The Kitchen Sink

By John Mulvey of Portland, Oregon. John is a progressive Democrat who supports Hillary Clinton for President.

There’s a lot of discussion in the press about “going negative.” The storyline today is that Clinton’s wins in the Rhode Island, Ohio and Texas primaries were a result of her going negative, and Obama will now be forced into going negative himself.

A couple of things should be said, I think.

First, Sen. Clinton has been accused of quite a bit in this campaign. In the last several days at Blue Oregon it’s been alleged, without substantiation, that she has had photos doctored in order to make Obama look “more black”; that she was responsible for his blunder with the Canadian government and NAFTA; and that she leaked the photo of Obama in Kenyan dress; that she’s questioned whether Obama is a Muslim; that she’s been colluding with the McCain campaign, that she’s “endorsed” McCain…

There’s not a shred of basis for any of this, and in fact it sounds more like a Roswell convention than a political debate.

What we did see was a tv commercial that ran in Texas. The ad doesn’t mention Obama, but merely presents Sen. Clinton as being the person you would want in charge in a crisis. This ad is the sum total of what Obama is calling “slash and burn” tactics, and a “kitchen sink” strategy. (That is, she’s been throwing everything she can find at him.)

All this has come after six months of debate about Sen. Clinton’s laugh, her suits, whether she’s a bitch, whether she’s “pimping out” her daughter… She’s routinely called a racist, a corporate shill and an enabler of George Bush. She’s been accused of trying to steal the election via superdelegates (although the conversation always goes strangely silent whenever a superdelegate pledges to Obama).

But as the media has been reporting today, Sen. Obama is now going to give Clinton some “slash and burn” of her own. Obama is now pushing two talking points: first, that Clinton hasn’t released her tax returns, and second, that she doesn’t have the foreign policy experience she claims to have.

Even apart from being substantively dubious, these two things just seem lame. Is this the best dirt they can find? If so, it seems that Clinton’s claim of being already vetted may be true. I don’t know if Obama’s people expect to find something new in the tax returns, but I can’t imagine there’s anything useful there. And a failure to find anything will just make him look more petty. As for experience in foreign policy, does he really want to have that debate?

Nobody can deny that Obama’s record deserves more scrutiny than it’s gotten so far, and every voter will benefit as more becomes known about him. He needs to answer questions about his record, just like everybody else.

There is a candidate who has felt the full force of the kitchen sink, and he’s not it.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    What we did see was a tv commercial that ran in Texas. The ad doesn’t mention Obama, but merely presents Sen. Clinton as being the person you would want in charge in a crisis. This ad is the sum total of what Obama is calling “slash and burn” tactics, and a “kitchen sink” strategy. (That is, she’s been throwing everything she can find at him.)

    Do you mean the red phone ad, with sleeping children? That fear-mongering ridiculousness?

    I grant that on many, many occasions, the media hasn't done well by Hillary. Not well at all. But that's no excuse for that terrible ad. No excuse.

    I'm also sure that others will talk you up about the McCain/Clinton strange executive-prowess stuff as well...

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    The Obama camp should call attention to the fact that Hillary looks very unpresidential when she attacks. An accusatory tone by a potential commander in chief should be reserved for those few significant moments when s/he really needs to convey the gravity of the situation. The need to throw the kitchen sink frequently only goes to how weak you really are...and how you don't know how to effectively delegate the dirty work to surrogates.

  • (Show?)

    Ben, it's not Obama supporters calling Clinton's relentless negativity the "kitchen sink" strategy, it's the Clinton campaign itself. Even before Iowa, Clinton called negative campaigning "the fun part of the campaign."

    Are you really trying to say that the "3 a.m." phone spot isn't a negative ad? That's about as credible as the Clinton campaign's efforts to pass off attacks on Obama's kindergarten essays as a joke.

  • (Show?)

    trying to get superdelegates to vote for you is one thing. Trying to use superdelgates to win an nomination you have virtually no chance of reaching any other way is sad. Obama will get to the convention with more votes, more delegates and more states. For everyone but the Clintons, that's what we call "the winner."

    Also, obama won Texas.

  • Stacy6 (unverified)
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    John, in your support for Hillary Clinton, you seem to have missed quite a lot. In the last few weeks, Clinton has compared Barack Obama to George Bush, Karl Rove, and Ken Starr. She has also brought up Rezko, Canada/NAFTA, accused him of “plagiarism”, questioned his crisis-management abilities at 3 a.m., claimed that the media favors him over her, claimed that his healthcare mailings are “Karl Rove-style politics”, wagged her finger at him saying ”Shame on you”, said that McCain’s experience is preferable to Obama’s, and complained that Obama didn’t hold holding hearings as chairman of a Senate subcommittee that is in charge of overseeing NATO troops in Afghanistan.

    She went through some of the most ridiculous verbal gymnastics in regards to Obama “denouncing” Farrakhan, but not “rejecting” him, while mocking a message of hope and unity. And then she did some further verbal gymnastics with the thing on “60 Minutes” — Obama’s not a Muslim “as far as I know”.

    That's what the kitchen sink is. That's what she's throwing at Obama. And then you mention things like the "pimping" comment as if they'd come from Obama. That's a pretty disgusting conflation you're trying to make there. He's run a pretty positive campaign so far, focusing on his strengths, his character, and his judgement. And now that he's going to defend himself from Clinton's scurrilous attacks, people like you cry foul. It's a little late for that, and more than a little hypocritical.

    It seems like Clinton can't run on her own merits. The only way she can proceed, apparently, is to attack her opponent with whatever she can throw. It's obvious to anyone who hasn't drunk the Klinton Kool-Aid that if she doesn't win, she doesn't care who does.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Blue Oregon officially has taken a decidedly pro-Clinton stance. May we please see a pro-Obama column to right the ship?

  • Democratic Voter (unverified)
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    Hey John, peddle your whining and trashy deceit elsewhere.

    Gary Hart was a spectacularly bad candidate also, but his Huffington Post piece "Breaking the Final Rule" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-hart/breaking-the-final-rule_b_90420.html) is why either people like you, the Clintons, and all their DLC pals need to leave the Democratic Party --- NOW --- or people like me are going to leave. If I wanted to vote for selfish lying weasels, I'd vote Republican, not someone who started out as low-life Goldwater Girl, and who through her political career working has worked with her husband and the DLC scumballs to corrupt our Party right in step with the Republican trash. (Don't misread this as enthusiastic support for Obama. I'll vote for him, but his wimpy supporters give me a pain in the rear. And make no mistake, I'm not saying all of his supporters are wimpy, just the kind of superficial idiots who don't have the slightest clue about what his actual policies are and just talk stupidly about how he has to "stay postive".)

  • (Show?)

    Charlie: wow, I didn't realize that was the money quote there. It's the fun part? Yikes...

  • (Show?)

    Blue Oregon officially has taken a decidedly pro-Clinton stance.

    No, not at all. Our three editors all back Obama in fact. And Blue Oregon does not endorse candidates anyway; we have individual contributors who post as they want.

    Frankly, a lot of us Obama supporters have been on phone the past few days. I think what you're seeing is a flurry of pro-Clinton activity the past few days to make up for the fact that they've ignored grass-roots media for months.

  • LT (unverified)
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    And here's another thing. There are historical examples of candidates (esp. Democrats) being so gung ho about winning the primary "at all costs" that one of the costs is alienating people, I mean people so disgusted with the primary that they either leave the ballot line blank, write in someone else/ vote 3rd party, or say "OK, the nominee has my vote PERIOD--no money, no volunteer time, no talking up the candidate to my friends".

    Hillary Clinton has been saying the states she won are the important states, dismissing the importance of states she lost. Isn't this the opposite of the 50 state strategy so many of us believe is necessary to win in November? And for those of us whose first choice was Edwards or some other candidate, Hillary isn't going to win us over by reminding us of the examples in the first paragraph.

    Some women have been actively involved in politics for a long time. If both candidates were investigated by the press back to the day they graduated from law school, wouldn't that mean scrutiny of Hillary Clinton working at the Rose Law Firm? Or does she want her record investigated back to 1992 and Obama's record reported on back to when he was a teenager?

  • (Show?)

    Hey John, peddle your whining and trashy deceit elsewhere.

    No, stick around: we're not going to agree on this one, but that's why they got 31 flavors.

  • joel (unverified)
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    There's seems to be plenty of character-bashing, quoting out of context, distortion, etc. to go around. For example, I had a look this morning at The Left Coaster, which likes to bill itself as "part of the reality based community" and, last time I checked, was still reasonably rational and even-handed (and I know one of the regular contributors). Today, as one example, I found this:

    "Not long ago, Sen. Obama said this:

    "'Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact I spent four years overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia.'

    "To which Sen. Joe Biden responded as follows: 'I think he's right,' Biden said smiling. 'That is his strongest [foreign policy] credential.' Anyone remember Biden being berated and trashed for that relentlessly? I don't."

    Now, as anyone familiar with this affair knows, Obama made his remark in the context of saying that living abroad had given him some sense of what life is like for people elsewhere. Seems entirely reasonable to me. I've lived abroad, and I'd say the say thing.

    But...if you want to distort things to make Obama look like a fool, then you lift things out of context. Gotcha. I suppose that feels good (in a perverse sort of way.)

    The same contributor has stuff about the Obama campaign allegedly urging the press to look into Bill Clinton's sex life, for example. When one follows the attribution trail, however, it turns into something along the lines of "I've heard that some guy whose name I don't know say down next to some reporter and urged him to check into whether Bill still can't keep his pants zipped."

    Sigh.

  • (Show?)

    I've been on the fence since Edwards dropped out.

    I have a certain tribal attachment to Hillary Clinton (women lawyers in our 50s with degrees from Yale) but deep concerns about her electability.

    I enjoy imagining a general election contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama, but I worry about Obama's ability to withstand the Republican kitchen sink onslaught.

    So I am still on the fence.

    But every time Hillary opens her mouth these days, she is pushing me away. I don't like this kind of campaigning and I don't like her approach.

    I'm just one data point.

  • joel (unverified)
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    And then there's this. (Not from Hillary Clinton)....

    Lawmaker: Terrorists to Cheer Obama Win

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Republican congressman said Friday that terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" if Democratic candidate Barack Obama were to win the presidency.

    Rep. Steve King based his prediction on Obama's pledge to pull troops out of Iraq, his Kenyan heritage and his middle name, Hussein.

    "The radical Islamists, the al-Qaida ... would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror," King said in an interview with the Daily Reporter in Spencer.

    King said his comments were not meant to demean Obama but to warn how an Obama presidency would look to the world.

    "His middle name does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that."

    The Illinois senator, born in Hawaii to a white Kansas woman and a Kenyan man, is a Christian and has said he has little connection to the Islamic religion, though he acknowledges he spent part of his childhood in largely Muslim Indonesia.

    In criticizing King, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "These comments have no place in our politics." He called on John McCain, the apparent Republican nominee, to "repudiate them like he has previous offensive comments from his supporters."

    Last month, McCain denounced an introduction from Cincinnati talk-show host Bill Cunningham, who referred to Obama three times as "Barack Hussein Obama."

  • (Show?)

    I've been on the fence since Edwards dropped out.

    I have a certain tribal attachment to Hillary Clinton (women lawyers in our 50s with degrees from Yale) but deep concerns about her electability.

    I enjoy imagining a general election contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama, but I worry about Obama's ability to withstand the Republican kitchen sink onslaught.

    So I am still on the fence.

    But every time Hillary opens her mouth these days, she is pushing me away. I don't like this kind of campaigning and I don't like her approach.

    I'm just one data point.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie, consider this: Obama started his campaign basically from scratch. It's remarkable. There's no opponent more formidable in a Democratic primary than Hillary Clinton and the Clintons' coast-to-coast network of friends and surrogates. But Obama has built the strongest grass-roots campaign of my lifetime, outperforming every prediction when this race started. He's the one attracting the Independents, Republicans and young voters. And he's the one pulling in massive numbers of first-time organizers and activists.

    A word on toughness: Demonstrating good judgment -- as Obama did on the most important foreign policy question in a generation -- is just the first step. You can have the greatest judgment in the world, but if you're not willing to make the tough call, no matter what the political environment, what good is it? It's not just that Obama got it right and Clinton got it wrong. It's that Obama got it right and had the courage and conviction of sticking to his principles no matter the future consequences.

    Clinton's supporters will say the difference is Hillary was in the Senate and Obama wasn't. But this argument -- no matter how often it's repeated -- boils down to this: the Clinton campaign is saying doing the right thing gets harder the more power you have while simultaneously seeking the most powerful office in the world.

  • (Show?)

    I've been on the fence since Edwards dropped out.

    I have a certain tribal attachment to Hillary Clinton (women lawyers in our 50s with degrees from Yale) but deep concerns about her electability.

    I enjoy imagining a general election contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama, but I worry about Obama's ability to withstand the Republican kitchen sink onslaught.

    So I am still on the fence.

    But every time Hillary opens her mouth these days, she is pushing me away. I don't like this kind of campaigning and I don't like her approach.

    I'm just one data point.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Stephanie, glad to read this, But every time Hillary opens her mouth these days, she is pushing me away. I don't like this kind of campaigning and I don't like her approach.

    I feel that way about candidates in general. As my old friend Julie says, "when they act like that, you know they know they are losing".

    And yes, that means ALL candidates. I apply a single standard--not one for candidates I'm actively supporting, another for candidates where I have not yet decided.

    And aside from Ben Westlund and some legislative candidates I know personally who have drawn primary challenges, I am undecided on just about everyone else.

    If people maintain mental "assets and liabilities" candidate scorecards in their heads, an intelligent comment can go in the assets column and snide or brainless remarks in the liabilities column.

    And no one saying "you're supposed to support my candidate, not the other candidate" can guarantee that remark will win a vote---it may land that candidate a checkmark in the liabilities column.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    from: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/300-mllion-chavez-farc-fake

    Palast reports on Obamary's greater support for Bush's South American policy than McCain's. Add to this the unanimous Dem support for H.Res.951, and you have two more reasons to look elsewhere for peace and justice.

    Amateur Hour in Blue

    We can trust Correa to keep the peace South of the Border. But can we trust our Presidents-to-be?

    The current man in the Oval Office, George Bush, simply can’t help himself: an outlaw invasion by a right-wing death-squad promoter is just fine with him.

    But guess who couldn’t wait to parrot the Bush line? Hillary Clinton, still explaining that her vote to invade Iraq was not a vote to invade Iraq, issued a statement nearly identical to Bush’s, blessing the invasion of Ecuador as Colombia’s “right to defend itself.” And she added, “Hugo Chávez must stop these provoking actions.” Huh?

    I assumed that Obama wouldn’t jump on this landmine – especially after he was blasted as a foreign policy amateur for suggesting he would invade across Pakistan’s border to hunt terrorists.

    It’s embarrassing that Barack repeated Hillary’s line nearly verbatim, announcing, “the Colombian government has every right to defend itself.”

    (I’m sure Hillary’s position wasn’t influenced by the loan of a campaign jet to her by Frank Giustra. Giustra has given over a hundred million dollars to Bill Clinton projects. Last year, Bill introduced Giustra to Colombia’s Uribe. On the spot, Giustra cut a lucrative deal with Uribe for Colombian oil.)

    Then there’s Mr. War Hero. John McCain weighed in with his own idiocies, announcing that, “Hugo Chavez is establish[ing] a dictatorship,” presumably because, unlike George Bush, Chavez counts all the votes in Venezuelan elections.

    But now our story gets tricky and icky.

    The wise media critic Jeff Cohen told me to watch for the press naming McCain as a foreign policy expert and labeling the Democrats as amateurs. Sure enough, the New York Times, on the news pages Wednesday, called McCain, “a national security pro.”

    McCain is the “pro” who said the war in Iraq would cost nearly nothing in lives or treasury dollars.

    But, on the Colombian invasion of Ecuador, McCain said, “I hope that tensions will be relaxed, President Chavez will remove those troops from the borders - as well as the Ecuadorians - and relations continue to improve between the two.”

    It’s not quite English, but it’s definitely not Bush. And weirdly, it’s definitely not Obama and Clinton cheerleading Colombia’s war on Ecuador.

    Democrats, are you listening? The only thing worse than the media attacking Obama and Clinton as amateurs is the Democratic candidates’ frightening desire to prove them right.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Is this the best the Ore. Clinton campaign can muster? Pathetic! Hillary the noble victim. Well, no worry, she will just go on running campaign ads and endorsements for John McCain. Maybe she can get second spot on the McCain ticket, if the other DLCer, Joe Lieberman, doesn't get it first.

  • Lonnie G. (unverified)
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    Charlie:

    Obama is the biggest flip-flopper on the war if there ever was one, FAR more so than John Kerry inarticulate description of how he first supported the war, and then "changed his mind." He changed his mind, like Hillary because more evidence came to light proving the Bush administration lied. Obama, does not exercise good judgement. Just good sound bites.

    Take a look: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-wilson/obamas-hollow-judgment_b_89441.html

    Stephanie, remember that it doesn't matter what Hillary's positions are and how she articulates them, it will always be construed that she's being negative when in actuality, she is pointing out and sharpening the contradictions between what Obama says and what he does.

    I used to support Edwards too, so I know how you feel. I had a very open mind, very undecided. I wanted to see what Obama was about.

    What happened instead, was what I read, and not from blogs, etc. but from his speeches made earlier and what he says now, drew very stark contrasts. It was a matter of consistency that made me move to Hillary's column. What I found aggravating, was that Obama never got called on his inconsistencies by the press and that I found Hillary's positions were either belittled or ignored.

    She doesn't have a choice but to go negative, or what is spun as negative by Obama supporters, so that the truth can come out about what his positions are. I hope you take a look at the link I put up in this post.

  • Larry McD (unverified)
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    Hillary's been vetted and found fine???

    1.Why do we have to wait until April to see six years of tax records. 2. Why do we have to wait at all to see all the records on Bill's final pardon blitz? 3. Why do we have to wait at all for a full accounting of who gave how much to Bill's library? 4. When is Hillary going to discuss her foreign policy role in the slaughters in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda? 5. When is Hillary going to explain how a couple of hundred impoverished Asian minimum-wage workers in Manhattan could afford to give the legal limit to her campaign? (If Rezko smells, Hsu reeks). 6. When is Hillary going to explain the missing billing records that showed up "mysteriously" in the White House living quarters after months of subpoenas and "searches?"

    That's six. There are more.

    Hillary is running like a Bush... trash your opponent and then shriek in righteous outrage at every criticism.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)
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    Charlie and everyone:

    No question, the War Resolution vote is the biggest black mark against Clinton, but I've decided I won't be holding it against her on election day. As I’ve been undecided until very recently, and this is the issue that’s kept me on the fence, I will make my best attempt to articulate why I’ve decided the way I have.

    (That is to say, I am not a spokesperson for Sen. Clinton and these are not campaign talking points. I’m simply expressing my point of view. I’m trying to express what I think would be the best policy for our country. I hereby request that people stop questioning my motives.)

    I believe that Obama and Clinton have essentially the same position on the war, but that on balance Clinton will be best positioned to end it in a rational way. That’s because of the experience she brings and the connections she’s forged for two decades with democratic policymakers, as First Lady, and through her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. People will discount her years as First Lady, but in my view she was an active player within Bill Clinton’s White House and can be expected to chart a course similar to his, and one that utilizes many of the same people who, on balance, did a pretty good job from 1993 to 2001.

    I yield to no one in my opposition to the war in Iraq. The US has made some grandiose promises to the world over the last seven years, and at the very least, I think we need to withdraw in a way that doesn’t lead to more bloodbath and which doesn’t shred whatever credibility and moral authority our country has left. And I think the two candidates’ positions on this are the same: I don’t believe either Obama or Clinton has endorsed proceeding recklessly, though there's a lot of pressure to do so. But I think Clinton is best able to implement an extremely delicate policy change there, whereas Obama very well could be in over his head.

    Obama’s rhetoric of governing from the center reminds me of no one so much as Jimmy Carter. And although I have a huge amount of respect for Carter personally, I also think that his strategy of bringing in righties and lefties was what doomed his administration. Frankly, I don’t want right-wingers at the table. I don’t want a consensus government. I want someone who will fight the right-wing and restore sanity to our government.

    For these reasons, I believe that Clinton is best positioned to end the Iraq War.

    John

    PS. I apologize for the error in the use of the phrase “kitchen sink.” I had only heard it over the last several days, reported as coming from Obama, but I’ll accept that it’s been going around for a few weeks and I just hadn’t seen it. I don't think this has any substantive effect on the points I made, though I'm sure someone will insist otherwise.

  • LT (unverified)
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    John, your last comment is very well stated. We could use more of that serious level of commentary here.

    On the other hand, Lonnie would have been more persuasive if he had said "Joe Wilson doesn't like Obama for a variety of reasons, read them here at this link to Huffington Post".

    I respect Joe Wilson's point of view--he was serious in the post and serious when he spoke at Willamette University.

    However, Hillary Clinton increasingly sounds like Mondale in 1984 and Hubert Humphrey 40 years ago. Her attitude sounds like "give up hope, all ye who enter here, because unless there is someone of my experience since law school, or John McCain's experience, the young whippersnapper who dares to talk about hope is going to ruin this country".

    Humphrey and Mondale were very decent men who didn't realize that the country was not looking for "tried and true" the year they ran for president, it was looking for something different. More along the lines of "we have tried it that way, let's try something different for a change".

    Just as someone who uses an Ipod because cassette tapes are old fashioned couldn't be convinced otherwise, the basic approach of "you're supposed to see things from my perspective" in a year often called a change election is not guaranteed to win over undecided voters.

    Who do, after all, have the final say!

  • joel (unverified)
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    "I respect Joe Wilson's point of view--he was serious in the post...."

    Wilson began that essay with the same tired old nonsense about how the vote to give Bush war powers was really just a vote to pressure Iraq to allow international inspectors back in. Standard talking point/excuse for (mostly) Democrats who voted for the war and then wanted to find a war to pretend otherwise when things turned bad. If Wilson takes this claim seriously...if you, dear reader, take it seriously...then I have bridges to sell both of you, and Florida swampland, and....

  • lonnie G. (unverified)
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    LT:

    Your remarks are thoughtful on the message of the "hope" principle and frankly, I don't see a lot of thoughtfulness in most Obama supporters. His message of "hope" is one of the reasons why I honestly, (cross my heart) considered supporting his candidacy.

    I also see Hillary as a beacon of "hope." I will never say Bill Clinton administration was perfect. But I also see how much his administration accomplished.

    Granted, in name she was "First Lady." But in a more realistic capacity, she was also a very senior policy advisor. I wish Bill had listened to Hillary re: NAFTA. But he did listen to her on other issues that are very near and dear to my heart.

    I can't help but to have faith that the mistakes that were made during his administration, she will learn from them and make our country better. I see her as "something different." Fresh ideas on how to approach issues that face us now in the 21st Century. She's smart.

    Every elected official, I am sure (with the possible exception of GWB) would somewhere say that during their tenure, they would have done something different, but hindsight is 20/20 often times with respect to determining how a position is going to come out in the wash. Often, only until it's implemented, do all the flaws come out in policy. But sometimes, unpredictable positive outcomes also happen.

    In this case, I I think a positive outcome with her in the White House will be that her previous experience will point a political course to get things done that benefit our communities and our country.

    One last thing: :-) FYI, I'm a girl. Female. Woman. (wink-wink, not to worry)

  • (Show?)

    John, I think the main points have been made already, but I'd like to reiterate them and put them in the context of why the Obama backers are starting to get pretty angry.

    1. You claim that Clinton "has been accused" of a lot of things (which you enumerate). But it's critically important in the context of the negativity of the campaign to note that none of those accusations come from the Obama campaign. Not one. Matter of fact, when he was asked by the media about the Somali dress (not Kenyan), he said that he didn't think the Clinton campaign was responsible.

    2. Clinton has openly accused Obama of a fair amount. Stacy6 ably catalogues a lot of what she or members of her campaign have said. I'd add that she's said that while she has this vast experience in foreign policy and McCain has, Obama's "gave a speech in 2002." You're angry that the media has been critical of Hillary, but Hillary's the only candidate throwing mud.

    3. Clinton's attacks on Obama come from a disengenuous place. As the Chicago Tribune noted yesterday, Clinton's claims of foreign policy experience are either outright lies or serious apple-polishing. She's built a campaign around experience, discrediting him to the huge advantage of the GOP, without offering any alternative. Ditto the deal with her tax filings.

    4. Clinton, while going on the attack, has played the victim. She wants it both ways here--to pretty viciously attack Obama while complaining that she is the victim of unfair assaults. That may be good politics, but it's not the kind of thing that makes for an admirable candidate.

    Obama fans can take a hit. But you want to dish out a hit and not be called to account for it. That's where it becomes a little ridiculous. Hillary wants to go negative, she wants Obama to stay positive, and she doesn't want anyone calling her on it. Guess what? That pisses people off.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    John you're welcome to your high opinion of experiential quality of First Wifery, and you're welcome to your opinion about the War vote. All that is fine. It is also all nonsense, but ok.

    You make some claims to being a Democrat, thanks, maybe you are and maybe you give a damn about the Party. Your candidate demonstrably does not. The 3AM ad was bad enough in itself, toss in the vetting of John McBush over your fellow Democrat and something begins to stink re:Nov. Were that it, I'd not bother to call you out, the DNC is blameless in regards to FL/MI and had no role whatever in their debacle. DNC cannot seat them without wholesale revolt from states like OR who followed the rules despite their desires and the blatant unfairness of seating delegations agreed not to be seated. She takes the position she won something and they have to be seated. She has stoked the fires of resentment against her own national party in search of personal gain. Whatever effort you've put into the betterment of the Party, I can make actual verifiable claims to have and it pisses me off beyond words to watch a so-called Democrat sabotage the Party with lies and mistatements. Regardless of the initial blame lying at the feet of Republican legislatures and stupid State Parties, her part in the fallout cannot be minimized nor her role in delaying them from actually addressing their problems, at least until too late for voted Primaries and for making statements about the acceptability of caucuses. Not her deal, DNC rules observed she has to run.

    Your candidate is no vicitm in this campaign, she is the offender and any Democratic vote for her endorses the deliberate sabotage of both DNC and the Democratic electorate. I've endorsed the value of a continued contest, I do not endorse or in any way do anything except condemnt scorched earth tactics. Starr and Rove references as well as a Republican designed national security strategy are not discourse about vision and policy. Your candidate doesn't get the victim card, she stinks as a Democrat. Since you'd like to assist her in her destruction of the Party, I have to wonder about you. I don't just oppose Republicans on the basis of their policies, I reject their fear mongering, war mongering, racism, religious zealotry, and natural infringment of individual liberties; when your candidate starts using some of their stuff I don't see a Democratic Party I care for in the making. To make myself clear, Obama was nowhere near my first pick - ask Charlie Burr.

    Obama cannot sink into the mud with your candidate without repudiating his theme. That doesn't make him a weak general candidate but it sure puts limits on a Primary campaign, ones your candidate cares nothing about. Since I am in no way associated with Barack Obama I will point out to you whiners that there was plenty of bad behavior and questionable ethics involved in Whitewater, Travelgate, pardons, brotherly contracts, and general behavior regarding Paula and Monica without the Republican nonsense. The biggest non-Administrative NAFTA booster was Hillary, right up to Ohio. The Canadian NAFTA BS has been refuted, by Canada and your candidate continues to use it. Your candidate seems to believe in BushCo secrecy, we need a bunch more of that. Your candidate is never at fault, always somebody else, a truly Bushian attitude. You whine and make excuses, boy that's Presidential only if you're a 28%er of the BushCo persuasion. It's too bad you have such a lame position to defend.

  • Rumo (unverified)
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    ...on balance Clinton will be best positioned to end it [war] in a rational way. That’s because of the experience she brings and the connections she’s forged for two decades with democratic policymakers, as First Lady, and through her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    So Hillary's "experience" as First Lady will help her end the Iraq War? Why would she want to end it? She can't even admit it was a mistake.

    As someone else here said a few days ago, Laura Bush is one senate term away from having all of the necessary experience to handle presidential foreign policy issues.

    Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush

    Can we PLEASE break this cycle without electing a Republican??

  • (Show?)

    When the Clinton campaign stops insulting my intelligence as a voter and supposed decion-maker in this democracy, I might worry about her being "treated unfairly."

    From Daily Kos (sorry I'm too tired to remember how to make a link): One Clinton aide yesterday derided Mr Obama’s victories in "boutique" caucus states rather than the hardscrabble terrain of the rustbelt, saying: "Obama has won the small caucus states with the latte-sipping crowd. They don’t need a president, they need a feeling."

    I'm with Stephanie on this one. It is Clinton herself that is pushing me away from wanting to support her.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Do the latte sipping crowd live in Iowa and Wyoming? Who won Minnesota?

    Give Em Hell Chuck! That was a great comment and sounds like Harry Truman! (if you don't know Truman's response to Give Em Hell, say so and one of us can provide it.)

    Does Hillary support bringing troops home in an orderly way (maybe one division a month or something like that which makes sense logistically) or quickly even if that means some destruction of vehicles which can't be brought out of Iraq fast enough? Or does she forsee more than 50,000 troops there in 2010 or 2012? If she can't answer those questions without bashing Obama, then she doesn't deserve to be taken any more seriously than any other member of Armed Services who refuses to answer those questions. And isn't McCain on that committee?

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    LT,

    I don't want to hijack this thread into another discussion of the Senate race, but I have to acknowledge and reply to your point above.

    We were speaking of Hillary Clinton's style of "everything but the kitchen sink" campaigning. I had criticized it and you said

    I feel that way about candidates in general. As my old friend Julie says, "when they act like that, you know they know they are losing". And yes, that means ALL candidates. I apply a single standard--not one for candidates I'm actively supporting, another for candidates where I have not yet decided.

    Although you did not mention the Senate race I know that that is what you are talking about. I would like to distinguish my own commentary on that race from the kind of thing you are talking about.

    First of all, I have never said that Gordon Smith would be better than Jeff Merkley. I have consistently stated that either Steve or Jeff would be a major improvement, although of course I think Steve would be a bigger improvement.

    Also, my criticisms of Jeff Merkley have not been criticisms of his character. Until recent days he has not given me any reason to question his character, although some of his recent campaign utterances concern me greatly. My criticisms of him are related to the issues and to matters of style and approach.

    A few examples:

    (1) HR2 -- while Kevin and many others disagree, I think that the way Jeff Merkley handled this vote was dead wrong and possibly a marker for future tendencies to get rolled by Republican sponsored bills with language designed to appeal to patriotic instincts, wrapped around toxic and dangerous provisions.

    (2) marriage equality -- I believe that civil marriage should be available to all couples wishing to avail themselves of it. Steve Novick shares my view. Jeff Merkley does not.

    (3) tax fairness -- this is a bundle of issues. One of them we discussed earlier - raising the income cap for Social Security taxes: Steve yes, Jeff no. Another element involves equalizing tax rates on earned and unearned income: Steve yes, Jeff no.

    As far as style goes, I have significant stylistic preferences for Steve over Jeff also. I think Steve is more likely than Jeff to raise hell when the US Senate threatens to go off the rails and pass the equivalent of an Iraq war resolution in the future. I think Steve is more likely than Jeff to be a strong advocate for truly progressive positions in the Senate.

    Jeff Merkley is an elected official and a professional politician holding himself out as a progressive. In my view, his record and his style are fair game for this criticism. I have repeatedly stated that I will support him if he is nominated, because I think he'd be a big improvement over Smith. I just think that we have a chance to nominate someone much better in the person of Steve Novick.

    Frankly, I resent your implication that my criticisms of Jeff Merkley approach or resemble in any respect the "kitchen sink" of attacks that Hillary Clinton has made on Barack Obama. I have never criticized Merkley's fitness for office or his character (about both of which he and his campaign staff have attacked Steve).

    I think you are applying a double standard.

    I'm not sure why.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    When it comes to foreign policy (and all other subjects) don't look first to the candidate but to the candidate's advisers. Clinton has the hawks - Albright and Holbrooke - while Obama has Brzezinski who is redeeming himself lately with sensible talk about the Middle East. Too bad Obama lost Samantha Power. Then look at the candidates. As Hillary demonstrated with her disastrous attempt at a health plan, she is not much of a listener or recipient of other people's ideas. Obama appears to be more likely to consider what other people have to say.

    Obama’s rhetoric of governing from the center reminds me of no one so much as Jimmy Carter. And although I have a huge amount of respect for Carter personally, I also think that his strategy of bringing in righties and lefties was what doomed his administration.

    Carter failed in his presidency because he wouldn't do what Tip O'Neill and the rest of the Democratic Party oligarchy tried to force him to do, so they undermined him at every opportunity. Then when Reagan took over they helped coverup his involvement in Iran-Contra. Some Democrats. Some democrats.

    Re further up-thread. Very well said, Chuck.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    Why would any Democrat support a candidate who would bolster Republicans directly over a fellow candidate for the nomination? From Crooks and Liars:

    One of the benefits of having a prolonged Democratic primary race, after Republicans have already winnowed their field to John McCain, is that it’s a two-against-one dynamic — the GOP can’t direct all of its ire at one Dem, and there are two Dems to go after McCain at the same time. Of course, that only works when Dems realize this isn’t a time to praise McCain. At a press conference on Monday in Ohio, Clinton was defending her “3 a.m.” ad, and told reporters, “I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002.” The pro-McCain comments were quickly and widely panned — so Clinton repeated them. James Fallows reported on Wednesday, “In a live CNN interview just now, Sen. Clinton repeated, twice, the ‘Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002′ line. By what logic, exactly, does a member of the Democratic party include the ‘Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience’ part of that sentence?” That, too, was widely panned. So why would Clinton ratchet up the pro-McCain rhetoric even more?
  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    After Super Tuesday, I realized that, as my preferred candidate (Richardson) had dropped out, I had to choose between Clinton and Obama. (Edwards was a non-starter for me.) In most ways I favored Clinton, but then got to thinking: what is she going to do, as president, when the going get rough? That's when I realized I could not vote for her, because I knew how she'd behave: circle the wagons, obfuscate, delay, blame others, yadda yadda yadda, just as she had when the White House was her home. And when her campaign adopted the "insult 40 states" strategy and insisted that Obama's victories meant nothing...well, that just iced it for me. I do not think Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he is more than acceptable to me as far as policy matters go, and he seems like a truly decent individual.

    What was it that Hillary Clinton said in refusing to say she screwed up about voting to give Dubya war powers against Iraq? Something about how if a voter wanted a candidate who admitted s/he been wrong, they'd have to find someone else? Well, that's what I've done.

  • (Show?)

    Ben,

    Just a historical note, the "red phone" ad bears remarkable resemblance to the ad that Walter Mondale trotted out against Senator Hart(pence) in 1984. No wonder Hart is bent out of shape!

  • (Show?)

    You tube is great.

    Here are some of Hart's ads from 1984. Check out the third with the burning fuse and the fifth which describes Mondale as Reagan lite.

    Here's a nice comparison between Clinton's 2008 ad and Mondale's ad from twenty four years ago.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Go and watch "Primary Colors" again. I did just that. Watch carefully the scene where a lot of sturm-und-drang occurs about whether dirt on a competitor should be used or not. It isn't used, "for the good of the party".

    About 2 months ago there were many MANY rumors about some real dirt the Clinton campaign had on Obama. They haven't used that dirt. But the rumors persist... they have something which would end Obama's campaign overnight.

    And yet they don't use it. They only make fair, albeit sharp, attacks on Obama.

    Will the Republicans be so circumspect?

    We can't afford to take our chances on Barack Obama.

  • Stacy6 (unverified)
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    Peter, it's Hillary for whom we can't afford to take our chances. She is an incredibly divisive figure. She will galvanize the Republicans into action like no other candidate. She is the candidate they want to face. The likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are encouraging people to vote for her. Most polls show her losing to McCain. What part of these facts don't make sense to Clinton supporters?

    And something else we should consider in Oregon: we've got a great chance to get Gordon Smith out of office, but that won't happen if GOP voters turn out in high numbers to vote against Clinton. It's going to be like that all over the country. We just might be able to build a veto-proof majority in Congress. If Clinton is on the ballot, that won't happen. Just a few days ago, Blue Oregon showed the results of the SurveyUSA poll that indicated Oregon would turn red if Hillary was the Democratic candidate.

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2008/03/surveyusas-elec.html

    It's time to embrace reality on this one. Hillary Clinton would be a disaster for the Democratic party and the state of Oregon should she win the primaries.

    If she actually had real dirt on Barack Obama, I have no doubt she would have used it by now.

  • paul B. (unverified)
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    Stacy6:

    No, maybe she isn't using "the dirt" because at this point it isn't necessary. Maybe she isn't tossing out there because of the good of the party. Maybe, however, she should. Who knows. As far as the USA poll, Oregon's going to go blue for the Presidential. The USA Survey you speak of is the one Fox uses, but no one else uses.

    Maybe you put your stock in Robert Murdock's "Fair & Balanced," But I don't believe everything i see on TV. As far as the accusation of GOP folks voting for Hillary, believe me, they are also going over in droves to vote for Obama because they know he hasn't been vetted and/or they think that he'll be a one termer-like Carter.

    This whole thing around "electability" is a red herring. Either one of OUR candidates will take out McCain. Our messages on the economy are better, health care, environment, etc.

    As far as the movie, "Primary Colors," It's a movie. Sure, things got added to it for a story line, but hey, that's what sells.

    Bottom line, Bill Clinton was a great president. We have a chance to build on that. I for one am not buying into the right-wingers rhetoric about Hillary. They just don't like her because she's smart.

    McCain has his own set of problems. Hillary will win. On Thursday, the Washington Posts poll show both of them beating McCain. Our numbers, regardless of the nominee, will only get better. McCain's numbers will go down whoever our nominee is. The "Hillary is a polarizing figure" is bogus.

    Of COURSE she's a polarizing figure. So is Obama, so would have been any of our nominees. They are democrats. Their purpose is to polarize and sharpen the contrasts between democrats and republicans.

  • (Show?)

    Go and watch "Primary Colors" again. I did just that. Watch carefully the scene where a lot of sturm-und-drang occurs about whether dirt on a competitor should be used or not. It isn't used, "for the good of the party".

    Amazing.

    This is about as reasonable as Dan Quayle justifying weapon systems "because in The Hunt for Red October, we wouldn't have won without them."

  • Paul B. (unverified)
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    Yep. It's a movie.

    Check this out. Today's NYT. It's pretty good. Not a slam, etc. Just an interesting article. It's titled "The Long Run." http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/us/politics/09obama.html?th&emc=th

  • (Show?)

    I feel that way about candidates in general. As my old friend Julie says, "when they act like that, you know they know they are losing".

    And yes, that means ALL candidates. I apply a single standard--not one for candidates I'm actively supporting, another for candidates where I have not yet decided.

    Although you did not mention the Senate race I know that that is what you are talking about. I would like to distinguish my own commentary on that race from the kind of thing you are talking about.....(tells us what she didn't say)......Frankly, I resent your implication that my criticisms of Jeff Merkley approach or resemble in any respect the "kitchen sink" of attacks that Hillary Clinton has made on Barack Obama.

    Ah Stephanie,

    This remids me of a very old Bill Cosby routine about a shop teacher, who, in trying to ferret out which student threw a bullet in the furnace, begins to disparage the mystery student's mother. One of the students finally bursts out,

    "I didn't throw the bullet in the furnace and quit talking about my mother that way."

    We feel your pain.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    My point in referencing Primary Colors wasn't to suggest it was even remotely based in fact, but, rather, that the scenes about whether dirt on fellow Democrats should be used may help us understand the behind-the-scenes mechanics in the Clinton and Obama camps in that regard.

    The arguments for and against its use were compellingly made.

    The Clinton camp has apparently chosen to do the honorable thing and not release the information it has on Barack Obama.

  • genop (unverified)
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    Fear of the unknown (but apparently derogatory). Movie title: "Primary Idiocy". Repetition does not make it more believable. Somebody is stooping to tabloid blogging. C'mon Peter cite your source for us, please.

  • opinionated (unverified)
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    We talk about Hillary deriding Obama. Has anyone watched Anne Coulter deride Obama on talk shows. She refers to him as B. Hussien Obama. Why don't we all expend our energies chasing crazy Coulter instead. It maybe worth the energy. Hillary is going to make it come hell or high water.

    I have a strong opinion about this.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    John Mulvey said: "I yield to no one in my opposition to the war in Iraq. The US has made some grandiose promises to the world over the last seven years, and at the very least, I think we need to withdraw in a way that doesn’t lead to more bloodbath and which doesn’t shred whatever credibility and moral authority our country has left. And I think the two candidates’ positions on this are the same..."

    The OCCUPATION of Iraq (not a war) is immoral and illegal under U.S. and international law. Ask yourself how you would respond if Russia had invaded and occupied the U.S., turned the country over to a "government" that it thought would do as it was instructed, destroyed all institutional structures, and then announced that it could not leave because it would be wrong to do so in an "irresponsible" way. That's the "liberal" point of view on foreign policy.

    The Iraqis overwhelmingly want us out and on a time line, and to ignore what they want shows a profound contempt for democracy.

    We have NO moral authority, and this lack is a bipartisan phenomenon.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    As Peter Bray once again demonstrates his level of politics. Unsubstantiated rumors of unknow blockbuster dirt that can't be used for the good of the party, blah blah is one of the oldest games going. You're Joe McCarthy waving the piece of paper with all the dirt. Except, it's a shopping list.

    ok, Peter, who murdered ole' Vince? Do you begin to understand the level of perfidity you're engaging in? You're excusing your candidate's behavior because she's not doing worse things when in fact you are? You, yourself, very publicly remind me (no doubt others) exactly what it is about Hillary that is so shitty. For the good of your candidate you should STFU. For my cause, keep on keepin' on, I couldn't honestly do more damage, and I am honest. Please, encourage him, keep taking him seriously.

  • paul B. (unverified)
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    Chuck: You know, with rhetoric like yours, I doubt you are a democrat. I think you are a Republican and are just feeding the flame.

    Your personal insults on this blog with anyone who remotely disagrees with you are inappropriate.

    Everyone is allowed their opinion. Hate to break it to you, but, yeah.

  • joel (unverified)
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    In the name of Democratic Party unity, I've decided to withhold the information I have that would end Peter Bray's career and send him to prison for the rest of his life.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    The reason I post to this site is because you claim:

    "BlueOregon is a place for PROGRESSIVE Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip."

    When I read, "...with rhetoric like yours, I doubt you are a democrat", I wonder how many who post here are unable to recognize the difference between being a progressive and being a Democrat.

    Hillary Clinton is as far from being a progressive as I can imagine a person can be, and her open endorsement of McCain is a confirmation of this to anyone with powers of reason. That Obama consistently affirms that his policies would be the same as hers should be extremely troubling to any real progressives that still inhabit your party.

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