Hillary: I am dividing the party to unite the party

T.A. Barnhart

The NY Daily News gave homegirl Hillary a chance to explain why she's beating this dead horse relentlessly. Proving she's firmly fixed in the new millenium and completely in touch with the politics of change, she regurgitates the most famous excuse for Vietnam, only in pretty Democratic blue:

I am running because I believe staying in this race will help unite the Democratic Party. I believe that if Sen. Obama and I both make our case — and all Democrats have the chance to make their voices heard — in the end, everyone will be more likely to rally around the nominee.

She's not asking to destroy the village to save the village. She just wants to make sure the party remains united by dividing the party.

And she makes no attempt to apologize for making her stupid, insensitive comments about Bobby Kennedy. Instead, she blames other people for taking offense, because she was only teaching history and had no intent to hurt people's feelings:

I made clear that I was [going to remain in the race] — and that I thought the urgency to end the 2008 primary process was unprecedented. I pointed out, as I have before, that both my husband's primary campaign, and Sen. Robert Kennedy's, had continued into June.

Almost immediately, some took my comments entirely out of context and interpreted them to mean something completely different — and completely unthinkable.

I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual. ... I realize that any reference to that traumatic moment for our nation can be deeply painful — particularly for members of the Kennedy family, who have been in my heart and prayers over this past week. And I expressed regret right away for any pain I caused.

But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for — and everything I am fighting for in this election.

Obviously her team had time to make her non-apology sound not only more apologeticky but become a chance to blame everyone else for thinking mean thoughts about her when the truth is that her heart and mind were so heavy with anguish for Uncle Teddy she simply could not help repeating the "they shot Bobby in June hint hint" comment yet again. Those who accuse her of inviting the country's sharpshooters to send in their resumes are just out of touch with her proven affection for Sen Obama. Plus it's stupid. Not as stupid as making the original comment on camera when you want everyone to believe you are the most experienced and capable politician on the planet, too experienced and capable to make stupid "shoot my opponent, please" comments. But stupid enough. Gaining the nomination that way would be too horrible, and even the Billary isn't that crass or self-centered. Even if she has said it several times over the past three months. And insists the point is still valid. Just not that way.

So all you HillaryHaters: Knock if off. Stop being mean to Hillary. She was only making an inaccurate and misleading historical reference of elections that were completely different than this year. She did not mean she should stay around "just in case ... ya know." She wasn't meaning to hurt anyone's feelings. The simple truth is that Hillary, and Hillary alone (although maybe John McCain, too, it depends on which audience she is addressing) represents long-suffering women, working class white men, ignorant hillbillies, folks what got no quit in 'em, and, of course, the Clinton Legacy. Since Barack Obama is fully incapable of representing the valuable people she represents — the people who will add up to 270 electoral votes, just the way her primary voters added up to a Super Tuesday nomination wrap-up — it's vital she remain in the race until at least a week after Obama makes his acceptance speech in Denver because not only will he lose to the maverickly experienced McCain but all them womens and poor folk will be left alone with no good Democrat to care for them.

And bad stuff can happen. Just not that bad stuff. The other bad stuff, the kind that requires Hillary to remain on the attack in order to be ready to reunite the party.

Just in case.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    I am astonished that I once entertained the idea that someone like Hillary Clinton was capable of being the president of the US. Ugh!

  • Ashlander (unverified)
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    Good article! Thanks.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Wow, is that Chris Corbell? Welcome to the realm of reason.

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    Hillary Clinton is solidifying her case to be the Democrats vice presidential nominee. It' an easy case for her to make: She'll campaign in Florida and Ohio and the Appalachian states where Obama doesn't do quite as well.

  • John (unverified)
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    Boo. I am so tired of hearing everyone with a keyboard and a blog who was already an Obama supporter jumping on this story. Keith Olbermann the other night made me MORE committed to Hillary Clinton. This faux outrage is ridiculous. Did you tell Ted Kennedy to get out of the race in 1980? I don't think so, even though he was down by 900 delegates. Now Hillary Clinton made a big mistake, but the response has been repugnant.

  • Cray (unverified)
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    This is so ridiculous. She made a poorly phrased comment. This assassination possibility is a scary one, but very unlikely. And it could happen to any leading candidate. The first female nominee or the first black nominee both need extra secret service protection. The idea she suggested this is ridiculous, and I am tired of her comments being blown out of proportion. Does Obama get a pass on calling reporters 'sweetie' and brushing dirt off his shoulders like Hillary Clinton is one of the "bches" in the songs (or playing the atrocious anti-woman "99 problems and a b ain't one" song at his Iowa victory rally? But Clinton makes a mistake and that is it, huh?

  • denial_is_not_an_excuse (unverified)
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    She did not give it a break. She turned around and blamed it on Obama... wake up and stop being in denial.

    He can call me sweetie anytime he wants. It's not even remotely the same.

    Oh and I am a 54 year old woman.

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    Hillary has fought a tough fight. At times, her approach has been too tough, she has crossed lines she shouldn't. Her candidacy has paid the price, by failing to gain traction; Obama's ability to, generally, stay above the fray has been more effective. He's held his lead. Good for him; he is an excellent candidate and, in my view, by far the best candidate to lead the country in the direction it needs to go.

    But to call Hillary's mention of the Kennedy assassination a "mistake" or worse makes no sense to me. Politicians make reference to emotional and political touchstones all the time. She noted a moment that sticks out in many people's memories, in support of her point that primaries have lasted into June before. Big deal. I've read lots of comments claiming that there's something improper or untoward about it, but nobody has made a case that is remotely convincing to me. I watched the clip, it was a perfectly reasonable point for her to make.

    Of course Obama supporters would like Hillary to concede, I count myself among those who would prefer that outcome. But hanging on her every word, looking for an exploitable issue to make her concede is bush league. She's earned her right to make her case, and parlay her strength into whatever she can. She's been an incredibly strong candidate (even though her approach has vastly diminished her stature in my eyes and those of many others.) She clearly wants to play a role in guiding this country to a better future, and she will attempt to do so, whether as a Senator or in some other role.

    Casting her as the villain at every (non-) opportunity is getting very old.

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    it was reasonable to bring up the specter of political assassination? it was reasonable to conflate 1992 & 2008, which have nothing in common other than the name "clinton"? it was reasonable to once again say, sorry, no that's not what i meant (sorry, no, i didn't mean to imply anything racist; sorry, no, i didn't mean to belittle dr king/jfk; sorry, no, i didn't mean bush to screw up the war i voted for).

    pete, she's not making an historical point: she's be self-serving. even if she meant well, even if you give this the best possible interpretation -- it was stupid. it was flat-out stupid. if that was the best historical reference she had, then she should have kept her mouth shut. why wasn't the 1992 reference good enough? it was; i disagree with it, but it was sufficient. but she had to add the assassination reference as if it wouldn't be horrific to millions of Americans. and it was.

  • Ed (unverified)
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    I guess the faux outrage over the bitter comments was ok, but this isn't.

    For someone who was supposed to be such a seasoned politician, Hillary sure does make alot of mistatements. And has awfully thin skin.

    Her campaign is a trainwreck of lies, spin, and missteps. She squandered the money and recognition advantage by running a poor campaign. As with Rudy Guiliani, the more people get to know her, the more they realize she is not only unlikeable, but unqualified to be president. Not now, or ever.

  • Karen (unverified)
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    If, God forbid, something does happen to Senator Obama during this campaign I'm sure Senator Clinton will also blame THAT on him and his supporters. AND if we find the culprit, I guarantee you it will be someone linked to the Clintons. Remember all those mysterious deaths that happened when Bill was in office???

  • Don (unverified)
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    Sal, had HRC quit even after IN/NC and certainly before PA there is little question she would have been strongly considered for VP. However, given the slash and burn politics she has employed since then, Obama would really anger his supporters if he picked her.

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    T.A.: In a word, yes. It was a perfectly reasonable response to the question posed to her, from where I sit.

    Okay, I respect that it appeared unreasonable to you -- but if you're going to convince me, you've got a ways to go.

    Personally, I'm much more disturbed by the whole "he wouldn't be there if he wasn't black" stuff and the "me and McCain are the only ones with enough experience" stuff. But this one doesn't cause me any concern. Kennedy's assassination was a historical event, and I don't understand why mentioning it should be off limits.

  • marketgeek (unverified)
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    Senator Clinton did not mean the RFK comment as taken, I feel sure. For me however, it was like someone tearing a bandage off of a wound. I remember sitting with my family with tears streaming down our faces as we watched the film of JFK in the car, his wife scrambling to pick up pieces of his head. I remember the shock at the assassination of Martin Luther King. And I remember the final blow to our hopes with the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

    The remarks of Senator Clinton were rudely insensitive to me, and immediately brought those still fresh images to mind. For someone of my age group, more or less, to bring this up in this campaign was simply astounding to me. It is not whether it was meant one way or another--it was the sheer tone-deaf use of such an explosive subject to make such an inconsequential point. It makes me wonder of she has the capacity to understand the effect of her remarks on on anyone other than herself. Surely there were other elections to talk about?

    I have no objection to HRC running for as long as she feels necessary--after all, the popular vote is close enough to be disputed depending on what and how one counts. But why this? Why this now? It was both unnecessary and hurtful. For me, it has brought her judgement into question since avoiding the topic seems like a no-brainer.

    Also, as always, if she is the nominee I will still be voting a straight dem ticket. Because I do believe in party unity and hope that along with our new Senator Merkley we can send a new dem president to Washington.

  • Beej (unverified)
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    CBS/AP) A political tempest over Barack Obama's comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.

    Obama tried to quell the furor Saturday, explaining his remarks while also conceding he had chosen his words poorly.

    But the Clinton campaign fueled the controversy in every place and every way it could, hoping charges that Obama is elitist and arrogant will resonate with the swing voters the candidates are vying for not only in Pennsylvania, but in upcoming primaries in Indiana and North Carolina as well.

    Political insiders differed on whether Obama's comments, which came to light Friday, would become a full-blown political disaster that could prompt party leaders to try to steer the nomination to Clinton even though Obama has more pledged delegates.

    "This helps both his opponents," Politico.com's Mike Allen told CBS News. "It lets Senator Clinton off the mat, gives her basically a club to hit him with. And it helps Senator McCain because it makes it easy for him to cast this as a race against a snob."

    The Clinton campaign handed out "I'm not bitter" stickers in North Carolina, and held a conference call of Pennsylvania mayors to denounce the Illinois senator. In Indiana, Clinton did the work herself, telling plant workers in Indianapolis that Obama's comments were "elitist and out of touch."

    Check out paragraphs 3,5, and 6 particularly. What was that you were saying about the Obama camp overplaying this? Why is it that when Clinton does it it's tough politics but when Obama says he doesn't believe that Clinton was doing anything more than offering a historical reference about primaries running into June, he's overplaying it for political gain and that's "not fair"? Wow! Just wow. Get a clue people.

  • Nick C. (unverified)
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    "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" That was faux outrage.

    This one really has folks asking what the hell Hilary could have meant besides Obama might get assassinated. I've listened to the explanation from Hilary (and others from her supporters), but as I repeatedly listen to the original comments, I only see three reasonable interpretations, or some combination thereof.

    (1) Hilary really wants to stay around in case "something bad" happens to Obama. Not necessarily an assassination, but a scandal or anything else that could happen in the real world. Let's call this the worst case scenario. Although this is probably on the minds of some politicos as a real strategy, public advertisement of this is dumb and makes Clinton look like a vulture. This seriously calls into question her ethics and reinforces the growing sentiment that she is a win-at-all-costs, opportunistic, and mean-spirited politician.

    (2) Hilary was really trying to make the point that some primaries aren't decided until late in the game (sometimes as late as June!), in which case she chose to erroneously apply the 1992 situation, as if it were truly comparable. While technically true, this has been debunked as a genuine argument at BlueOregon and elsewhere.

    (3) Hilary misspoke or was thinking out loud without really formulating some other complete thought. To me, this seems least likely, as multiple people have already pointed out that Hilary publicly used the Kennedy assassination meme before in a similar context.

    I'm going with (1) with a little bit of (2). I think that this is a line of reasoning that the Clinton camp wanted to get people to consider out loud. Maybe they figured that because it really is on the minds of Americans that if they stoked the fire a bit, people would agree that shit happens and not press so hard for the primary to be over. They just didn't count on the fact that Americans are unwilling to accept the possibility that an assassination will decide this contest. She may have been just trying to communicate that stuff happens, but hey, she used Bobby as the example... people didn't even have to read it in.

    To me, it is not the reference itself that is offensive; it is the whole context. To quote Charlie Murphy, Hilary "is a habitual line stepper."

    I TOTALLY agree that we should try to step back from our strict scrutiny of every single word that candidates say. Mistakes definitely happen. I'm just waiting for someone to explain to me how this could have been a mistake. I mean in the absolute best case scenario, Hilary is still using the 1992 primary completely out of context.

    We Americans are a pretty sensitive bunch about certain words that we don't want to hear. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I think this one is worthy of scrutiny. But I've been wrong before...

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I believe the reason the Clinton campaign continues to try to foment outrage about disrespectful media, disenfranchised voters, shameful Obama, sexism, and unfairness in general is because it acts as a bargaining chip in their pressure campaign to make Clinton his running mate. Obviously, such tactics also make her a horrendous choice for his running mate. The Clintons will play by their own playbook. They won't take orders from Obama. They are nobody's second in command.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    If anything this campaign season has been successful in revealing that Hillary Clinton should never come anywhere close to the presidency because of a pathologically flawed character. In so doing she has ruined her standing forever as a leader in the Dem. party. She will be fortunate if she is able to keep her senate seat in New York. Perhaps if she runs as a Republican as the champion of the "hard-working white people" she can regain a political political life. And as for Bill, he is reduced to spending his life on the rubber chicken circuit to pay off campaign debts. Instead of the elder statesman he is now a pathetic diminished figure.

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    "Wow! Just wow. Get a clue people."

    I agree. Get a clue, everyone.

    Hillary and Barack aren't tearing the party apart. We are, by projecting anger that should be directed at McBush, instead at two of the strongest, bravest, and certainly most unique candidates in American history, along with, by proxy, the many millions who - for obvious reasons - like and appreciate both of these amazing people, in whatever relative degree.

    Any Democrat who cannot say "yes, America would be better off with either Clinton or Obama in the White House" needs to have their head examined.

    So yes, indeed. Get a clue. Think beyond the 72 hour scandal-cycle, pumped from all ends of the media to keep their ratings up (what, you think Olbermann's so pure, just because you agree with him?). Instead, take a long look at the nearest child, and ask yourself how mis-projecting pent-up political outrage over the latest slight between two people who are under an amount of public pressure no one reading this has ever experienced or could fully understand ... is helping give that child a decent future in the world we've created?

    There's a bigger picture here folks. Yes, it is about our children. And, it's time we start acting like it. We're driving towards a cliff, but fighting over the paint job.

    Have you heard Canada just discovered massive cracks in the Arctic ice cap this week? Do you know anyone who has lost their job? And how about the wars, and the debt, and the foreclosures, and the super-germs, and the spiraling food costs, and our oil addiction?

    Yep, there's a bigger picture available folks, if we wanna pull our heads up (and out) to look at it. And, it's going to take all of us to win this election, and have any hope to avert some of the problems we're facing. So what are we each doing to make that happen?

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    p.s. I've been openly supporting Barack Obama since the 2006 DPO Platform Convention, when people did nothing but give me funny looks. And I would proudly cast my vote for Hillary Clinton.

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    so, Leo, you admit to be an appeaser?

    seriously, though: i'm not the one using horribly inappropriate language to promote my own cause. nor is Obama. hell, even Bill never went this far. this is a failure of judgment and leadership, and, as i've said repeatedly, really really stupid.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Is it really too much to ask that the 16 million people who voted for Hillary get to see the finish of all the primary elections first? Even though I don't share your decision to support Obama, I still have a right to want my candidate to stay in a race (which looks pretty close to me).

    You know something? Your article could have been written by the likes of Dick Morris or Sean Hanity. It has the exact same conspiratorial rhetoric and emotional appeal to the lowest common denominator that is the life's blood of the GOP's echo chamber.

    Once the primaries are over, and assuming Obama wins, he is going to need people like me in order to beat John McCain. The vindictive denunciations of my candidate, by you and countless other hacks, is harming your candidate's chances far more than Hillary's fight to the finish ever could.

  • derek eddy (unverified)
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    Dan, let me get this straight, you and other Hillary supporters are going to vote for McCain because Hillary is not being treated well? If you and others like you choose to vote for McCain or stay home, I hope you all enjoy the next four years of unemployment, war and high gas prices. You would rather the country go down the tubes. I guess you and Hillary are alike.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    She will be fortunate if she is able to keep her senate seat in New York.

    If New Yorkers would re-elect Chuck Schumer, they won't have any problem re-electing HRC.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)
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    It's a death rattle, it'll be over soon enough.

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    There are just so many relaitve 'ifs'.

    Dan, IF, HC was running a classy but tough campaign, you bet we could just let the rest of the primaries play out. Alas, she's NOT and it is damaging the party and jeopardizing the general election. The sooner she's out the better for her, her legacy and the party.

    IF HC had not so boldly and coyly, manipulated people's fears about, terrorism, race, gender, class and religion, I could have supported her with some degree of enthusiasm. As it stands now, I would, if given no alternative ( and McCain is certainly not an alternative) still cast my vote for her only because of SCOTUS. But make no mistake. The politics of the Clinton's, Penn, McCauliffe, Wolfson, Begala, Carville, etc... have contributed to this sorry state of affairs. The GOP may have started it, but our party ended up playing some mighty slimy politics as well. I don't want to be a part of that if I don't have to. You can call me a Pollyana or whatever you want, but I want to be a member of a party that's better than that. I want to be part of a party that says to all the working poor of the Appalachia's. "You are part of this party and part of this nation. We need to help you. We need to improve your schools, access to healthcare , and provide you with a family supporting job. But we reject your racism and your ignorance."

    I am trying to understand the perspective of HC supporters, as I am absolutely sure that many of them are wonderful, civic minded and engaged people. But for the life of me, I don't understand their unchecked loyalty to someone who has used the very tactics that we are supposedly against. I am not comfortable with her character and/or ethics. That , for me, has always been the problem.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    derek eddy: Yes, please! Let's do get this straight. I never said I was voting for John McCain. Those are your words. Why not stick to what I said and respond to that? Ah...it's far easier to make up something outrageous and denounce that.

    So here's a question for you. Isn't the lie-based attack the very kind of thing people like you claim to despise about Hillary?

    If I and Hillary are alike, it's that we believe in something more than someone. If you understood that, you'd not worry that I'd fail to vote for your darling Barak this coming November.

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    DH, you said that very well. thanks. i especially appreciate your words "to" Appalachia. i know i was snotty in my post about "poor hillbillies" -- you said the right thing in the right way. i was leading with my disgust. but that was directed at HRC, not the voters. i wish i could say i respected them as voters & citizens, but i find it hard to do. "Christian" voters who won't vote for a black man? jfc.

  • lin (unverified)
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    Hillary Clinton, as with the Bosnia sniper fire delusion, suffers from a fantasy that she is the front-runner, and with her forever shifting goalposts, her new lunatic math and kitchen-sink-sewer, failed and bankrupt campaign, wants Obama to give her MORE TIME as some evil and psychotic person can clear the road to the WH for her . I am a feminist older than Mrs. Clinton and as an American patriot, I need to do the right thing and tell Mrs. Clinton and sex-addicted impeached Bill, get out already! The Clinton dynasty has been spoiling not just Obama's race in November but also the entire Democratic Party and its representatives'-- congressmen, governors, district officers, mayors, etc, etc--ability to win in future elections. Bill is fighting Obama to return to the WH for a third term, and Obama has been fighting not just two Clintons (both playing every dirty card in politics) but also the GOP and the mainstream media who want to see the contest continue and their high ratings maintained. To claim Senator Obama is not electable because he is black is to say that only white Americans, like Bill and Hillary, can become President, as they have for over 200 years. No Native, Hispanic, or Asian American need apply as well just in case they'll end up like Robert Kennedy as well. Is this what we want for our republic? Senator Obama MUST denounce and reject Hillary's shameless agenda. He MUST stop treating Hillary as an older white woman like his mother and therefore to be respected, and show her for the corrupt (25 million dollars gained from influence peddling last year alone), lying (Bosnia sniper fire), bullying (Judas name-calling), ruthless (just look at her ads), unelectable (highest negatives ever in a presidential candidate, and negatives increasing every day) small human that she is. The Party Elders Must remove Hillary, the basest fear-mongering, saber-rattling candidate ever, before something really really bad happens with all the hate-inciting she and Bill have been doing.

  • derek eddy (unverified)
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    Hey Dan, You wrote: "assuming Obama wins, he is going to need people like me in order to beat John McCain. The vindictive denunciations of my candidate, by you and countless other hacks, is harming your candidate's chances far more than Hillary's fight to the finish ever could."

    That is the sort of thing that Hillary says. Its amounts to electoral blackmail. Clinton stated that the Florida votes would be welcomed by the GOP if the Dems refuse to include their votes in her total. She agreed to sanction those votes with the other candidates and is now making it a civil rights issue. She is also egging the voters to vote GOP. Your statement is consistent with Hillary's in that it is a slash and burn policy that tells people that if they do not support Hillary then the Dems will loose (with Hillary's assistance).

  • Beej (unverified)
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    Leo,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I will vote for Obama because he is going to be the Democratic candidate. I would have voted for Clinton had she been the Democratic candidate. I will not, under any circumstances, vote for one single Republican in this election. That includes my local Republican candidate for dogcatcher. (That was a little levity. Very little.)

    Dan may not be one of them, but all you have to do is go to Talk Left or No Quarter to see the totally irrational threats of Clinton supporters to vote for McCain if their candidate is "robbed" of the nomination. Robbed seems to be a synonym for getting less votes than the other guy.

    Just one questions for these outraged and wholly delusional Clinton supporters: Do you really want John McCain appointing the next 2 or 3 justices to the U.S. Supreme Court? Do you? Really?

    BTW-The quote I posted above was from CBS News.com. I thought I had included that in the post, but evidently it got cut off.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Dan, in May 1992, Jerry Brown stopped his attacks on Clinton. He didn't advertise in California. He was still in the race, but he knew just as well as everyone else who the nominee was. And the party united around Clinton.

    But the Clintons don't want unity unless we're uniting around them.

    This is the longest nominating process in American history. Your candidate has a right to continue to contest it, and a right to hijack it with inflammatory, resentment-inspiring rhetoric. But I have a right to point out how destructive and unfortunate that is.

  • Miri NY (unverified)
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    We New Yorkers are not going to reelect Upchuck Schumer, Tom Paterson, Tom Rangel, Carolyn Baloney, Nita Lowlife or any other of the spineless hacks who continue to support the racist provocateur Clinton. But that deal was done when we found out that they sat by knowing her husband was taking millions from Dubai when she voted for the Iraq war. As a New Yorker I apologize to the rest of the country for this sorry lot.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    The sad thing about the NY Daily News op-ed is that it further demonstrated Hillary Clinton's kneejerk circle-the-wagons approach to all criticism, as well as her inability to make anything approaching a sincere, meaningful apology. "So sorry if you were offended, but RFK Jr. has absolved me of all guilt."

    Sen. Clinton's inability to admit error and apologize--for her war-powers vote--is the reason we're even having this discussion. If she'd emulated John Edwards, she would be the nominee now.

    Inability to admit error; inability to apologize; an overbearing sense of entitlement: no, she's not at all like Dubya except for these crucial character flaws.

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    (i hate to use this tired cliche, but) Miri, please tell us how you really feel!

    no need to apologize to Oregon: we foisted Bob Packwood's french kissing on the nation. none of us are pure.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    derek eddy: Try to remember, I'm on your side. Is it really necessary to talk about the person I want as though she were Satan? That's kind of being a poor winner. Maybe if you can't say something nice about Hillary (clearly!) it would be better to tell me about all of the wonderful things Obama will do for us next year. I do expect him to win, and I am truly excited about it.

    I don't buy the Hillary is a demon crap. She is far from perfect, perhaps very far, but she isn't the character so many have cravenly claimed on these pages. You'll never make me her enemy, but you could make me your friend if you treated my my choice with a modicum of respect.

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    Part of the problem is that Hillary apparently thinks she needs more of a justification to stay in than saying she owes it to people like Dan, or Katy who frequently comments here, or Chris Corbell, and on and on. They are all the reason she needs. It is too bad she couldn't just say that & leave it at that, and point out to Obama backers that Barack Obama has said as much too.

    I truly don't believe that Senator Clinton meant anything evil by what she said, and we should reject remarks like that by Karen up above in the same way we should reject Hillary (or maybe R provocateur?) trolls who will still retail anti-Muslim smears against Senator Obama.

    But I do still believe her statement was grossly irresponsible and reflects a disturbing obliviousness to the power that her words carry, coming from the heights she's reached. It seems to me part of a pattern of irresponsible speech. But part of the reason I don't see a bad intent is that I believe she has put herself at risk too, not just Senator Obama, given the depth of animosity by some toward her.

    All that said, we should also give credit where credit is due. One piece of Hillary's NY Daily News article that T.A. didn't quote is where she said this:

    "if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, I will support him and work my heart out for him against John McCain ..."

    For reasons to which Leo alludes, and others, I will work for whomeever is nominated in order to defeat McCain.

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    no Chris, i didn't quote that part, but where do you think i got my title from? i read the op-ed piece, and when i read that -- i flipped. that's was just the capper.

    "We had to destroy the village to save the village."

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Well, here's the Washington Post on Sunday evening, with my emphasis in italics:

    Clinton Camp Stokes RFK Flap by Blaming Obama

    By Zachary A. Goldfarb

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of fanning a controversy over her describing the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy late in the 1968 Democratic primary as one reason she is continuing to run for the presidency.

    "The Obama campaign ... tried to take these words out of context," Clinton campaign chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said on "Fox News Sunday." "She was making a point merely about the time line."

    The issue is particularly sensitive given longstanding concerns about Obama's safety as a presidential candidate. (He first received Secret Service protection last May.) The Obama campaign called Clinton's words unfortunate and circulated a TV commentary criticizing them, although Obama himself said Saturday that he took Clinton at her word that she meant no harm. ... Asked if Clinton has personally called Obama to apologize for the reference, McAuliffe said she has not, "nor should she." He added, "Let's be clear. This had nothing to with Senator Obama or his campaign."

    McAuliffe noted that Robert F. Kennedy's son -- who endorsed Clinton last November -- has said that Clinton's reference to his father's death did not cross the line.

    "If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. doesn't find offense to it, why is it that everybody else should?" McAuliffe said. "They shouldn't. They ought to take Robert F. Kennedy Jr. -- he did not misinterpret it or misjudge it."

    Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation", Clinton senior strategist Howard Wolfson said McAuliffe is "absolutely right" that Clinton didn't want to apologize to Obama for the remark and said: "I think it was unfortunate to attack Senator Clinton's remarks without knowing fully what she had said."

    <hr/>

    Just like the war-powers vote, folks. "I'm sorry" is not part of Hillary Clinton's vocabulary. And guess what? This obstinacy, this "toughness" is why she's not going to be the nominee.

  • (Show?)

    Dan (assuming there is only one Dan posting here),

    Thank you for clarifying your position. But while it is not the only way to read what you originally wrote, reading it as a threat to sit out the election due to the disrespect of some Obama supporters for Hillary Clinton and / or her supporters is not unreasonable.

    Now that you have been clear I don't need to worry about that. However, I would really, really like to say that this has very much been a two-way street at the level of supporters on blogs, and it still goes on, in circulations of smears of Obama by people purporting to be Hillary supporters, and in name-calling against Obama supporters.

    You have a fair complaint, with respect to some people. But so do Obama's supporters, with respect to some on your side. Can you acknowledge as much?

    Probably we should all take into account the likelihood of false-flag trolling, when looking at comments on blogs.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Chris, GLADLY! I will gladly acknowledge some Hillary supporters do the exact same things I am decrying.
    Thank you for the olive branch.

    BTW I have seen at least one other Dan commenting at Blue Oregon. I don't post very often (maybe once or twice a month), but all of the above are my comments tonight.

    Dan (K)

  • (Show?)

    T.A., Wasn't meaning to take a shot at you. I assumed you got the title from the Vietnam-era quote you cited.

    My frame of mind is pretty well reflected by Kristin Teigen's recent article.

    I respect a wide range of other points of view and frames of mind, outlooks, feelings, however one wants to put it. That includes yours, that includes Dan's (esp. given his clarifications), Katy's and many many others, not all of which are compatible with one another.

    I think Leo speaks eloquently to the fierce urgency of November. I have no idea how to achieve what he says needs achieving, except to start with myself, and my awareness of how much I have been whipsawed by various things in recent weeks, not all of them having to do with Obama and Clinton (actually the most profound being the war funding votes in the House and Senate). So I'm seeking a kind of dispassion, insofar as I can achieve it, to be ready for however it plays out.

    There may be outrageous stuff to come, or there may not. I'm trying not to buy trouble at this point.

    This is purely subjective and is not advanced as a point of view anyone else should take up if it doesn't make sense to them.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Leo, If Hillary were to be the nominee, I'd hold my nose, go throw up a couple times and then mark Clinton on the ballot. John McCain. John McCain John McCain John McCain John McCain John McCain

    It would, however, be a bad idea for anybody involved in that decision to get within earshot me for several days.

    No, I don' buy the kill Obama theme, she wants to piggyback off RFK as another victim which I find offensive as hell.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks Dan. I appreciate your candor.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Sorry...I misspoke. The very first "Dan" post was not by me. My apologies to the original "Dan".

    Good night all...even you Hillary Haters. Our side (the demos) will win this fall and the world will be a far, far better place for it!

    Dan (K)

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Another member of the tin-foil hat brigade speaks his mind... as is his right. Not that it's anything but embarrassing themself.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Leo Schuman | May 25, 2008 6:28:50 PM

    Well said, Leo (and BeeJ whom you riffed off of).

  • KJBEugene (unverified)
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    Hey, everybody, jacksmith is back! Isn't that an old Native American name that means "total troll"?

    There's enough idiocy in his post to fill a book, so I'll just pick on one point: Even if his idea that 79,000 Republicans switched just to do an Operation Chaos were possibly true, Obama won Oregon by 108,000 votes, not 70,000. So even in this guy's fantasy world, Obama still won by 39,000 legitimate votes.

    Thanks for playing, though. Feel free to try again next election.

  • KJBEugene (unverified)
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    Oops, make that 29,000 instead of 39,000. See what happens when I try to perform simple subtraction after midnight?

  • (Show?)

    Don't worry, KJB, your math is still better than jacksmith's.

    For the election in November 2007 there were 683,173 registered Republicans. For the primary this month there were 672,600.

  • Chris #12 (unverified)
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    What about the Democrats in the Senate who cannot unify to oppose the war? They split, and the war funding bill passed 70-26. Good job, Democrats! Makes me want to vote for McKinney in Novemeber. Among those voting yes were Merkley sponsor Jon Tester, Obama did not vote, Clinton voted against it.

  • Jennifer (unverified)
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    Hillary can stay in as long as she wants. I support her, and she is not dividing my Democratic party. As the Obama supporters beat this sexist drum, you divide the party and lose him votes. When Hillary mentioned Kennedy, it was a reference more to the fact that the campaign was going on in June, not linking anything to his assassination. You guys are worse than the media that hate her because she is a woman. I'm done with reading this blog for a long time.

  • DB (unverified)
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    I've said this on two other threads so far and I'll say it here. I despise Hillary. It wasn't always this way, I used to like her as recently as January, but her campaign has disgusted me.

    Having said that, I think we need to drop this RFK thing. All this discussion is doing is alienating Hillary's supporters. We've already won! Can we stop beating this horse now? Let the Hillary trolls and the more reasonable Hillary supporters say crazy things, get it all out, and move on. Stop antagonizing them with the "who else are you going to vote for?" argument.

  • OregonDemocrat (unverified)
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    I despise Obama and his supporters for their treatment of supposed fellow Democrats. Obama and his supporters have divided the Democrats and will further open the divide in an already divided America. The MSM has played you like the fools that you are.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Jennifer, I am not sexist. I'm a feminist (third wave). A pro-feminist, if you prefer.

    As the Obama supporters beat this sexist drum, you divide the party and lose him votes.

    You're only echoing the Clinton campaign's long, long list of reasons to resent Obama's win rather than to accept and unite behind it, but that is what is dividing the party. Not the winner, but the loser who insists that the loss is because of an injustice akin to slavery and the denial of women's suffrage. The campaign is literally bussing people in to a DNC meeting and instructing them to be outraged. They are actively cultivating hostility toward the nominee at the end of the nomination process. That is exceedingly unhelpful to the party and our chances in the fall.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Oregon Democrat presents another argument that is heard from the very top of the campaign. An argument to resent the winner rather than unite behind him. Just this weekend, Bill said "I've never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running."

    But Sen. Clinton was the presumed frontrunner. She didn't have to prove anything. She just got narrowly beaten. Most candidates would put a positive face on that. But the Clintons seem to want you to nurse a grudge over it.

  • (Show?)

    Don't we have enough threads beating this dead horse? What is this, the third, fourth, fifth thread?

    I urge everyone who wants to hyperventilate more on this topic to read the various public statements of Senator Obama and many of his leading supporters.

    Let's keep up the bitter internecine warfare folks! Boy are we doing a good job handing the election to the GOP!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I want to be part of a party that says to all the working poor of the Appalachia's. "You are part of this party and part of this nation. We need to help you. We need to improve your schools, access to healthcare , and provide you with a family supporting job. But we reject your racism and your ignorance."

    Politicians have made this kind of promise for generations to different groups and repeatedly stiffed them after taking office. I never understood why unions and African-Americans continued to support the Democratic party after this repeated treatment. Perhaps union leaders got some personal perks, but the members were continually betrayed. I guess African-Americans felt they had nowhere else to go and the party leaders had the same idea, but if they had taken a chance and stood aside for an election or two, the party leaders would have received a salutory message after they were left out of power.

  • (Show?)

    I am an Obama supporter, have never beaten the sexist drum, and btw..never called a Clinton supporter "foolish." Every accusation of trying to "split the party" IS an attempt to split the party. People support the candidate they wish to support. With all of its failings, that IS allowed in this country. Choosing to use that as an excuse to personally attack people who disagree, is also allowed. It's also childish and irritating.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Let's move on. Enough circular firing squads.

  • (Show?)

    paul g

    i was going to reprint an op-ed my sister-in-law wrote for the KC Star; that will come later. i wrote this piece not to beat the dead horse but because i hadn't seen anyone comment on Hillary's last line in her piece: the longer she stays in, the better for Democratic Party unity. the immeasurable arrogance of that comment was just too much; and however tired of a topic some might be, others of us still need to have a good, long scream. fortunately, not only do i have this venue for my screaming, but no one is forced to read it or pay it any attention! the best of both worlds.

    and i triple-dog dare anyone to find anything sexist in what i wrote (and using the word "women" does not count).

    despite Hillary's attempts to destroy the party to save the party, we have a nominee who has proven in his time in both the IL and US Senate that he can bring people together over common cause. the damage Hillary is doing on behalf of her & Bill's ambitions, Obama will undo on behalf of the nation. the silver lining.

  • Newt (unverified)
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    Enough of this bickering. Do something proactive.

    Sign the Petition to Oregon Superdelegates calling for Democratic Party Unity:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/Or4DU/petition.html

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Ok, I don't want to bicker, so Hillary are you going to stop trying to blow up the DNC in regard to MI/FL? No? I thought not. Gee, then it is in my interest and the Party's to do everything I can to blow her up.

    I don't care that she is a woman, I don't care that some supporters on either side are messianic idiots, I care about deliberate attempts to blackmail the Party and I'm happy to kick the blackmailer's ass repeatedly.

    Oh sure, automatic delegates and particularly Senators need to sit this woman down and have a chat about the power of destruction and whose hands it actually lies in.

  • (Show?)

    "Dan, in May 1992, Jerry Brown stopped his attacks on Clinton. He didn't advertise in California. He was still in the race, but he knew just as well as everyone else who the nominee was. And the party united around Clinton."

    I've tried to make this point before as well, to no avail. Her example (Bill, not RFK) forcefully argues for her own withdrawal: her husband didn't wrap it up until June, but he had it won in April because his opponents conceded defeat and united the party.

    No one's saying cancel the primaries that are left; just stop travelling the country looking for votes and attacking the nominee. You want to talk about history, let's talk about THAT history.

  • (Show?)

    If I may opine:

    Let Hillary have her moment, and pour your energy into meaningful actions while these last few primaries play out. Don't go pressuring our party officials to announce their preference in the presidential race.

    While you wait for Montana, et al. to finish up, why not find your local Democratic Party meeting?

    Or sign up for one of the three upcoming Bus Project rides!

    And don't forget about the Archimedes Movement's first annual Membership Conference on June 14th!

    Let's hit the streets.

  • (Show?)

    That's the ticket, Andrew. Unity in action.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    It's down to 49 delegates for Obama to hit 2025. He is expected to easily get 42 in the remaining contests. So he needs just 7 SDs to make it a wrap, which will readily happen as the undeclared SDs ratify the primary results. Come next week there is no excuse, no excuse whatsoever for the Clintonites to continue to divert and distract further. Going on beyond that is simply party suicide and sabotage of the elections the entire ticket from top to bottom. If Hillary Clinton keeps it up past June 4, then we know the agenda is about being a spoiler, wreaking revenge out of spite, and nothing else.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    in another thread someone posted contact information for all the Oregon superdelegates. If there's anyone who could easily re-post that, I would be grateful. Time to write and say, please get off the dime, make a commitment, and bring the nomination battle to an end before we need to call in the Red Cross for blood transfusions.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    in another thread someone posted contact information for all the Oregon superdelegates. If there's anyone who could easily re-post that, I would be grateful. Time to write and say, please get off the dime, make a commitment, and bring the nomination battle to an end before we need to call in the Red Cross for blood transfusions.

  • (Show?)

    I'm with Andrew.

    I couldn't support her either, but make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is a great American and a great Democrat. Let her have her last few moments of campaigning for President. It won't change anything and when the math is done she will do what she has to do. It does not diminish Obama in the slightest and it won't affect all those Appalachian votes in the slightest either.

    Accord her the respect she deserves, which she has earned for 35+ years of service to progressive causes and the Democratic Party. If she feels disrespected she is much more likely to cause trouble. That's only human nature.

    Deep breaths, people.

  • (Show?)

    this has nothing to do with her campaigning or not. if she had stuck to the issues, that would have been one thing. she rarely goes near the issues when she's promoting her cause publically. it's become one of 3 things: 1) the black guy can't win the important states, 2) the media is sexist and Obama is cool with that, and 3) bad things happen in June.

    whatever she's earned, she's busily throwing away. apparently no one around her sees the reaction or how ugly/stupid her words are. but then again, they all seem to think it's ok for her to pretend she is free of all responsiblity for the invasion of Iraq. why should we expect better from her on this? she's shown she has no longer got "better" to give.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    @ Joel Dan Walls

    Ore. SDs at your request:

    Wayne Kinney: [email protected]

    Gail Rasmussen: [email protected]

    Frank Dixon: [email protected]

    Meredith Wood-Smith: [email protected]

    Bill Bradbury: [email protected]te.or.us

    to contact Ron Wyden, here's his email form page: http://wyden.senate.gov/contact/

    For Governor Kulongoski email page, to ask him to switch: http://www.governor.state.or.us/Gov/contact_us.shtml

    Google Darlene Hooley--her url is way too long to include here. Again, ask her to switch.

    And then there's the DNC: http://www.democrats.org/page/s/contactissues

  • Leo McDonald (unverified)
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    With Pelicano sidelined, it's taken team Clinton longer to dispose of rival Obama. Sounds like she's buying time to line up Obama's end game and her ascension to nominee.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I couldn't support her either, but make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is a great American and a great Democrat.

    What kind of BS is this? You can't support her but still consider her a great American and a great Democrat? If she's a great American and a great Democrat then why can't you support her?

    I can't support her because I consider her a sorry specimen for an American. As an independent I'll concede she might be a great Democrat; although, I'm sure many will disagree. It is because of Democrats like the Clintons that so many of us are not Democrats. In Congress anyone who voted for the war on Iraq falls considerably short of being a great American in my book.

  • (Show?)

    if she had stuck to the issues, that would have been one thing. she rarely goes near the issues when she's promoting her cause publically.

    Do keep in mind that what you see on the TV news and even what you read in newspapers is heavily filtered. Hillary and Barack both spend a heck of a lot more of their time talking about issues than you would ever guess if you depend on media reports. You Tube is a great thing. I encourage anyone who is interested in the presidential campaign to take the time to listen to entire speeches by all the candidates on a regular basis.

    What kind of BS is this? You can't support her but still consider her a great American and a great Democrat? If she's a great American and a great Democrat then why can't you support her?

    Believe it or not, it is possible to dislike the way a person is conducting a political campaign and to think someone else the right person to support without thinking the person you don't support is the spawn of the devil.

    Not that anyone would ever guess that from reading BlueOregon, of course.

  • (Show?)
    Believe it or not, it is possible to dislike the way a person is conducting a political campaign and to think someone else the right person to support without thinking the person you don't support is the spawn of the devil.

    Thank you, doretta. I'll simply add that if she were to become the nominee somehow, I certainly would support her. But in the context of the choices available, I don't.

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    Personally I think too much is being made of this remark. I guess it's because there is so much fear that Obama will be asassinated. It seems that happens to all our charismatic leaders lately.
    On the other hand I think not nearly enough is being made of her inflamatory warmongering remark about "obliterating" the 70 million men, women and children in Iran. She may have been trying to sound "tough", but she made Ahmadinejad sound sane. We sure don't need another president who needs to prove they're "tough" by threatening or killing people.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Believe it or not, it is possible to dislike the way a person is conducting a political campaign and to think someone else the right person to support without thinking the person you don't support is the spawn of the devil.

    That, of course, should depend on the degree to which a person inspires (1)dislike, (2)antipathy, (3)hostility or (4)revulsion. Real progressives should feel at least one of options (3) or (4) towards anyone who helped promote and continued to support the war on Iraq that quickly evolved into a crime against humanity. That is especially true in the case of someone who is not appalled by the monstrous tragedies in Iraq and is willing to up the ante to "obliterate Iran." But, apparently for some people tribal loyalties in the Democratic and Republican parties trump morality.

    For the record, if you check back on an earlier thread you will find I was inclined to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt regarding her Bobby Kennedy remark. On second thought, I may have failed to apply a proper amount of skepticism.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Regardless of which side you have found yourself in this Dem. presidential primary, this thing is over. So not uniting around the nominee is simply a decision to aid the Republican candidates and their agenda, and sabotage the Dem. ticket from top to bottom. I have to think that the Clintons realize there is no future for them outside the party, and playing the role of spoiler any longer will complete the damage they have inflicted on their political standing. Regardless of what happens at the DNC Rules meeting on May 31, it will not change this outcome. By the end of next week Obama will have whatever number of delegates he needs to meet whichever goalpost is arrived decided at that meeting.

    <hr/>

    From Political Wire:

    Obama Delaying Superdelegate Announcements Marc Ambinder confirms reports that the Obama campaign has "begun to bank delegates."

    "Sources close to the campaign estimate that as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates have privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5. The campaign is determined that Obama not end the first week in June without securing the support of delegates numbering 2026 -- or 2210, as the case may be."

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Bill R., thanks for the e-mail contacts for Oregon superdelegates. I've composed a letter and am about to send it off. I am NOT using this either as a pitch for Obama (whom I happen to support) or to criticize Clinton, but rather to argue that it's simply time to wrap things up, disband the circular firing squad, and coalesce behind a candidate.

  • (Show?)

    fortunately, not only do i have this venue for my screaming, but no one is forced to read it or pay it any attention! the best of both worlds.

    TA, on this point we have to agree to disagree.

    There are many useful conversations going on at Blue Oregon, but when we beat a dead horse in multiple threads, other conversations get crowded out.

    To use Kari's water cooler example, it's as if there a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks arrived at coffee break and started loudly arguing about yesterdays football game.

    All the other conversants would wander away and the other conversations cease.

    We only have limited real estate on the front page of Blue Oregon, and when we take it up with repetitive postings on the same topic, I think it distracts from the site overall.

    I may be along, but it certainly reduces my desire to participate. I can't spend my time wading through the "all posts" and "all comments" sections.

    (By the way, Kari, is there a way to sort posts by the date of the most recent comment?)

  • STOP THE ATTACKS!! (unverified)
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    Todd, you have used horribly inappropriate language. re-read your introductory essay. Shame on you. The true folks dividing the Democratic party are the hateful Obama (and Novick) supporters blogging herein, as well as Blue Oregon as an entity. I have never felt as alienated by the party as I have after reading the hateful postings on this website.

    Please, editors, consider a code of conduct. Shouldn't we all be respectful of each other and fellow democrats? Can't we criticize a candidate or idea without being mean, judgmental and hateful?

  • (Show?)

    Here's your answer, StA: Fuck you, Hillary.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Bill R said: "Perhaps if she [Clinton] runs as a Republican as the champion of the 'hard-working white people' she can regain a political life."

    Perhaps if all your right-of-center candidates ran as Republicans, then you could nominate people who represent the majority. But then you would have very few candidates available.

    Chris #12 said: "What about the Democrats in the Senate who cannot unify to oppose the war? They split, and the war funding bill passed 70-26."

    Democrats don't want to discuss real issues, Chris #12, as you know from the dearth of replies to your post. I prefer Nader, but McKinney is a better candidate than the others, for sure. (So is Chris Lowe's old dead cat.)

  • (Show?)

    Stop the Attacks, three things:

    1) Many of us do not endorse, condone or otherwise support what TJ just said and kinda don't think there's much point anymore, to what T. A. Barnhart did with this column, though I think the word "hateful" is a little strong to describe it.

    2) There have been hateful attacks on Hillary Clinton and her supporters here, I wish there hadn't, but they don't speak for me or for most Obama supporters.

    3) There have been hateful attacks on Barack Obama and his supporters here, I wish there hadn't, but I don't presume they speak for you or for most Clinton supporters.

    So, if I'm right in supposing the hateful anti-Obama and anti-Obama supporter attacks don't speak for you, please take a step back and consider that the hateful anti-Clinton and Clinton-suppporter attacks don't speak for most Obama supporters.

  • Stop the Attacks (unverified)
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    Chris, maybe you don't read much of what's posted here. Spend some time looking at the number of anti-clinton postings vs. the number of anti-Obama postings. Then look at the language used. big difference. I'm not saying there haven't been any inappropriate anti-Obama postings, but they are few and far between, and they don't come close in terms of the viciousness.

    Look at Torridjoe's comment, for example.

  • (Show?)

    Stop the Attacks,

    I'm guessing that you don't read much of what's posted here, because, for better or for worse, if you did, you wouldn't suggest that I don't. I did look at Torridjoe's comment, it was the first thing I mentioned.

    My own sense of the balance is pretty dramatically different than yours. I also observe the difference in such perceptions and try to step back from it, because I don't believe you are dishonest in your perception, nor that I am in mine. So what is going on?

    My guesses: 1) we (both sides) tend to dismiss idiotic, nasty, offensive things people on "our" side say, along lines of "they're not representative" which probably is true in the big picture. 2) we tend to see arguments that the other side sees as illegitimate attacks as "tough questions"; concomitantly to be less aware of how such "tough questions" on our own side often draw on cultural hot buttons related to racism & sexism, whether consciously or unconsciously, and are read differently than the intent with which they are written. 3) We tend not to distinguish sufficiently between the critical, the more attacking at the level of imputing things to others without real evidence or knowledge of the person ("I'm inspired by ..." attacked as "You're an Obamaton, you're an Clinton droid"), the generalizations about "all" of the other other side, and the truly hateful.

    To some extent I see this message of T.A.'s as sort of piling on at this point. You see it as hateful. We have one difference there. I see it as piling on because my best honest guess is that Obama will get the nomination at this point. Possibly you will see that as arrogant? My own feeling is that the only ways I can see for Clinton to get the nomination at this point will pose electability problems for her, so I tend to discount the electability arguments from the Clinton side, even if not attached to words like lemmings (a regular favorite of one poster here re Obama people). You perhaps don't see why Obama people would get upset if Hillary won with supers even with less elected delegates and smaller though close popular vote -- Obama people think, suppose Obama won that way? The struggles over Florida and Michigan each have arguments on each side that amount to the other side is cheating = lack of trust, imputation of bad motives.

    And so on.

    Peace, sala kahle (keep well).

  • torridjoe (unverified)
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    nothing I say can come close to what Clinton deserves for her behavior. I'm not hanging around waiting for an assassination in order to get ahead. Shooting HER would actually solve more electoral issues, but of course I'd never seriously ponder the upside of political murder on my own candidate's chances. We can't say the same for Hillary obviously, which is why she richly deserves our approbation.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    For those of you who continue to ignore reality:

    Obama on Latin America: "Small Change", If Any

    "Many of us had great 'hope' for the much-vaunted 'change' in U.S. policy towards Latin America. But listening to Barack Obama's 'substantive' speech on U.S. Latin America policy last week and reading his 'New Partnership with the Americas' policy proposal, it's pretty clear that Obama will do nothing to alter the basic structure of George W. Bush's Latin America policy: trade backed by militarism."

    Rather than argue the supposed superiority of Obama's "realist" foreign policy vs. McCain's "neocon" positions, why not support a centrist/progressive foreign policy? Why not force your candidate to move to the center of the international spectrum rather than support the lemming-like movement toward the cliff? (Yes, Clinton may indeed be even worse.)

  • (Show?)

    Harry, as you know, BlackAgendaReport has been strongly critical of Obama from the left for years, and frankly the idea that they really hoped his Latin America policy would be much different strikes me as disingenuous.

    My own work in foreign policy advocacy these days is primarily about Iraq and my longer term engagements are over Africa policy. I will certainly be trying to find whatever ways I can to press Obama into more progressive positions than he has on those things. But the fact remains that there is a difference between him and McCain and it makes a difference.

    My choice to pay attention to that difference does not mean I am ignoring reality. It means I have a different evaluation from you about the potential significance of certain realities.

    While I do political work inside the Democratic party, I don't restrict my work to that, and I have no trouble whatever criticizing Democratic failures. But just adopting a position or a stance does not in itself create pressure. I don't believe you have a clue about how "we" could or should "force" "our" candidate to do anything in this regard, and on the other hand I believe you seek to relieve yourself of the responsibility to do so by making sure he is not "your" candidate.

    The British Marxist cultural critic and cultural historian Raymond Williams once observed that there are two kinds of opposition to political power, roughly engaged opposition and alternative opposition. Each has its advantages and trade-offs on his analyis. With alternative opposition, you get to define your own terms (at least within constraints); if you do it successfully you may build up entire alternative institutions and ways of life. But by definition such an approach does not engage with extant power relations, seeking rather to operate outside of them, and therefore does not directly challenge them. With engaged opposition, direct challenges are posed to existing power relations and dynamics -- but the engagement runs both ways, so that the opposition also gets changed by its engagements. Over time, one might shift between these -- build up alternative bases and then use them to engage and challenge -- but the principle would still remain the same.

    You appear to want to avoid those engagements yourself, while criticizing others who do make them for being affected by the process, You can't have it both ways.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Chris Lowe said: "I don't believe you have a clue about how "we" could or should "force" "our" candidate to do anything in this regard, and on the other hand I believe you seek to relieve yourself of the responsibility to do so by making sure he is not "your" candidate."

    My refusal to support a militarist is not based on a desire to "relieve myself of responsibility". If that's what I wanted, I would do nothing, like the Democrat Party "leadership". On the other hand, you and I and everyone I know have done less than what is needed to force a change in our despicable foreign policy, so, by your standards, none of us "have a clue".

    I agree with Naomi Klein (Anti-War Campaigners Have to Change Electoral Tactics)when she said in response to those in the "anti-war movement" who support Obama or Clinton, "This is a serious strategic mistake. It is during a hotly contested campaign that anti-war forces have the power to actually sway U. S. policy. As soon as we pick sides, we relegate ourselves to mere cheerleaders." In other words, it is from outside the primary arena that we most have a chance to influence policy by maintaining a principled agenda rather than by supporting the lesser of evils.

    The fact that you say that there is "a difference" between the foreign policy of Obama and McCain (or Gore and Bush, or Kerry and Bush) does nothing to elucidate the difference, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence that there is little difference (which BlackAgendaReport makes clear, and your remark about its being "from the left" couldn't have been said better by Karl Rove - this is an example of how far to the right you Democrats have gone). It's surprising to me that anyone who claims to be a progressive would see a significant policy difference between the two. You may parse "Bomb Bomb Iran" and "All options are on the table for Iran" in some way that allows you to think that you see that difference, but I see that they both add up to terrorizing tens of millions of innocent people.

    "You appear to want to avoid those engagements yourself, while criticizing others who do make them for being affected by the process, You can't have it both ways."

    You have no idea what I've done or am doing, so your assumptions are mere bigotry. I don't want to get in a pissing contest with you about whose activism is more profound. Neither of us has done enough, and the fact that we are poised on the verge of multiple catastrophes is testament to that. We have no time for triangulation and pandering, which is all we're getting from any of the major candidates.

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    Harry,

    By "these engagements" I meant efforts, as you put it, "to force your candidate," as you had defined the problem, placing the onus on Democrats while not operating in that arena yourself, as I read what you were saying. It was not meant as a general comment on your activism, about which as you say I know nothing.

    Also I am glad to see that you include yourself in assessing the failure in which we all share, with no one having a clear or good answer, a point on which we concur.

    If you were to look back over times when we have discussed things here I am pretty sure you would not find any in which I ever made a remark purporting to comment on your activisms or said I thought you ought to be doing something other than what you are doing, unlike you. However, whatever it may be, it has not reached me in any persuasive way as offering a clear and clearly superior path, so I muddle on according to my own lights as best I can in the absence of a clear sense of good answers.

    In some respects I concur with Naomi Klein. So, for instance, I am active with the local on-the-ground group of MoveOn.org. When the national level secured an endorsement of Barack Obama by conducting an on-line membership poll that lacked a "no endorsement at this time" option, I was critical of that decision, both in public (e.g. on the Portside e-mail list with which you may be familiar) and in direct conversation with a visiting national organizer, on exactly the grounds that we should have negotiated for stronger anti-war commitments. Had there been such an option, I am not sure Obama would have reached the supermajority threshold endorsement required, though I'm not sure he wouldn't have.

    On the other hand, within the context of the PDX Peace Coalition, I believe that the coalition should not let ourselves get sucked into the election at all, because, as you say, none of the candidates is close enough to what we support on Iraq, which essentially is the demands of Iraq Veterans Against the War: Immediate withdrawal to end the occupation, reparations to the Iraqi people, and full support for the recovery of veterans and their families hurt and damaged by the war.

    My support for Barack Obama is motivated primarily on fairly minimal defensive domestic concerns to do with the courts. There are a number of other matters on which I think he would be better than McCain -- there is a difference in fact between making a joke out of bombing Iran and Obama's inadequate position, just as there is a difference between willingness to engage in diplomacy and refusal to do so. There are various other policy areas in which the grounds of debate will be better under an Obama presidency compared to a McCain one.

    If progressives were better organized I might also argue that an Obama presidency would open up a different kind of political space in which to push for things. Since we are not, and in light of the failures during the Clinton period, I don't make that argument, but focus on working to rebuild the anti-war movement in the limited ways I can.

    Your insinuation that my placing BlackAgendaReport to the left of Barack Obama amounts to some sort of Rovianism or red-baiting is mistaken. I think it is a misreading made in terms of your idiosyncratic efforts to redefine "centrism." I was not calling them leftists though I'm not sure if they would object or not.

    What I was saying is that their critique of Obama is and has been that he is too conservative, and more conservative in specifics than his general representations of himself, as well as that he sacrifices advocacy of specific African-American interests that still need to be addressed for the sake of political expediency. They are left of him. Their critique differs from that of those who attack him from the right with associational smears based on their mischaracterizations of Jeremiah Wright, for instance.

    Perhaps at some point we will meet or communicate in a different context than this one, in which you will feel able to say something about your view of positive strategy, e.g. on ending the occupation in Iraq -- in this context you mainly discuss things you think people oughtn't be doing.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Chris L:

    One way to push a candidate to the center from his right-wing perch is to tell him that you refuse to support him unless he takes a principled position, e.g., single payer, non-corporate health care; complete withdrawal TO HOME (not partial withdrawal to "somewhere in the vicinity"); nuclear attack off the table for Iran, etc. Another way is to support a candidate who actually represents your own (and the world's) best interests, and help to get that candidate on the ballot so she can be a part of debates.

    We can also educate the members of the duopoly about how the duopoly and its candidates operate to disenfranchise the majority. We may disagree about the value of this, but surely you can see that it is a "positive" strategy, just as it would have been "positive" to have influenced the German people to think more critically about the Nazis.

    There are many other things we can do that are positive, of course, while we wait for a movement to coalesce. For me, though, supporting a right-of-center politician from a right-of-center political party is less positive than the strategies I've mentioned.

    I enjoy the back and forth with you, and I hope that something "positive" is derived from it by someone. I suspect that we run in different circles (I've given up on the organizations you mention, partially because of reasons you yourself have given, and partially because I see most of the "peace movement" being dominated by Democrats - Having guys like Earl [No Ceasefire] Blumenauer address the crowd at PDX "Peace" events makes me want to Ralph).

    “Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it Popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (On the wall at KPFK-Los Angeles)

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    Well Harry, it's positive for me anyway, because I do not operate from a position of certainty in my own rectitude, i.e. I try not to, and also experience considerable doubts about what to do quite regularly.

    FWIW PDX Peace this year did not have any elected officials or electoral candidates at the event organized for the "anniversary" of the invasion. We also are committed to not getting involved in electoral work. We are also trying to move away from over-focus on one "big" (ever-shrinking) annual march & rally. This year, with mixed success, we tried to have an all-day event with educationally oriented tents addressing different dimensions and interconnected issues, while the rally and and march focused on the minimum demand of "bring the troops home now!"

    Priorities for the coming year look like work on a campaign to make Portland a "sanctuary city" to support G.I. resisters, focus on the planned deployment of 3500 Oregon National Guard troops in 2009, and focus on supporting youth and student organizing. On May Day We supported a local ILWU event in conjunction with the west coast ports shutdown, supported an all day education and organizing event at PSU called in solidarity with the ILWU, and turned people out for the Immigrant Rights rally & march, which had been given the theme of "stop the war on working people at home and abroad" by organizers (there had been a "tent" on the war and immigrants at our March 15 events).

    But it is also a coalition and you doubtless would be impatient with some parts of it.

    I'd like to understand more specifically how you approach "education." It can mean all kinds of things and be conducted with all kinds of attitudes. And again it partly comes back to "education to what end." But yes, you're right, in a general way I'll cop to it as a positive strategy.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    It's encouraging to hear that PDX Peace may be becoming more progressive. I attended all of the events that you listed. I am subscribed to the listserv and occasionally have contributed to it, although I've been censored (more than on BO). I've noted far too much collusion with D-Party talking points in much of what is published, and when I've complained to organizers about it, I've been attacked (One woman called me a fascist; someone else called me a "self-righteous prig" - I love that one).

    Here's something that I consider to be both positive and educational:

    Can a Democrat change US Middle East policy?

    "A Democratic candidate is likely to shift more towards the centrist norm. However, the spectrum is narrow. Looking at the records and statements of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, it is hard to see much reason to expect significant changes in policy in the Middle East...

    Nevertheless, circumstances may change, and perhaps the candidates along with them, to the benefit of the United States and the region. Public opinion may not remain marginalised and easily ignored. The concentrations of domestic economic power that largely shape policy may come to recognise that their interests are better served by joining the general public, and the rest of the world, than by accepting Washington's hard line."

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    Harry,

    The pdxpeace listserve is not associated with the PDX Peace Coalition, and predates the coalition. The coalition was formed in 2007 by a number of organizations that wanted a continuing structure, where before large mobilizations, usually on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, had been organized by ad hoc coalitions that did not continue in between. I believe the listserv was/is one of the means by which groups which have preferred the ad hoc approach communicate, although I know that some individuals who are in the coalition are also on it. I only learned of it recently myself since I wasn't involved in anti-war organizing before last December (just went to events). If you click on my name it will take you to the PDX Peace Coalition website.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Chris - Thanks for the clarification.

    One thing that jumped out at me from the PDX Peace website is the use of the word "war". The language that we use to discuss U.S. imperial policies is crucial to any real justice and peace movement.

    The Nazis called their invasions of Holland and Czechoslovakia "wars against terrorism"; they were not, and all who used their framing were submitting to fascist propaganda. Likewise, the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of a defenseless sovereign nation (Iraq) by U.S. empire builders is not a "war".

    One reason why it is important to call the Iraq debacle an occupation rather than a "war" is that, under international law, an occupier is responsible for the welfare and safety of the citizens; therefore, all deaths of Iraqis above what would have been expected before the invasion are our responsibility, just as all "extra" deaths of Palestinians are Israel's responsibility because of its occupation.

    "War" has a sentimental meaning to many, and it is "winnable" by definition. Occupations cannot be "won", they are always illegal under international law, and they cannot be spun by hatemongers. The neocons are incensed by the use of the word "occupation" by centrists, and they insist that it be called a "war". Furthermore, Bush/Cheney's claim to unchallengable power is based on their being a "war-presidency".

    Weasel words like "combat troops", "redeployment", or "residual force" are meant to hide the fact that your candidates intend to maintain the occupation.

    Far more people would be in favor of a withdrawal of all U.S. military and corporate personnel (not troops), to home (not re-deployment), where they could participate in the impeachment of those most responsible for their betrayal if we would state it in these accurate and truthful terms. One wonders why Democrats would want to frame it otherwise.

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    Actually I don't think you'd get much argument from anyone in PDX Peace about "occupation," we are going through some internal reorganization. Probably the website will get overhauled & we should look at that.

    In my own writing I try to use the word occupation, but not exclusively, essentially for purposes of transparency to different audiences, and depending on whether I have another point I want to emphasize that I don't want distracted from.

    I disagree that the invasion was not a war; it was an aggression, which I always say, an illegal war, but it was a war. The occupation that has followed was more visibly such when the country was being run by a U.S. proconsul.

    I'll accept the "your candidates" personally, but please don't attribute that to the PDX Peace Coalition, which is critical of all of the presidential candidates on exactly those grounds and does not support anyone in the election, rather focusing on organizing to end the occupation. Actually I personally am critical of all the candidates in that way despite my choice to support Obama over McCain. Some people in the coalition have views similar to mine, some are members of socialist organizations, some may be Greens.

    As to your final point, obviously part of the answer is that something a bit over half of Senate Democrats and maybe a third of House Democrats voted the "war powers" authorization, and otherwise supported the invasion when it came. A few months ago reports came out that indicate that Nancy Pelosi knew of waterboarding and did not question it. As you have rightly pointed out in other discussions the Democratic foreign policy establishment "realists" are not by any stretch of the imagination anti-imperialist (I got a mailing asking me for money the other day over the signature of the egregious Madeleine Albright).

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Re: "...something a bit over half of Senate Democrats and maybe a third of House Democrats voted the "war powers" authorization, and otherwise supported the invasion when it came."

    Bushco did not believe that it was necessary to ask for "war powers authorization" in 2003, because they had already received authorization to single-handedly conduct war against unspecified nations, organizations, or persons for an unspecified duration.

    On Friday, September 14, 2001, the House passed H.J. Res. 64, "Authorization for Use of Military Force" by a vote of 420 - 1. The Senate passed this authorization by a vote of 98-0. Barbara Lee was thus the only member of Congress who voted to uphold and defend the Constitution's separation of powers principle, the principle that no one person should be empowered to conduct war on behalf of the United States.

    I missed your response to Act or React: Which Way for Dems?, and I wouldn't want to mislead you into thinking that I agreed with you.

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