Archive for the ‘The Clintons’ Category

Worth a Thousand Words

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Secretary Clinton congratulating Barack Obama on the passage of health care legislation before a meeting in the Situation Room.

[Ed. corrected Clinton’s title. That was a silly mistake to make.]

[Image adapted by me and from one not subject to copyright. This is true despite notice on image that it cannot be altered, etc.]

Hillary Mis-Speaks Again!!!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

You have to wonder who’s pushing this story. It reads like a political attack by some opponent trying to undermine Clinton – as the facts are stretched so much to get the necessary spin – but she has positioned herself so masterfully over these past months that it’s hard to figure out who might stand to benefit from taking her down a peg.

In this case, Clinton mentioned during a speech to the Stormont parliament that when she stayed at Belfast’s famous (and famously bombed many times) Europa Hotel, “there were sections boarded up because of damage from bombs.” According to research by David Sharrok of the Times of London, this couldn’t have been true as the last reconstruction after a bomb blast at the Europa occurred almost two years before the Clintons arrived. The Clintons first visit to Belfast came just over a year after the ceasefire by the IRA. But while the Bosnia sniper incident could be seen as boosting her own political clout and experience, this seems far more innocent. I would presume she could have easily seen other buildings around Belfast boarded up from bomb blasts, and almost 15 years after the trip confused this detail. For a similar reason, I also never made a big deal of the sniper incident, though I think the controversy over that, while legitimate was exaggerated beyond reason. For this story to get any play at all – let alone to be featured as a major story by the Drudge Report – demonstrates how stupid our media culture can be.

It’s also interesting to see this story pop up shortly after the White House seemed to have fully embraced her, as Jon Heileman reported:

[A]lthough the president himself and Emanuel never had much doubt that she could be a team player, many others in the Obamasphere were supremely skeptical. But no longer. “In terms of loyalty, discretion, and collegiality,” says a senior White House official, “she’s been everything we could have asked or hoped for.”

H/t Kevin Drum who adds his own interesting take – which I wholeheartedly agree with.

[Image by Juska Wendland licensed under Creative Commons.]

Must Reads of the Past Two Weeks! (Extended Edition): J Street, NPH, Liberalism, Topless, Colombian Hippos, Grassroots, 1990s Reunion, Insuring Illegals, and the Iranian Time Bomb

Friday, September 18th, 2009

J Street. James Traub of the New York Times profiles the new Jewish lobbying group J Street. For anyone who is interested in the Israeli-US relationship, a very interesting read that tries to profile one group trying to change the dynamic in Washington.

The Unique Figure of Neil Patrick Harris. Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on Neil Patrick Harris, and speaking with Emily Nussbaum of New York magazine, Neil Patrick Harris also has an interesting take on Neil Patrick Harris. Takeaway line from Sullivan:

Everyone is a shade or two away from normal; and the pied beauty of humanity should not be carved into acceptable and unacceptable based on things that simply make us who we are.

Liberalism Defined and Defended. E. J. Dionne writing for Democracy magazine reviews Alan Wolfe’s book [registration required] (which was one of the inspiration for this post of mine on the 10 Principles of Liberalism). An excellent review of a book I now feel compelled to read:

Wolfe notes that “it is not sufficient for me merely to be left alone, I must also have the capacity to realize the goals that I choose for myself. If this requires an active role for government, then modern liberals are prepared to accept state intervention into the economy in order to give large numbers of people the sense of mastery that free market capitalism gives only to the few.” Exactly right.

Topless. Meghan Pleticha writes for Alternet about her experiment where she “legally exposed [her] breasts in public.”

There they were — in the sunlight, the eyes of God and New York Penal Law 245.01 — my boobs out, nipples blazing. The girls sitting on the blanket next to us giggled. Some passersby glanced over, smiles on a couple of the guys’ faces. My nipple ring glinted in the sun. Amazingly, I felt relatively calm. Warm. Neither lightning nor cops had struck me down. Furtively looking around, I noticed some guys attempting to be respectful. Maybe they were just thinking be cool or she’ll put her top back on, but gentlemen would glance over and grin, but rarely stare.

The Colombian Hippo Problem. Simon Romero of The New York Times describes how Colombia is dealing with yet another of the legacies of the larger than life Pablo Escobar, the drug kingpin who was gunned down sixteen years ago: an infestation of hippos who are thriving in Colombia’s ecosystem after escaping from Escobar’s private zoo.

The Right Wing Grassroots. Daniel Larison has a rather insightful piece on his blog regarding the relationship between the conservative elites and the right wing grassroots. I don’t endorse his entire analysis, but worth reading.

Like the Opening of a 1990s Political Joke. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post sketches a 1990s reunion of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. An interesting quote by Trent Lott:

I thought it might be a good time for us to show that a president, a speaker, the leaders, can find a way to come together. If three good ol’ boys from the South like the ones you’ve heard today can find a way to get it done. I know the outstanding leaders that we have in the Congress . . . can get it done.

Insuring Illegal Immigrants. Ezra Klein makes the case persuasively:

Illegal immigrants are clustered in service sector and food sector jobs. They clean buildings, prepare boneless chicken breasts, wash dishes, pick food, and generally do jobs that are much more conducive to spreading germs than, say, blogging is. I don’t know exactly why Rep. Joe Wilson and Lou Dobbs and all the others in their cohort want to make it more expensive to hire American workers and make it more likely that Americans get sick, but that’s why I’m not a political strategist, I guess.

The Iranian Time BombGeorge Friedman of Stratfor sees a world of trouble arising from the Iranians’ pursuit of nuclear weapons – as he analyzes how almost every interested party seems to misunderstand the interests and willingness to act of every other interesting part, which he believes could result in catastrophic consequences à la the opening of World War I.

[Image by Eamonn.McAleer licensed under Creative Commons.]

Did Kim Jong Il Apologize for Calling Hillary A “Funny Lady”?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

David Rothkopf asks an interesting question:

I wonder how our former president and Kim Jong Il handled the “funny lady” who looks like a “pensioner going shopping” comments at dinner tonight?  And however they handled it, if only we could have gotten a glimpse of the “Annie Hall” subtitles that would have revealed what they were really thinking.”

A Warning to John McCain

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

John (may I call you John?):

I guess I was wrong about you planning a strategy of making Obama seem un-American after your last debate with him.1 Apparently you’ve decided to launch this attack now.

Sarah Palin said yesterday that Obama had disqualified himself from being commander-in-chief, and today that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” and was “not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.”

It’s hard to see how she can escalate the rhetoric from here. She can call him a traitor. She can call him a terrorist. She can call him a Muslim. She can say he hates America. These are the only ways to truly go further. Make no mistake – this is a scorched-earth strategy. This is a strategy that attempts to define America in a way that excludes many of it’s citizens. If this is not an explicitly racist strategy, it is as close as a mainstream candidate can get – a candidate I might add who does not seem to be personally racist himself.

If you win with this strategy, the polarization that will accompany your administration will make the polarization of the past fourteen years seem tame. Racial tensions will be exacerbated to a point they have not been since the late 1960s. As this strategy is not designed on a set of policy issues or an agenda, it likely will not benefit the down-ticket candidates much at all, resulting in a expanded Democratic Congress. The feelings in this Congress will likely be as raw as your feelings were after losing to Bush – as you lost to what was previously described to be one of the dirtiest campaigns in history. Remember – you almost became a Democrat in this period – and opposed almost everything Bush proposed (a fact which you’re building on now as you constantly invokes this period to call yourself a maverick). Your contempt for Bush was legendary. And your status as a martyr for the honorable campaign that refused to go negative gave you great credibility.2 Now – imagine that voters elect a Congress of the party who expected to win the White House, only to have it denied them because of a national campaign that was explicitly designed to make their standard-bearer out to be a terrorist-sympathizing, un-American, menacing black man. Democrats will not just believe you cheated to win – but that you encouraged and played on the worst aspects of America in order to do so. And they would be right.

If you – a Republican apparently sympathetic to most of Bush’s policies – was driven to oppose Bush, to lead the charge against him even, by bitterness over your defeat – just imagine how much more bitter, how much angrier, Democrats would be if you were to win with a similar strategy. Imagine the deadlock. Imagine reaching out to this Congress.

But the timing of this attack gives me hope. It is both too late and too early. Those who believe smear emails have heard that Obama is a secret Muslim and hates America and all that. And those who listen to right-wing radio have too. But for many Americans, even as they may have been vaguely aware of such charges, have not heard anyone they trust make them – and they know charges like these have been in the background about every Democratic presidential candidate since at least Bill Clinton in 1992.

But now Palin is bringing them up. And these people have a choice to either trust her or not.

To trust her, these people first need to distrust several things:

  1. The media (who must be trying to cover up for Obama);
  2. Obama (who must be hiding his true self);
  3. The millions of Americans who voted in the Democratic primaries (because at best, they were fooled by Obama into thinking he was a red-blooded American like them);
  4. Joe Biden, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and many of the other Democrats who vouched for Obama (because if Obama really was a friend of terrorists not qualified to be commander-in-chief who is un-American – and these people have personally met him and subsequently vouched for him, they must at least partially agree with him);
  5. Themselves (because many of them thought Obama was authentic and inspired a feeling of pride in America in them – that it could produce someone like Obama).

It is the last step which is hardest. Because unless they have been ardently opposed to Obama from the beginning, they must admit that you were wrong – that they were made fools of – in order to believe Palin is right and that Obama stands opposed to what they believe.

They must also distrust their perception – because most people, seeing Obama debate you, saw that he held his own if he did not win outright. Obama was a steady, strong presence. He was confident. He was effective. He seemed very much a potential commander-in-chief. But Palin is telling them that when they saw this, they were wrong.

If this attack had been launched earlier – before most Americans had gotten to know Obama, I think it would have had a greater chance of succeeding. If it had been launched later, and Obama would not have a month to dispel the attacks, it might have swayed more people who would feel uneasy about electing someone who had been charged with such awful things.3 Which is why the timing gives me hope. It leaves just enough time for some well-justified backlash. And it clearly is a sign that you are growing increasingly desperate – as Obama is building a lead.

The fact that these attacks have not been launched by you until now that Obama is gaining ground will make some people distrust them. But the key point is this:

As Abraham Lincoln said,

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

Palin and yourself – in trying to exclude people like Obama from your definition of “American” – are working against what all of us have been taught in schools – our textbook understanding, our Saturday morning cartoon understanding, our life-as-it-is-lived understanding of America. It goes against this idea of America as a combination of a melting pot, Horatio Alger, Grandma, apple pie, cowboys, Martin Luther King, Jr., FDR, Lincoln, JFK, TR, Reagan, a city shining on a hill, a place where we judge people by not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, a tolerant nation, a unique nation, a nation blessed by God, the nation that created jazz, baseball, and the Constitution, that sent men to the moon, that defeated the Nazis and the Communists, that fought a war against slavery, where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are protected, where freedom rings, where tolerance reigns, where what is right with America can cure what is wrong with America – this ideal America we aspire to and sometimes seem to almost reach.

Barack Obama represents a nation that united as one on 9/11. Barack Obama would never have existed in an intolerant America, in a non-diverse America, in an America that would not allow a poor child to succeed on his merits. The America that united, with pride and patriotism, with defiance and neighborly spirit on 9/11 is precisely the America that Barack Obama is part of.

John – you and Sarah Palin can attack this America only at your own risk. And you should be careful, lest you go down in history as a villain, instead of the American hero you once were.

Sincerely,

A former supporter of yours in 2000,

Joe Campbell

P.S. Why not be a good fellow and try to make up for your sins here and donate to a good cause?

(more…)

  1. On the site, I wasn’t specific about the timing – but in private conversations I was pretty sure when this would be launched. []
  2. Of course, you had gone negative – just not as bad as Bush. []
  3. Would you trust someone accused of being a pedophile to watch your children? No – because it might be true. This same type of fear can easily lead people away from the candidate attacked most – unless he or she has a chance to dispel this and for you to come to trust your own judgment and to see the attacks as politically motivated. []

Fun Fact About McCain #5: Bad Blood with Hillary?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

John McCain has a history of bad blood with Hillary Clinton.

Half true. Yes, McCain told a joke in poor taste back in the 1990s about Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, and Chelsea; and yes, by John McCain’s rules of interpreting the phrase “lipstick on a pig“, he called her a pig quite a few times; and yes, he has laughed along with the crowd during the primary when Hillary was called a “bitch.” But they seem to get along well. So – I guess Hillary is a tough woman who doesn’t take the McCain’s insults seriously.

Unhinged

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Too much ink has been spilled discussing the bitter, clingy, and disgruntled supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I should call them former supporters – as those supporters who are now the focus of attention are now spurning Hillary’s requests that they back the candidate who represents the same agenda as her.

But – once again – the extent of one particular disgruntled supporter’s unhinging has amazed me.

katiebird over at RiverDaughter – formerly a progressive diarist for the Daily Kos – posted this incoherence on her blog today:

I just thought of a new basis for my vote.

Issues? I don’t trust a word Obama says so his speeches (with their laundry lists) and plans mean nothing to me. He’s already taken Universal Health Care off the table and that’s my “one issue” if there is such a thing. And McCain on the issues (giggle) I know people think I’m a Republican but believe me McCain does not speak for me.

Personality? I’ve got NO desire to have a beer with Obama. Much less spend the next four years listening to his speeches. I’ve got nothing in common with McCain either. And I’ve no illusions — none of them want to have a beer with me either.

Trust? I don’t trust any politician. Well, except maybe Hillary.

But Spite — Ah: This might be the first time I cast a vote almost wholly based on spite. It sounds absurd; could I really do it? Could I cast an important vote based on my frustration with Barack Obama’s disgusting supporters?

(gagging) At the rate this campaign is going, I’d say it’s a nearly sure bet.

It’s entitled “Up All Night” – so, I have to make room for the possibility that katiebird was clinicly insane at the moment she wrote it. More disturbing are the number of commentors who are supportive of this (giggle) post. Truly unhinged.

I suppose when Hillary Clinton described her agenda and what was wrong with the country and asked her supporters:

Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

It sounds like katiebird and the other disgruntled PUMAs were only in it for Hillary. And now that she has no chance and challenged them to support Obama, they are becoming unhinged.

She was born with ovaries! I was born with ovaries!

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Michelle Cottle over at The New Republic suggests what the Hillary supporters’ response to McCain’s pick of Palin should be:

How insulting, how condescending, how downright patronizing of Senator McCain to attempt such ham-fisted identity politics. Does he really think women are so pathetic, so irrational, so weak-minded that a former supporter of the proudly pro-choice, feminist, progressive, grand and glorious Senator Clinton will now look at this staunchly conservative, possibly promising but currently totally unqualified woman from Alaska and think, She was born with ovaries! I was born with ovaries! Hell yeah! You go girl!

Yet Another Blatant Power Grab By the Obamas

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

According to the Rocky Mountain News:

“I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the future conduct of the roll-call vote,” Clinton said. “All votes cast by the delegates will be counted. and I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party as the president of the United States.”

The motion was met with a rousing ovation. It was quickly seconded and approved by the thousands of people in attendance.

Pelosi did not wait for any “no” votes before slamming down the gavel.

Why do I suspect that some PUMAs out there are going to make a big deal about that last event?

Bill

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008


[Image by greekchickie licensed under Creative Commons.]

Watching the Democratic Convention a few minutes behind real time (thanks DVR) and without having read or heard the instant post-speech analysis – I have to say, Bill Clinton gave exactly the speech Obama needed. And his performance tonight reminded me of why this man is the only Democrat to have been elected president twice since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Hillary Clinton’s speech last night was good – though it was clearly not directed at me. She hit her notes, and demonstrated how much she had improved her public speaking skills in the past few years. Bill Clinton today, though, managed to play to multiple audiences simultaneously – those disappointed in him for not supporting Obama; those who supported Hillary; those who had doubts about Obama; and those wavering on the line between McCain and Obama.