Keep an open mind; this race isn't over

Chris Corbell

Recently on Blue Oregon I've seen supporters of Barack Obama publish comments pushing the idea that the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination was essentially over and that Hillary Clinton should drop out because of Obama's delegate lead.  They've further implied that Clinton (and by extension her supporters) are somehow responsible for dividing the party just by staying in the race.

On those threads I made a couple of fairly general points: that Clinton has many millions of grassroots supporters urging her to stay in, volunteering their time and making contributions to keep her campaign going, and that in any event urging any Democratic candidate to simply quit when there's still a chance they could win is heavy-handed. As a Clinton supporter I've never urged that any other candidate drop out of the race; in fact I made campaign contributions to Edwards and Kucinich when it was clear they wouldn't win in the hope that they'd stay in longer to help frame the debate.

Strictly in terms of progressive policy and Democratic party platform, it is good that Hillary is still in this race.  She pushes a more progressive health care agenda than Obama; who knows, even if he won the nomination she might be able to force a universal mandate into the party platform, which would be good for all of us.  Hillary has a stronger record of commitment to the LGBT community as well as a stronger record on pro-choice issues; her strength at the convention will ensure those issues do not get swept under the rug in the name of some non-partisan "unity".  I feel Hillary has a better green agenda and record on environmental issues when compared with the Obama/Axelrod ties to the nuclear industry, which I've written in detail about elsewhere. She's got experience and vision on what's needed to improve education at all levels and has decades of intimate knowledge of public policy for helping underprivileged and abused children.  Hillary has spent years personally involved in crafting detailed policy proposals on economic development for the middle class.  All of this expertise, progressive positioning and political clout will be a force for good at the convention; even if Obama wins a brokered or superdelegate-determined convention, Hillary might actually drive the party platform to his left on several of these issues.

But there is another reason that Democrats and progressives - even die-hard Obama supporters - need to keep an open mind, and that is the fact that vetting of Senator Obama is just beginning and it may well be - right or wrong - that he is not going to weather this storm as well as his supporters hope, and we will need to rally around Hillary.  Yesterday Obama gave a very intelligent, heartfelt, and prolific address on racial issues in response to heat over his pastor Jeremiah Wright's radical comments from the pulpit over the years.  As is evidenced by comments on Jeff Alworths's post here at Blue Oregon, Obama supporters felt the speech was brilliant and addressed all of the concerns anyone could have about the subject.  But we wouldn't expect Obama supporters to have any other reaction; the question is how those who were seriously concerned about Rev. Wright are going to respond.

Undecided working-class Americans - who may not have sat through the entire 35-minute speech, but who have seen the Wright clips repeatedly on the news and the internet, and were in large numbers offended - may be a tougher sell than those at Blue Oregon who had already decided to support Senator Obama.  Pragmatic prominent Democrats (including superdelegates) are becoming concerned how vulnerable this issue might make Obama against John McCain, with Republicans already touting that it's their silver bullet; it will be some time before we know if the issue is indeed disarmed, but current trends in polls make it appear that it is having a real negative effect, with Hillary regaining a statistically significant national lead and Obama also faring worse than he has against McCain.

I don't think any progressive Democrat believes that Senator Obama personally holds the views expressed by Rev. Wright.  We also marvel at the rationality and nuance he had the courage to put forward in his speech. But we have to at the same time recognize that Wright's rhetoric is far more radical than outspoken African-American leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (the latter of whom I was proud to support in my first presidential contest in 1988), and his closeness to Obama is far more significant than, say, McCain's anti-Catholic booster (who was not a close personal friend of McCain or his family, as Wright is to Obama).  The issue is not simply an issue of race, or of collective nuanced understanding of one another; it also speaks to the ability of the Obama campaign to get out in front of controversial issues and win over the center of the American electorate.  Where supporters saw Obama brilliantly claiming the need to bridge these communities and not abandon Wright, critics are already saying Obama contradicted his earlier claim to have never heard Wright's incendiary, anti-American statements, that he exaggerated parallels to eccentric uncles and mis-speaking supporters of other campaigns, and in general that he may have said not too little, but too much, too late.  Since the Obama campaign knew that Wright would be a liability (that's why Obama decided, late, to not have Wright participate in his Presidential campaign announcement), many strategists are wondering why this wasn't dealt with months and months ago, before it had a chance to go viral on the internet, on Fox News and in right-wing talk radio.

I do not expect this somewhat dissenting concern over the efficacy of Obama's handling of Rev. Wright to sway any Obama supporters here at Blue Oregon; I only ask you to keep an open mind, and realize that this race is far from over.

  • Katy (unverified)

    Great post Chris!

  • Christian Prophet (unverified)

    Barack Obama gave a good speech on race, but it's being argued that it was designed to distract from much more damaging non-racial aspects of his THEOLOGY. See:

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Chris, since you are a Hillary supporter you might be expected to take this line. However, Hillary has no chance now to win the nomination through pledged delegates, or even come close. Therefore she can only win through the supers by trying to destroy Obama as a GE candidate. To do so is to bring the party to civil war, so she is following a doomsday strategy.That's my problem with it. If you are relying on the Wright controversy to damage him and nominate your candidate, think again. He will survive this, and the Rassmussen tracking poll of today already has him up five pts against Hillary.

    If the nomination is gained through a process not considered legitimate, you can kiss the Dem. party goodbye. USA/Today poll says that a large percentage of Dems will not support the candidate who gains the nomination by vote of the supers. If we start letting the right wing spin machine determine who our candidates are, then it's time to say goodbye to this party.

  • BCM (unverified)

    Your propagation of right-wing talking points is duly noted, Chris. I don't tune into Hannity and Lars Larson so do keep me updated on what you guys are thinking about this race.

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    Go Hillary!

  • Viki (unverified)

    If Super delegetes were so for Obama, they could finish this race right now. They could all commit to Obama and it would be over. However, they didn’t. Moreover, most powerful Democrats in the house John Murtha announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I think we should all see how the rest of the states will vote and what supers will say.

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    chris, this is absurd. Hillary Clinton cannot win the nomination, and if it were anyone else she would have been forced our long ago. She cannot win the most states, the most primaries, the most delegates, or the popular vote. Her ONLy chance is to sabotage the process.

    It's over. Unless obama is hit by a bus, he will be ahead of Clinton by any relevant metric when all contests are over. All she's doing is hurting the party. And she's not ahead in polling, either, by the way.

  • Taylor M (unverified)

    "Neither Obama or Hillary will win through pledged delegates." You miss a crucial point- Hillary can't overcome Obama's pledged delegate lead. Even if she wins the rest of the remaining races by a score of 60-40 (she won't, by the way), she still can't overcome it. The only way she could possible win is if the Superdelegates overrule the majority of voters. How likely is that? (Hint: today she got her first superdeleage since February 5.)

    March 4 was Hillary's last chance to make a big gain on Obama's pledged delegate lead. That didn't happen- in fact, Obama's slightly gained over her since then. They can't win unless superdelegates overrule the voters. Obama wins with the superdelegates joining the majority of voters, and therein lies the difference. This race is over, but the Clintons haven't gotten the memo yet.

    And Hillary as shining light of LBGT rights? The DOMA? Don't Ask Don't Tell? The Clintons going on Christian radio with ads in 1996 to bash gays? Get real Chris. According to the polls, you are part of the 16% of progressives supporting Clinton. The rest of us have taken off our Clinton blinders.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Chris: "Once and for all: NEITHER OBAMA NOR HILLARY WILL WIN THROUGH PLEDGED DELEGATES. Drop the hype.Go Hillary!"

    Shout a little louder, Chris! That is so convincing.

    Nancy Pelosi, who as Speaker of the House is the highest elected official, has said that the nominee of this party will be the one with the most pledged delegates, and the supers will not go against that. None other than Donna Brazile has said that she will resign from the DNC if the supers go against the primary results. It's a doomsday scenario. If the Clintons want to pursue it, then I would say we are all down the toilet, and the historic coalition that forms the Dem. party is over with.

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    If for the sake of argument Sen Obama wins the primary and the general elections, I am hopeful that Sen Clinton (and other progressives in Congress) will be able to help steer him in the right (er, left) directions on the issues Chris mentioned, and help restore the peace, equality and greatness America once enjoyed. My biggest gripe with Sen Clinton is her support for giving the nod to Dubya to invade Iraq. I'm just a shlub, but I didn't see the imminant threat from Iraq, and I saw thru the lies and propaganda. Lots of others, the importanat others in Congress, also saw the truth. Why didn't Sen Clinton see this? Why would she give those lying crap-sacks Bush, Cheney, Rice & Rumsfeld the benefit of the doubt, when it was clear to so many of us that they were full of it? This is the issue that keeps coming up in my mind, over and over, and I find it unforgivable. I hope Sen Clinton and the others Dems who supported Bush's rush to war will author lots of strong progressive legislation for President Obama to sign, only that will be the path to redemption. PS, If Sen Clinton wins the nomination, I will fight like hell to help her win the general election, because there's literally no tomorrow if McCain becomes President. Vote your heart in the Primary, vote your party in the General.

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    Well, I guess I have what would qualify as a nuanced position on the race. I think Hillary is toast, and that she has virtually zero chance of winning a majority of pledged delegates and therefore will require the superdelegates to overturn the pledged delegates resulting in a civil war within the party that would more or less tear it apart (and in reality has little chance of winning even then because superdelegates are increasingly realizing that Obama will be a MUCH better candidate for Democrats running for other offices). As long as she doesn't deliberately touch off that civil war, and stops making incredibly stupid comments complimenting the Republican nominee (not to mention blatantly false, as witnessed by McCain's recent demonstration of his cluelessness regarding foreign policy) she can stay in right through the convention as far as I'm concerned. As long as she doesn't go crazy and kneecap the whole party, I think she's entitled to stay in as long as she wants.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    short addendum: If the situation were reversed, I would be asking Obama to concede at this point. Hillary should be making her list of concession demands now, if she wants VP, if she wants to be Majority Leader, Gov. of NY, whatever, while she still has some leverage. The longer she takes it, the less leverage she has.

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    Taylor, I think it's worse than you describe--she doesn't need 60-40 popular vote wins; she needs that kind of Delegate ratio--which means she needs to take more like 75-80% of the vote. Likely? No.

    It's over; has been since the 4th.

  • Lani (unverified)

    Clinton and Obama signed a pledge NOT to campaign in Florida or Michigan and also NOT to interfere in their election process.

    Clinton continues to campaign in Michigan and Florida against her signed pledge. Not only that, but she's blaming Obama for their electoral problems. I'll give her points for gutsy but not for honesty.

    Obama has never asked Hillary to quit. Yet Hillary and Bill said over and over again that Obama could be HER running mate. They were telling Obama to quit every time they said that.

    As others have mentioned, it's impossible for her to overcome Obama's elected delegate count.

    If she wins through cheating--continuing her campaign in Florida and Michigan--or by gaming the SDs, then the party's toast.

    If she can't game the Democratic nomination, she wants to see McCain win. Hillary has already endorsed him in her statement about "experience" and "commander-in-chief".

    Hillary doesn't know how to accept defeat gracefully but she needs to learn.

  • William Neuhauser (unverified)

    Going into the race, I was thrilled -- a lineup of Democrats giving us a wealth of riches; I could vote for any of them. I'd happily put any of the up against the old white men in identical suits all whining "No, I'm little Ronald Reagan".

    I agree that calls for Hillary to drop out are absurdist imaginings -- it isn't just Hillary, any candidate in her position would continue as long as possible. That's fair.

    But the way Hillary has run has dismayed me in a way I never expected. She has run as the Republican in the race, using fear and sowing division in a way that has saddened me greatly as these are tactics most of us have decried for years. The disarray of her campaign and her lack of attention to basics like how much money she had, and her strategic blunders belie the notion of her "superior experience" claim in extremis. Some positive has come of her having her back to the wall aslo as she has become a better, more authentic campaigner, speaking more from the heart.

    No one can get to the position that both Obama and Clinton are at without there being some dirt that can be found, but remember that isn't even needed by the right-wingnuts since they'll just manufacture lies to smear and disgust people and turn them off. The dirt on HIllary and Barack is minor compared to the manufactured garbage.

    So, now we've got most of the county and this whole thread distracted by "the horse race" and unprovable assertions of who the right wing can best attack not on substance of character and where we go from here and who can do that best for our progressive ideals. Great.

    Can we move on from the circular firing squad now?

  • Taylor M (unverified)

    torridjoe, I agree with you. Maybe I didn't make my point clearly: it seems like Clinton's realistic ceiling is about 60%. So, even granting that she performs at her peak in the remaining contests, there's no way for her to make up Obama's lead. You're right, she needs about 75% in every race just to make it close. And with no Florida "momentum" hopes to buoy the campaign, they're really done.

    Its always helpful to refer back to earlier statements by the more honest Clinton backers, like when in February James Carville admitted she'd need "big wins" in both Ohio and Texas to stay in. Those didn't happen, but since the goalposts got moved, she could still claim a reason to continue.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    To me, it is clear that Hillary cannot win the nomination unless she wins at least 80% of the Super Delegates.

    I personally don't care if she stays in the race until the convention. What I do care about is the politics of destruction. That is more to the point for Democrats, as what we need to do for our Nation is to win the Presidency in November.

    So, if Hillary were engaged in fair debates on policy issues, if Hillary were engaged in pointing out the huge problems McCain would create as the 3rd Bush term, if Hillary were working to put a Democrat into the White House in November - and just that - I would have no problem with her on-going campaign.

    But that just isn't what's happening. What Hillary is doing is following that chapter of the Republican play book that is entitled, "Disqualify your opponent".

    So, realistically, Hillary can't win, but has every right to run. But, as an-in-the-field-Democrat who wants the best for my Party, and noting Hillary's destructive campaign -

    I have to call upon Hillary Clinton to end her race for the nomination. Now I know she won't do it because I ask her to, but that's my position.

    At the least, if she doesn't win 60% or more of the delegates in Pennsylvannia, I hope she drops out then. At that point, if she doesn't win that number, it would be pointless to continue.

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    Seems like calling it over is disenfranchising Oregon (as well as many other) voters. Do I agree that all the data point to Obama? Yes. Do I support Obama? Yes.

    But the mathematical fact is that Clinton could win if voters choose her by overwhelming margins. Is is gonna happen? Not bloody likely. But she's pulled out some miracles so far.

    Should we attack Clinton for asking people to actually vote, instead of looking at polls and trends? No. She has every right to keep running.

    Hopefully, as with Conan the Barbarian (ok, Nietzsche), what does not kill Obama will make him stronger.

  • Opinionated (unverified)

    Nice post Chris. Amen to "keeping an open mind".

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)

    I support Obama. I also agree with Corbell's argument that it ain't over. Neither candidate can win without the superdelegates. Spin however fast and in whichever direction you like--it will not change that fact. And the supers are free agents, regardless of whatever opinion Obama, Clinton, Pelsi, Dean, or anyone else may have. Again, spin that as you wish--the facts don't change.

    I appreciate Corbell's point about the fact that Clinton, even if she is not the nominee, can be of huge importance at the convention in terms of the party platform. This is a non-trivial matter.

    Nonetheless, I have problems with several of Corbell's arguments:

    I feel Hillary has a better green agenda and record on environmental issues when compared with the Obama/Axelrod ties to the nuclear industry....

    There's nothing fundamentally progressive about opposing nuclear energy. IMHO the problem is waste disposal, not nuclear energy per se, and there are geologically acceptable places for the waste. Other countries are already proceeding with geologic waste repositories.

    Undecided working-class Americans - who may not have sat through the entire 35-minute speech, but who have seen the Wright clips repeatedly on the news and the internet....

    Bit of stereotyping here? Plenty of digital video recorders and computers in working class homes....

    . Pragmatic prominent Democrats (including superdelegates) are becoming concerned how vulnerable this issue might make Obama against John McCain....

    Straw-man argument. Implication is that "pragmatic" equals "thinks Obama is toast".

    The issue is not simply an issue of race, or of collective nuanced understanding of one another; it also speaks to the ability of the Obama campaign to get out in front of controversial issues and win over the center of the American electorate.

    Fair enough on the "get out in front" business. But it is hard to see how Hillary Clinton has done any better. Think tax returns and other ways in which her life is entangled with her spouse, but above all, think of what she has had to say about the invasion of Iraq. Hard to find a more controversial issue than that.

    ...critics are already saying Obama contradicted his earlier claim to have never heard Wright's incendiary, anti-American statements, that he exaggerated parallels to eccentric uncles and mis-speaking supporters of other campaigns, and in general that he may have said not too little, but too much, too late.

    I think what Obama actually said is that he was not around for the "god damn the KKK USA" business. He did not mention eccentric uncles at all, and I think we all know that "mis-speaking supporters of other campaigns" is a code for Geraldine Ferraro's dumb comments.

    ...many strategists are wondering why this wasn't dealt with months and months ago, before it had a chance to go viral on the internet, on Fox News and in right-wing talk radio.

    I don't know what "go viral" is supposed to mean, but the YouTube video of Tuesday's speech is the most-viewed ever. Faux News and wingnut talk radio fans are not exactly Obama voters anyway. And then there's the "many strategists" straw man. Finally, "dealt with"? What does that mean? I have a feeling that to Corbell and "many strategists", this means Obama cutting off Rev. Wright at the knees. I hope it's obvious from Obama's Tuesday remarks that Obama was never prepared to do that.

    I guess we'll see between now and the convention. With the Willie Horton business in living memory, I expect the supers will ditch Obama if the Wright affair looks as if it'll drag the entire Party down to defeat, and I cannot say that I would blame them. But I think this is an unlikely outcome.

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    Hillary can win the nomination, but she's going to have to do it through Superdelegates. The road is a treacherous one, but she's going to have to at least win the popular vote, excluding Michigan but including Florida and the other states that haven't been in the tally (Maine, Iowa, etc.).

    If Obama has the most pledged delegates, the most states, and the popular vote, Superdelegates will have little choice but to back him. That's the whole ballgame.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    No doubt Obama has taken a polling hit of late over the Wright matter. However, the CBS poll just taken has Obama still with a lead over Clinton nationally and still with a lead over McCain nationally.

    An historical note. About this time 16 years ago I was working as a volunteer in the Bill Clinton campaign. He had taken a number of hits, Gennifer Flowers, etc. His poll numbers were at 25% nationally. Yet he was leading the Dem. primary and went on to win the GE. Polls fluctuate and Obama will recover from the latest. (This poll from CBS was taken mostly before the speech and after the controversy hit.)

    My only objection to HRC staying in the race is that it is based one premise alone, a doomsday premise of destroying the GE candidacy of Obama and splitting the party. And that hurts us all. And that is precisely what her attempt has been. Randi Rhodes of Air America and others have suggested that she fully intends to have McCain win so she can have a clear shot in 2012. I'm not that paranoid yet, but it won't take me long to get there.

  • Clark (unverified)

    Hillary's a hawk.

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    Maybe no one can win without superdelegates, but Hillary can't win even WITH them, as far as I can tell. As soon as obama hits 1638, it's over. (and he only needs about 50 to get there, i think ) Remember that 2025 is including FL and MI, and those delegates are now irrelevant, since neither will redo their result.

    It's her right to stay in, but every other race with candidates in Hillary's position had dropped out long ago.

  • LT (unverified)

    Regarding "keeping an open mind":

    What is the evidence for this?

    "Undecided working-class Americans - who may not have sat through the entire 35-minute speech, but who have seen the Wright clips repeatedly on the news and the internet, and were in large numbers offended - may be a tougher sell than those at Blue Oregon who had already decided to support Senator Obama"

    Is there a poll (in which case what is the sample size?) or is this the kind of simplification and stereotyping Obama talked about?

    Is it possible that those working class Americans in some cases either belong to a UCC church or know someone who does? I noticed when someone was talking about Reagan Democrats yesterday they failed to mention Macomb County, Michigan---the epicenter of Reagan Democrats which Bill Clinton carried in 1992.

    I have heard this talking point in the national press--and to me the stereotype that everyone who has the kind of job known as "working class" fits the old Archie Bunker stereotype. For those of you who don't remember the show and the opening song,

    There were lines in the song like "girls were girls and men were men" and "Didn't need no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight". And then, near the end of the show, Archie got fired from his loading dock job.

    Flash forward to the 21st century, when some of the people who work in retail had gone to college, perhaps even graduated, but could only find work in retail. Are such people "working class"?

    And if someone works in a factory or as some kind of technician or is somehow otherwise a member of the "working class", how do you know they are even aware of the story?

    Or maybe they did watch the news and say "3 homes on our block are being foreclosed and we are supposed to be upset by what some guy's minister said several years ago?".

    So yes, by all means, keep an open mind. I wouldn't mind seeing this go all the way to the convention (or at least to the rules or credentials committee) rather than having the convention be yet another informercial which the networks barely cover.

    Carville famously said something along the lines of Penn. being big cities with Alabama in the middle. Who won Alabama and Mississippi? Who will win N. Carolina?

    Don't trust polls on this one. With McCain's Iran/Iraq gaffe, it is not a foregone conclusion that predictions made in March will be true in November.

  • Matt (unverified)

    Maybe no one can win without superdelegates, but Hillary can't win even WITH them, as far as I can tell. As soon as obama hits 1638, it's over. (and he only needs about 50 to get there, i think ) Remember that 2025 is including FL and MI, and those delegates are now irrelevant, since neither will redo their result.

    My understanding is that 2025 is NOT including Michigan and Florida, and that the total is roughly 2183 if you include their full delgations.

    I'm a progressive Democrat who dislikes both Obama and Clinton (so please don't label me pro-Hillary), but I hate this rhetoric from Obama supporters. Look, the math is simple: neither Obama or Clinton can get to 2025 or 2183 without the superdelegates. What you are saying when Clinton can't win even with the superdelegates is that, as of today, if no superdelegates switch their votes at the convention, Obama will have more delegates. Great! Then at the convention, when the superdelegates have to vote, then for the first time, he will pass the minimum delegate threshold to get the nomination, and he'll win.

    What I dislike from the Obama supporters is that this contest is not about who gets the most votes UNLESS and UNTIL someone gets AT LEAST 2025/2183. If Obama has 2024 and Clinton has 1974, Obama doesn't win. No one wins. And the superdelegates have to keep voting until someone has 2025. It's like if a 5th grade teacher says she'll give a cupcake to whichever student gets an A on the test. If Obama gets a B+ and Clinton gets a B, Obama doesn't get the cupcake! Just because he did better than Clinton on the test doesn't mean he fulfilled the requirements to get the cupcake.

    Let's be honest: Obama isn't going to get to 2025 by the time we get to the convention. It has to happen there. So, he says, nope, let's follow the DNC rules and prevent a revote or some other solution in Florida and Michigan (which obviously will help Clinton). Then, let's break the DNC rules and require superdelegates to vote for me -- not because I have enough votes to already be the Democratic nominee -- but because I simply have the most votes without the superdelegates.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Obama supporters felt the speech was brilliant and addressed all of the concerns anyone could have about the subject. But we wouldn't expect Obama supporters to have any other reaction;...

    David Gergen is one of the more impartial commentators and he gave the speech very high marks. Bay Buchanan, a staunch Conservative and Republican, also praised the speech. They are just two of many non-Obama supporters who gave favorable reviews.

    Chris: When you are talking about people keeping an open mind maybe you should look in the mirror when you make that appeal. I'll be voting for Obama with some reservations, but the intelligence and character he showed with that speech offset some of my reservations. I doubt that Hillary could rise to a similar occasion. She couldn't live up to her oath to defend the Constitution, betraying it for political expediency by transferring authority to go to war from Congress to the president - and what a disaster that has been.

  • Missy (unverified)

    Obama is excelling at having it both ways.

    His campaign rails against Superdelegates "overturning" the popular will while Obama courts their endorsements and puts out press releases when he lands one.

    He says he is for a new day and a new way of doing things while his campaign is fighting tooth and nail to deny a re-vote in Michigan and Florida. This would result in the largest disenfranchisement of voters in this nation's history since women were finally granted the right to vote.

    He says in his wonderful speech yesterday that we should have a real discussion about race instead of news programs running footage of Geraldine Ferraro over and over again . . . many days after his campaign did almost nothing but whip up hyperbolic charges of Clinton racism.

    I can't wait for Hillary to make her case to Oregon.

  • BloodDAnna (unverified)

    The way I understand it, the duty of the super delegates is to decide what is best for the party and they really don't have to decide anything until the convention in August.

    Pledged delegates on the other hand can change hands every time there is a legislative, county and state convention. At each event the elected precinct delegates can change parties (these are added up to create the states delegate count) and then the "pledged" delegates are reallocated. Iowa just did this and redistributed John Edwards delegates last week.

    I think there would be some serious backlash if Senator Obama's promised supers started jumping ship now over the Rev Wright drama since there was alot of media coverage everytime one bailed from Hillary. You may see them trickle out once they see if the public accepts his statements he gave yesterday. Just depends on how convincing he is and if people care to see what else will fall out of his closet.

    Personally, Senator Clinton is my first choice for Democratic nominee. If by chance she is not the nominee I thought about staying true to the party and voting for Senator Obama but time and again his lack of judgement and honesty have come into question, which contradicts what he has built his platform on. After the Rev Wright episode I just cannot, in good conscious vote for him in the GE.

  • DF (unverified)

    No one of any significance (or anyone that I know of) has ever decided to "break the DNC rules and require superdelegates to vote" for anyone. How would that even be enforceable? There is no way to make superdelegates vote for anyone.

    Do you really think that superdelegates are going to ignore what will be a 5-7% lead in pledged delegates, same percentage in the popular vote and double the amount of states won and support the candidate that didn't win by any metric? Those votes are public and they know that their constituents are going to be watching this year. They don't dare overturn the will of the voters. They've never won when they've taken that route ('68, '84) and nobody wants to lose this time.

    Not to mention that if Hillary does win by superdelegates she will have to convince the remaining 85-90% of uncommitted superdelegates ("automatic delegates"?) to support her. Not going to happen.

    Her only chance is to completely trash him and hope something crazy happens. Do you really think that if she starts an inner party civil war she has any chance in hell of winning in November? I don't think she does. I'd even wager that Nader gets more votes this year than he did in 2000 if she was the nominee. You have to win fair and square to have support in the GE and there is no way she can even create the appearance of that.

    If this was reversed you know people would be screaming for Barack to drop out. This is just getting more and more preposterous the further this charade goes on.

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    Obama would be foolish not to continue to pressure the super delegates as a hedge against them voting to render the state primaries and caucuses moot at the convention.

    I disagree with the general line taken in this post.

    This race is over unless Hillary Clinton is willing to tear apart the Democratic Party in order to satiate her Presidential ambition.

    I agree with Missy, however. I can't wait until Hillary makes her case in Oregon. My prediction is that she will lose by more than 10 percent statewide.

  • DF (unverified)

    Sorry Missy, "This would result in the largest disenfranchisement of voters in this nation's history since women were finally granted the right to vote."

    Ever heard of Jim Crow?

    Besides, these people were disenfranchised by the actions of their elected representatives. They were warned and they decided to be selfish. In the end, they are going to find a solution to getting these delegates seated that neither camp will love but it will be good enough. And Obama will still have a substantial lead.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Any election/nomination process cannot command the loyalty of the Dem. voter unless it is perceived as being legitimate The nomination process established a set of rules to contest the caucuses and primaries. If the results of those elections can be overturned with impunity by party bosses then there is no legitimacy.

    To date Obama has won 30 contests to Clinton's 14, and leads by 167 pledged delegates. She has a narrowing lead of roughly 39 supers, which has diminished dignificantly over the past month. He leads by 800,000 popular vote (not weighting the caucus states). Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and a number of other party elders state that there is no possibility that the party supers will over-rule the results of the primary and caucus elections. They rightly understand that it would mean a civil war in the party and massive defection by major constituents in the Dem. coalition, and possibly a third party run in the GE. Not only a loss in the GE but a permanent splitting up of the Dem. party.

    So you can argue all you want about this. The Dem. party is a coalition and legitimacy is necessary for any candidate to elicit support. It is clear that at this juncture a negotiating process between the two camps needs to take place to avoid a major party split, and not a tactic of destruction of the other, as seems to be the case with the Clintonites. (In case the Clinton camp is relying on do-overs in Fl and MI, forget it, not gonna happen, as per today's news.) You can repeat all the right wing talking points about Wright and try to tarnish Obama all you want, it won't resolve the issue. You can be as mean and obnoxious as you want, it won't unify the party or beat McCain. I think the best bet is probably a unity ticket, and Obama as front-runner has a claim to number one on the ticket. But the "kitchen sink" strategy is a bridge to party destruction, and frankly most of the party doesn't want to go there with you or the Clintons.

  • Mac McFadden (unverified)

    I think the candidate who is behind in the pledged delegate count should drop out of the race ........................... on May 21st.

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    I need to respond to Matt, who is absolutely right that 2025 is the non-FL/MI threshhold. I misread the table at first. But what I got right is that Obama is about 60 delegates away from the magic number, even if he doesn't gain another superdelegate from those who have committed now (and flipping previously committed supers at the convention qualifies as damaging behavior IMO). He's sitting on 1,418 pledged, and 247 supers. If you VERY conservatively give him the same share of remaining delegates as he's acquired to date, he comes up with a total of 1,965. The reality is that margins in PA, KY and WV are unlikely to be so kind to Clinton as the rest of the calendar will be to Obama--but let's pretend 53% is the best he can do from here on out.

    So the root is that Obama needs some combination of 60 delegates--out of 846--that outperforms 53% of remaining pledged delegates and ZERO new superDs--to lock it up on the first ballot.

    Let me make sure that's clear: Obama already has enough delegates in his corner to require just 1 in 5 of all remaning superdelegates at the convention (assuming the other 20% of the pledged look like the first 80%).

    If you want we can run through the state totals and run the math on them, but there is virtually no chance for Clinton to catch Obama in pledged delegates, popular vote or states won (even primaries won). Obama is ahead by over 800,000 votes, and that doesn't even count caucuses! Clinton would have to shred him well beyond her current poll margins to even get much beyond the likely 100,000 - 150,00 bulge Obama stands to get just from Philadelphia...just to give her some kind of bump out of Pennsyvlania that will be strongly countered by OR and NC, likely IN if we're going to accept Clinton's conventional wisdom on PA.

    If that's the case, and we get to the convention, under what scenario short of civil war does Obama not get more than 20% of the currently remaining superdelegates?

  • SDG (unverified)


  • Brienne (unverified)

    I'm one of the few on BlueOregon that supports Hillary. I was head over heels for Obama in 2004 after his keynote and always thought the perfect plan would be Hillary in 2008 and 2012 and then Obama would be seasoned enough to take over in 2016. When it came to be that they both wanted 2008 I thought "Great, that would be cool if they both were on the same ticket!” Now it has come down to bickering and "he said," "she said" politics. I am becoming quite disillusioned with the whole matter.

    I have read both Clinton's and Obama's books, and I have scrutinized their voting history. My major beef with Obama is, first, his platform of "I was against the war from the start." Now I'm 100% against the war, and have a major problem with the fact Clinton voted for it, but my issue with Obama is the fact he didn't get elected to US Congress until 2004 and he wasn't part of the same vote as Clinton. I don't think his rhetoric on this issue is fair. Second, I'm a fan of good rapport in the international community. While Obama may have the future potential to get the US back on track, I full heartedly believe Clinton already has the international connections and respect to work on fixing failing relationships from the past eight years of US bullying. Third, Obama seems to understand some of his domestic audience, but Clinton seems to understand the diversity within social classes and political parties. Remember she was raised as a republican and switched in college? If we're looking for someone to bring the whole nation together, and not just the progressives, then Clinton is our woman.

    My final issue with the whole campaign is the gender politics. Hillary has been called all the names in the book (bitch, cunt, witch, and now even hawk). Check out the Princeton online dictionary, it even associates the name Hillary with a derogatory term. Remember when hecklers held up a sign at a Clinton rally saying "iron my shirt?" As the many blogs and news articles say, "What if someone yelled "shine my shoes" at an Obama rally? The tolerance of sexism in this race is outrageous and disconcerting to the millions of women who have fought to simply be considered an equal.

    If you're an Obama supporter, great, but please make sure to look at the issues you’re supporting via his stance on the issues. He is extremely charismatic, yes, but he also has a ton to learn about what it means to be commander in chief. Let's stop the name calling and start focusing on what is best for the US as a player in the international community.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    If we're looking for someone to bring the whole nation together, and not just the progressives, then Clinton is our woman.

    You must be kidding. But thanks for the link to the Princeton dictionary.

  • BloodDAnna (unverified)

    What this has proven is that it's still ok to be sexist but racist.

  • tote (unverified)

    """I feel Hillary has a better green agenda and record on environmental issues when compared with the Obama/Axelrod ties to the nuclear industry, which I've written in detail about elsewhere."""

    Chris, put this in your pipe and smoke it:

    You know, the sad thing is that I probably agree with you on 90% of the bread and butter issues. What I don't agree with is anyone getting on a pedestal and blasting a democratic candidate that has more small donors than any other presidential candidate at any time, the most popular votes, and the most delagates, without at least a little rhetorical respect for both sides of your issue!

    BTW, you contributed to Dennis Kucinich's campaign. Who's he endorsing again?

    Just thought I might "frame the debate" a little more for you. Seems you may need it.


    P.S. Please disregard my sarcastic and weary tone, I support most of Hillary's core positions but not her shameless tactics, and I think we're all getting a little weary of the above soap-box punditry both here and in the diaspora.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)

    Speaking of shameless tactics and thinly-disguised sexism, one of Obama's talking points lately has been that Hillary Clinton had minimal involvement in the Irish peace process.

    Here's a different viewpoint that open-minded people ought to consider:


  • KJBEugene (unverified)

    Think about it, if Obama a) lost twelve states in a row, b) was still 100+ delegates behind after Ohio and Texas, and c) was trying to make Florida and Michigan count after promising that they wouldn't, he'd be back in the Senate planning his 2010 campaign for reelection. If a group of Obama's backers offered to fund a primary redo, Clinton and her supporters would be screaming for his blood.

    While Clinton was never my first choice, I certainly had nothing against her and would have been content if she had won fairly. However, her conduct during this campaign has been very disillusioning. Regardless of how you feel about Obama's policies, he has consistently run a fair and honest campaign that has abided by the rules. Clinton, on the other hand, has constantly tried to change those rules in her favor, and it's just grown more and more desperate as she's fallen behind (Trying to postpone the Texas delegate count was particularly reprehensible.)

    For all the talk about Obama "disenfranchising" voters, it's Clinton who has constantly written off huge portions of the country as "not mattering." She's the one who has dismissed caucus voters as mere "activists" (She'd be singing a different tune if she were the one winning them.) Her campaign has tried to piegonhole Obama's supporters as latte-sipping Prius drivers (Her spokesman even claimed that we "don't have to worry about health care." I have a wife and child and earn $20,000 a year working for a non-profit. Yeah, I don't worry about health care at all.)

    Sadly, I even sense some of this elitism in Chris' crack about "working-class" people not bothering to hear all of Obama's speech. This is exactly what the corporate media and politicians want: for people to shut up, watch American Idol, and not bother with pondering complexities and trying to change things. As corny as it may sound, I honestly believe that Obama wants us to hard questions and look beyond what we're spoonfed every day, and I'm clearly not alone.

    If you honestly feel that Clinton is the better candidate, then by all means support her. Just don't throw stones and pout when she loses fairly.

  • William Neuhauser (unverified)

    RE: "If we're looking for someone to bring the whole nation together, and not just the progressives, then Clinton is our woman."

    Here's the thought experiment I conduct with people: In December 2008, after a Democrat was elected President, will the news stories be all about (a) the Obama Republicans and how he's reshaped the electoral map? or (b) the Clinton Republicans and how she has reshaped the electoral map?

    No one, including Hillary supporters, I've talked to answers to (b) as a possibility. Ain't happen'n'. Not to say she might not be able to win, but not in that way building a new coalition across our accustomed boundaries.

    Both of them will alienate bigots -- race or gender -- which I'm happy to have vote Republican as well as pull over people who vote to make an identity statement. But LBJ was correct to do the right thing and support civil rights even at the cost of racist Democrats defecting to Republicans for decades; I'm glad we have that opportunity another 40+ years later to put a stake in the ground for equality in America, whichever candidate gets the nod.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    I am just tired of the sleaziness that seems to be part and parcel of the "Bill and Hillary Clinton Experience." Barack Obama appeals "To the better angels of our nature."

  • (Show?)

    brienne, thanks for sharing your perspective. one thing you should consider, however, is how Hillary came to her vote on the war: she did not read the 90-pg NIE on Iraq (here's one reference, which points out many Senators did not read it, for which they should resign in shame). she did not read it. she went to some damn White House briefing -- and that was about it. what the hell kind of way is that to send Americans off to war?

    and since then, unlike John Edwards who at least had the guts to say he was wrong, she's taken no responsibility for her role in this mess. she blames Bush, but she gave him her permission to invade a country that was not a threat. you say Obama wasn't there for that vote and that makes a difference? given what we know of him, and of the fact that he actually does read things like the NIE, what in the world makes anyone think he would have voted with Bush and against, say, Wyden or Feingold?

    and i don't know what tolerance of sexism you're talking about in reference to Obama. find me one instance where he or his campaign engaged in sexist behavior. when Ferraro dumped her racist baggage for all to see, Hillary didn't demand she resign from the campaign; she hemmed and hawed as if there really weren't anything wrong with Ferraro's words. yet only days earlier, when Power made her dumb "monster" comment (once, off-the-record), she was gone by morning. it wasn't even a sexist comment, but Obama and his people demonstrated zero-tolerance. there may be a ton of sexism in the media (ok, no "may be") but as we've seen with all bazillions of replays of Rev Wright on CNN and everywhere else, not to mention PA Gov Ed Rendell's admission that many whites in his state will vote for Hillary but not a black man, i think sexism runs a sad second to racism (not that that's a battle anyone would be proud to win).

    please feel free to make the case for Hillary. i'm more impressed (albeit unconvinced) by your words than anything Chris or katy (who was waiting on deck to say, "me too" -- well organized, kids) have had to say. just don't accuse Obama of sexism, becaues that's a case you will fail to make -- big time.

  • (Show?)

    and Chris, you might want to find some job other than political prognosticator. back on Oct 31, you opined that the Obama and Edwards campaigns were both failures.

    ok. i'll give you credit. you were half-right.

  • (Show?)

    And I must say that this idea that if you're for Obama that you must be a sexist got old months ago. I don't support a candidate because of their sex, race, religion, etc. I support a candidate based on their issues, how they run their campaign, etc. And in this case, Obama won hands down.

    If there were two candidates that were even on it all, then I might take sex, race, etc. into consideration, since it could mean electing someone who is from a community not well represented.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    The NY Times has an article running tomorrow by Adam Nagourney on the Clinton Strategy to win it with supers.

    New York Times:

    Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they had spent recent days making the case to wavering superdelegates that Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright would doom their party in the general election.
    That argument could be Mrs. Clinton’s last hope for winning this contest."

    And this from Americablog- we hear the same Clinton concern trolling from Chris. It's their strategy. So keep on doing their work, Chris! Sean Hannity would be proud!:

    "We also hear via various reporters, that Team Clinton won't go near the Rev. Wright issue. But, that's not true. Lanny Davis, one of the most loathesome Hillary spinmeisters, has an insidious post up at Huffington challenging the Obama speech.

    Davis is a constant presence on cable news for Clinton -- just like he was for Joe Lieberman (and for Bill Clinton back in the late nineties). He knows the Clinton campaign talking points. He knows the impact his words will have because of his long and close relationship with the Clintons. He knows the Republicans will use his arguments. This wasn't some off-the-cuff quote, it was a deliberately written blog post. It is written in the style of the quintessential concern troll. Davis liked the Obama speech, he writes, but, you know, there are "questions."

    Apparently, some of Clinton's surrogates are allowed to attack the Obama speech and his relationship with Rev. Wright after all. What a surprise, huh? And, as noted, Davis has questions for Obama, two questions actually. His concern also raises questions for Davis himself: Who put him up to writing this Huffington Post piece? and Who came up with the two questions? There's no way anyone this close to the Clinton campaign would just spontaneously do something like that post.

    More importantly, the Davis post is part of the Clinton's last ditch effort to destroy the Obama nomination. They want Democrats (i.e. superdelegates) to think Obama can't be elected in November. Now that Michigan and Florida re-votes aren't happening, "electability" is the final card in the Clinton deck. And, it's a fear factor card. You'll hear it a lot over the next couple days and weeks. But ignore the concern trolls like Davis. And, don't kid yourself: The Republicans want to face Hillary. But, the GOPers are clever enough to play along with the Lanny Davis/Clinton strategy if it means damaging Obama. That's something the Clinton campaign and the Republicans have in common."

  • SDG (unverified)


  • James X. (unverified)

    There's no special "Wright Test" in the primary, nor is it necessary to conduct a poll to see how people not paying attention feel. (And you'd have to be paying exceedingly little attention not to see repeated highlights of, and effusive praise for, that speech.) The test is who wins the most delegates.

    It's also naive to think that Clinton's been vetted (she's withholding basic documents from the press and public record) or that only Obama will be the subject of the media's "scandal of the week" mentality.

    Ultimately, our opinions on this are immaterial, because Clinton needs 71.5% across the board in every remaining congressional district, with a little room for less in smaller CDs with lower thresholds, to get the delegates necessary to win. She simply is not going to be the nominee.

  • lonnie G. (unverified)

    Uh. As far as Obama being ahead of Hillary, think again. This came out today. Gallup.

    Go Hillary! Up by 7 points.

    Read 'em and weep. She's running a great campaign. Obama drew "first blood" with those mailer in Ohio distorting her position on NAFTA and her health care plan.

    I like Obama, but I like Hillary better. She's more qualified.

  • Lani (unverified)

    Poll Averaging Shows McCain ahead of Clinton/Obama

    It's sad to see that all the swift-boating done against Obama for the last 4-5 days by playing the Wright outtakes 3-4 times an hour had a negative impact on BOTH candidates.

    Fortunately, Obama's recovering his lead again after the amazing speech he gave.

    I don't see any reason to celebrate when this mud-slinging does nothing but help put McCain in the White House, or is that what you want?

  • SDG (unverified)

    Who cares what the national poll says? The nominee will be decided based on delegates, and delegates are still up for grabs only in certain states.

  • KJBEugene (unverified)

    Gallup has Hillary up by seven? Well, Rasumssen had Obama up by four this morning, and a CNN poll released on Monday night had him up by seven.

    Polls are fun to toss around, but they usually tend to be meaningless. 54% of people know that. ;)

  • (Show?)

    ... Hillary has a stronger record of commitment to the LGBT community ...


    I find much to admire in Hillary Clinton, and will gladly support her should she receive our Party's nomination. However, I do not believe that - on the subject of LGBT equality - the question of what has already been done, by either candidate, says much. What matters is what has yet to be done.

    Barack Obama has reached out admirably, credibly, and honestly to the LGBT community. He spoke out for us from Reverend Martin Luther King's own pulpit. Viewed in full context, that was a mighty act of bravery and integrity.

    Hillary Clinton has also spoken out for us, no matter her husband's good intentions, broken promises, and eventual betrayal through his support for the "Defense of Marriage" Act. I have no doubt she would treat us fairly, relative to her family's past. Perhaps she'd feel she had something to make up for. There's a bit of hope in that.

    Yet, speaking as a politically active gay man, I know that the fuzzy-stuff of social "healing" will have much to do with my community's eventual equality in mainstream society. There's history to overcome. A just-released British study shows that "gay" is the number one pejorative term now used amongst school-aged kids. And a 14 year old boy was just murdered last month by his classmate because he asked him to be his Valentine.

    It will take more than any piece of legislation to begin to address problems like these. And, I have faith in Barack Obama's ability to lead, heal, and change the message. He demonstrated this ability yet again this week in his Philadelphia speech.

    This is why I'm proud to have purchased and proudly worn my Barack Obama 2008 pin two years ago at the 2006 DPO Platform Convention, long before it became fashionable. Hillary Clinton's husband may have been born in Hope, but Barack Obama is inviting me to live there too.

  • SDG (unverified)

    Hillary's schedule as first lady released today shows she worked in support of NAFTA.

  • Katy (unverified)

    Lani, that's really interesting considering that Obama had media blitz in Florida just before their primay?

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    Obama is a foolhardy politician who will do and say anything to be President: from throwing his own pastor under the bus, to meeting and accepting money from known terrorists, to glad-handing and using anti-gay musicians at his events, to using race as a cudgel to advance his personal goals.

    Obama has demonstrated ZERO ability to "unite" save for a few slices of educated white america. Other than that, he loses the majority of white voters, he loses major swing states, he loses hispanic voters, and he is further alienating the rest by showing himself to be a Chicago politician who knows how the game works.

    Meanwhile, this one-term junior senator from a reliably Democratic state has stood idly by while his cult-like followers bash the greatest living Democratic President. BOO on you Barack Obama!

    As well, as we all do, judge a man by his forebears. His father had multiple wives, AT THE SAME TIME, and had children from 4 different women. Sorry this is beyond just "cultural sensitivity" -- it is this type of disregard for women, which Obama himself has displayed in regards to Clinton, that passes down from parent to child. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Oh, and for those following my comments, I speculated that the Clinton campaign was sitting on a MAJOR negative story about Obama. The Wright stuff wasn't it.

    Obama would absolutely, 100% lose a general election against McCain.

  • Katy (unverified)

    ...and Leo, I'm sure the LGBT community was just thrilled when Obama refused to have his photo taken with Gavin Newsom because Newsom was in support of gay marriage.

  • (Show?)

    To Leo Schumann:

    Of course both of these candidates are going to be worth supporting, but I have to wonder if you heard about Barack Obama's snub of Gavin Newsom in 2004 when Newsom was championing gay marriage in San Francisco.

    In the Senate already Hillary opposed the FMA, she has strongly supported the Employment non-discrimination act and the Local Law Enforcement Act (aka the "hate crimes" bill), and she joined with a bipartisan group to introduce the Domestic Partner Benefits bill. (All this is covered on her Senate webpage.) This is exercise of power, not fair-weather pandering, and it represents one of several categories (mentioned above) where Clinton's record is more concretely progressive than Obama's.

    Check out this speech by Hillary at the Human Rights Campaign board meeting.

  • (Show?)

    Knowing Leo, I have a hard time believing anyone has to inform him about anything political that affects the LGBT community.

  • James X. (unverified)

    Peter Bray, what is up with you? Obama didn't "throw his pastor under the bus," he called him family. "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother," he said. If the bitterness and distortion in your comment didn't betray your desperation, your attack-by-proxy on Obama's father, who left him when he was two years old, makes it clear. Your attitude is very unfortunate.

  • Klein (unverified)

    Hey Peter, didn't Bill and Hillary have their operatives off Vicent Foster?

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    Obama is an Undercover Muslim and budding Christian Black Panther at the same time? Wow! Got to hand it to the MSM for clearing that up for me. Meantime, memo to Hillary. You're toast.

  • SDG (unverified)


    Sophisticated. She is definitely taking it to another level. No more politics as usual. That statement shows how she has solutions.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    This discussion and its absurd content shows exactly why this primary race should be over with, and would, if there weren't a claim by the Clintons of proprietary ownership over the Dem. party. It's the "Kitchen sink" strategy. Whatever it takes.......

    And the claims that Clinton is somehow more progressive or more of an advocate for LGBT and others. Today we have articles now on AP wringing out the older dirty laundry of the Clintons and Monica. Distraction, distraction, distraction. The real issue is Bush/McCain and the Republicans disastrous rule over the U.S. That's what we should all be focusing on.

    Instead the Clintonites, including those on this blog, want to pluck on the Wright issue some more and see if they can bring down Obama's poll numbers.

    So if Hillary is such a flaming progressive why is she in hip-deep with this right wing Christian Fundamentalist group with fascist leanings. I'm sure they are really friendly to the gay community in the U.S.


    this from Barbara Ehrenreich "Hillary's Nasty Pastorate"

    "There's a reason why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

    You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the "Fellowship," aka The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

    Sean Hannity has called Obama's church a "cult," but that term applies far more aptly to Clinton's "Family," which is organized into "cells" -- their term -- and operates sex-segregated group homes for young people in northern Virginia. In 2002, writer Jeff Sharlet joined the Family's home for young men, foreswearing sex, drugs, and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power. He wasn't undercover; he used his own name and admitted to being a writer. But he wasn't completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in diners -- alone.

    The Family's most visible activity is its blandly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast, held every February in Washington. But almost all its real work goes on behind the scenes -- knitting together international networks of rightwing leaders, most of them ostensibly Christian. In the 1940s, The Family reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolph Hitler, has continued, along with ties to a whole bestiary of murderous thugs. As Sharlet reported in Harper's in 2003:

    During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise.

    At the heart of the Family's American branch is a collection of powerful rightwing politicos, who include, or have included, Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe, and Rick Santorum. They get to use the Family's spacious estate on the Potomac, the Cedars, which is maintained by young men in Family group homes and where meals are served by the Family's young women's group. And, at the Family's frequent prayer gatherings, they get powerful jolts of spiritual refreshment, tailored to the already-powerful.

    Clinton fell in with the Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Family's "most elite cell," the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginia's notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, the Family's publicity-averse leader, that he is "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."

    Furthermore, the Family takes credit for some of Clinton's rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing "religious freedom" in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics."

  • (Show?)

    An observation: folks like Kevin Drum have argued that the long battle won't actually dim the Democrats' prospects. They use past history as a record, showing how bitter primary races didn't slow down the nominee in the general.

    Maybe so, but judging on the tenor of the discussion on BlueOregon, it's becoming far more bitter between camps as this thing goes along. Here's a question: no matter who you support now, are you 1) just as likely to support the other candidate if s/he emerges as the nominee as you were a month ago or 2) less likely?

    After the kitchen sink strategy, my guess is upwards of three-quarters of Obama-backers are less likely. Whether that would change once things get into full swing is another matter, but all we can know is what we see now. And I see bitterness.

  • (Show?)

    Oh, and incidentally, Chris, Hillary's lead is not statistically significant. Quite the opposite. The trend line has them tied. Day-to-day variation is just that, not statistical significance.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Jeff A. "After the kitchen sink strategy, my guess is upwards of three-quarters of Obama-backers are less likely. Whether that would change once things get into full swing is another matter, but all we can know is what we see now. And I see bitterness."


    Well said, Jeff. I would vote for HRC if I believed she had won the nomination legitimately. Legitimacy matters. I should also add that I believe the bitterness is going both ways to the great delight of the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world. That's why they are pushing for Rs to vote for Hillary, keep it going, keep the division and polarization going. Keep the Dems fighting about gender and race. Right now the state of the election is headed for a cliff, and with it the country. The prospects of a new and catastrophic war with Iran, an even greater economic meltdown, and permanent war in Iraq are looking ever more likely. We can all forget universal health care and any vision of doing something about energy transformation and global warming. I would say right now, unless there's some unification in the progressive movement, the whole country is toast! A protracted fight with the "kitchen sink" strategy is taking us there.

  • lonnie G. (unverified)

    Jeff, in response to your question: Here's a question: no matter who you support now, are you 1) just as likely to support the other candidate if s/he emerges as the nominee as you were a month ago or 2) less likely?

    My answer is unequivocally YES. I will without a doubt support Barak Obama.

    I think your observation, Obama folks not supporting Hillary, is correct.

    Frankly, I think they are both superstars. The major difference with Hillary, IMHO, is that she has a more extensive record than Obama, so there is more to nit-pick.

    Also, I think that many people give credence to the "where there is smoke, there is fire" saying. The right-wing wackos hated, and still do Hillary. To a significant extent, Grover Norquist and his cronies bankrolled those efforts of groups and individuals to take them down. A very sophisticated "whisper campaign," if you will.

    Throughout the years, they hounded her & Bill. For what? To try and derail his presidency and the progressive elements of his agenda. Over time, that psyche has taken root into some democrats minds. What comes to mind: Vince Foster, Whitewater, etc. None of these ever proved that the Clintons did anything "wrong" that hurt our country, but it doesn't matter.

    By being as vicious as the political right was with the Clintons, they create doubt, and hate, the kind that you pointed out against the Clintons.

    If a group or organization, constantly, over and over again, repeat a message, it takes hold and regardless of whether or not something is true, people start to regard it as fact.

  • (Show?)

    Katy wrote: "...and Leo, I'm sure the LGBT community was just thrilled when Obama refused to have his photo taken with Gavin Newsom because Newsom was in support of gay marriage."

    Chris Corbell wrote: "To Leo ... I have to wonder if you heard about Barack Obama's snub of Gavin Newsom in 2004 when Newsom was championing gay marriage in San Francisco.

    First, there are conflicting reports on what actually happened around this event. Second, opinions vary - even within the LGBT issue - on the way gay marriage has been handled by some politicians.

    Barack Obama's willingness to raise the treatment of gays and lesbians from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Day says far more about his character than any uncertain tales about the value of photo ops with Gavin Newsom.

    I hope Hillary Clinton's supporters stop trying to use this tale to divide the LGBT community. The LGBT political movement is not defined by San Francisco city politics.

  • (Show?)

    Trying to turn off Lonnie G's bold (wasn't mine) ...

  • Garrett (unverified)

    The fact remains that both HRC and Obama are better candidates than McCain. There are potentially 3 Supreme Court seats opening in the next 4 years with more open if something unexpected happens. Who would you prefer nominating justices for the Supreme Court? I know I don't trust McCain to nominate someone who is for civil rights and a womans right to choose. So for a 3rd party candidate if your choice between Obama/HRC doesn't pan out. Don't start complaining when you find out your telephone line is tapped and your cousin was just rendered because you threw away your opportunity to do anything about it.

  • genop (unverified)

    I applaud continuing the race. Hillary and her supporters deserve to see this to the end. For Obama, the competition will keep him sharp and perhaps provide further opportunity to lead his campaign through the minefield of challenges ahead. If he continues to turn these sows ears into silk purses, the suggestion that he cannot manage adversity will be laughable. He will have demonstrated his leadership skills by the time he faces McCain - this would be a plus. I am not so naive as to assume Hillary loses, but it's not looking good. That said, her decision should be respected by the party and it's leadership.

  • Taylor M (unverified)

    Chris, I said this before, but if you think Hillary is stronger on LGBT rights, you're living in a dream. You might as well back Gordon Smith in the upcoming general election: after all, he supports hate crime legislation too, and has been pushing with John Kerry to overturn our arcane policy of refusing citizenship to people with HIV-AIDS.

    I guess your two other examples show how fantasy-driven your support of Hillary is. The "Gavin Newsom snub"? Come on. No national politician in 2004 went near San Francisco, especially ones in races that had to win over rural voters. Newsom understood that. John Kerry came to Oakland when he had to fundraise in the Bay Area. Its not a matter of gay rights, but a political reality that being seen in SF with Newsom in 2004 would have given fire to the right on an issue with a more immediate decent compromise available, such as domestic partnerships. Newsom understood that; this is a fabricated snub so Newsom can give back to the people who campaigned for him, like Bill and Feinstein, who helped deliver his election over a more progressive reformer, Matt Gonzalez.

    And the HRC? What are you smoking? The HRC's been one of the Clintons most stalwart allies since the early 90s. It's practically an official part of her campaign. They are as cautious as she is, and were very willing not to push for civil unions and gay marriage in the 90s when it was inconvenient for politicians like the Clintons.

    It's almost too bad that Hillary's finished, because if she made it out of the primary and into the general election, it would be fascinating to see her liberal supporters perform the necessary gymnastics to defend her as she moved to the right, where she's ultimately more comfortable.

    Obama has spoken out on the campaign trail for gays when it's not politically comfortable, including in black churches. He's sponsored bills that would equalize tax rates for domestic partners, and hes sponsored another bill for federal employees to have domestic partner benefits. Oh, and he wants to completely repeal the DOMA, unlike Clinton. Concrete progressive change? There you have it.

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    What Steve Bucknum said. I have no problem with Clinton staying in the race. It's too close to expect her to withdraw, and it remains true that Obama has not performed well in midwestern working class states. He'll overcome that in November.

    But Clinton's campaign themes over the past few weeks have been divisive, just as both sides on this thread are illustrating the politics of division.

  • Katy (unverified)

    Leo, really? Because this "tale" was told by former mayor Willie Brown and Newsom and his staff all said it did indeed happen.

  • (Show?)

    Also worth remembering her long time membership, along with Ben Nelson, Ed Meese, Joe Leibermann, Sam Brownback, and other leading progressives, in this group of Christian Warriors.

    Mother Jones explains it all for you.

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)

    Bray sez:

    "Obama is a foolhardy politician who will do and say anything to be President: from throwing his own pastor under the bus..."

    actual Obama:

    "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

    "These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

    "Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork."

    Bray sez:

    " meeting and accepting money from known terrorists...."


    "There has been a sudden spate of blog items and newspaper articles, mainly in the British press, linking Barack Obama to a former member of the radical Weather Underground Organization that claimed responsibility for a dozen bombings between 1970 and 1974. The former Weatherman, William Ayers, now holds the position of distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Although never convicted of any crime, he told the New York Times in September 2001, 'I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough.'

    "Both Obama and Ayers were members of the board of an anti-poverty group, the Woods Fund of Chicago, between 1999 and 2002. In addition, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama's re-election fund to the Illinois State Senate in April 2001, as reported here. They lived within a few blocks of each other in the trendy Hyde Park section of Chicago, and moved in the same liberal-progressive circles."

    "Is there anything here that raises questions about Obama's judgment or is this just another example of guilt by association?"

    "The first article in the mainstream press linking Obama to Ayers appeared in the London Daily Mail on February 2. It was written by Peter Hitchens, the right-wing brother of the left-wing firebrand turned Iraq war supporter, Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens cited the Ayers connection to bolster his argument that Obama is 'far more radical than he would like us to know.'"

    Bray sez:

    "Meanwhile, this one-term junior senator from a reliably Democratic state has stood idly by while his cult-like followers bash the greatest living Democratic President. BOO on you Barack Obama!"

    I say:

    One, I'll take Jimmy Carter hands down over Bill Clinton. Two, Bray had better get out there and start confiscating the Kool-Aid. Fourteen thousand people (including yours truly) snapped up tickets to hear Obama on Friday within a few hours of them becoming available. Must be one hell of a lot of cult Kool-Aid out there.

  • Lani (unverified)

    --Defense of Marriage Act signed by Clinton.

    --The tax that paid for superfund cleanups ended under the Clinton administration and now the funding is almost gone.

    --The Clinton's gave us NAFTA, gave China "Most Favored Nation" trade status and sponsored them into the WTO. At the same time ignoring the economic meltdown in Russia who were struggling to help their democracy succeed.

    --The FDA received no budget increases during the Clinton administration and still tries to work on the same budget it's had since 1988.

    --Clinton signed a pledge that she would NOT campaign in Michigan or Florida and reiterated that pledge when she ran in New Hampshire. Today she's filmed holding large rallies. She made her first campaign stops in Miami within three days of signing that pledge.

    --For the Texas primary, 70% of Obama supporters and Hillary supporters said they'd vote for the other candidate. In more recent polls the numbers have dropped by almost 20%.

    She's not the most qualified candidate, Bill Richardson was. Joe Biden and others all had more experience. We aren't looking for the most experienced candidate, otherwise we'd be voting for McCain.

    We're looking for the right kind of experience and a better ethical standard than a candidate who refuses to release their tax forms, or offer the names of large donors to the Clinton library or the corrupt influence shown with President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich after his wife donated over $400,000.00 to the Clinton library and over a million dollars to the Democratic party.

    The in-fighting is pulling the party apart. The sooner Clinton quits, the better off the party will be.

  • Lani (unverified)

    As for Obama's former minister, sometimes the people we love do dumb things.

    Obama is no more responsible for Wright than Hillary is responsible for Bill's infidelities.

  • andy (unverified)

    Well as someone once said about the Iraqi/Iran war: "It is a shame that they both can't wipe each other out so we never have to hear from either of them again."

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)

    BTW I love the rigamarole about Obama throwing Wright under the bus. If he had done it and walked away, there would be people calling him a heartless, conniving bastard. But because he didn't, there are people calling him a dishonest, conniving bastard.

  • Mark Mullins (unverified)

    Hillary, like Bill before her, is essentially a conservative. Not as wacko as some of the Republican conservatives and certainly not as wacko as McCain, but a conservative nonetheless. In the last few weeks, she's proven that she will quickly stoop to conservative campaign tactics too, and these tactics will increase her already very high negatives.

    Barack Obama is also a conservative in many ways (less so than Hillary), but being a member of the 13th generation rather than a Boomer will enable him to move beyond the polarization of the idealist Boom generation. (Yes, the most comprehensive study of generations in the U.S. puts the cultural Boom generation at 1943-60 rather than 1946-64. Barack is certainly a member of my generation rather than the Boomers.)

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Well, the longer this blood feud goes on, I suspect the deeper the doubts are that people who call themselves Dems have anything in common with each other in their core values, their loyalties and vision for a future world. The AA community is looking pretty deeply right now at the Dem. party and wondering what it's about, when Bill Clinton appears on Rush Limbaugh, and Rush Limbaugh turns around and sends his minions to vote for Hillary. And I hear on many progressive blogs, about what it means when party regulars are deliberately picking at the race wound to score votes, and figuring on how they can rig this thing for their candidate. Al Giordano at The Field is actively fronting for the "Jericho" option. And what occurs to me is whether, in the words of one great progressive, you can put "new wine into old wineskins." A new version of 1968 looks more and more the case, only it won't take place in the streets.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    What's wrong with Clinton continuing to campaign? Nothing if she stops her destructive critique of Obama. There's nothing wrong with differentiating candidates, but the Clinton campaign style is more apropos to a general election, not a primary among Democrats with similar values. And even then, some of her blows have been low.

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)

    Bill R, per blood feud, I will be happy to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election if she is the nominee. Can I say that again? I will be happy to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election if she is the nominee. She just isn't my first choice. Neither Clinton nor Obama was my first choice, for that matter.

  • (Show?)


    Seriously! You think because Obama's father was one way, Obama will automatically be the same? Despite the fact that he seems to be a devoted husband and father. Does that mean I'm an alcoholic by proxy, because my father is?

    If we're going to apply this same logic to Clinton, does that mean that she is a tyrannical bully? After all, that's what her father was...

    Fine if you disagree with him of actual issues of policy, but your just being close-minded to an extreme.

  • Kuttan (unverified)

    Nice Post Chris. I was a Obama follower and was bamboozled and hoodwinked to liking him by his message of change and hope. But in the past couple of weeks, My opinion of him has changed. My conclusion is Great oratory skills do not ,in any way, shape or form, equate to experience, good judgment, and strength of character.

    I will not be voting for BHO in the primary or GE ( if he is the candidate)

  • Les Lambert (unverified)

    What the most recent campaigning has demonstrated very clearly is that there is a world of difference between Clinton and Obama. Hillary wants to be President, whereas Barack wants to lead this country. What Hillary seems to be willing to do to win the nomination looks like the definition of Pyrrhic victory to me.

    I don't believe that re-runs in either MI or FL will resolve anything, nor will the remaining primaries. Barack will wind up ahead in delegates, either way. It will be up to the superdelegates. If Hillary will not stand down, someone in DNC should step in and find a way to end this farce, sooner rather than later.

  • (Show?)

    Katy wrote: "Leo, really? Because this "tale" was told by former mayor Willie Brown and Newsom and his staff all said it did indeed happen."

    Not as you spin it, though, which is the point I made.

    If you actually read the article you yourself cited from The Advocate, you'll see it points out what Taylor M said above: that no national politician would touch Gavin Newsom in 2004, due to his well-intentioned fumbling of the gay marriage issue.

    So, why should I be upset that Barack Obama avoided being visually associated with a controversial, polarizing politician in the middle of a political fumble? Speaking locally, I supported Diane Linn in her failed re-election bid, out of a sense of loyalty and appreciation for the political stand she took on our community's behalf. But that hardly means I was blind to the bigger picture, and couldn't see that she was ahead of the curve and got nailed by the backlash. Gavin Newsom had the same problem.

    I'm sorry, Katy, but the LGBT political community is not as shallow as you seem to think. We're not single-issue voters. Most of us have a mature, realistic, long-term view of how our equality will be achieved, and by when.

  • Brienne (unverified)

    t.a. barnhart : you say Obama wasn't there for that vote and that makes a difference?

    Yes, that is exactly what I say – in regards to his rhetoric on the issue. The way he speaks of how he was against the war from the start makes the public think that he was actually part of the vote, on the inside of the controversy, but he wasn’t. I think it is wrong for him to make it seem like he was part of something that he wasn’t part of. This is no way an endorsement of support for Clinton’s vote, which I deplore. Politicians have made many mistakes, and yes, Clinton didn’t announce regret for her vote, but she made an initial choice not to and had to stick with it. I could just see a reiteration of Kerry’s flip flop record if she changed her mind. The northwest is very isolated from the rest of the country, and while I love our progressive values, I also understand there are millions of people in our great nation that we must work with to actually, well, progress. It’s hard to please everyone, and compromises are a necessity.

    and i don't know what tolerance of sexism you're talking about in reference to Obama.

    I didn’t reference his campaign when speaking of sexism. I, in fact, do not have an example of his campaign making sexist remarks. Instead, I referenced the whole campaign in general; the media and the words coming from “the people.” It is frustrating to see tolerance of outright sexism in Americans during this campaign. Obama hasn’t referenced gender in Clinton’s campaign, but he doesn’t have to. It’s Americans that reference it for him. Clark’s comment saying Hillary’s a hawk is a perfect example. The statement has no relevance to her as a great politician, but yet is accepted as rhetoric for describing her as a person.

    Jenni Simonis, I would never say that if you’re for Obama then you’re sexist. That’s just stupid. I like Obama, he’s very charismatic. I just strongly believe that you need more than charisma to be president. Obama and Clinton have nearly the same voting records (since 2004 when Obama was elected to office), and they have very similar ideas on the issues. Clinton is simply my preferred candidate, a choice that I finally decided just a few weeks back.

    For the general election, I will vote for the Democratic nominee. This idea of not voting because your favored candidate is not selected is foolish. To me, it means you as a non-voter divide the party and keep our country in peril of poor Republican leadership. If you want Obama because of his non-divisiveness, and he’s not selected, then why not follow his ideals and keep the party together?

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    The "open mind" does not appear to be prevailing. I respond to all of those who continue to claim that Hillary is dividing the party or that she has somehow already lost.

    There are many popular Obama talking points here that I find my self responding to ad nauseum. Many progressive Hillary supporters, myself included, feel that Obama went personally negative on Hillary long, long before the so-called "kitchen sink" strategy (which is an empty and perhaps subtly sexist phrase - both campaigns are using all strategies at their disposal). I also wrote the Obama campaign as far back as mid-October asking them to deliver on their promise of a positive message and stop attacking Hillary's character; instead the character attacks on her increased in November. Moreover the divisive rhetoric we see here is hardly a result of any action of Hillary's. I urge my fellow Hillary supporters here to take a positive tone when possible, but I've mentioned before in this forum how Obama supporters in progressive forums like the Nation and Kos have been incredibly intolerant (== DIVISIVE) towards Hillary supporters. People take politics personally, and that includes passionate supporters of our former First Lady and Senator from New York.

    Disarming this divisiveness is not solely our responsibility, though it was an intention of my post. It honestly has little to do with Hillary's continuing in the race when she's received so many millions of votes and is widening her lead or closing the gap in upcoming contests. From the looks of the comments here there are plenty of Obama supporters all-too-willing to continue pouring gasoline on the conflagration (and, as with everything wrong with America, blame Hillary).

    For the sake of argument, let's pretend: 1. Obama is going to win the nomination 2. Obama wins Oregon big - say Hillary only gets 33%.

    Then how is your constant canonization of Obama and demonization of Hillary going to play out? If you really think that 1. Obama's win is a done deal and 2. divisiveness is a problem, then WHERE IS YOUR OLIVE BRANCH to Hillary supporters? How do you plan to ensure that those thousands of Hillary supporters in Oregon aren't so disgusted with the way their candidate has been treated by Obama supporters in November that they stay home - or that the blue-dog moderates and other centrists among them don't decide they've had enough, and vote McCain? If Obama wins, Hillary will be 100% behind Obama, but if there's bitterness on the ground a residue will remain, and it's your job as much as anyone's to start working to alleviate that.

    And what happens if Obama doesn't win Oregon that big - what if it turns out that 40, or 45, or even 48 percent of Oregon Democrats favor Hillary? What if, against all odds, she wins? How is your extreme scapegoating of her and inability to have a friendly conversation about her continuing candidacy going to unite us for the general election then?

    Politics is a long game. Last fall was the time to start thinking three moves ahead for the good of the party, and instead the Obama camp played kneecap-Hillary, slam-her-on-character, adopt-right-wing talking points on health care, winner-take-all. I authored this post not asking that Obama supporters change their mind, but only that they soften their rhetoric of late and realize that Obama does still have potential vulnerabilities, that there are still many Hillary supporters here who want to see her win, and that even if she doesn't win Hillary is going into this convention with a lot of power based on popular Democratic support - power which I have no doubt she will use for good and for the unity of the party even if she does not come out ahead. After all, she has never hesitated when asked whether she would support her rival (unlike Mr. and Mrs. Obama), and she was not the one who smugly claimed she'd automatically get all of her rivals' support - an incredibly arrogant statement of Obama that again shows that unity is more of a slogan to him than something he really knows how to achieve.

    Apparently I've asked for too much with this post; but if you can't even think one move ahead at this point - if your anti-Hillary zeal is so entrenched that you can't graciously accept the right of a great Democrat to continue her race, the right of her Oregon supporters to celebrate all she continues to achieve - then you will never achieve the unity that was supposed to be the cornerstone of Senator Obama's campaign.

  • (Show?)

    Chris Corbell:

    The "open mind" does not appear to be prevailing.


    Then how is your constant canonization of Obama and demonization of Hillary...

    like my ex-wife, Chris's conclusion is that if someone does not agree with him, their mind is closed. further, by stating supporting for Obama and stating why we oppose Hillary, we've gone overboard. we have come unhinged.

    this is a discussion that no one will win. i'm not changing my mind about either candidate (either of whom will get my vote in November, both of whom are worthy to be president; i just think Obama is much more qualified), nor are most Obama supporters (save those who've merely been bamboozled and not supportive). and Chris started this not to have a dialogue but to prove his points. his language in his final posts are not reflective of most of the posts in this thread; they're sore-loser grumpings as he realizes that despite everything, the nomination is nearly won for Obama. so let's end by demeaning the people he pretended he was going to have a real dialogue with...

    Apparently I've asked for too much with this post...

    ...and hope the right YouTube comes up to save Hillary's lost campaign.

  • Fair and Balanced (unverified)

    I hope both campaigns will keep an open mind and support whoever gets the nomination. I am encouraged by the example of the erstwhile Edwards and Kucinich supporters who are now either engaged with the Obama/Clinton pairing, or refraining from sniping at either.

    Let us neither contribute to the negativity, nor react too strongly when the "other" side tilts toward the negative. This too will pass and we'll have a chance to put someone in the White House who will reverse the terrible course we've been on for the past 7 years. Eyes on the prize!

  • Katy (unverified)

    Chris, thank you for so saying what I've wanted to say on this blog for a long, long time.

  • Orowhn (unverified)

    Even when John Edwards was my choice I always told friends that I was first of all a Democrat and I would happily support whoever was the nominee. After watching the events and the actions of the Clintons over this last month I no longer can or will say that. I am now convinced that the Clintons are more interested in their own power than in strengthening the Democratic Party. I am also convinced that if Clinton wins the nomination, and even the presidency, it will ensure the election of more Republican Senators and Representatives than anything else the Democratic Party could do. Case in point, if I wanted to ensure Gordon Smith's reelection I would do all I could to make sure Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President.

  • Katy (unverified)

    ...and to those who say Clinton should drop out of the race I'd like to point out today's gallup poll:

  • Joe Smith (unverified)

    The contest will continue at least until Pennsylvania, and will continue after that unless there is an astonishing -- like 75-35 -- result one way or the other there. As of now the most likely scenario is that Clinton will cut Obama's pledged delegate lead by 10 or so; such a result would certainly not justify either candidate throwing in the towel. I hope that all the automatic delegates (misnamed "supers") will vote exactly as I hope everyone who has voted in a caucus or a primary has voted: for the person he or she believes will offer the best combination of electability, and performance as our President. We all have at one time or another decried "politicians who test the wind, and go wherever it's blowing." Yet, whether you're demanding that an automatic delegate vote according to the final count of pledged delegates, the popular vote, or the latest poll, that's what you're asking them to do. Bad for government, bad for the Country. The reason they are automatic is that their position, whether as Governor, member of Congress, or State Party official, is likely to give them avenues of information, access to the candidates (or to those close to the candidates, which is often even more important,)and/or political judgment not enjoyed by the typical voter, and, that they almost certainly have been paying more attention to politics and government than that voter. This in no way puts down the typical voter; it is rather the reason we have a republic (small "r"), rather than a democracy (small "d"): people who have agreed to accept those positions are EXPECTED to be better informed and to spend more time considering what government should do than the average voter. Right now it appears most likely that the nomination will go to a second ballot, at which time there will to my understanding be NO pledged delegates; at that point the ability of the competing supporters to reach a mutually acceptable result will be crucial. Anyone who thinks that residual bitterness from a tough nomination fight hasn't hurt in the ensuing general election must not have been around in 1968, when Nixon won in no small part because too may of us McCarthy supporters sat on our hands. To a lesser extent the same thing happened in 1980 when some Kennedy backers didn't really get behind Jimmy Carter's reelection. And I can say with certainty that Wayne Morse would not have lost to Bob Packwood had so many Duncan Ds not gone south. To the extent that the debate from here on out is how best to avoid electing Bush III, and on educating all of us on what needs to be done starting next January (and how to get it done), the debate will most likely strengthen us. To the extent that it consists of arguments like those offered by Peter Bray, "Andy," or "lani," we, my party, and my country will receive nothing but hurt. So I really hope that the temptation to say "my candidate or nothing," as several of the above posts do, will be resisted, and even more, I hope that we will do our part to raise the dialog to the level that everyone seems to be asking from the (other!) candidate. Blue Oregon might be a really good place to start. Joe

  • (Show?)

    Further down in that Rasmussen ONE-DAY TRACKING POLL, a more comprehensive metric:

    "Obama has a 42.8 % chance to become the next President. Expectations for McCain to become President are at 39.8 % while Clinton’s prospects are at 17.0%."

    Eventually we'll get to McCain's racist preachers, I'm confident.

  • (Show?)

    "Right now it appears most likely that the nomination will go to a second ballot,"

    I have to disagree with this. As I noted, if he simply maintains his current pledged delegate advantage the rest of the way (which seems a conservative estiamte), he needs fewer than 60 more automatic delegates, of the 268 remaining. And as much as one might say that they are there to make up their own minds, surveys of uncommitted delegates indicate they are very much predisposed to select that candidate which Americans showed a clear preference for, by metrics like popular vote, contests won, and total pledged delegates. I would be extremely surprised to see a second ballot with Obama so close to locking it up.

  • (Show?)

    I hope that all the automatic delegates (misnamed "supers")will vote exactly as I hope everyone who has voted in a caucus or a primary has voted: for the person he or she believes will offer the best combination of electability, and performance as our President.

    Of course they're not like everyone who has voted in a caucus or primary. They are, as you point out, people who see themselves, and are seen by you as having various qualifications that the rest of cannot have (access, information, insight, whatever).

    I categorically reject this notion of circumstantial superiority. I think it much more likely, based....... you know......on history, that with jobs, access, donations, vote trades and other perks in the balance, they are less likely as a group to make decisions that are more in my best interest than the decisions that I make myself, or that the Great Unwashed might make in the aggregate.

    Discalimer: I am sure that each and every member of the Oregon Automatic Delegate Squad (TM), is individually committed to purity of motives, and that they are all better informed than I am.

    I'm talking about those other Superdelegates........

  • joeldanwalls (unverified)

    Corbell: WHERE IS YOUR OLIVE BRANCH to Hillary supporters? How do you plan to ensure that those thousands of Hillary supporters in Oregon aren't so disgusted with the way their candidate has been treated by Obama supporters in November that they stay home - or that the blue-dog moderates and other centrists among them don't decide they've had enough, and vote McCain?

    Huh? Here you're implying that it would only be Clinton who could capture "Blue Dogs" etc., but elsewhere you say that Obama has adopted right-wing talking points and that Clinton would tend to pull the Party platform to the left. Sort of inconsistent overall.

    Also, is there any evidence that there are hordes of Clinton supporters in Oregon who would refuse to vote for Obama, or vice versa? Yeah, I know about polls in other states, but two things: relavent to Oregon? And is a poll like this, taken in the heat of an exceptionally closely contested primary, indicating rather more of a "screw you" emotional response than would actually be relevant in November?

    There have been one hell of a lot of people reluctantly voting for candidates in the past, and I expect we'll see that in 2008.

    As for the olive branch, here's mine: I'll vote for Clinton if she's the nominee. I'll never repeat the goofy claims that the nomination is somehow sewn up for Obama. I've decided not to vote for Clinton in the primary, and my decision has nothing to do with drinking purple KoolAid, or whispering campaigns about Clinton's "bitchiness", or other screwball, irrelevant stuff. Can you accept that I've thought about it and made a rational choice?

    Clinton supporters could also extend one huge olive branch(well, some Clinton supporters on this blog, such as Peter Bray, not Corbell): quit talking about the Obama "cult". Accept that Obama supporters are as fully in possession of the reasoning power as Clinton supporters. (It would've been nice if Hillary Clinton herself hadn't picked up the cult meme.)

  • Lani (unverified)

    If the Clinton campaign believes that they can unfairly steal the nomination in Denver, I have a feeling that the Recreate 68, the Disrupt the DNC, or Unconventional Denver people will find their protest numbers much larger than expected.

  • (Show?)

    did chris just say the Clinton campaign is making subtly sexist remarks about...the Clinton campaign? Because it was one of her aides who coined the term, according to published accounts.

    And what's "goofy" about a little simple math? Using the same calculus as every other losing candidate has in this situation, the only path to victory for Clinton is scorched earth. Hillary wants to be President; Obama wants to lead, IMO.

  • Lani (unverified)

    Joe>Yes. They tried the same idiocy earlier with "It's disrespectful to call her Hillary" even though you can buy "Hillary for President" lawn signs from her website.

    The "kitchen sink" phrase originated with the Clinton campaign when they embarked on the current round of smear tactics or politics as usual.

    From Clinton Campaign Starts 5-Point Attack on Obama NYT by Healy & Bosman After struggling for months to dent Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy, the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now unleashing what one Clinton aide called a “kitchen sink” fusillade against Mr. Obama, pursuing five lines of attack since Saturday in hopes of stopping his political momentum.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Katy-...and to those who say Clinton should drop out of the race I'd like to point out today's gallup poll:


    You forgot to mention the Rasmussen, the CBS/NYTimes, the USA Today, and Zogby all showing Obama leads, during the worst week he's had this year.


    AS for McCain's extremist preachers, (Hagee said today it was McCain who sought his endorsement.) There's Hagee and Rod Parsley, and of course the dearly departed Gerry Falwell. McCain kissed his ass royally after calling him an agent of extremism in 2000. Falwell, why does he hate America so much, why does McCain hate America, blaming America for 9/11. Steve Cobert has great fun with that here.

    And on Rod Parsley, the "spiritual advisor" to McCain. The guy who wants to wage a war to destroy Islam. Lovely..

  • krystal (unverified)

    Great article, Ms. Corbell.

    What I don't understand from reading these posts is why anyone believes Hillary should step aside for Barack Obama? Please step aside for "my candidate"? Surely you jest - she's got fully half the vote! If she were down by 20 points I MIGHT understand. Would you have expected Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy to step down because Hubert Humphrey was going to be the nominee in 1968? I doubt it.

    Additionally, I find the comparisons to Robert Kennedy (and others) not at all likely. Obama is a fascinating speaker - and a budding leader - but he's not the bulldog Robert Kennedy was. Kennedy didn't care if he made enemies or not - he was too busy working for the causes he believed in (McCarthy, Hoffa, the disenfranchised and downtrodden,and on and on). There's not much similarity between these two, and frankly I think Obama's more like Jimmy Carter (no offense here, President Carter is a magnificent human being, as is Senator Obama).

    If Barack Obama is the nominee, he's going to have an extremely difficult time beating John McCain. He's just not tough enough to withstand the Republican onslaught and it WILL be unrelenting and very unfair. I thought it telling that Obama recently said he was 'shaken up' by the issue with his pastor. Well guess what? I think Hillary Clinton was absolutely blindsided by what happened to her lead in the voting/polls over the last two months. But did she say so? Of course not. Leaders never do. The Chicago Tribune called Obama 'gutless' for not voting on the tough issues in the Illinois legislature, and from walking away from tough party fights. This is not who I want in the White House - not yet, anyway. I think Barack Obama will be a great leader, but he's simply not ready yet. And I think we are seeing this more and more every day.

    As one poster said earlier, she would never expect Obama to step aside if Clinton was ahead. I wouldn't either. Let the thing play out as it most definitely will. And the superdelegates will do what they are supposed to do. And to you, Bill R. (third post, angry man), if Obama wins, I will support him. As long as a Democrat wins, I'll be reasonably satisfied. If Democrats won't vote because 'their Democrat' was selected in a way they didn't like, then drop out of the party, for God's sake, and quit bitching.

    Bottom line is, we're all bickering like Obama's the Dem and Hillary's the Republican. These are two great candidates, and we should be grateful we have such a choice. Look at the alternative - not a decent Republican in the whole bunch. Now, if Chuck Hagel would have run.....

  • Billl R. (unverified)

    krystal : "As one poster said earlier, she would never expect Obama to step aside if Clinton was ahead. I wouldn't either. Let the thing play out as it most definitely will. And the superdelegates will do what they are supposed to do. And to you, Bill R. (third post, angry man), if Obama wins, I will support him."


    And I will support Hillary if she wins legitimately, which can only happen if she wins 70% plus of the remaining delegates.

    In actuality I would ask Obama to concede if the situation were reversed. Because there is no way he could legitimately win the nomination and be deserving of support. I would also no longer support him if he were employing the tactics of Clinton and endorsing McCain over his Dem. opponent in addition to the other divisive and damaging campaign tactics.

  • Lani (unverified)

    What is it about the Hillary Camp and passive agressive behavior?

    Why wouldn't we ask Hillary to leave the race when her attacks are so negative and destructive? She's behind in delegates, elected delegates (beyond her ability to catch up) and the popular vote.

    When Hillary and Bill invited Obama to be her Vice President a few dozen times, they were telling Obama to quit.

    Does anyone have any doubt about that? Hillary said over and over that Obama should quit the race. He hasn't and neither will we.

    Now her camp acts all innocent and surprised that the shoe is on the other foot.

  • krystal (unverified)

    Hillary Clinton is in better stead than she was a few weeks ago. This issue with the pastor is not going away and it will be extremely damaging to Senator Obama, unless the campaign can come up with something huge to counter it. The speech the other night, as great as it was, didn't do it.

    If you think Hillary's campaign is negative and destructive, you haven't seen anything yet. The Republicans are remarkable - masterful in their ability to completely make something great look very very bad. They took a veteran - John Kerry - with a hero's untarnished record, and turned it into something ugly. And got a group of men (one from Oregon) to stand up and say John Kerry didn't do what he said he did. Of course they were wrong - and unfortunately Kerry didn't react quickly enough and didn't fight back. The same thing happened with the wonderful Max Cleland from Georgia. A veteran who lost his legs and one hand was completely torn apart by the Republicans and lost a second bid for the U.S. Senate. It was despicable. And Cleland was tough as nails - but not tough enough for the swift vets.

    So you can talk about all the love, hope and unity you want to. But Obama, if he's the nominee, will have to toughen up fast for a truly ugly race against the Republicans.

  • (Show?)

    "Bottom line is, we're all bickering like Obama's the Dem and Hillary's the Republican. "

    Maybe that's because she's behaving like one.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    "To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro told the Daily Breeze in an interview.

    Gee Geraldine, you sound upset.

    Hillary’s best hope is for BHO to say or do something that will screw himself with the remaining voters and superdelegates, something it looks like he may have done with the Rev. Wright mess.

    It’s been her strategy to portray him as “unvetted” and this will go a long way to proving her right.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    This issue with the pastor is not going away and it will be extremely damaging to Senator Obama, unless the campaign can come up with something huge to counter it. The speech the other night, as great as it was, didn't do it.

    Perhaps the problem lies not so much with Obama but the American people. So many of them keep getting jerked around by 30-second sound bites and bumper sticker slogans.

    The Republicans are remarkable - masterful in their ability to completely make something great look very very bad. They took a veteran - John Kerry - with a hero's untarnished record, and turned it into something ugly.

    The problem here was that Kerry and his team of political hacks didn't have what was needed to counteract these slime balls. As for the Max Cleland incident, the people of Georgia should be ashamed of themselves for buying into the crap they were fed.

  • disgusted (unverified)

    Enough already. There's no use in debating Corbell, or Peter Bray, Kristy or Lani. They are either paid employees of Senator Clinton's campaign or volunteers with an unwavering commitment to their candidate. A quick google of Chris Corbell and Obama reveals over 22,000 hits dating back to mid 2007. To his or her credit (Chris is a somewhat neutral moniker), the quality of Corbell's writing is better than Bray's or Lani's; but their single-minded and repetitive posts are boring the hell out of me. But I guess that's part of the strategy. Continue hammering at Obama's presumed weaknesses in the hope that readers of the blogs (Wa Post, CBS, ABC, BlueOregon, etc.) become fatigued with the whole debate, leaving Senator Clinton's dedicated legions an opening in the remaining primaries.

    For this recently converted Obama supporter, it's had the opposite effect.

    Here goes another $50 to the Obama for President campaign. It ain't much, but it adds up.

  • (Show?)

    Krystal wrote: "This issue with the pastor is not going away ... unless the campaign can come up with something huge to counter it. The speech the other night, as great as it was, didn't do it."

    Perhaps not for you, personally, Krystal. However, a number of others believe differently:

    "The New York Times called it 'Mr. Obama's Profile in Courage.' A commentator on the BBC called it perhaps the most important speech on race since Martin Luther King announced he had a dream. Donna Brazile, one of the most prominent black Democrats in the country, was practically gasping on National Public Radio the next morning about its significance." - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - March 20, 2008 [Just one of 6,239 news stories about Obama's Philadelphia speech known to as of this posting]

    This speech was indeed huge, Krystal, for reasons that go far beyond the personal ambitions of HRC or BHO. And I hope we can all set partisanship far enough aside to recognize that, whoever our party's candidate may be this Fall, American race relations turned a corner this week.

    Every Democrat can feel good about that.

  • AlecSandra (unverified)

    Mr/Ms Disgusted... I am a Hillary supporter, not a paid member of her staff, or anything like that. I do have to admit that I was backing Joe Biden until he dropped out, then I looked for someone who holds my values, who has the experience to be a US President, leader of the Free World, so to speak. Hillary has that experience and she can do it. She has the diplomatic experience to lead our country. She has the experience and knowledge to bring our troups home in a safe way, in a way that would do no more damage to our troups or to the innocent Iraqi civilians, etc, who are caught in the middle. She has the experience to keep our children safe, to keep choice available to women so they can make their own decisions regarding motherhood.

    She is a leader who has committed her self to the US Senate for more than 4 yrs. What has Obama done? As soon as he gets into a position of authority, he starts looking for the next place to go. If he cannot serve as a US Senator for 4 years before looking for a new job how do I know he can serve as President for FOUR years? Is he going to want to find a newer, better job as soon as he gets sworn in? What job would he want to attain? What is higher than President of the US for a US citizen? God's job? Does Obama want that one? Will he start campaigning for that as soon as the ink is dry in January?

    Ok, so I went off an a ramble there, but you get my point.

    Just so you know... I am making it my personal mission to let people know that they do not need to vote for who the DNC chooses to put in the front... If they are not willing to count the votes of the people of 9% of our country in MI and FL then I have no respect for the leaders, for Howard Dean (who I backed in previous campaigns) or for anyone else who stands in the way of MI and FL voters being heard. Obama's name was on the FL primary ticket and the people still voted for Hillary... that says a lot and Obama needs to quit fighting this war over the results in MI and FL.

    Oh yeah, as I was saying, you do not need to vote for who the DNC says to vote for... You can WRITE-IN a candidates name and I will be writing in H-I-L-L-A-R-Y C-L-I-N-T-O-N on the ballot if her name is not printed there and I already know of a number of people who will do the same...let's just say that if everyone who wants Hillary as president does this it will say a LOT to the people.

  • Lani (unverified)

    Disgusted>Can you point out a single post I've made in support of Hillary Clinton?

    I'm voting Obama, so's my husband and many people I know. If Hillary wins, the Democrats will lose. I have no doubt of that.

    So now we see that a vote for Hillary is a vote for McCain.

  • Krystal (unverified)

    To Leo S. -

    Great remarks, and I agree with you. I do want to clarify, however, that although I AM voting for Hillary, I see the huge potential in Barack Obama. My only - yes, ONLY - concern about Obama is his lack of experience and what I THINK I see as a lack of toughness.

    I say the issue with Obama's pastor is not going away not because I personally want it to be at the forefront. Of course I don't - it's the Republicans that will never let it die. They're going to get every church involved with this and show the videotapes and the pictures of Obama in African garb until we're sick to death of it. And then they're going to tell people to be afraid. They've done this before! With great success.

    I have never been so moved by a speech as I was by Obama's 2004 Democratic Convention speech (this latest speech was hallmark, but different -I'd never heard of Obama before the convention). I knew he would be president one day. I simply don't think he is prepared or ready to take on this job at this time. I don't understand why so many people think that because many of us are for Clinton means we're against Obama. And they seem to question our intelligence, and that offends me. I don't do that to Obama supporters (ok, Bill R, I did call you an angry man). I'm absolutely not against Obama, and I know a lot of people who will work hard for him if he's the nominee, myself included.

    I'm sticking by my candidate until I can't anymore. I used to read Buzzflash, Truthout, MoveOn, and listen to KPOJ, but I'm so tired of being battered and maligned for supporting a candidate who is well-qualified to take on the job, I just can't listen anymore. And I have an 'Impeach' bumper sticker on my car - the first bumper sticker I've ever had!

    People need to chill out a little and quit attacking those that are on the same side. After all, we're going to be working together again very soon.

  • Esya (unverified)

    I think the concern about Obama's "former minister" is that many middle of the road voters will look at the idea that he "fired" or "divorced" his minister mid-campaign and get a very weird vibe. I am not religious, just spiritual, but as someone who has been married to one person for a very long time, the whole idea of dumping someone mid campaign (and the same could be said toward Hillary's first manager) is just uncomfortable. At least Hillary's was an employee. And remember, I am not even religious or Christian.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    Bill R said: "The prospects of a new and catastrophic war with Iran, an even greater economic meltdown, and permanent war in Iraq are looking ever more likely. We can all forget universal health care and any vision of doing something about energy transformation and global warming. I would say right now, unless there's some unification in the progressive movement, the whole country is toast!

    I agree, and that's why Clinton and Obama, who both are on the wrong side of all these issues, need to be either rejected or forced to the center.

    For those of you who have raised the issue of Gavin Newsom: as one who worked against Newsom and his right-wing campaign for mayor in SF (He was elected by Republicans, who outspent my candidate by 10 to one, and we still wonder if Willie Brown, et al, stole the election), the fact that Democrats believe that he's too far to the left to be seen with him shows me how far to the right the Democrat Party has gone. Matt Gonzalez was and is a superior candidate: The Obama Craze

  • Steve S (unverified)

    It still seems like Hillary has a lot of die-hard supporters, and I do not think many will change loyalty unless they realize that the unity of the Democratic Party is at stake.

    While Sen. Obama is not truly a progressive, I believe that he is the best choice, by far, for those of us who share a progressive agenda. He has a real vision for the future and will surround himself with good advisers.

    The whole problem with Hillary, as has been pointed out by many, is that she is too tied to the DLC. That was my problem with Bill and is my problem with her. John Edwards said it best during one of the early debates: "We do not need to exchange corporate Republicans for corporate Democrats". Obama (hopefully) will be less beholden to the big special interests.

  • Paul (unverified)
    <h2>What you can kiss goodby is a whole new generation of Progressive Democrats. My 23yo is engaged but if Hillary wins in spite of losing, he will be gone back to his video game. The campaign road she has chosen to follow leads to the past - not the future.</h2>

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