Posts filed under 'Clinton'

I Can Haz Leadership? (Updated)

As I understand it, the presidential primaries are supposed to be all about demonstrating to the voters of your party that you have the leadership qualities necessary to be President of the I-think-still-just-barely most powerful nation on Earth. We’ve heard all kinds of back and forth between the top three candidates about who can best effect Change.

Well, there’s this FISA vote coming up, wherein Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attempt to ram through a bill granting telecom corporations retroactive immunity for turning their customer’s calls over to the Bush Administration without warrants. Reid intends to do this over Chris Dodd’s dead body, and will dispense with the courtesies that he granted to Republican opponents, such as honoring holds and not requiring actual reading-from-the-phone-book-until-you-keel-over filibusters. As if this were not bad enough, it appears that this is actually the outcome that the Senate Democrats want, and the only Democrats willing to stand with Dodd in support of a filibuster are Teddy Kennedy and Russ Feingold (of course).

The first time FISA almost came to a head, Hillary and Obama refused to tear themselves away from their campaigning, which was a non-response worthy of our current Ignorer-In-Chief. If Hillary and Obama really want to show voters, especially Democratic voters, that they have the mettle to lead our country, then they need to get their asses down to the Senate floor and help Dodd out. Vote against cloture, ask Dodd long rambling questions so he can take breaks, and perhaps most importantly of all, use the megaphone of your presidential campaigns to let the American people know that the Bush administration (with the active collusion of the Democratic leadership) is once again trying to chip away at the rule of law to let themselves and their corporate henchmen escape accountability.

If you want to show leadership, then lead, don’t hide. If you want to demonstrate your ability to effect change, then change something. If you want to show that you’re not beholden to corporations and lobbyists, then tell the telecoms who have been pelting you with money that you appreciate their support, but you have to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

Of course, even if you do all that, you’ll still be following Chris Dodd, who despite polling in the low single digits in his bid for the nomination, still managed to display more leadership in a week than either of you has shown in the entirety of your brief, cautious Senate careers. But at this point I have to take what I can get, and I’d rather have a fast follower for President than someone who hides under the desk every time Republicans shout “9/11.”

But what about Edwards, you ask? After all, he is the Officially Endorsed Candidate Of Multi Medium, is he not? He most certainly is – but what he is not is a sitting Senator. I would love to see him go down to DC in a show of support and solidarity, but Edwards can only affect the outcome indirectly, either by focusing the meager spotlight the media deign to give him onto the immunity issue, or by shaming Actual Sitting Senators Hillary and Obama into showing up so he can’t lord this over them for the rest of the campaign.

And as long as I’m on the subject of leadership, where the hell is ours in Congress? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is actively facilitating an enormous gift to the Bush administration, and Nancy “Impeachment Is Off The Table” Pelosi still refuses to call a vote to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt, over six months after they blew off Congressional subpoenas to testify on the US Attorney firings. If covering for a lawless, out-of-control Republican President is the kind of “leadership” our Democratic Representatives and Senators actually want, then God help us all, and we need better Democrats. Much, much better Democrats.

UPDATE: I forgot to ask: Why can’t Reid just say, “Sorry, fellas – as much as I’d like to help you with the whole shielding-corporations-and-Bushies-from-accountability thing, my hands are tied as long as that mean ol’ Mr. Dodd persists with his hold. And since it doesn’t look like he’s going to change his mind anytime soon, you might as well just pass the version without telecom immunity. And, I might add, the absence of retroactive immunity for telecoms does not in any way impede our ability to catch terrorists, regardless of what the Bush administration may say.”?

Am I asking too much?

3 comments January 24th, 2008 at 07:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Edwards,Elections,Favorites,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Weirdness

Hell’s Getting A Bit Nippy…

Chris Matthews actually apologized for saying that Hillary was only elected to the Senate because Bill messed around. Not so much for all the other terrible things he’s said about her and other women, though – which is why the firepits are still bubbling and churning away.

Now, if Rush were to get fired for his repulsive “spade” and “hoe” digs at Obama, then Hell’d be looking a lot like Lambeau Field this weekend.

January 17th, 2008 at 07:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Media,Politics,Racism,Sexism,Wankers

Krugman Vs. Obama, Round II

Krugman is still underwhelmed by Obama… as am I:

Suddenly, the economic consensus seems to be that the implosion of the housing market will indeed push the U.S. economy into a recession, and that it’s quite possible that we’re already in one. As a result, over the next few weeks we’ll be hearing a lot about plans for economic stimulus.

[Krugman is generally appalled by the Republican plans – tax cuts for the rich! – and the pathetic state of contemporary political reporting]

On the Democratic side, John Edwards, although never the front-runner, has been driving his party’s policy agenda. He’s done it again on economic stimulus: last month, before the economic consensus turned as negative as it now has, he proposed a stimulus package including aid to unemployed workers, aid to cash-strapped state and local governments, public investment in alternative energy, and other measures.

Last week Hillary Clinton offered a broadly similar but somewhat larger proposal. (It also includes aid to families having trouble paying heating bills, which seems like a clever way to put cash in the hands of people likely to spend it.) The Edwards and Clinton proposals both contain provisions for bigger stimulus if the economy worsens.

And you have to say that Mrs. Clinton seems comfortable with and knowledgeable about economic policy. I’m sure the Hillary-haters will find some reason that’s a bad thing, but there’s something to be said for presidents who know what they’re talking about.

The Obama campaign’s initial response to the latest wave of bad economic news was, I’m sorry to say, disreputable: Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser claimed that the long-term tax-cut plan the candidate announced months ago is just what we need to keep the slump from “morphing into a drastic decline in consumer spending.” Hmm: claiming that the candidate is all-seeing, and that a tax cut originally proposed for other reasons is also a recession-fighting measure — doesn’t that sound familiar?

Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.

For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama’s supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.

Sigh. How depressing is it that our two most viable choices for our Democratic nominee are Hillary Clinton… and someone to the right of Hillary Clinton? Sadder yet, I think “to the right of Hillary Clinton” is gonna win.

January 14th, 2008 at 11:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Economy,Edwards,Elections,Media,Obama

You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

So, according to Chris Bowers, Hillary won New Hampshire because she was more appealing to angry, dissatisfied voters there:

Did Obama’s message of conciliatory unity cost him the New Hampshire primary? Sure looks like it. According to exit polls, 30% of Democrats identified themselves as “dissatisfied” with the Bush administration. Obama narrowly won those voters, 39%-38%. However, among the 62% of participants in the Democratic primary who described themselves as “angry” with the Bush administration, Clinton won 39%-34%. And thus, we have Clinton’s 2.6% margin of victory almost precisely.

Democrats are pissed off at Bush, I mean really pissed off and angry. There simply isn’t anyway to win this primary without winning the support of those voters. It appears “change” isn’t enough to put one over the top in that category, at least here. Clinton won the angrier voters, and so she won New Hampshire.

This makes sense to me, but here’s what I don’t get. If you review the data at the exit poll link Bowers cites, it also shows that Edwards does slightly better among Dissatisfied voters than Angry ones, 18% to 16%. Yet of the top three candidates, Edwards has by far the most adversarial message. Even if his campaign isn’t strong enough for him to beat out Clinton and Obama with Angry voters, I would expect him to at least have his biggest success there.

Maybe the Angry voters don’t think he’s tough enough?

2 comments January 10th, 2008 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Clinton,Democrats,Edwards,Elections,Obama,Politics

Who You Gonna Believe?

Hey, remember when Fox News reported that James Carville and Paul Begala were joining Hillary’s campaign? Well, according to Begala, not so much…

I’ve been dealing with the media and politics for 25 years, but I’ve never had a more surrealistic day than January 8. Several times that day Fox News reported that I was joining Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was a big story – at least until the stunning election returns.

The only problem was, it wasn’t true.

Fox News never even tried to contact me to verify their story, and when I contacted Fox, I felt like a character in a Kafka novel — or at least Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Fox’s Major Garrett — a good guy whom I’ve known for years — broke the story. My phone started ringing off the hook, and my email box bulged. There are still, thank goodness, a lot of real journalists out there….

After I told Fox it wasn’t true — and this is the surreal part — they kept reporting it anyway. In fact, Fox’s Garrett told me he’d “take it under advisement.” Take it under advisement? I realize I’m generally seen as just another liberal with an opinion, but this was not a matter of opinion, it was a matter of fact. Fox now knew their story was flatly, factually wrong, and they took it “under advisement.”

Apparently that meant repeating the falsehood with added detail: the “fact” that I had been on a conference call the previous day with the Hillary high command. Again, false. My worry is that if this is what one of Fox’s best and most respected reporters is doing, what are the hacks up to?

Begala then posts the actual e-mail exchange with Garrett. It’s amazing:

[Begala:] I know you’re swamped, and I hate to bother you on such a busy news day, but whoever told you I am joining Hillary’s campaign fed you some bum info. It’s just not true….
I’m not coming in as a volunteer, or as an adviser, or as a strategist or anything else. I have contributed to her campaign, and am convinced she would be a great President. But I am not joining the campaign in any form or fashion.
Again, I know how busy you are, but I’d sure appreciate you checking with me before you go with a story about me. This email is always a good way to reach me.

[Garrett:] I genuinely appreciate the e-mail.
I will take it under advisement.
And I look forward to discussing all aspects of the campaign with you in the future.

[Begala:] Just heard you say I was on a conference call with Hillary’s campaign yesterday. That’s not true. I was not on any conference call with Hillary’s campaign – and have had no contact with her campaign for months. No one from her campaign has contacted me — nor have I contacted them — and I am not joining in any capacity, paid or unpaid, official or unofficial….

I have a lot of respect for you, and I like you, but I’ve got to ask you again to check with me before you go with a story about me. Someone is misleading you, and it is not me.

[Garrett:] You know me well enough to know I am not trying to screw you.
You also know, or should know, that I’m careful and don’t have a reputation for pulling stories out of my ass.
I’m not now. The sourcing is strong, very strong, or I wouldn’t go with it.
I appreciate your e-mails and I redouble my efforts with each one I receive.
Please feel free to call me at any hour of any day.

So, basically, Begala tells him a flat no, and Garrett’s response is something like, “Well, that’s just your opinion. You only think you’re not joining Hillary’s campaign, but my sources know you better than you know yourself. I’ll double check with them just in case you actually know what you’re talking about, but I can’t promise anything.”

Hey, maybe Begala’s sleep-advising or has multiple personality disorder, and he really is working for Hillary without even realizing it OMG!

2 comments January 9th, 2008 at 09:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Media,Politics,Wankers

Misogynistic MoDo

Once again, MoDo has written a truly cringeworthy column:

When I walked into the office Monday, people were clustering around a computer to watch what they thought they would never see: Hillary Clinton with the unmistakable look of tears in her eyes.

A woman gazing at the screen was grimacing, saying it was bad. Three guys watched it over and over, drawn to the “humanized” Hillary. One reporter who covers security issues cringed. “We are at war,” he said. “Is this how she’ll talk to Kim Jong-il?”

Another reporter joked: “That crying really seemed genuine. I’ll bet she spent hours thinking about it beforehand.” He added dryly: “Crying doesn’t usually work in campaigns. Only in relationships.”

Bill Clinton was known for biting his lip, but here was Hillary doing the Muskie. Certainly it was impressive that she could choke up and stay on message.

She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters.

(…)

The Obama campaign calculated that they had the women’s vote over the weekend but watched it slip away in the track of her tears.

(…)

There was a poignancy about the moment, seeing Hillary crack with exhaustion from decades of yearning to be the principal rather than the plus-one. But there was a whiff of Nixonian self-pity about her choking up. What was moving her so deeply was her recognition that the country was failing to grasp how much it needs her. In a weirdly narcissistic way, she was crying for us. But it was grimly typical of her that what finally made her break down was the prospect of losing.

(…)

At her victory party, Hillary was like the heroine of a Lifetime movie, a woman in peril who manages to triumph. Saying that her heart was full, she sounded the feminist anthem: “I found my own voice.”

Feh. I still don’t care for Hillary for policy and Mark Penn reasons, but this is just ugly, as MoDo often is. Look, I’m not asking that she be all “You go, sister!”, but could she at least be less misogynist than Phyllis Schlafly or Ann Coulter?

1 comment January 9th, 2008 at 07:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Elections,Media,Politics,Wankers

Ironing Is Not Dead

Sigh.

Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s campaign stop was interrupted Monday when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, “Iron my shirt!” during one of her final appearances before the New Hampshire primary.

Clinton, a former first lady running to become the nation’s first female president, laughed at the seemingly sexist protest that suggested a woman’s place is doing the laundry and not running the country.

“Ah, the remnants of sexism – alive and well,” Clinton said to applause in a school auditorium.

The two men were removed from the hall after raising a pair of signs that said, “Iron my shirt!” They also shouted the same slogan.

“Can we turn the lights on? It’s awfully dark,” Clinton said, cueing the lights to come and police to come forward to take the men away.

The overflow crowd burst into applause and some began shouting, “Iron my shirt” as the two were taken from the hall.

“As I think has been abundantly demonstrated, I am also running to break through the highest and hardest glass ceiling,” she said.

Clinton later joked about the incident as she invited questions.

“If there’s anyone left in the auditorium who wants to learn how to iron a shirt, I’ll talk about that,” she said with a smile.

I am not a huge Hillary fan, by any means, but this crap is just disgusting. If you want to heckle Hillary, there’s plenty of actual issues you can use, like Iraq and Iran. But if your argument is that she can’t be president because a woman’s place is in the home, then please just go back to your cave and wait for evolution to visit.

Stoopit evolution. Work faster, dammit!

(h/t Twolf)

2 comments January 8th, 2008 at 07:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Elections,Sexism,Wankers

Leadership

Dodd has it.

Hillary, Obama, and Biden don’t.

We should nominate someone who can’t even be bothered to stick up for the rule of law? Yeah, that’s just what we need from our next president – we need a real good go-along-to-get-alonger.

December 18th, 2007 at 11:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Democrats,Dodd,Elections,Obama,Politics

There They Go Again.

To Whom It May Concern:

Please make this go away forever.

Also, the flag-burning amendment.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

December 10th, 2007 at 11:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Lieberman,Politics,Wankers

I Wouldn’t Worry About It…

…It’s not like Gallup knows anything about polling.

Yesterday two polling firms — Zogby and Gallup — released surveys of the presidential race that offered strikingly different conclusions. The Zogby poll found that Hillary is trailing five leading GOP candidates in general election matchups. The Gallup Poll, by contrast, found that Hillary, and to a lesser degree Obama, has a slight to sizable lead over the top GOP contenders.

A couple of other things that distinguish these two polls: The Zogby one is an online poll, a notoriously unreliable method, while the Gallup one is a telephone poll. And, as Charles Franklin of Pollster.com observed yesterday, the Zogby poll is completely out of sync with multiple other national polls finding Hillary with a lead over the GOP candidates. The Zogby poll actually found that Mike Huckabee is leading Hillary in a national matchup. The Gallup findings were in line with most other surveys.

I don’t need to tell you which poll got all the media attention. Do I?

The Zogby survey was covered repeatedly on CNN, earned coverage from MSNBC, Fox News, and Reuters and was covered by multiple other smaller outlets.

By contrast, I can’t find a single example of any reporter or commentator on the major networks or news outlets referring to the Gallup poll at all, with the lone exception of UPI. While the Zogby poll was mentioned by multiple reporters and pundits, the only mentions the Gallup poll got on TV were from Hillary advisers who had to bring it up themselves on the air in order to inject it into the conversation.

(…)

Worse, the Zogby poll was covered with few mentions either of its dubious methodology or of the degree to which its findings don’t jibe with other surveys. Bottom line: The Zogby poll was considered big news because many in the political press are heavily invested in the Hillary-is-unelectable narrative for all kinds of reasons that have little to do with a desire to, you know, practice journalism.

As much as I dislike Hillary and don’t want her as the nominee, this is still inexcusably shoddy reportage. If the corporate media wants to take Hillary down, they can do it by reporting on her policies, like her refusal to withdraw all our troops from Iraq, or her vote in favor of Kyl-Lieberman, or her leadership position in the DLC.

November 27th, 2007 at 09:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics,Polls,Wankers

Secrecy

Okay, so let me get this straight: Tim Russert is (fraudulently) hammering Hillary Clinton for secrecy?

Um, where was he when Dubya made presidential records unavailable for, like, forever? Where was he while BushCo. was cementing itself as the most secretive administration of all time?

Chris Matthews may be a wanker, but he does wander off the Republican reservation every once in a while. Russert is nothing more than a Republican operative, pure and simple. His cover even got blown during the Libby trial… it’s just that no-one cared. Valerie Plame should have been so lucky.

1 comment November 4th, 2007 at 02:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Clinton,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Wankers

Under Review

So here’s Hillary, being interviewed by the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky, on the hot-button topic of executive power:

Tomasky: If you become president you’ll enter the White House with far more power than, say, your husband had. What is your view of this? And what specific powers might you relinquish as president, or renegotiate with Congress – for example the power to declare a US citizen an enemy combatant?

Clinton: Well, I think it is clear that the power grab undertaken by the Bush-Cheney administration has gone much further than any other president and has been sustained for longer. Other presidents, like Lincoln, have had to take on extraordinary powers but would later go to the Congress for either ratification or rejection. But when you take the view that they’re not extraordinary powers, but they’re inherent powers that reside in the office and therefore you have neither obligation to request permission nor to ask for ratification, we’re in a new territory here. And I think that I’m gonna have to review everything they’ve done because I’ve been on the receiving end of that. There were a lot of actions which they took that were clearly beyond any power the Congress would have granted or that in my view that was inherent in the constitution. There were other actions they’ve taken which could have obtained congressional authorization but they deliberately chose not to pursue it as a matter of principle.

Tomasky: I guess I’m asking, can a president, once in the White House, actually give up some of this power in the name of constitutional principle?

Clinton: Oh, absolutely, Michael. I mean that has to be part of the review that I undertake when I get to the White House, and I intend to do that.

This is all well and good and everything, but I have to ask the question: Why wait until you get to the White House? You have a pretty good idea of what powers the Bush administration has grabbed, so why not perform that review now, and then tell everyone what you intend to roll back, rather than just saying that you’ll “review” it?

Sure, there’s probably some stuff no-one even knows about, but there’s no reason you can’t say, “Of the executive powers that I know about, here’s what I would change. There are probably some powers that this administration has assumed in secret, and I will look at those very thoroughly and very skeptically when I take office.”

How hard could it be?

5 comments October 24th, 2007 at 03:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Clinton,Constitution,Politics

Yet Another Icky Ally

Looks like Hillary has cultivated another slimeball. Another slimeball who went after her husband, in fact.

It may be sound political strategy, but every time Hill makes nice with (or employs) wankers like Mark Penn or Rupert Murdoch, it makes it awfully hard for me not to doubt her character.

2 comments October 22nd, 2007 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Big Whoop.

I’m not sure how this is supposed to impress me…

In March, James Webb introduced legislation demanding that the President seek congressional approval before striking Iran.

I’ve just learned that Senator Hillary Clinton will co-sponsor legislation with Webb and re-introduce it into the Senate. Exact language isn’t available, but this is what Webb offered in March.

Specifically, the amendment requires that the President seek congressional authorization prior to commencing any broad military action in Iran and it allows the following exceptions: First, military operations or activities that would directly repel an attack launched from within the territory of Iran. Second, those activities that would directly thwart an imminent attack that would be launched from Iran. Third, military operations or activities that would be in hot pursuit of forces engaged outside the territory of Iran who thereafter would enter Iran. And finally, those intelligence collection activities that have been properly noticed to the appropriate committees of Congress.

Senator Jim Webb Introduces Iran Amendment

Sure, those loopholes aren’t big enough for an unethical, dishonest, bloodthirsty president to drive a few nukes or armored convoys through. I can’t imagine Dubya making up some scary stories about Iran being about to attack us, or claiming that we had to chase some Iranian terrorists back across the border…

2 comments October 1st, 2007 at 09:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iran

Hillary’s Bold New Strategy

In short, it appears to be, “Vote for me; I’m a status quo Establishment hack who will pander to Republicans!”

Maybe voters will be impressed with her honesty…

September 4th, 2007 at 07:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Politics

Giving Paws

From the WSJ, so take with a grain of salt:

One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.

That total ranks the house with residences in Greenwich, Conn., and Manhattan’s Upper East Side among the top addresses to donate to the Democratic presidential front-runner over the past two years, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of donations listed with the Federal Election Commission.

It isn’t obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple’s grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to “attendance liaison” at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws’ political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.

People who answered the phone and the door at the Paws’ residence declined requests for comment last week. In an email last night, one of the Paws’ sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: “I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money.”

Mr. Hsu, in an email last night wrote: “I have NEVER asked a single favor from any politician or any charity group. If I am NOT asking favors, why do I have to cheat…I’ve asked friends and colleagues of mine to give money out of their own pockets and sometimes they have agreed.”

Okay, let me be the one to ask the obvious question:

“Winkle Paw”???

(h/t Stoller)

August 28th, 2007 at 11:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections

God Forbid…

Mitt Romney explains why Hillary is Teh Dangerous Marxist:

Specifically, he attacked Clinton for seeking to move the nation toward what Romney called a “shared-responsibility, we’re-all-in it-together society.”

“That’s sort of an out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx kind of philosophy,” Romney said. “This is a country which has been successful in part because we believe in individual initiative, and individual incentives.”

Yes, a shared responsibility, we’re-all-in-it-together society would be AWFUL, just like the Soviet Union.

Of course, Romney is talking about the right-wing caricature of Hillary, the one that’s to the left of Fidel Castro…

July 21st, 2007 at 10:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Politics,Republicans,Romney,Wankers

Take Back Hillary

Bill Scher offers this analysis of why Hillary got booed at the Take Back America conference:

The Politics on the Hudson blog gets it right: “They jeered the Democratic presidential hopeful when she blamed the Iraqi government for the continued violence that has bogged down U.S. troops.”

(…)

Why get booed for that?

Because a lot of people are sick and tired of what’s become a stand-by cop-out bipartisan talking point: that the Iraqis are solely to blame for the chaos and de-stablization.

As if the Iraqis invaded and occupied themselves.

The debacle cannot be turned around until blame is properly placed. Not on all the Iraqi people. Not on the propped-up Iraqi “government.” Not on America. Not on Americans. Not on the troops.

But on the individuals in Washington who planned the occupation, voted for the occupation, fund the occupation, and continue the occupation.

The Washington media are likely to miss the true nature of the boos, because this grassroots frustration at the constant blame-shifting has rarely been given the media megaphone. That it’s the Iraqis fault has become accepted fact.

I highly doubt Sen. Clinton thought repeating conventional wisdom would have resulted in such a visceral reaction. But that’s what happens when mainstream media only reflects Beltway groupthink and ignores what’s simmering on the ground across America.

(…)

[T]he progressive grassroots, being serious about foreign policy and national security, wanting a fundamental change in our foreign policy away from blundering occupation and towards steely multilateral diplomacy, viscerally reacted to a blatant mischaracterization of what’s happening abroad.

(…)

[P]oliticians that don’t also recognize the occupation’s massive contribution to the region-wide de-stabilization, and in turn, articulate how ending the occupation can help begin to repair the damage, can expect more booing.

I think Hillary understands the Republicans very well, but she doesn’t seem to understand progressives at all.

1 comment June 20th, 2007 at 06:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,War

What Josh Marshall Says

I can’t argue with this:

Okay, I think we may have both the necessary and sufficient reason why Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be allowed to be president: her campaign song is by Celine Dion. Truly too horrifying to comtemplate.

Seriously, what on Earth was she thinking? Why not just go with Michael Bolton or Kenny G? I’m sure there are lots of people who think she’- wonderful, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never met any. Why pick a singer who is synonymous with awfulness that begs to be ridiculed?

7 comments June 19th, 2007 at 05:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Music,Politics

For The Record…

James Carville does not speak for me. (Or, rather, Mary Matalin speaking for James Carville does not speak for me…)

BooMan can, though.

Oh, and I liked how she put “facts” in quotes. Because a guilty verdict is just an opinion, after all.

June 5th, 2007 at 09:16pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Libby/Plame,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Simple Answers To Simple Questions

Greg Sargent has a question:

One of the key charges made by Timesmen Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta in their much-talked-about new book on Hillary’s lifelong ambitions is that way back in the early nineties, she and Bill were already plotting two terms in the White House for her, too.

But we’ve just received our copy of legendary reporter Carl Bernstein’s forthcoming book on Hillary — and his reporting appears to directly contradict this key allegation made by Gerth and Van Natta.

Who’s right?

I’m going to have to go with… The one who’s not a total dishonest hack with a long history of Clinton-bashing.

6 comments May 29th, 2007 at 08:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Media,Politics,Wankers

Poison Penn

In case anyone’s wondering why I’m not wildly enthusiastic about Hillary for preznit, her employment of people like Mark Penn doesn’t exactly give me a warm fuzzy feeling:

As Hillary Clinton charges toward the Democratic nomination for President, her campaign has a coterie of influential advisers. There’s her husband, of course, widely regarded as one of the sharpest political strategists in the business. There’s uber-Washington insider and former head of the Democratic National Committee Terry McAuliffe. There are A-list policy wonks like former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin. But perhaps the most important figure in the campaign is her pollster and chief strategist, Mark Penn, a combative workaholic. Penn is not yet a household name, but perhaps he should be. Inside Hillaryland, he has elaborately managed the centrist image Hillary has cultivated in the Senate. The campaign is polling constantly, and Penn’s interpretation of the numbers will in large part decide her political direction.

Yet Penn is no ordinary pollster. Beyond his connections to the Clintons, he not only polls for America’s biggest companies but also runs one of the world’s premier PR agencies. This creates a dilemma for Hillary: Penn represents many of the interests whose influence candidate Clinton–in an attempt to appeal to an increasingly populist Democratic electorate–has vowed to curtail. Is what’s good for Penn and his business good for Hillary’s political career? And furthermore, can she convincingly claim to fight for the average American with Penn guiding strategy in her corner?

Despite the risks he poses, it’s easy to figure out why Hillary clings to Penn. The Clintons (like the Bushes) put a premium on loyalty, and they credit Penn with saving Bill’s presidency. After the 1994 election, Democrats had just lost both houses of Congress and Clinton was floundering in the polls. At the urging of his wife, Bill turned to Dick Morris, a controversial friend from their time in Arkansas. Morris knew Penn from his days as a pollster in New York and brought him into the White House. Morris decided what to poll and Penn polled it. They immediately pushed Clinton to the right, enacting the now-infamous strategy of “triangulation,” which co-opted Republican policies like welfare reform and tax cuts and emphasized small-bore issues that supposedly cut across the ideological divide. “They were the ones who said ‘Make the ’96 election about nothing except V-Chips and school uniforms,'” says a former Clinton adviser….

Penn, who had previously worked in the business world for companies like Texaco and Eli Lilly, brought his corporate ideology to the White House. After moving to Washington he aggressively expanded his polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB)…. A variety of controversial clients enlisted PSB. The firm defended Procter and Gamble’s Olestra drug from charges that it caused anal leakage, blamed Texaco’s bankruptcy on greedy jurors and market-tested genetically modified foods for Monsanto….

…The massive PR empire WPP Group acquired Penn’s polling firm for an undisclosed sum in 2001 and four years later named him worldwide CEO of one of its most prized properties, the PR firm Burson-Marsteller (B-M)….

Burson-Marsteller is hardly a natural fit for a prominent Democrat. The firm has represented everyone from the Argentine military junta to Union Carbide after the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India, in which thousands were killed when toxic fumes were released by one of its plants, to Royal Dutch Shell, which has been accused of massive human rights violations in Nigeria. B-M pioneered the use of pseudo-grassroots front groups, known as “astroturfing,” to wage stealth corporate attacks against environmental and consumer organizations. It set up the National Smokers Alliance on behalf of Philip Morris to fight tobacco regulation in the early 1990s. Its current clients include major players in the finance, pharmaceutical and energy industries. In 2006, with Penn at the helm, the company gave 57 percent of its campaign contributions to Republican candidates.

And on and on it goes. There’s a lot of guilt by association, in that Penn has an awful lot of Republican dirty-tricksters working for and with him, but I find those campaign contributions to be particularly telling about Penn’s true allegiance.

[F]ew Democratic consultants so consistently and publicly advocate an ideology that perfectly complements their corporate clients. Every election cycle Penn discovers a new group of swing voters–“soccer moms,” “wired workers,” “office park dads”–who happen to be the key to the election and believe the same thing: “Outdated appeals to class grievances and attacks upon corporate perfidy only alienate new consistencies and ring increasingly hollow,” Penn has written. Through his longtime association with the Democratic Leadership Council, Penn has been pushing pro-corporate centrism for years. Many of the same companies that underwrite the DLC, such as Eli Lilly, AT&T, Texaco and Microsoft, also happen to be clients of Penn’s.

This is why the DLC is a scam. Their entire raison d’etre is to represent corporate interests (and to hook Democrats up with the mad corporate loot), but they dress it up as politically savvy centrism, like it’s an actual strategy for getting votes. But it doesn’t get votes – it just makes corporations happy.

Yet despite occupying such a divisive place in the Democratic Party and outsized role in the corporate world–and despite his company’s close ties to Republican political operatives and the Bush White House–Penn remains a leading figure in Hillary’s campaign, pitching the inevitability of her nomination to donors and party bigwigs. According to the New York Times, “[Hillary] Clinton responds to Penn’s points with exclamations like, Oh, Mark, what a smart thing to say!” Politically, his presence means that triangulation is alive and well inside the campaign and that despite her populist forays, Hillary won’t stray too far from the center. “Penn has a lot of influence on her, no doubt about it,” says New York political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who worked with Penn in ’96. “He’s not going to let her drift too far left.”

Ick. Really, there’s just no way I can support Hillary as the nominee. I’ll support her if, God forbid, she wins the nomination, but I won’t be happy about it.

1 comment May 8th, 2007 at 02:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Politics,Wankers

When Sportswriters Attack

Have I mentioned that Mike Lupica is not a Bush fan?

Clinton, for now at least and maybe forever, does not play along. Instead she stands up in a hall in Dover, N.H., over the weekend and says this:

“I have to say that if the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or who has said that vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from.”

It does not mean that she should win the nomination or that she should be the first woman President or that people who don’t like her or her husband should suddenly change their minds. There is too much race to be run, and anybody who tries to call this thing now should have his or her head examined.

It was still the best moment she has had, whatever her reasons for saying what she did. And by not playing along with either Edwards or Obama, it is not as if she were playing to the crowd. She was asked a question in Dover about her refusal to say she was wrong and, according to Michael McAuliff in the Daily News, her answer was given “to a nearly silent auditorium.”

The next time she is asked the question, in New Hampshire or Iowa or even South Carolina, she should say that she will apologize after the President does.

Again: You make up your own mind about the senator from New York, and whatever baggage you think she brings to all this. But she would make a better President than the one we have because anybody would. This isn’t her war. It is his.

She should say she will apologize right after Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the fired secretary of defense, do the same. They are a couple of hacks out of another time, especially Rumsfeld, who must have imagined this country’s original strategy in Iraq on the back of a napkin.

Hillary Clinton should apologize for her war vote when this President apologizes for anything, for all the dead and all the wounded, for all the reasons he gave and is still giving for this war. Now, suddenly, the great bogeyman of the conflict over there is Iran. We hear last week from the President that “a part” of the Iranian government is sending explosives to Iraq, and that those explosives have been responsible for 170 coalition deaths.

Clinton was wrong once, the way Edwards was wrong, and Sen. Joe Biden, and Sen. Christopher Dodd. This administration, on the other hand, has been wrong for years, from the time this President first started beating the drums for this war on the first anniversary of Sept. 11. When does he apologize for that, for using Sept. 11, propping himself up on the rubble, to go after a tyrant who had nothing to do with blowing up our buildings?

When does anybody in this administration apologize for the war profiteering that has gone on, practically under all their noses? When do they apologize for not having the proper facilities to handle the maimed and broken soldiers who have made it back half-alive from Iraq and Afghanistan, physically broken or psychologically broken or both?

These are the soldiers whose stories have been told so brilliantly over the past few days by Dana Priest and Anne Hull in The Washington Post, as they have described the shame of conditions at places like Building 18 – what they call the “Other Walter Reed” – across the street from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“On the worst days,” Priest and Hull write, “soldiers feel like they are living a chapter of ‘Catch-22.’ The wounded manage other wounded. … Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs …”

This President thinks he can get another hundred billion dollars or so every time he needs the money for Iraq, doesn’t think anybody in the Senate should even debate that. But where do these soldiers go for the money to pay for the care some of them are going to need for the rest of their lives? Who do they talk to about that?

Hillary Clinton can admit she was wrong right after Gen. Colin Powell admits he was wrong to throw in with Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld on this war, and the trumped-up reasons for entering into it, in the first place.

Not Hillary Clinton’s war. Theirs. It is theirs. She didn’t make the world more dangerous than it already was. They did. You want an apology? They go first.

I don’t really buy the whole idea of Hillary’s refusal to admit error being some kind of Noble Principled Stand any more than I do when Bush does it, but I dig the anti-BushCo rant.

5 comments February 21st, 2007 at 07:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,War

$50 Well Spent

Gosh, I don’t know what I would do without MoDo’s insightful analysis and dazzling wordplay…

Hillary is not David Geffen’s dreamgirl.

[Geffen talks about Obama Good, Hillary Bad.]

Barack Obama has made an entrance in Hollywood unmatched since Scarlett O’Hara swept into the Twelve Oaks barbecue. Instead of the Tarleton twins, the Illinois senator is flirting with the DreamWorks trio: Mr. Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave him a party last night that raised $1.3 million and Hillary’s hackles.

She didn’t stand outside the gates to the Geffen mansion, where glitterati wolfed down Wolfgang Puck savories, singing the Jennifer Hudson protest anthem “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” [Obviously, cocktail-weenie-deprivation is the worst thing MoDo can imagine.]But she’s not exactly Little Miss Sunshine, either  [Look! It’s another movie reference! Oh, MoDo, will your cleverness never cease?]. Hillary loyalists have hissed at defecting donors to remember the good old days of jumping on the Lincoln Bedroom bed.

(…)

Who can pay attention to the Oscar battle between “The Queen” and “Dreamgirls” when you’ve got a political battle between a Queen and a Dreamboy? [Oohs and ahhs – dazzling, I say!]

(…)

She is overproduced and overscripted. “It’s not a very big thing to say, ‘I made a mistake’ on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can’t,” Mr. Geffen says. “She’s so advised by so many smart advisers who are covering every base. I think that America was better served when the candidates were chosen in smoke-filled rooms.” [Good idea; we should just cut the ignorant rabble out of the democratic process entirely.]

The babble here is not about “Babel”; [She did it again! Awesome!] it’s about the battle of the billionaires. Not only have Ron Burkle and David Geffen been vying to buy The Los Angeles Times — they have been vying to raise money for competing candidates. Mr. Burkle, a supermarket magnate, is close to the Clintons, and is helping Hillary parry Barry Obama by arranging a fund-raiser for her in March, with a contribution from Mr. Spielberg. [“parry Barry”! Brilliant!]

…Can Obambi stand up to Clinton Inc.?…. [“Obambi.” Niiiice. Get used to that one, you’ll be hearing it a lot. I wonder, did she come up with that one on her own, or did she have help?]

(…)

[Geffen and Bill Clinton] fell out in 2001, when Mr. Clinton gave a pardon to Marc Rich after rebuffing Mr. Geffen’s request for one for Leonard Peltier. “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?” Mr. Geffen says. “Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Trashing just one Democratic candidate at a time is sooo 2004.

Oh well, at least she makes me feel ever so much better about my own writing.

2 comments February 21st, 2007 at 12:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Media,Wankers

Good News/Bad News

The esteemed Mr. Krugman hones in on what makes John Edwards a superior candidate to Hillary Clinton… and also a weaker one:

For the last six years we have been ruled by men who are pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes. And this pathology has had real, disastrous consequences. The situation in Iraq might not be quite so dire — and we might even have succeeded in stabilizing Afghanistan — if Mr. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney had been willing to admit early on that things weren’t going well or that their handpicked appointees weren’t the right people for the job.

The experience of Bush-style governance, together with revulsion at the way Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle, is the main reason those now-famous three words from Mr. Edwards — “I was wrong” — matter so much to the Democratic base.

The base is remarkably forgiving toward Democrats who supported the war. But the base and, I believe, the country want someone in the White House who doesn’t sound like another George Bush. That is, they want someone who doesn’t suffer from an infallibility complex, who can admit mistakes and learn from them.

This is all true and good, but Edwards’ willingness to admit error may extend too far, as evidenced by his I-won’t-fire-them-but-that-bothered-me-too response to Bill Donohue and Michelle Malkin’s attacks on his new blogger staffers, and his unwillingness to speak up and defend them when the attacks devolved into a campaign of threatening hate mail against Amanda and Melissa.

In other words, Hillary won’t admit she was wrong when the Democratic base demands it, and Edwards won’t admit he was right when the Republican base demands it. In a general campaign, this translates into Hillary being unable to effectively campaign against the war, just like Edwards’ running mate in 2004; or into Edwards not countering Republican smears effectively or at all.

There was one other interesting tidbit in Krugman’s column:

Although [Hillary]’s smart and sensible, she’s very much the candidate of the Beltway establishment — an establishment that has yet to come to terms with its own failure of nerve and judgment over Iraq.

This is also true, but I wanted to remark on the irony of Hillary so willingly embracing the conventional wisdom of a pundit class that did everything it could to sabotage her husband’s presidency. I don’t think she needs any Vaffanculo lessons from Scalia, but she really needs to work on her aim.

February 19th, 2007 at 11:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,War

Simple Answers To Behind-The-Paywall Questions

David Brooks edition:

Would anybody mind if I pointed out that the calls for Hillary Clinton to apologize for her support of the Iraq war are almost entirely bogus?

Yes.

Today’s edition is brought to you by the letters D, A, and V-I-D-B-R-O-O-K-S-I-S-A-S-T-U-P-ID-L-Y-I-N-G-G-I-T.

2 comments February 15th, 2007 at 10:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Analogy Of The Day

Hillary Clinton = Keith Richards.

I’m not even sure if this is good or bad…

February 14th, 2007 at 10:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics

Look On The Bright Side.

As long as Bob Shrum Jr. is on Hillary’s team, advising her never to admit error on voting for the war, there’s a good chance that someone else will be the Democratic nominee. I just wish the other options were a little more appealing. Al Gore, why have you forsaken
us???

(h/t Atrios)

6 comments February 12th, 2007 at 09:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Iraq,Wankers,War

How Bill Clinton Sabotaged The Democrats

Talking Human Former President Bill Clinton has begun cropping up in the news again lately, alternately defending and trashing President Bush’s job performance, and sparking renewed debate in the blogosphere (or at least in the Eschaton comments) about whether he was a good or a bad president.

I personally thought he was a pretty good president, even if he was a little too centrist and corporate. He was articulate and scary smart, had some degree of genuine compassion for the little guy, and he certainly cared about his legacy. He was far more fiscally and environmentally responsible than most Republicans, and presided over an economic boom and a budget surplus. On the other hand, he never really lived up to his promise, and he did some really stupid things: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the botched healthcare fiasco, some fundraising indiscretions, schtupping an intern, and a flurry of dodgy pardons at the end of his term.

But his foolishness and folly is not what damaged his party – it was his brilliance and savvy that doomed the Democrats to irrelevancy. Clinton was such a skillful and charismatic campaigner that he won two presidential elections while hampered by a centrist, DLC platform and a weak, out-of-touch Democratic political machine. Unfortunately, the Democratic establishment drew the wrong conclusion and reasoned that Clinton had won because of that triangulation and campaign infrastructure. They consequently tried to repeat the same formula in 2000 and 2004, with candidates who were unable to connect with voters or articulate a clear, forceful message. To date, they evince neither inclination nor aptitude to find or cultivate a new generation of fiery, charismatic candidates; indeed, their first instinct is to shove such boatrockers to the side in favor of the more staid, establishment candidates who bore voters to tears. Hopefully Howard Dean’s ascension to DNC Chair and Paul Hackett’s near-upset in Ohio will lead to some changes, but as always, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Note: I should fess up that the idea of Clinton winning despite Democratic ineptitude stems from an NYT op-ed contributor whose name I have lost in the mists of time, who argued that the Republicans had built a solid, multi-tiered pyramidal support structure that can (and did) elect pretty much any idiot to the office of president, whereas the Democrats have to cross their fingers and pray for a home-run candidate. If anyone can point me to that column, I will be happy to cite it – I think it was one of the many 2004 post-mortems, or maybe even older.

2 comments September 19th, 2005 at 06:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Democrats,Elections,Favorites,Politics

Tax Cut Question

I was originally going to ask Atrios this question, but figured he’d be too busy partying in Spain to respond to an e-mail from a nobody like me. SoI’m just going to throw this one out to the world at large.

I was reading Robert Rubin’s NYT piece about the deficit, where he briefly mentions the Clinton tax increases and the economic slowdown that emphatically did not occur afterward, and it got me to wondering:

How much empirical evidence is there to support the conventional wisdom that tax cuts have a stimulative effect (and the converse)? Are they typically followed by economic booms, or just excuses? I’m struck by the apparently counterintuitive results of Clinton’s tax increases and Bush’s tax cuts, and wondering if they’re truly typical, and if there are any graphs that overlay major tax cuts and increases over a chart of economic growth.

I have pretty much zero econ-fu, but the two possibilities that came to my mind as to why the Clinton tax increases and the Bush tax cuts had such “unexpected” results were:

1) Any stimulative impacts of tax cuts are outweighed by a drag effect exerted by an increased deficit (uncertainty, interest rates, interest payments).

2) Cuts/increases on taxes on wealth and the wealthy have a very different impact from taxes on work, because the damper on incentive and initiative just isn’t there – I don’t think anyone’s going to be discouraged from hoarding and accumulating wealth just because the tax rate on it has gone up. I never really bought the incentive explanation for cutting taxes on work, either – I can’t picture someone passing up a six- or seven-figure salary because the government would take too much, so why bother.

I know, one could argue that Clinton benefitted from the “peace dividend”, while Bush had the misfortune of an economy crippled by 9/11 and Iraq, but I just don’t buy it. In the short run, maybe, but at this point 9/11 andIraq are just convenient excuses.

Anyway, I’m sure my question has probably already been asked and answered a thousand times over – I’m hoping someone can direct me to some juicy-yet-intelligible-to-the-dumbass-layman research on it. I did a quick search, but it didn’t really yield what I was looking for.

3 comments May 13th, 2005 at 11:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Clinton,Economy,Republicans,Taxes

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