Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

I am hoping this is a desperate and vicious lie.   If it is, its damning proof that the puma crowd, riverdaughter in particular, will go to any length to sabotage a Democratic victory.  Clinton’s response to McCain’s recent ad slamming Obama for picking Biden over Hillary could just as easily apply to them:

Kathleen Strand, a spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton, responded to the ad with the following statement:

“Hillary Clinton’s support of Barack Obama is clear. She has said repeatedly that Barack Obama and she share a commitment to changing the direction of the country, getting us out of Iraq, and expanding access to health care. John McCain doesn’t. It’s interesting how those remarks didn’t make it into his ad.”

The purpose of the roll call vote is to make clear who is voting for whom.  A roll call vote is an accountability tool.  (One might question who the delegates are being made accountable to).  If votes are decided a day or so before hand, with no last minute campaigning at the convention itself, its not the end of the world.  It would be, however, a remarkably poor move on the part of the DNC.  If true and not a PUMA sourced lie, it would essentially as though the DNC were asked to add one more straw onto the back of party unity, and happily complied with a free sack of bricks to boot.

John McCain couldn’t ask for a bigger political present.  His own party is fracturing between the religious right, the nativists, and the corporatists.  He’s running for office under the banner of the most unpopular president in American history.  If Democrats succumb so easily to defeatist media narratives, Republicrats, and in-fighting, we’ll find November a much tougher contest than we imagine.

Media Can’t Let Go of Hillary as VP

I guess flat out lying is ok in the opinion section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  That’s how Marianne Means sets up her ridiculous on its face argument that Barack Obama is a selfish little brat who needs to offer Clinton the VP to be appropriately “gracious”.

Despite their publicized gestures of making nice, too many folks on both sides of the Democratic divide aren’t buying that baloney. The principals themselves are trying to stay above all that, but they aren’t sending sufficiently strong signals about really wanting to work together in the interests of the party — and their own futures.

Translation:  They are not spending every waking minute bashing the mainstream media over the head with the fact that they are working together.

At a Manhattan fund-raiser for both politicians last week, Obama acknowledged that “with just half a wing this bird can’t fly.” Indeed, that is the risk he takes by insisting on going it alone without her as his running mate.

Picking her would solve so many problems. It raises serious doubts about his judgment that he refuses to do so, the chief question being a dangerously outsized ego.

The ego at play here does not belong to Barack.  Melanie has nothing to go on here.  As former President Carter noted, an Obama/Clinton ticket would have the weaknesses of both.  It would be a poor choice indeed, and not simply because we’d lose yet another voice in the Senate.

In fact, it is so far beyond the bounds of good politics for Obama to pick his former rival for the vp slot, that it seems more likely the manufactured vp dilemma is just an opportunity to hammer Obama about perceived character flaws.  Flaws that cannot be backed up.

In a field of politicians who have made the wrong call on the issues of Iraq, Iran, our civil rights, health care, and the economy, Barack Obama’s greatest strength is his good judgment.  His ability to make good calls stands in such stark contrast to his Republican rival that even when he does screw up he still looks amazingly impressive by comparison.

As it is, Melanie’s column is left stretching for fact-like substitutes:

He called her “Mrs. Clinton,” as though they had barely met. Women sense this disdain, and naturally don’t like it. He has had a hard time attracting the support of older, working-class white women in most states that Clinton won.

Perhaps (when they ran head to head), it wasn’t Obama’s lack of appeal so much as Clinton’s appeal to a generation of women who fought foundational battles.

But this is a toughie — no party has had a roll call with two candidates since the 1976 Republican convention, when President Gerald Ford beat Ronald Reagan by a mere 57 votes to secure the nomination. But the Obama folks are greedy. Why won’t she release her delegates now, they grouse.

Why should she? She’s earned them. Clinton delegates could strike a sour note. Obama better get used to sour notes, though, if he’s really got the stuff to be president. Last time we checked, this was still a democracy — messy, loud, and imperfect, but a democracy.

Here we get to the hell hound eaten, rotted out intestinal core of her argument.  Obama supporters are greedy little fascists, and Clinton supporters are ardent supports of Democracy and apple pie.

Bullshit.

The Hillary supporters who are still pushing for her nomination have bought into and identified with the sense of entitlement Clinton gave off like a thousand watt aura during the campaign.  Obama’s supporters (old and recent), have a mix of motivations.  First among them, for myself, is to end the infighting and move forward with the centrist establishment candidate we ended up settling on, and focus on beating the shit out of McCain in the general election.

And with that as the goal, Barack Obama would be gravely mistaken to pick Hillary Clinton ad Vice President to be.  He should be thinking about a non federal Senator/Representative who brings something valuable to the table without taking it away from the Democratic party’s power as a whole.

Hillary’s Supporters and Party Unity

This is brilliant (thebruceblog):

Hillary is a Democrat. She embraces and champions Democratic causes. She continues in the Senate wanting to advance the Democratic agenda. She said from the very beginning of the primaries, she wants a unified party in the fall and that the differences between her and Obama “pale in comparison” to McCain.

So all her “supporters” who don’t vote the ticket this fall are actually spitting in Hillary’s face. If McCain wins, that means Hillary’s work in the Senate is that much harder. Her “supporters” have just given her a mountain to climb as she’ll have to push back against yet another Republican-controlled White House and agenda.

I’m not a blind supporter of Obama myself (as Obama’s supporters are often painted).  I came over to his camp once Edwards was finished, and am proud to criticize the Senator when he makes mistakes, just as surely as I am proud to support him for the ideals and substance he represents.  I understand that this is an important battle, and further for many us and those we care deeply for, a life or death battle.  Whether our troops die needlessly in war, whether citizens of the world’s richest country are denied health care, whether or not medical research is held hostage to religious conservatives.  All of these issues and more are at stake.  And on all of them Hillary Clinton stands with Barack Obama.

The PUMA contigent who claim the mantle of liberalism in Hillary’s name are only showing how mockingly they wear it.  Party unity is not a joke or a sticking point.  Barack Obama didn’t win in a back door deal, as PUMA members often insinuate.  Clinton gave up a mathematically impossible crusade after being sweet-talked down by party members with consolation prizes for coming in second place.

Another claim is Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.  She did not.  Obama did (though just barely).

Hillary Clinton lost.  But her politics and her principles don’t need to.  Supporting McCain is, as thebruceblog accurately points out, spitting in the face of what Hillary Clinton continues to stand for as a Democratic member of congress.

We need to come together, and we need to win.

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.

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.

What is Hillary Clinton Doing?

As Hillary Clinton heads into a meaningless victory in West Virginia (in terms of the primary), Democrats across the nation can be heard whispering “please don’t stab us in the back!“.  Which is understandable, given her past statements that she considered McCain a better candidate than Obama!  (And we wonder why some of her supporters have threatened to vote for George W Bush’s heir).

Onetime Democratic contender John Edwards was more delicate in his warning that Clinton be careful how she campaigns in the few remaining primaries.

“She has to be really careful she’s not damaging our prospects, the Democratic Party and our cause for the fall,” Edwards said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The hilarity doesn’t stop there.  Hillary is literally shooting herself in as many feet as possible.  If she’s left standing after this election, it’ll be a testament to the cynical power of entitlement within the ruling class.

Obama, Clinton, and Political Favors

If you like Obama’s whole mantra of change, this ought to piss you off(emphasis mine):

She has ruled it out, but a prompt withdrawal from the contest for the Democratic nomination offers Sen. Hillary Clinton the prospect of major rewards.

One of the most inviting is the near certainty that the Obama campaign would agree to pay back the $11.4 million she has loaned her own bid, along with an estimated $10 million to $15 million in unpaid campaign expenses.

In addition, Democrats, both those who are loyal and those who are opposed to her campaign, say the odds of her winning a top leadership spot in the Senate would improve dramatically if she gracefully conceded now. The icing on the cake includes an improved political climate, giving Hillary and Bill Clinton the opportunity to heal the rift with the black political community.

“If she leaves the stage gracefully, as Gore did in 2000, she will be able to rebuild her political capital within the party fairly quickly, and over time most of her perceived and real sins will be long forgiven and/or forgotten,” said Dan Gerstein, a Democratic consultant and Obama supporter.

Political favors, seniority, and other “business as usual” bullshit are precisely the sort of politics the Democratic party should be avoiding.  Especially if Obama, the candidate of change, wins the nomination.

Hillary Clinton has both positive and negative points, to be sure.  And the large numbers of Americans voting to her should be respected.  At the same time, she should not be entitled to increased influence in congress as a consolation prize.  Part of the problem with Hillary Clinton’s campaign is the distinct, thick smell of entitlement.  For those who value democracy, rewarding entitlement would be a glaring irony.  Unfortunately as demonstrated with Lieberman, it wouldn’t be out of character.