Discourse and Assassination: McCain/Clinton vs Obama

Hillary Clinton’s assassination quote is far more problematic than I originally thought.

Frankly I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt in the light of what I felt where more serious offenses, but I think I was wrong to do so. Kevin noticed some interesting trends in terms of how people responded to her quote:

At the primarily white blogs, there is much debate over whether or not what she has said is offensive (I won’t bother repeating it here since it’s been posted everywhere) and yet when you look at black bloggers, and other bloggers of color, there is an almost unanimous agreement that her remarks were reprehensible. I also noticed that in the links being provided by blog authors and commentators at the primarily white blogs, to support their agreement or disagreement with the offensiveness of Sen. Clinton’s statements, all are to other primarily white blogs and white bloggers. I find this problematic because I’ve seen a lot of comments on these blogs to the effect of “anyone who thinks that her statement was truly offensive is paranoid, a nut case, delusional, incapable of rational thought, etc,” and this leads me to think that a lot of people just aren’t taking into consideration, let alone even reading and listening to the black and other bloggers of color that Clinton’s statement has affected not only on a political level, but on a deeply personal level.

As I was writing a comment, I saw something I hadn’t seen before. In spite of whether or not her quote had ill intention behind it, or whether she was referring to herself or Obama as RFK, her comment has helped push the idea of assassination further into mainstream discourse. Fox is apparently making cracks along the same lines (although they are decidedly more “fringe” in terms of content, in terms of reach they are effectively mainstream).

The other problem with Clinton’s remark is that it shares something reprehensible in common with John McCain’s jabs about who he imagines Hamas would like to see elected. The one thing that was utterly clear and unmistakable about Hillary Clinton’s comment was that she was saying we should structure our primaries based on the possible actions of violent racists. That we should be moved to action by fear, that is the lowest sort of pandering. It is the lowest sort of pandering because it debases us. It reduces us to animals, to prey, scrambling to avoid the predators without any care for who we scratch, bite, or leave behind in the process. It appeals to our feral nature.

When it comes down to it Barack Obama began as a candidate of convenience for me, the person I judged least likely to utterly betray Democratic ideals (and given his past support (with Clinton) of Lieberman during his primary, I was quite wary). But the man is doing what he can to elevate the national discourse. What Hillary ignores and McCain *sometimes* pretends to do, Barack Obama accomplishes.

When I think of the notions of liberty, and what it means to be an American, I think of bravery and an unwavering commitment to human rights and ethical principles. I don’t ascribe to the “what it should mean to be an American” school on this. This is what it has always meant to be an American, even if only a relative few people throughout history have seen it and lived it. If ever anything was un-American, it is an appeal to be ruled by fear. It is that appeal, in both McCain’s Bush-like “the terrorists want you to vote Democrat” and Clinton’s “we should have a backup candidate in case one is shot”, that is offensive on a visceral level.

We can do far better than that. We can appeal to hope and raise up our spirits and our innate courage. And we can win.

[Edit: Oops, the post was written by guest blogger Kevin, not Nezua.]

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Hillary Clinton Must Go

She shouldn’t be given a leadership position as a “consolation prize”.  She shouldn’t be bailed out by Obama or the party.  It has gotten to the point where Hillary and her supporters have showed their true colors, and the resulting picture is a nasty one.

Hillary Clinton’s threatening civil war within the party if she isn’t offered something.  In return for what?  There’s certainly value in ensuring Hillary’s supporters are listened to, especially in such a close race.  But the candidate herself is doing everything to make this a painful and damaging process for everyone.  That should not be rewarded, it should be condemned.

Arguments to make the vote “count” in Florida and Michigan are beyond cynical.  As Greg Saunders points out, her position utterly disregards the will of the voters, the integrity of the process, and the impact of her divisive actions (emphasis mine):

It’s stunning to me that Hillary Clinton supporters would have the audacity to claim that the popular vote is a metric that we should be using to determine who should get the Democratic nomination while at the same time insisting that Obama shouldn’t receive a single vote for Michigan. I’m ambivalent about whether or how the MI and FL delegates should be seated, but if you’re going to hold yourself up as a champion of voting rights and insist that the popular vote is a more legitimate way to gauge voter intent, then it’s pretty craven to chase a strategy whose only purpose is to cut into Obama’s lead with the implicit conclusion that not a single person in Michigan supports Barack OBama.

But, you might argue, Obama chose to take his name off the ballot and therefore his lack of support is just the result of his own choices. Well, if we’re going to follow the rules to the letter and punish candidates for their choices, then it bears repeating that the rules state that Michigan and Florida don’t count and that the Clinton campaign made the choice to agree to the DNC sanctions against these states. If you’re only going to recognize the rules that help Hillary Clinton win, just drop the self-righteous bullshit about your sterling commitment to democracy and be honest enough to admit that you’re only interested in Florida and Michigan because you think Clinton is a better candidate.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and all of the other Democratic candidates competed under the same rules and Clinton lost. Now she’s trying to work the refs and is trying to change any rules that might keep her from winning. That’s understandable, but when you wrap your attempts to move the goalposts in a veneer of moral superiority and question the values of your opponents (specifically, questioning whether or not Obama supporters believe in voting rights), don’t be surprised if you piss a lot of people off.

I’m willing to give Mrs. Clinton the benefit of the doubt on her RFK gaffe.  But she’s literally tearing the party apart when we desperately need to pull together to undo years of structural damage to the foundations of our government and way of life.  And all to satisfy this intense sense of entitlement that smells more like Lieberman’s independent run than the underlying commitment to our nation’s deepest issues she showed during the NH primary.  Its a huge waste of talent.  This primary should not have been a “last shot” to the NY Senator.  But with the way she’s bungled things and the misplaced priorities she’s shown, it looks like it is.  The more she gnashes her teeth and lashes out at Democrats, the more I am ok with that.

Seasteading: Ocean Micro Nations Ahoy!

Apparently there are people investing in seasteading.  The Seasteading Institute plans on creating practical housing on the sea, and maybe spurring some micronations.  I love this quote (emphasis mine):

“There’s a history of a lot of crazy people trying this sort of thing, and the idea is to do it in a way that’s not crazy,” said Joe Lonsdale, the institute’s chairman and a principal at Clarium Capital Management, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund.

That would be key.

We Shouldn’t Bail Out Hillary Clinton

Why? Because from the start her campaign was one afforded momentum mostly by her own sense of entitlement (and to a lesser degree by the novelty of being a female candidate). Because she’s staying in when the fight is clearly over. Because she’s hurt our chances in November by initially suggesting McCain would be a better president than Obama, just to further her chances in the primary.

Finally, there this piece of pure outrage (Pandagon). Hiam Saban bribed and threatened young super delegates to vote for Hillary:

But this isn’t just bribery. It was backed up, it seems, with an implicit threat. Basically, gangster negotiations.

Members of the Young Democrats agonized about the potential fallout of Saban’s call; his financial offer represented one-third of the group’s 2008 budget. Democratic officials and fundraisers were consulted about how to respond, and at times the discussions were “emotional,” one participant said. “It is scary for them, Haim is very powerful, he has great influence over donors who give to them.”

Another source said that Hardt and others were acutely aware of Saban’s status within Democratic circles and were concerned that their organization would suffer long-term harm if they declined his offer or if news of the proposal became public.

“I said I thought that the appropriate response was to call Haim back and say thank you but we are not interested,” said the source. “I also said that it was surely the case that this story would get out because it is too interesting not to and they should think about how to deal with it. It was a day or two [before they responded]. They felt afraid. They were like, ‘Holy shit, this is Haim Saban.’”

They were afraid. I’m so angry right now I’m spitting. This is how we treat young people who are interested in electing Democrats now?

I can’t emphasize how much my decision to go with an Obama endorsement over a Clinton endorsement has to do with remaking the campaign strategies of the Democrats. All other issues are pretty much moot if we can’t win. And part of what’s going to move us towards more winning is getting the millennial generation to consider themselves loyal Democrats. There’s a ton of them , and Obama’s campaign has done a bang-up job of getting young people on board. If he wins with this strategy, then people who want to employ it will have a lot more leverage in the future.

Hillary couldn’t raise funds and used her personal wealth to force her sense of entitlement on the Democratic party. We shouldn’t expect the party or its leaders to waste resources being responsible for her hubris when we could use those same funds to win vital elections.

McCain’s Strategist Impacts Obama

Mark McKinnon promised to leave McCain’s campaign rather than face Barack Obama, a man he deeply respects.  His departure sends some strong signals.  Those are obvious.  What is interesting to me is that he chose now to do it.  It is certain at this point Obama will become the nominee.  That said, McKinnon’s departure still strengthen’s Obama’s standing, and implicitly lightly knock’s McCain’s, despite his promises to continue to support the Arizona Senator.

Its a small movement, and one likely to be lost as the Clinton campaign dies noisily and McCain struggles to distance himself from parts of Bush’s administration while aligning himself closely with other aspects.  But its a very interesting one.  Especially as his foreign policy is criticized.  Obama is a natural Diplomat, in marked contrast to McCain.

Lieberman Asks Youtube to Remove Terrorist Videos

No word yet on whether or not the videos are under copyright.  From the article:

In a blog posting, YouTube said it welcomed the dialogue with Lieberman but noted that “most of the videos” his office had drawn to their attention “did not contain violent or hate speech content” and had therefore not been removed from the site “because they do not violate our Community Guidelines.”

Lieberman made a mistake.  If he was going to call for the removal of material that showed people being killed, that’s one thing.  If he’s going to use strident language and simply flag videos he does not agree with, he weakens his own argument.  Although one wouldn’t expect such a stalward supporter of the war in Iraq to understand that sometimes it isn’t wise to overreach.

Specter Calls to Finally Investigate Illegal Spying On Americans?

That’s what I first thought when I saw an opinion piece from SI.com on google news.  I quickly realized the venerable congress critter was talking about investigating a fucking football spying scandal.

The chances of anyone in the Bush administration ever seeing justice for illegally spying on Americans?  Still zero.