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.

Hillary Can Still Win!

Via Nezua, exciting news for Hillarycrats!:

See?  Mathematically impossible my foot!

Clinton Straight Up Lies (No Joke)

Yes, Hillary Clinton, that paragon of honesty, has straight up lied about the popular vote.  Here’s the grimy details.  Sigh, emphasis mine:

Sen. Hillary Clinton is arguing that she is ahead of rival Sen. Barack Obama when it comes to the popular vote.

“I’m very proud that as of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anyone else,” Clinton said Wednesday, one day after her decisive win in Pennsylvania.

Not so fast, says Obama’s campaign. Clinton’s count includes her wins in Michigan and Florida, but the Democratic presidential candidates agreed not to campaign in those states because they violated party rules by scheduling their contests too early.

Obama didn’t even have his name on the Michigan ballot, so he received no votes from that contest.

“We think that, in the end, if we end up having won twice as many states and having the most votes, then we should be the nominee,” Obama said.

Senator Clinton, what bullshit is this?  Michigan and Florida with either not count, or will have a do-over election in which the running candidates can both compete.  There isn’t a hint of ambiguity here.  What you said was a lie.

Hillary Clinton is Desperate

She’s waving Osama around in her newest ad (Huffington Post):

Still, there might be something to the rumors that tomorrow’s primary is expected to be a tight contest, and the clearest sign that the Clinton campaign is taking that seriously is that they’ve released a new thirty-second ad called “Kitchen,” which “detail[s] how tough the job of President is…asking voters who they think is ready to step in and handle it.” And, hey! Look who makes a cameo appearance! None other than stock footage of Osama bin Laden, presumably on loan from the defunct Giuliani campaign.

She’s showing herself at her hackish, hypocritical best in her lame criticisms of Obama (Huffington Post):

Sen. Hillary Clinton fired back at her opponent over the comment, while tying it in to her general critique that Obama cannot fight hard enough to win the election. Ben Smith reports:

“We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain, and I will be that nominee,” she said.

Of course, Clinton had a similar moment of praise for John McCain’s experience earlier this campaign season:

“I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002.”

Obama’s comment was idiotic for strategic reasons.  He should be Linking Bush and McCain!  That said, Hillary’s response is beyond laughable.  She’s criticizing Barack for the same sort of gaff she made.  Only hers was far, far worse.  She actually implied McCain would be better than a potential Democratic nominee.

Which just sums up her campaign to ignore reality and win at all costs.  Hillary Clinton repeatedly compares Obama to Bush, when she really ought to look in the damn mirror.

Clinton’s Hollow Words on Bush

Hillary Clinton is attempting to dress Obama in Bush’s legacy (Washington Times, emphasis mine):

Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America’s annual conference, Mrs. Clinton derided Mr. Bush, saying that “rather than defending the Constitution, he has defied its principles and traditions.”

She noted the long nomination battle but said, “When the campaigns conclude … all that’s left is the choice we have made.
“We have seen the power of the presidency placed in hands unready or unwilling to address the tasks that lie ahead,” she said, adding an accusation that Mr. Bush squandered an opportunity to unite the world after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Unwilling is a clear reference to Bush. Unready though?  That’s a dig at Obama’s experience.  She is trying once again with a subtle rhetorical flourish to link Obama and the President, while distancing herself from her own record of support for the President:

“The president is not above the law in our system of government, and we need to make that absolutely clear starting next year,” she said.

If she is elected, “starting from Day One, the Bush-Cheney era will be over in name and in practice,” she said.

One problem is that where Obama has opposed Bush’s policies, Clinton has in many notable cases supported them.  Another is her language.  She’s an elected official now.

The words “Starting next year I’ll fight” are pretty hollow coming from a Senator.

Hillary Voted for the War

She Voted For the War:

Consider; If the War in Iraq was currently popular with the American Public which side of the argument would Hillary Clinton be on?

They have an excellent point.

Start the National Campaign NOW

Yes, Yes YES YES.  Democrats need to listen to Zack Exley:

If Super Tuesday had been decisive, then, by now, the presumptive nominee would already be two months into building the strongest national field campaign ever seen in U.S. politics. Both Hillary and Obama have brilliant field teams and, as the nominee, either one would have virtually unlimited financial and volunteer resources. It was going to be beautiful.

But now it’s possible that decisive work on a national field campaign won’t even begin until August. Essentially, that’s what happened in 2004 (for very different reasons). I witnessed the consequences of that train wreck close up in a dozen swing states in September and October while working for the campaign. And I’m telling you, if that happens again, it doesn’t matter how much more money the Democrat has than McCain: if its a close race where field organizing is important, then the Democrat will lose.

Whoever the nominee is, if we want to keep George W. Bush’s annointed, John McCain, out of the white house, we need to start now.

Get involved with the DNC.  As they say on their homepage, its never too early to organize.  But it can easily be too late.  We cannot afford to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this time.

If you work on a campaign and happen to read this rather humble blog, and want to be sneaky, why not suggest your candidate affirm this is a good idea, and begin sending some moolah towards DNC-directed organizing efforts?  It would make that candidate look a lot more front-runnerish, and help focus attention on building a national infratructure of change to fight the national status-quo organization McCain is building right now.

Shocking, I know.  Bear with me.  We need to start preparing now.  This is a fight we can win.

Obama and Clinton: Share Goals Not the Ticket

More discussion about a Clinton Obama ticket.  For a little perspective, this is coming from one of three sources:  Hillary, Bill, the same media experts who still consider McCain a maverick.  The Obama camp is throwing out some strong “and…. no” signals in response.

“I know that she has always been open to it, because she believes that if you can unite the energy and the new people that he’s brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small town and rural America that she’s carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it’d be hard to beat.”

He added that, in his view, Obama would win the “urban areas and the upscale voters” while Clinton claims “the traditional rural areas that we lost when President Reagan was president. If you put those two things together, you’d have an almost unstoppable force.”

Obama won Wyoming.  How does Clinton have a clinch on “small town and rural America”?  Bill’s comments are less analysis and more an active shaping.  It doesn’t reflect the reality of the campaign.  That’s just one problem.

The big problem is this idea that a Clinton/Obama ticket would be “unstoppable”.  A shared ticket would not be unstoppable.  It would be a terrible mistake (August, emphasis mine):

Ezra’s post on why Jim Webb shouldn’t (and won’t) be a VP pick is a must-read for anyone who’s still suggesting that a “unity” ticket between Clinton and Obama should/will solve all our problems.

Both Clinton and Obama are very popular Senators with the potential to have very powerful careers in Congress. As vice-president to the other, they would both be completely and utterly useless politically and have no political future save the chance of being elected president in eight years. The same goes for any offer of a cabinet spot- usually, those are positions for people at the end of their career, not the beginning.

Basically, everything Ezra says about Webb applies to Obama, and applies to Hillary with only a slight change. If Obama loses the primaries, there’s no reason for him to give up a chance to wait and be the presumptive candidate in four or eight years. If Hillary loses them, there’s no reason for her to not hold tight in the Senate and work to eventually replace Harry Reid as Majority Leader.

Once again: whoever you’re rooting for to be the candidate, go right ahead. Just give up the idea there’s going to be a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket. Neither of them is stupid enough to give up their future to get the other elected.

Neither of them.  So August’s words here ring especially true (emphasis mine):

This is, ultimately, one of the major problems I have with a lot of the pro-Hillary arguments. People keep saying Obama is a candidate of empty promises, and yet the entire case for Clinton is based on an agenda and campaign strategy that is not based in reality. Be it “we’ll totally win Florida, because I’m super popular” or “I’ll pass a universal health care plan because there’s, like, no way the Republicans would even consider filibustering something like that” or “oh, of course we’ll put Barack Obama on the ticket so you should totally vote for me because it’ll be like voting for both of us, I promise I have pretty much no faith in a Clinton victory. And maybe that’s why the whole “hope” and “change” angle is working so well.

The frequent calls for a unity ticket sound more like a ploy and less like an honest plan of action with every repetition.

Going back to the CNN PT post, the comments thread makes a whole lot of sense:

v.ananthan March 8th, 2008 5:39 pm ET
I don^t think that Obama is ready for the vice president post
either….
I think that Hillary should select Edwards as her running mate….

Hillary/Edwards, Obama/Richardson (with Edwards as AG).  Either combination would yield a strong ticket.  And both combinations would avoid potentially losing a Democratic Senator needlessly.  If anything, the two should pledge to work closely together to achieve the common goals of their campaigns.  One candidate from the White House, the other from the Senate floor.  At the end of the day Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama need to share the greater Democratic vision for America.  They just need to avoid sharing a ticket.

A Long Nomination Battle is OK

If Barack takes Ohio, and I think he will, Hillary may still try to stay in the race with a Texas win.  And that’s ok.  Here’s why.

We can actually take a page from right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh:

“I want Hillary to stay in this…this is too good a soap opera,” Limbaugh told fellow conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham on Fox News Friday. He reiterated the comments on his Monday show and replayed the exchange with Ingram.

He also said Clinton is more willing than the Republican National Committee and John McCain’s campaign to criticize Barack Obama.

“We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically. It’s obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it, they don’t have the stomach for it,” Limbaugh continued. “As you probably know we’re getting all kinds of memos from the RNC saying we’re not going to be critical. Mark McKinnon of McCain’s campaign said he’ll quit if they get critical over Obama. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about. I want our party to win I want the Democrats to lose.”

Its not obvious that the Republicans are going to do it.  They’ve been engaging in a whisper campaign about race and religion since before Obama began looking like a serious front-runner.  But he is right that Clinton will go after Obama.  The problem he can’t see is that Hillary Clinton is not as rhetorically skilled as Obama, and she’s using the right’s cards against him.  Hillary is attacking from their side of the aisle, and her attacks are failing.  She’s relying on iocane powder, and by the time McCain steps up with a mild dosage at the ready, Obama is going to be immune(and devastatingly witty).

Hillary Clinton’s attacks revolve around fear, security, and experience.  Not only are these attacks failing to put her over the top, she is losing.  Her cold pragmatism fails next to Obama’s inviting optimism.  John McCain is going to run a very similiar campaign against the Illinois Senator.  He’s going to claim experience, he’s going to use fear, and he’s going to play the cranky old man to Obama’s youthful optimist.  The longer the primary campaign drags on, the more the Clintons are going to dip in McCain’s bag of tricks.  By the time the general election roles around, Obama will be battle tested and prepared, and McCain will be out of ammo.