, Ari! Maple-glazed, even.

Oh, everything is so impossibly complicated, and if only we had an easier-peasier understanding of the universe and the laws according to which it is governed, we could all vote conservative with a clear conscience, and we would undoubtedly sleep better and report higher levels of happiness and life-goal satisfaction when surveyed by the pollsters. I get what Katherine is getting at, in terms of the Rovian smear strategy against the "elite," I truly do. But I also think it's basically bullshit to deny that class has to do with social capital (education, say, and informal networks of opportunity, and etc.), and not just with absolute levels of wealth or income.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:13 PM
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226 is probably the key comment in this thread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:14 PM
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The analogy I made was "Democrat party." It's a slightly less reliable dog whistle--only 9 out of 10 uses are meant as insults instead of 10 out of 10. Still pretty reliable.

Hey look, another example, from Bush's speech to the Knesset:

"As we go forward, our alliance will be guided by clear principles -- shared convictions rooted in moral clarity and unswayed by popularity polls or the shifting opinions of international elites."


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:15 PM
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335 is crossed with 332.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:16 PM
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I pay no attention to what Republicans say.

But unless in total ignorance of the history and rules of conventions, "Who is Obama gonna choose for VP" is very definitely elitist. It's a good thing to ignore the delegates in favor of the infinite wisdom of the Autarch? Nothing more elitist than trying to subvert democracy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:24 PM
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But I also think it's basically bullshit to deny that class has to do with social capital (education, say, and informal networks of opportunity, and etc.), and not just with absolute levels of wealth or income.

I think that's true, particularly as regards opportunity. Really, the problem, I think, is that we don't have very good definitions of any of this anymore. Perhaps particularly along the lines of "working class" and "elites." I'm not sure when it fractured, though I would guess that it's tied to the disappearance of the traditional manufacturing jobs and the dramatic decrease in the strength of unions.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:24 PM
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329.1: Huh, will you look at that? I'm wrong again. I retract my empathy. And now that I'm freed up from feeling bad for you, your joke was fucking stupid.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:26 PM
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332: I'm not sure what your disagreement is here

I don't think it's very hard to understand. If "sweetie" had been it, there would basically be no "it." Ergo, talking about the Unbearable Condescension of Sweetie fails to impress.

OTOH, failing to answer the question -- or rather, failing to recognize when he was being handed a golden opportunity to opine about his economic platform while standing on the factory floor -- most definitely qualifies as stepping in it. Even if he does follow through and give her the interview, there's no getting that setting and that moment back.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:27 PM
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the working-up of ultra-dudgeon over this rather reminds me of other major Obamian political scandals like PeriodicallyGate and ClawsGate and FiftySevenGate.

Surely there was no "dudgeon" over FiftySevenGate? Some pointless wanking on the right, but no more than that.*

Personally, "periodically" and "claws" didn't offend me as such. At the time, I thought they were comparable to a few things that H or B Clinton had said that were being spun as Worse Than Hitler, but comparable in the sense of "not nothing, but no big deal, either." The "sweetie" thing to me is a bigger deal in the sense that it was the first time I've seen Obama look like the arrogant prick that he, as a presidential candidate, almost certainly is. As I said above, I can identify with that situation, and his response is shudder-worthy.

I keep talking about it, I guess, because I don't like it being dismissed. It wasn't an infelicitous turn of phrase, some sort of Freudian slip. It was an actual slip, him letting his inner prick out.

Boy, that's not a very felicitous turn of phrase, is it?

* Please don't tell me that Jeralyn developed dudgeon over it. I don't want to know.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:27 PM
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341.1: Probably not within Democrat ranks. I've seen people in other settings seriously contend that FiftySevenGate calls into question his fitness for the office. No, not joking.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:29 PM
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It was an actual slip, him letting his inner prick out.

Although I was kidding around in 339, I'm now back to disagreeing with you about the above.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:30 PM
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What pisses me off, at the end of the day, isn't that Obama wins or people pull for Obama or whatever. It's that people aren't grateful to Hillary and to Bill for all the work they put in fighting for the Democratic party over the years. Granted, they had their faults. Triangulation was the fault of fighters who had been battered on to the ropes by the force of the Republican reaction, which they took the brunt of. But the Clintons were pluggers and they put in a big effort for all of us over the years.

I loved how Obama hit back at Bush instantly after that bullshit "appeasement" thing earlier today. Where do you think he got that? The lesson the Clintons gave the party was the war room lesson: don't let a day go by without counterpunching at an attack. Be aggressive, stand up for yourself at all times. Gore and Kerry didn't fully absorb that, and they paid the price. Obama has absorbed it and also transformed it to fit his more thoughtful approach. Good for him! But good for the Clintons too! The party marches on!

Of course Hillary had trouble letting go, of course she stayed in there in the ring swinging after the TKO! She's a fighter! That's the Clinton spirit! After she shakes this off, she'll put her gloves back on. She'll be in there fighting for Obama , then she'll be back in the Senate holding his feet to the fire on universal health care. The Democratic party is barely organized chaos. Don't let that fool you into hating other Democrats!

OK, I'm a little drunk at the moment. But that didn't stop me from beating the pants off my downstairs neighbors in chess! And that won't stop Hillary from continuing to fight for progressive causes! This is the progressive moment , coming up.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:32 PM
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340: If he fails to answer her question without calling her "sweetie," her question would become the 38,836,984th unanswered press question of the campaign. It's possible that the condescension would've come through without the "sweetie," but there's no missing it. It's not a word that comes out in that situation if you're not condescending. It's a dead giveaway, that's all.

I suppose that, given your history with B on like topics, I shouldn't really be surprised at this disagreement. That's not a dig; the memories are just starting to come back.

Anyway, doesn't matter. The real question is, if Obama's a big appeaser, where's the next Munich? My guess is Abu Dhabi.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:35 PM
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Grateful for what? Bill Clinton got to be President of the United States for 8 years, and got to leverage his post-Presidential fame into being a millionaire. I owe him dick.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:35 PM
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OK, I'm a little drunk at the moment.

Such an annoying post until the above line. Then I fell in love with you all over again, PGD.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:36 PM
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I keep talking about it, I guess, because I don't like it being dismissed.

Sorry, I don't see how that's any different from "flipping the bird" or any of the various other molehill-isms that supposedly reveal the Beast Within Obama. Telling a reporter "we're going to answer questions over here" does not mark someone out as a raging prick. But he dropped the ball in not making sure that her question did get answered.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:37 PM
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It's actually sort of astonishing to look at different electoral college maps from different election years: 1928, 1952, and 1960, and 1968. Amazing transformation, especially when you think about the map now.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:38 PM
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But the Clintons were pluggers and they put in a big effort for all of us over the years.

Not the last seven, they didn't. Indeed, H. Clinton expressly worked to be seen as bipartisan and as working with Republicans. This was the lead in every story about her in her first few years in office.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:41 PM
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343: Really? You don't think there was anything prickish in that exchange? And if a student asked you a dumb question in class, and you said, "Hold on a sec, sweetie," that would be non-prickish?

Maybe we're just weighting the term (prickish) differently. I mean, most of the commenters here have been at least a little prickish to fellow commenters somewhere along the line - it's not a big deal. But, as I say, it's not nothing, either.

In 344, PGD is commenting sloppily.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:42 PM
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345: It's not a word that comes out in that situation if you're not condescending.

See, in real life, people have verbal tics that in fact do not tell you anything about their deep psyche. I mean hey, sure, Obama is probably an arrogant prick, why not, but "sweetie" just does not give you this information.

Yes, if I were having this conversation with B about now I'd be accusing her of reaching, and I'll tell you the same thing.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:42 PM
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Telling a reporter "we're going to answer questions over here" does not mark someone out as a raging prick.

Which is why "Sweetie" is the tell.

"Hold on a sec, we're going to answer questions over here"

"Sweetie, we're going to answer questions over here"

Those read exactly the same to you? You've got to be fucking kidding me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:45 PM
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I could quibble with parts of PGD's post but I applaud the overall sentiment. Long live the popular front!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:45 PM
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351: And if a student asked you a dumb question in class, and you said, "Hold on a sec, sweetie," that would be non-prickish?

Obama at that moment was having a conversation with someone else, not teaching a class. It is not prickish to want to finish a conversation when someone interrupts you with a question; "hold on a sec" was not Obama's mistake.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:45 PM
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351: A couple of commenters over at B's were sympathizing with Obama given the number of times they've said 'sweetheart' or 'I love you' to someone over the phone. I tend to call students 'kiddo', because they're the age of my sisters and that's what I call them most of the time.

That's probably a reach, but so is the thought that this reveals the sekrit misogynist in him. I think ogged had the right explanation up on the other thread: he's a charismatic guy, reportedly all about the personal connection, and he fucked up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:47 PM
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*to someone who wasn't an appropriate object of that sentiment, that is.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:47 PM
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351: Honestly, I have no idea what it reveals. Maybe that he's gotten very, very tired of being told that working-class whites won't vote for him -- even though that isn't necessarily true. Maybe he's tired of the fact that a member of his own party has been using his race against him and using working class a dog whistle for white racists. Maybe he's tired of the media looking for any excuse to write about rifts that might not amount to anything in the general election. Maybe he's just tired. I just don't know. I was disagreeing with your certitude that you do.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:47 PM
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353: Yeah, see, this really is like those fucking conversations about "periodically." I think I've sufficiently clarified my position.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:48 PM
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And I'm pwned over and over and over again. But at least I'm pwned by some of my favorite people instead of that ratfuck Jetpack.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:49 PM
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PGD is commenting sloppily.

So I'm a sloppy drunk, so what! The important thing is having the courage to put yourself out there and comment drunk! It's high-risk!

Indeed, H. Clinton expressly worked to be seen as bipartisan and as working with Republicans.

So, that caused her to lose, and to deserve to lose. Fine. But she doesn't deserve to be hated, is my point. She had PTSD from decades in trenches during the toughest part of the wars.

Also, did you guys see the Blue Dogs voting through the new tax on the rich to pay for the Webb GI bill? Democrats united!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:50 PM
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Also, I'd never call a student "sweetie." But then again, I'm not Barack Obama. I actually am a total prick.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:51 PM
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I have no idea what it reveals.

That he can, under some circumstances, act a little bit like an arrogant prick.

Not that he's a secret misogynist, not that he's an elitist, none of that shit. I don't know if you're all so worn out by this primary season that you can't see things anymore, or that you're convinced that I'm trying to use this to prove something Big. I'm not. But I'm incredulous that, if you were in the room to witness this exchange, you'd think, "Huh, he sure was respectful to that reporter. I wonder what gender the reporter is, and what their respective power levels are."

He put her in her fucking place. Not cool.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:54 PM
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I don't think he was respectful. I think he fucked up. I said that upthread. I'm just not sure what the fuck-up reveals beyond that he fucked up. That's my only point. Actually, there's also this: putting a dipshit reporter asking a leading (in my view) question in her place isn't the end of the world. It's actually not bad political theater. This just wasn't the time or place for such a move (again, in my view): not in the wake of West Virginia, not on a factory floor, not with a woman.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:59 PM
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363: You will not out-fucking-profane me, you fucking fuck. Fuck. Let's fucking do this.

Since you've said that "hold on a sec" and "we'll answer questions over here" are not part of this Totally Uncool Inferioritizing of Agar, AFAICS that means your entire case for this to be going on rests on the single word "sweetie." Dude, that's stupid. I'm sorry.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:00 PM
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But she doesn't deserve to be hated, is my point.

She's not, really. Ten minutes after Obama's nomination is secure, she'll be beloved again.

He put her in her fucking place. Not cool.

I think this is the point of disagreement. I think everyone agrees that it was wrong, and that it can reasonably be read as condescending. Most of us would have winced, I think. I'm not sure that most people think he intended to put her in her place. (At least not because of the "Sweetie.") It may have a similar effect, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:01 PM
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Look, JRoth, I agree that Obama has revealed a human weakness he has to get under control. He had to discipline himself, repress his swagger, and connect to his humility. It wasn't just the "sweetie" part, but the act of blowing off a reporter on camera who was asking him about how he was going to help blue-collar workers in a swing state. That's a major slip for someone with his electoral weaknesses.

But if you look at his apology, it's pretty clear to me he gets it. One thing I truly like about Obama: I trust his discipline, focus, and reflectiveness to let him understand his own mistakes as he makes them. Hopefully the presidential bubble won't screw that up.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:02 PM
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(And yes, I too am on board that "sweetie" is a really unfortunate verbal tic, and apologizing was the right move. It's just this "what it reveals" stuff that isn't impressing me.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:03 PM
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367: Hey, you're not really drunk, are you?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:05 PM
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The "sweetie" thing bothers me precisely because I think of it as an affectation that would better be not affected.

As usual, it's all about (or almost all about) context. So, for example, if the cabbie or the grocer calls me "hon" or "sweetie" (which sometimes he does, and, yeah, him too), I'm probably not going to be offended. If I were giving a paper at an academic conference, however, and the chair of the panel were to call me "sweetie," I would be pretty seriously f***ing taken aback, and not a little offended.

I think of Obama as much closer to the chair of an academic panel than to the cab driver, what with the degrees from Columbia and Harvard Law and all. And well, yeah, I know he's good-looking and studly and way cool and all, but I just do think of him in that way, and in those terms. And given his age and his educational and also his socioeconomic background, well, I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing any good reason, or any plausible excuse, for his addressing women (whether factory workers or reporters or what have you) as "sweetie." I think he's affecting some stance or other that's all ickily "authentically" male, and I'm just not at all inclined to sign on to it.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:06 PM
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Hey, you're not really drunk, are you?

I'm a cheap drunk, and then I sober up fast. It's kind of remarkable. I was just cresting the peak in 344, then the rapid downhill.

I was totally drunk off my ass when I beat that guy at chess, though. It was great. I played a super aggressive, very intuitive game and he wasn't good enough to see the flaws.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:11 PM
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but I'm just not seeing any good reason, or any plausible excuse, for his addressing women (whether factory workers or reporters or what have you) as "sweetie." I think he's affecting some stance or other that's all ickily "authentically" male, and I'm just not at all inclined to sign on to it.

Or it's for the same reason Apo--or any number of other commenters, as noted abov--does it: acculturation.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:15 PM
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372: Acculturation into what culture, though? Obama no more belongs to a culture where any random female is a "sweetie" than does my pet rock. Sorry, but no, I'm not buying shares in that stock.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:28 PM
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I think perhaps you're overrating the presumed refinement of settings like Columbia and Harvard Law.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:32 PM
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I agree completely with 370. Well, maybe not quite with the last sentence. But the rest -- right on, MC.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:35 PM
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Acculturation into what culture, though? Obama no more belongs to a culture where any random female is a "sweetie" than does my pet rock. Sorry, but no, I'm not buying shares in that stock.

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of commonalities between African-American culture (Obama) and Southern culture (Apo).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:36 PM
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I would guess he got "sweetied" a great deal on the South Side, but knew damn well not to "sweetie" his female colleagues at U.Chicago. First & last sentence of 370 don't make sense to me though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:41 PM
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I think perhaps you're overrating the presumed refinement of settings like Columbia and Harvard Law.

I'm pretty sure I'm not, actually. But Mother of Ste. Anne de Beaupré, who said anything about "refinement"? I'm talking about norms of discourse and shit, and pretty much presupposing that power struggles lie beneath, if not at the very surface...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:50 PM
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What pisses me off, at the end of the day, isn't that Obama wins or people pull for Obama or whatever. It's that people aren't grateful to Hillary and to Bill for all the work they put in fighting for the Democratic party over the years.

What pisses a lot of people off is that despite our votes giving them the Presidency, a Senate seat, and fabulous levels of wealth, the Clintons aren't grateful enough to be better Democrats.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:59 PM
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I would guess he got "sweetied" a great deal on the South Side, but knew damn well not to "sweetie" his female colleagues at U.Chicago.

I'm betting running for President is much more like what he did on the South Side than what he did at U Chicago.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 12:04 AM
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First & last sentence of 370 don't make sense to me though.

Replay the clip, and listen to how at least one (but possibly two or more) member[s] of his all-male entourage chuckle[s] when he "sweeties" the female reporter. I think you'll get it, if you are so inclined.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 12:07 AM
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378: The similarly-exclusive Georgetown environment gave birth to Late Night Shots, and Tucker Max went to Duke (a rung lower but hardly a podunk institution), so I guess what I'm saying is I don't see how the discursive environments of exclusive American law schools would be so thoroughly attuned to the finer valences of a word like "sweetie." But of course, there are probably people here with enough experience at such schools to tell us.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 12:26 AM
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I'm just not at all inclined to sign on to it says someone about as favorable to BHO as McManus.

It's OK, though. Obviously we can each be bothered by what we're bothered by, and I'm not an apologist for this thing at all. It is a 'bad habit' if indeed he has the habit. Compared to the man he would supplant, the very King of the Deprecating Nickname, this seems pretty small potatoes, and a lesson pretty quickly learned.

But she doesn't deserve to be hated, is my point

I don't hate her. If we lose in November, and she hasn't done everything in her power to move the people who are now supprting her, and going around saying they'd rather vote for McCain that Obama, I might start.

And people saying that (none of whom have commented above, but some of whom might read these words)? Stop telling me you think Roe is important. Or UHC.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 4:56 AM
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The similarly-exclusive Georgetown environment gave birth to Late Night Shots, and Tucker Max went to Duke (a rung lower but hardly a podunk institution), so I guess what I'm saying is I don't see how the discursive environments of exclusive American law schools would be so thoroughly attuned to the finer valences of a word like "sweetie."

That's exactly, as I understand it, Mary Catherine's point. Obama doesn't come from a place where he got used to 'sweetie'ing people as a kid; he's not a Southerner, he didn't grow up in urban African American culture. His usage of it does sound kind of like Tucker Max and Late Night Shots, that's the kind of person who picks up talking like that in elite schools, and that's not a culture I like my presidential candidates affiliated with.

He apologized, which is great, but he really did have something to apologize for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 6:02 AM
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I don't think he was respectful. I think he fucked up. I said that upthread. I'm just not sure what the fuck-up reveals beyond that he fucked up. That's my only point. Actually, there's also this: putting a dipshit reporter asking a leading (in my view) question in her place isn't the end of the world.

I essentially agree with this statement.

I suspect that there is a lot of other evidence that would provide us with better insight into whether Obama treats women poorly.

We have all use condescending words, including gender specific ones, to others.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 6:31 AM
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Obama doesn't come from a place where he got used to 'sweetie'ing people as a kid; he's not a Southerner, he didn't grow up in urban African American culture.

1. I'm not sure what "kid" has to do with it. At almost any age, people instinctively pick up the vernacular of the people they're surrounded by. I certainly do. Or look at Emerson: you certainly wouldn't know that he is older than fire from the type of language he uses. (He usually seems more conversant in GA speak than me.) And politicians--at least good politicians--have this skill in spades. Bill Clinton was excellent at it.

2. If it's an African-American culture thing, I'd be surprised if it's a specifically urban African-American culture thing. I'd assume the opposite.

3. I think he was raised by his grandmother and mother in Kansas. I'm not sure how common that sort of language is there. I do think of Kansas as on the border of the South.

4. Assuming he's not a seekrit drunk, he still had to know it was a mistake in the specific context. He fucked up.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:40 AM
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||

It is just, personally, really nice that I can read a headline like "Obama to Respond to Bush 'Appeaser' Remarks" and think "oh, shit yeah."

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:46 AM
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He apologized, which is great, but he really did have something to apologize for.

Completely agreed. I sorta which she had responded with 'sure, champ', but I fear the point would have been lost.

Actually, there's also this: putting a dipshit reporter asking a leading (in my view) question in her place isn't the end of the world.

I think this is part of it; absent the 'sweetie', the 'hold your horses, we actually have this whole press conference right over here' wouldn't have been particularly offensive.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:55 AM
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384: that's the kind of person who picks up talking like that in elite schools, and that's not a culture I like my presidential candidates affiliated with.

Actually, I thought Mary Catherine's point was that Obama was closer to the chair of an academic panel than a cab driver, as though "sweetie" would be alien to an environment like Columbia and Harvard Law, but okay, what-ev. You don't like your presidential candidates affiliated with elite law schools? Good luck with that.

Basically, I agree with what SCMT said.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:05 AM
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Regardless, this story has clearly diminished my desire to have a beer with Obama.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:21 AM
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Obama in response to Bush's appeaser comment and McCain's hopping on that train: "They're trying to fool you, trying to scare you, and they're not telling you the truth because they cant win a foreign policy debate on the merits..."

I want to make sweet, sweet love to that man.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:53 AM
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Kansas is in the Deep South, as I've explained. Between global warming and Rush Limbaugh, the U.S. is 65% South. Draw a lin accross the mmiddle of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, swoop around upstate New York, and then follow the Appalchians down to Maryland.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 11:21 AM
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It's supposed to be 105 here today. Northern California is in the Deep South. Y'all.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 11:35 AM
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