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Throwing down the gauntlet

So, Kos is extending the olive branch, eh?  Not so much, as it turns out.  His reluctant, teeth clenched embrace of the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency is still full of Obama mythology and outright lies as Lambert conveniently points out.  But it doesn’t matter, really.

We’re not stupid.  We know that there was a coup in the party in 2008 and it’s now owned by the financier class who have made sure that Obama does not inconvenience them in any way.  Kos played a big part in 2008 in making sure that the financier class operatives that infiltrated the party and his website eliminated all voices of opposition with brutal efficiency.  It would be an understatement to say that Kos sold out.  Given the evidence we see everyday about how Obama’s two terms have locked us into a country ruled by the financiers, ruining people’s lives and careers, perhaps permanently, you’d think he’d be a lot more contrite.  But he’s had to lie to himself for 5 years to do the junta’s bidding and it’s really hard to admit the truth now without looking like a fool.

All that tripe about the DLC, Mark Penn and a disorganized campaign apparatus that supposedly doomed Hillary Clinton?  Horseshit.  When the financiers wanted their asses saved in the catastrophe they saw coming in 2008, they pulled out their checkbooks and funded the desperate and craven Democratic party generously.  That included quite a few advertisements on DailyKos and all the unlimited misogyny and deception they could pump out on the site.  Hillary was potential rehab and they didn’t want rehab.  They wanted some inexperienced corporate ladder climber, one of their own, to be their enabler in chief.  That’s what they paid for and all the hagiography that goes with it.

PUMA was only tangentially about Hillary Clinton.  We thought she was the best candidate in 2008 but the fact that she was a woman was only icing on the cake.

PUMA was about voters.  When the party decided to manipulate the delegate count to get their predetermined outcome, ignoring 18000000 voters, they crossed the line with many of us.  If Obama had won fair and square, we would have voted for him.  The fact that he didn’t signalled to us that he wasn’t going to listen to voters.  When the party turned over our votes and our protestations were squashed by the likes of Kos, Obama figured that he could do just about anything without any reference to the voters in his base.  And that’s just what he’s done.

We know that the financiers are going to want to continue to solidify the America they bought.  It’s just the way they like it.  We’re all one paycheck and missed mortgage payment from indentured servitude.  They are not at all inconvenienced.  Women?  Collateral damage.  Sucks to be female but what can you do?  It was either their asses or ours and we lost.  To most people, that would be a heavy and shameful legacy to have to live with but to not to people like Kos.

So they’re going to try to run a female candidate in 2008.  Well, it worked so well in 2008 with the first African American.  And by 2016, women will be desperate.  All they need to do is sign some woman on.  Someone who will want to be first so badly that she will agree to whatever the junta wants.  She will take orders, accept the advisors the junta forces on her and not rock the boat.  Since Hillary is the best candidate at this time, why not push her?

Well, I’m not stupid.  What I want to see from the next potential nominee is war against the people who took over my former party.  I want those bastards out, every one of them.  If she can’t force a turnover in the party leadership and run as her own person, then she’s no f^&*ing good to me or any other American.

This is a heads up to the other PUMAs and former PUMAs.  If the next candidate buddies up with Kos and the rest of the party without demanding and getting changes in top leadership, it doesn’t matter who the person is or what gender he or she is.  Nothing will change in the economy, the bankers will go unpunished and the country will continue to slip into third world status complete with not just one but two manipulative and corrupt parties.  No female candidate is worth that, not even Hillary.

I don’t think even Hillary wants the presidency so much that she’s willing to let her ambition and ego trump every other good thing she could possibly do.  But if she does want it, she’s going to have to publicly take those assholes on and get rid of them first.  The Democratic party needs to be distinct from the Republicans and get in touch with its roots and it won’t be able to do that as long as Wall Street has its tentacles firmly wrapped around the party’s testicles.  That goes for any other candidate as well regardless of gender.

In other words, when Hillary Clinton has neutralized the likes of Kos and his sneaky bunch of sexist asshole party activists and the leaders they follow, I’ll vote for her.

As for Kos, as John Proctor said in The Crucible, you only have your name.  You cannot have another in this life.  Once your reputation and integrity are compromised, your name is worth nothing.  Why should we pay attention to Kos any more than we pay attention to Glenn Beck?  As it turns out, we don’t.

What will be her next act?

Hillary said goodbye to the State Department yesterday.  While there will be endless speculation of her running in 2016, I think it would be a mistake to table our anger and disappointment over what is happening now in order to focus on a savior in four years.  I’m going to continue to pay attention to what’s going on in the present and assume that she isn’t going to run.

What will she do now?  No clue but there are very few women with the authority mojo of Hillary Clinton.  What the country desperately needs right now is to see a woman who has the riveting attention grabbing power of a man.  Someone who can be linked to from multiple blogs and op/ed pages with regularity.  Someone who shows up in the Plumline all the fricking time based on what she says and knowing that what she says comes from a place of experience, knowledge and doing her homework.  We need a powerful voice that comes from a woman but does not come from a “feminine” point of view, if you get my drift.

So, if I were her and the New York Times offered me a gig on the op/ed page, I’d probably take it.  I mean, among all the other things I had planned before breakfast.

Just sayin’.

Here’s the State Department farewell:

Pathetic

Digby gives the old tired excuses on why she and so many other left leaning bloggers turned their backs on women during the 2008 election.  It wasn’t *their* fault.  Hillary just brought out the misogyny.  Plus, you know, like, there wasn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between them.

The whole post is just lame but the excuse that there wasn’t a bit of difference between Obama and Clinton is incredibly easy to shoot down:

1.) If there wasn’t any difference between them, why was such a tsunami of money thrown his way in February 2008 after she beat him in the big state primaries on SuperTuesday?  Apparently, SOMEBODY thought there was a difference.

2.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the person who had the most relevant and comprehensive experience overall?  If you were worried about getting things done, wouldn’t it make sense to go with the candidate who might have a clue and be able to hit the ground running on the first day?

3.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the female historic candidate who would represent more people overall including voters in the other camp?  It was even a winning formula among african americans because half of them are women.  I never understood this argument that african americans would walk away from the party if Clinton was nominated.  At the worst, I could see half of them walking away.  The other half would be thrilled with either choice.

And let’s not even get into the real, tangible differences between the candidates.  I can’t take seriously all the lefties who are screaming “neoliberal!” at Clinton.  If Clinton is neoliberal, what does that make Obama?  It’s a lot like the brain dead tea partiers who insist, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that Obama is a socialist.  Note that Clinton has said over and over and OVER again in the past 4 years that she does not comment on domestic politics.  So, we have no idea how much she agrees with Obama on all the weak policy he’s driven in the past 4 years.  We can only assume that they agree on foreign policy.

But I suspect the bankers *did* know how much of a difference there was between Clinton and Obama back in 2008.  The real estate bubble was already clearly collapsing in early 2007 according to authors such as Michael Lewis of The Big Short.  They knew that the degree to which they would personally suffer was contingent on which candidate was nominated.  And the last thing they wanted was some kind of homeowner bailout.  How do we know that?  Because the last thing homeowners got in the last 4 years was a bailout.  The people who got bailed out were the bankers and ONLY the bankers.  They did not want to see Hillary Clinton implementing a HOLC style program where principals were crammed down and mortgages restructured.  I haven’t got time to track down all of the videos of Clinton on the early morning talk  shows from September 2008 where she discussed her HOLC proposal but there were at least 3 separate appearances. (readers?  can you track them down and add them to the comments?)  Of course, by the time she gave those interviews, she was already out of the picture.

Update: Commenter Rangoon found this op/ed piece by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the September 25, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal, laying out the argument for why it was so important to implement a HOLC program.  Regardless of one’s vague personal feelings about Clinton, there is a very good possibility that she wasn’t kidding about this policy.  Policy was her strong suit.  She did her homework.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it was this particular policy more than any other that doomed her presidential career.  She knew it was coming, the banks knew it was coming and they didn’t want rehab.  They wanted an enabler.

She also gave an incredibly forceful defense of abortion shortly after she was confirmed as secretary of state.  You will never in a million years see or hear Barack Obama defending abortion like this:

No difference, Digby?  The issue of abortion and women’s reproductive rights are extremely important to you and yet there’s no difference?  How about gay rights, Digby?  Can you imagine Hillary Clinton inviting Rick Warren to her inaugural?  The same Hillary Clinton who ordered the State department to equalize the treatment of gay State department employees and their families as far as the law would go?

But, Ok, we’ll never really know, although I think given her record at State, Benghazi notwithstanding, that she would have been an exemplary president.  Let’s put that aside for now.  I don’t think she’s ever going to run again.  Why should she?  She doesn’t have the advantage of 2008 when all of the auspices were in her favor.  In 2016, it will be a different America and she’s smart enough to know this.  I’d rather she get her own column in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Let’s talk about the suggestion that Hillary Clinton brought out the misogyny in the media and the parties.  Wow, I guess we could do nothing about that except become passive observers, right?  I guess we couldn’t threaten the party to walk away from it and their candidate if they didn’t stop using misogyny to further their chosen candidate’s goals.  I guess it would have been silly to point out that gratuitously taking advantage of that misogyny might backfire on women in general.

Ok, we know that our side had a fair share of cowards who were either unable or unwilling to speak up and defend a woman.  They would have defended a female candidate, just not this female candidate.  Well, it’s a good thing it was only one female candidate in 2008.

Except that Sarah Palin got it too.  Now, I don’t care whether you like or dislike Palin.  I don’t like her even if I thought she had a lot more political talent than the left gave her credit for.  For some bizarre, freakish reason, the left still hasn’t let up after 4 years of bashing her.  The left still seems to think she’s relevant even if she’s not.  That kind of obsession is pathological if you ask me.  There must be a reason for the persistence of the Emmanuel Goldstein treatment of Palin.  She’s useful for a good, unifying 3 minute hate, right?  That’s why the left just can’t quit her.  But she’s been useful for years to the Democrats.

With Palin, we saw the same kind of misogyny pick up where it left off with Clinton.  So, clearly, it wasn’t just Clinton that was bringing out the misogyny.  Misogyny became a convenient bludgeon because it worked so well taking out the candidate on the left so it was employed to take out the candidate on the right as well.  And who was one of the leaders of that club?

Digby.

Yep, day after day, week after week, we read how stupid Palin was, what a disgrace her family was right there in the posts of Hullabaloo.  Digby piled on with the rest of the left.

You can say a lot of negative things about Palin.  Justifiably.  You can attack her political philosophy, her conservatism, her opportunism.  All of that makes sense.  But the attacks on her in 2008 were horribly misogynistic.  Remember the effigies?  Remember the “Sarah Palin is a Cunt” T-shirts?  Remember the jokes about Caribou Barbie and the photoshopped pics of Palin in a bikini holding an assault rifle?  Remember the big fucking deal that Katie Couric made over the fact that Palin didn’t have an immediate list of national newspapers in her head that she read cover to cover before breakfast while she took on her responsibilities of running a state?  She should have asked Couric, “How many state budgets have you prepared in a year?”, because that would have been a good question for feminists.  She was a governor who got to be governor without family connections.  That’s something that Katie Couric hasn’t done.  That’s how feminism is supposed to work, Digby.  You are supposed to credit women for their accomplishments, not bury them with your stereotypes.

Whatever you think of Palin, dehumanizing her in 2008 was misogynism like I have never seen.

That’s what misogyny is.  It is the intentional dehumanization of females.  It denies women their personhood, dignity and accomplishments.  It’s belittling and relies on stereotypes, like the idea that a pretty woman must be a light weight or that women need to develop executive experience while men are born with natural authority.  And in 2008, it wasn’t the case that only Hillary Clinton brought it out.  Misogyny was used as an intentional campaign tactic just like rape is used in some countries as an act of terror and political strategy.  Just as the accusations of racism were used to shut up the supporters of Clinton in 2008.

Digby, YOU were part of that.  You decided to not buck your team’s leadership.  If you said anything, it wasn’t forceful enough to get them to stop.  You didn’t stick up for your half of humanity.  Even if you were right that it is Clinton personally that brings out the worst in people, that was no excuse for giving those people a pass to behave as badly as they did. Isn’t that like blaming the victim and don’t misogynists make an art form of blaming the victim?  You had an opportunity to stand up and make a difference even if it meant incurring the wrath and shunning from people who you thought were your friends.  To do nothing was to tacitly admit that Barack Obama could not win without using misogyny and racism.  What does that say about the candidate?  It said enough to me that I could never support him in a million years.

What kind of friends use misogyny to get their guy in at any cost, especially if that cost will have significant repercussions for half of the people living in this country?  Those people were not your friends, Digby.  They were financier class driven political operatives who would have killed their own mothers to get what they wanted from this president.

And this president is no hero when it comes to championing the rights of the socially disadvantaged. He’s certainly no Martin Luther King who famously said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I don’t know why so many people on the left abandoned women and thought they were doing everyone a favor.  Or maybe they were so driven to elect Obama that the ends justified the means.  I’ve never found that sentiment to be very rewarding.  If fighting the misogyny had meant that Clinton had a fighting chance for the nomination, would that have been so horrible?  After all, NY, NJ, PA, OH, TX, MA, FL, MI, WV, KY, RI, NH, NV, MO, NM and CA (this list not exhaustive) voted for her in the primaries.  It’s only in a parallel universe where we would consider that candidate a failure against a guy who won a bunch of rural, prairie states with cheap, undemocratic caucuses.  I suspect the country would have embraced her and a Clinton/Obama ticket with her in the top slot would have been unbeatable even before the September crash.

But that’s not what happened, is it, Digby?

Don’t look to misogyny against Clinton as the cause.  Look at it as the method.  The bad guys got what they wanted. They got the weakest nominee and president.  If women got caught in that fight and got taken out, fuck’em.

THAT’S what you and your buddies were either too stupid or too complicit to realize.  It’s human nature to want to find a way downplay the effect of “follow the herd” mentality or cowardice or to find excuses (you should at least make an attempt at logic) or distance oneself from the fallout.  I understand that impulse.  We are all guilty of that in some aspect of our lives or others.

But ultimately, we are responsible for the effect of our decisions.  In 2013, women are feeling the effect of the 2008 election when the people who should have put their foot down on the brake hit the accelerator instead.  Digby can lie to herself about what happened in 2008 but she can’t lie to us.

*************************

Note to commenters: Sarah Palin has been talked to death here on this blog and there are filters in place to send all comments containing her name, or variations of it, directly to the moderation queue.  Please don’t tell me about how unfair the left has been to Sarah Palin.  There are very good, non misogynistic reasons for loathing her.  She might be worthy of human dignity but she’s no Hillary Clinton.  If you’re in her corner, you’re wasting your time here.

Be on your guard in 2015-2016

Nate Silver has written a post on Hillary’s chances for 2016.  I find it the same kind of insufferable “she ran a strategic mess in 2008 and thought she was the pre-ordained frontrunner but now that we’ve taken her down, completely humiliated her and the Republicans have lost interest in beating the shit out of her reputation, which is strengthened by her executive level management skills that we didn’t require of Obama because he had Penis Years, she is now acceptable to us as a candidate for 2016″*.  You know, the same meme diarrhea we’ve seen from all of the Democratic operatives since 2007.  Lots of mythology about the blinding brilliance of the Obama campaign that overlooks the facts that he was carried over the threshold to the nomination by the DNC because his Wall Street backers were willing to throw lots of money at the party.  Lots of lying about Hillary’s popularity and her “polarizing” personality.

This is bullshit.  I don’t care what his success is as a statistician or how many people would vote for Hillary grudgingly or un.  What’s good for the country is not necessarily good for Hillary.  I also don’t think any position is worth that much humiliation and kowtowing.  It’s likely that she will have to kiss a lot of asses and promise a strictly hands-off policy to the corporate and finance industry overlords.  And you know what?  As much as I would have liked to see her as president, I don’t think it’s worth it if you can’t be your own person and set your own goals.  I will always be of the opinion that that’s why she didn’t get the nod in 2008.  She wasn’t willing to play the same kind of game as Obama.  Well, we know what kind of game Obama was playing so he must have been courted and pressured very heavily by the finance industry gurus who have gone virtually unpunished for ruining our lives.  They found his ethics and values to be quite flexible and much more to their liking.  Can we stop the nauseating hagiography of Obama’s 2008 campaign??  When the historians write about what really happened, the young, male graduate student factions of the Democratic party are going to look like the self-interested Obama fluffers that they turned out to be.  In fact, next election season, read whatever those young Ezra’s and Yglesiases and Kevin Drums say and carefully consider the primary candidates they loathe.  As far as I’m concerned, the new, young and almost completely male “progressive” opinion makers have shot whatever credibility they ever possessed when they signed on with Obama.

Make no mistake, one of the parties is going to try to run another historic candidate in the very near future.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a woman.  If it is, I sincerely hope that the Democratic voters take a good hard look at her record and pay very close attention to what the media is saying about her.  There is sure to be a lot of hype around the next woman candidate and it will be very hard to resist.

But let’s not get sucked in again, OK?  The last thing we need is to get another stealth candidate like Harvard educated, financier toe-kissing Obama.  It’s the policies that matter above anything else.  That was the only reason I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary.  The fact that she had lady parts was only icing on the cake.  I suspect that posts like Silver’s are just setting us up for disappointment because Hillary will not run and that the next “historic” candidate is going to be another Trojan Horse.  Let’s not let it happen again.

* Beating down a politician by using constant humiliation and misogyny ala Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove album cover is a weird criterion for making a presidential candidate acceptable. It says more about the guys who had a baitball frenzy in 2008 than Hillary Clinton. I don’t think you guys know how over-the-top horrible you looked. We won’t forget who you are and we’d be nuts to ever take you seriously.

Happy Birthday, Hillary

Here’s a little birthday song to a woman who has a good sense of humor.

Hillary Falls on her Sword

She takes responsibility for Benghazi:

“I take responsibility,” she said in an interview with CNN. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”

Well, alright then.  Make of that what you will.*

She has also spent the last week laying out the reasoning behind the recent diplomatic decisions and missions to the middle east. (Probably hoping that Obama will “get it” before the debate tonight)  I’m not surprised.  It’s her legendary third ball talking and she’s a loyal Democrat.  It’s likely that she wanted to soften the blow of Benghazi on Obama this evening at tonight’s debate since Republicans seem to be heading for that train wreck full speed.

And as Secretary of State, it is ultimately her responsibility.  There was a failure somewhere and she needs to do a Cause Map and a Kazein Event and make corrections.  It might be the case that there are others responsible as well, like Congress or Defense or Obama’s national security apparatus.  And we can’t let the Libyans off the hook here.  There are some elements in Libya who are determined to be flaming fundamentalist jerks who could very easily derail the rebuilding process.  And dealing with fundamentalists of any religion is pretty close to impossible.  They’re not rational people.  So, we can’t rule out the possibility that the film that caused so much turmoil in the middle east was a deliberate inflammatory event.  And who is responsible for THAT?

There’s no question in my mind that the Republicans were prepared to take full advantage of Benghazi as a way to peel some voters away from Obama.  By the way, I am not aware of any team membership for the PUMAs.  We only joke about having a welcome package.  As far as I know, the PUMA thing lost its mojo after the 2008 election with many of the liberal ones relegated to observer status.  We didn’t lose our minds and become birthers or Tea Partiers or Palin loving authoritarian whip kissers.  We’re just here trying to talk some sense into the rest of the party.  We gave it our best shot to try to convince them to drop Obama before it was too late.  Have you seen the polls lately??  I guess it’s possible for Obama to win this but it’s going to be a nail biter and he didn’t do himself any favors in the last debate.

There are still a lot of people out there who are pissed as hell at the Democrats for dumping Hillary and sticking them with a lightweight who only ended up making their lives more difficult and futures more uncertain.  Yep, they are not going to let the Democrats off the hook.  In retrospect, sucking up to the donors while thinking that throwing Lilly Ledbetter at the base they ditched was going to keep them down on the farm was a pretty fricking stupid idea.  It’s so stupid that it could only be dreamed up by the “culture of smartness” that has invaded Wall Street and the White House.  It’s the kind of atmosphere that assumes that if you didn’t get your degree from Princeton or Harvard, you’re instantly dumber than a box of rocks and can’t think yourself out of a paper bag.  They think they can exploit what they perceive as ignorance and asymmetric information and you’ll just go along with it because you have nowhere else to go.

That’s not a winning strategy.

See, those people the party blew off in 2008?  They still have votes.  Lots of them.  It’s simple A-R-I-T-H-M-E-T-I-C.  They call the donors the 1% for a reason.

So, Obama goes into this debate as the underdog.  Hillary is taking the fall.  Obama looks like, “Wha? We didn’t know anything about Benghazi.  That’s Hillary’s thing.  See? She even said so herself.”  Then the Republicans have to say, “How conveeeeenient for you to have such a dedicated Secretary of State.  {{flattery, flattery}}  She’s pretty strong.  What a man to step up and take the blame!”

That could be game, set, match if Obama has no decent comeback.  He’s going to have to fake some bonafide Democratic credentials to get himself out of this one.  Too bad we can’t unsee what we’ve seen in the past four years and prior debate.  Even if he manages to come up with a reasonable response, who is going to believe him?

Like I said, I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore.  I can’t stand Republicans and my former party has been aerosolized.  Occasionally, we get a sniff of something Democratic in the air from Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bill Clinton but the people in charge of the party sure don’t smell like Democrats and they don’t hang together like Democrats should with a sparkling top note, substantial drydown and long lasting sillage.

Anyway, bring on the debate!  I want to see which party praises Hillary more effusively.  It should be very revealing in so many ways.

*Sounds a bit disgusted at having to save Obama’s bacon again while she’s busily trying to keep things calm around the world.

Oh, Brother

The bro comes home.  (yeah, yeah, I know it’s Fox but in this rare case, it happens to be accurate. The footage has not been digitally retouched):

Check it out here.

Cool.

**********************************

Some of the comments I’m reading are encouraging readers to jump on the “Let’s pin the Benghazi disaster on Obama right before the election!” bandwagon.  Nah gunna do it.  Here’s why:

1.) It has been our policy here at The Confluence since 2008 to not propagate either party’s memes or propaganda.

2.) In this case, it would be disrespectful of the four embassy staff who died there to cynically use their deaths as a way to score political points.  I’d rather keep the investigation free of electoral politics.  There *is* a story there and people should be held accountable if they neglectfully or knowingly ignored warnings that put these people in danger but we must weigh this against the diplomatic mission and the current events and developing situation in Libya.  That will require a thoughtful investigation so that the State department and the CIA benefit from learning what went wrong and who spilled the beans, etc.  It will NOT benefit from a cynical election year ploy to undermine the State department and foreign policy in order to disgrace Obama.  Let him take himself down, he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it without any assistance.

3.) Hillary Clinton is a big girl.  Yes, she is.  This is her job.  Let her do it.  If she gets called to Capital Hill to testify, she can handle it.  The Republicans have inadvertently screwed themselves here.  She’s a seasoned veteran of cynical, hypocritical, politically motivated investigations.  I hope they won’t call her up before the investigation is complete but even if the House Republicans rush her, I feel confident that she will do her homework and do the best that she can.  Let’s not undermine her mojo by trying to protect her.  We overcome sexism and misogynism by taking on challenges and rising to the occasion.

4.) We let Bush get away with a lot of really nasty s%^&.  He started an unnecessary war in Iraq based on lies, he and his party drained the Treasury to reward their contractor cronies, they increased the deficit, refused to “cut and run” (it doesn’t get more cynical than THAT phrase) and the whole fiasco has destabilized part of asia and cost thousands of military servicepeople their lives and limbs.  If you weren’t upset by all that by demanding accountability from Cheney and Bush but you’re getting your knickers in a twist over Benghazi, then you have your priorities seriously messed up.  You need to do some soul searching.

The foreign policy debate is coming up between Romney and Obama and I suspect that much will be made of Benghazi.  Or not.  I think this could backfire on the Republicans because there is a way for Obama and the Democrats to go on the offensive here that might win them back a bunch of Clintonistas.  It would require Obama to fake passion about something.  And that’s the problem.  He’s not a passionate guy and he doesn’t appear to believe in much of anything so any attempt at passion will look forced.  I dunno, maybe one of the debate prep team members will slap him around and knock some sense into him.  We’ll see.  But if they’ve been paying attention, they will know what to do.  This could be the Republicans third rail if they’re not careful.

Obama White House Pinning the Blame on Hillary

Yep, all her fault.  According to a security person in Tripoli from the Utah National Guard, the embassy (unclear which one) asked for more security and that request was denied by the State department.  Hillary says the truth will all come out, we need to be patient.  But this is an election year and patience is not a virtue.  The Republicans want to pin the responsibility for the embassy attack in Benghazi on Obama and Obama wants to pin the responsibility on Hillary.

Interesting.  I probably wouldn’t have done it this way because I’ve read various accounts of who requested what for which embassy and who turned it down or didn’t ask for it or decided it wasn’t in their strategic long term interests.  Ambassador Chris Stevens was convinced that local Libyan security should be used when possible, if I recall correctly. It may have cost him his life in the end but from recent accounts, a few extra American military people, which is what was requested, wouldn’t have made a big difference.  The attack on the embassy was a full on assault with heavy fire and mortars. Whether the State department shares some of the blame for this disaster is something we will all find out eventually and the responsible parties will have to answer for it, including Hillary if she is at fault.  I want to hear all of the facts first.

Frankly, I would LOVE for Hillary to have to testify before Congress on the matter.  The sooner the better.  She’s not the headbanded lawyer with the missing box of billing records anymore.  Does either side really want to call Hillary to Capital Hill?  Think about that for awhile.  Let it soak in.  I’m not sure which campaign has the most to lose in that scenario but let us remember what James Carville once said of Hillary, “If Hillary gave Barack Obama one of her balls, they’d each have two.”

Craig Crawford has this to say on the matter:

President Obama’s team seems close to provoking a feud with the Clintons. The White House seems to be shifting blame to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi fiasco.

First, Vice President Joe Biden says in his debate “we” weren’t told U.S. diplomats asked for more security in Benghazi before the violence there. Then, White House press secretary Jay Carney explains that Biden meant only the White House had not been told, and in a telling remark says the matter was “handled by security professionals at the State Department.”

I can understand why Biden, who wants to run for president again, would relish a chance to undermine Hillary, who might also run again. But at a moment when Obama is relying so much on Bill Clinton for support does he really want to let this play out?

Well, considering that Obama owes his presidency to Wall Street and that the culture of smartness doesn’t do long term thinking, I think we can assume that they haven’t actually played that scenario out and are still under the impression that they can humiliate Hillary without consequences.

But don’t be surprised to find that the Republicans have sized up the situation and predicted the opposition’s likely reaction.

Get the popcorn.

VP debate tonight and stray thought from 2008

Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between Joe “the cop between my brain and my mouth is at the donut shop” Biden and Paul “Ayn Rand is my goddess” Ryan.  We should do another live blog but since the body language thing has become chic this year, maybe we should watch and listen this time.  OR, we could turn off the visuals and just listen.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons Barack Obama did so poorly in his first debate appearance this year is because in 2008, he was actually running against Sarah Palin.  Oh sure he was.  That’s all the general campaign was about, how much smarter and more qualified Barack Obama was compared to Sarah Palin.  John McCain hardly entered the picture at all.  I think I noticed it back then too but it didn’t occur to me that this might be why his debate performances in 2008 were not a fiasco.  He was all confident and cocky about beating Sarah, that was the real race that his campaign had set up in everyone’s mind.

Plus, he was running a game of “whack a racist”.  ANY criticism of Obama was twisted to be a racial slur.  It was quite effective.  Combined with his race against Sarah, how was a liberal supposed to effectively evaluate Obama?  Any legitimate criticism of him was muted and he was running against a woman who the left had dehumanized and characterized as the stupidest person on the planet.

This year, it’s different.  Visually, Mitt is very presidential.  He’s a big, tall man with presidential hair and an engaging vital manner.  He’s also a Republican, which in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.  But that’s not the point.  As Obama supposedly believes, debates are sideshows.  From a policy perspective, they’re meaningless.  But I think they serve a purpose that can’t be underrated.  In the modern debate, we get as close as we can to hand to hand combat between chieftains of competing clans.  It *is* physical.  That’s why it was important that Michael Dukakis looked short, that Richard Nixon sweat and that Barack Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there.

It might have also done in Hillary because at 5’7″, she had to look feisty to compete with his taller frame and longer limbs. He took up more space and with a female opponent, he strut his macho stuff and acted dismissively when she talked. It might not have been enough that she was the smartest person in the room who had done her homework and could whip up a policy in 30 seconds flat.  To the liberals and progressives who were afraid of losing again, she had to look more like Boudicca than Hermione Granger.

Boudicca, ass-kicking queen of the Britons
(bears striking resemblance to Julia Gillard)

Nevertheless, she took him on and won her debates with him to such an extent that he refused to debate her again during the primaries after she beat him in Pennsylvania. He sought out a friendlier crowd in NC the next day to lick his wounds, flip her the bird and brush the dirt off his shoulders.  It has often been said that he doesn’t like confrontation and that NC appearance showed that he was much better at acting like the mean BMOC when he was with his adoring fans than taking her on and losing to her again.

It’s been awhile since I read MoDo but I dropped into her column yesterday and she seems to have matured ever so slightly.  She’s not so flip these days, probably because her mancrush in 2008 turned out to be far worse for women that the woman she mocked for two decades.  Maybe she’s learned her lesson.  She also seems more than a little alarmed.  Oh sure, Obama will do better next time.  Someone will have figured out how he’s supposed to debate a real general campaign opponent.  But MoDo suggests it’s more serious than that:

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

The debate was an uncomfortable window into Obama’s style in all things presidential.  What is urgent to you is not an emergency to him.  He’s smaller than we thought, less secure, confident and sure of his experience.  He doesn’t look like the alpha male commanding his clan.  He’s the guy who seeks assistance from the moderator with ingratiating comments.  That Obama doesn’t stand a chance against a real presidential candidate and not the carefully crafted illusions his campaign spun for him to do battle with four years ago.  And that is the weak prince we have had in office for four years while the barbarians knocked down the gates.

In a way, a strong showing by Joe Biden this evening might just do Obama in.

*********************************
And here’s another quote from that MoDo column that I find deeply disturbing:

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

Can someone confirm whether he really said that?
Unbelievable.

Exit, Voice, loyalty and the Instance of the Fingerpost.

Were they really the same?

Last night I stumbled on a bunch of tweets between Matt Stoller and Jay Rosen.  I don’t know if you guys have been noticing this lately but it appears that the former Obama fans in the left blogosphere from 2008 have been freaking out about the tight spot they’re in.  It’s a bit of “Should I stay or should I go?  If I stay there will be trouble, if I go there will be double”.  I sympathize with them because I went through this same dilemma 4 years ago but I’ll get to that in a second.

Wnat seems to have finally tipped them past the zero point is the issue of drones.  I have a very Tolkienish attitude towards war.  It’s bad and I don’t worship it.  But I do worship the innocents who I feel responsible for, which means just about anyone trapped in war zone, under the threat of genocide or crimes against humanity (invading Iraq didn’t qualify in my humble opinion and the evidence used to get us into it was all lies anyway). And I think we have an obligation to help those people with military assistance or humanitarian aid.  That’s just me.  Your mileage may vary.

But I can say unequivocally that I do not support the use of drones, ever.  The principle is clear: drones represent a disembodied use of power with virtually no accountability or consequences to the persons who use them.  They are, therefore, easily abused.  It might start with people in Pakistan you don’t like but there is nothing to stop the drone owners from using them on other groups they don’t like.  One abuse, even 6000 miles away, is the tiny pebble that is dislodged that will bring the mountain down on you.  I’ll even go so far as to say that I think that countries that use drones should be sanctioned by the international community.  Oh, yes, I do.  It’s not so much that we have become war criminals.  It’s that we have become a threat to any free people who gets in our way, including our own citizens.   So, yeah, I’m pretty down with them about drones.

But as to whether it makes sense to exit the political process, voice your opinion or stay loyal in a political environment where it appears your vote doesn’t matter, there is only one answer that makes sense: you must speak up, even at personal risk to yourself. That might mean voting for a third party.  But given the situation we’re in and the ramping up of authoritarianism, to not speak up now while you still have a voice would be counterproductive.

However, I still don’t think the Stollers, Rosens and  Ackroyds fully understand how we got to this point and until they realize where they went wrong, they may not be able to fix their current situation because they appear to be focusing on personalities and associations and not on principles.  If this were merely a problem of Obama’s personality or competence, it would have been relatively easy to get rid of him early in the 2012 primary season.  But what we are experiencing is the aftermath of a coup where the avenues to changing the outcome have been blocked, sometimes from within the party, sometimes from the activist base that is blindly punching the wind, hoping to land a blow.

So, at the risk of being a drone about this, I want to briefly revisit the 2008 election season using the concept of the Instance of the Fingerpost.  I ran across this concept described by a philosopher of the scientific revolution, Frances Bacon, when I read the book An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.  The concept is about how you distinguish between two things of apparently equal value.  Here is a description:

When in the investigation of any nature the understanding is so balanced as to be uncertain to which of two or more natures the cause of the nature in question should be assigned on account of the frequent and ordinary concurrence of many natures, instances of the fingerpost show the union of one of the natures with the nature in question to be sure and indissoluble, of the other to be varied and separable; and thus the question is decided, and the former nature is admitted as the cause, while the latter is dismissed and rejected. Such instances afford very great light and are of high authority, the course of interpretation sometimes ending in them and being completed. Sometimes these instances of the fingerpost meet us accidentally among those already noticed, but for the most part they are new, and are expressly and designedly sought for and applied, and discovered only by earnest and active diligence.

In other words, when you are trying to ascertain the true nature of something, you need to use your powers of observation and collect as much information about the thing as you can in order to make a judgement. And when you do, you will eventually find something regarding the true nature of your subject  that is so firmly intrinsic to it that it can’t be separated from it.  That instance is what sets it apart and tells you conclusively what its true nature is.

When I first started this blog in January 2008, I was a Clintonista but I was also a party loyalist.  That is, if the candidates were truly equal and had the same policies, Democratic principles etc, but differed only in approach or priorities, I would have had no problem voting for Barack Obama.  I stated as much somewhere  early on and for the first month or so blogging here, I tried very hard to maintain that position.

But then the observables became hard to ignore and I started to assign them to one candidate or the other.  In truth, they were not the same.  They were very different on policy, political philosophy and experience.  But I was still going to vote for the eventual nominee because the candidate was a Democrat and I was a loyalist.

That changed when I found my instance of the fingerpost.  In this case, it was the fact that Obama was incapable of winning the election without the aid of the DNC manipulating the votes of MI and FL.  Instead of seeing this as proof of Obama’s strength as a campaigner, I saw it as proof of his weakness.  The best that he could hope for, even with the strange apportionment of delegates in caucus states in 2008, was a tie.  But not only did he win the nomination, the party seems to have protested way too much about the viability of their other candidate.  They didn’t just sideline her, they humiliated her at the convention, denying her delegates a chance to vote for her on the first ballot.  It wasn’t just that they didn’t want a floor fight, they didn’t even want to acknowledge that she or her voters ever existed.  It was beyond what was reasonable. It was overkill.  On top of that was the scorched earth tactic that ran over women, all women, not just the candidates themselves.  It was bold, in your face, relentless, harsh, demeaning and we have been living with the fallout ever since.

But those were only the observables of an underlying unwholesomeness that had taken over the Democratic party that I had never witnessed before in my life.   The instance of the fingerpost was that when the party rewrote its rules to favor one candidate over another, the Obama campaign did not protest.  Whether you think that the Clintonistas should just get over it or not, you can not deny what happened.  The rules were rewritten in such a way so as to nullify the votes of one candidate’s voters because they were never able to achieve the critical mass in the public eye that would have made Clinton the obvious winner early on or even a legitimate contender later in the season. That’s what happened.  The process started early in the primary season, maybe even before the primary season began, but it solidified at the Convention.  If you were a Hillary Clinton voter in 2008, you might as well have stayed home during the primary season and not bothered with the canvassing and phone banking and rallies.  Your vote was either reassigned without your consent or not counted at all.  That is election fraud, in my opinion.  The party convinced voters that their primary elections were legitimate and then it turned around and invalidated the results in state after state.

So, I had to ask myself, what would I have done if it had been Howard Dean whose voters had gotten the shaft?  Would I still be angry?  I’d have to say I’d probably still be very concerned.  Because even though I don’t like Howard Dean, probably as much as Matt Stoller doesn’t like Hillary Clinton, if I saw that his campaign was doing its best to uphold the principle of fair reflection while the other campaign wasn’t, I’d support Dean’s challenges wholeheartedly.  Elections have to at least have the appearance of fairness or they’re pointless exercises.  It is my rule to NEVER, EVER vote for a candidate who messes around with the votes or nullifies elections such as was done with MI and FL in order to come out on top.  That was the instance.  You mess with the vote count and make some votes more equal than others, well, you’ve instantly earned my distrust.  How can I ever expect a candidate who is willing to do that to every respect by opinion or grievances or anything?  I can’t.

This is not just a case of political roughness.  And it’s not like one campaign was just really clever.  It was an act of aggression of one  candidate’s supporters against the other’s.  It was more like Kingmaking, with the more ruthless, violent opponent winning using every trick in the book and pulling out wads of cash when that wasn’t working.  Now, you might say that that’s just the way things work these days but I’m not interested in right by might.  I’m interested in a democratic process.  Besides, as I have said before, you can’t expect a candidate who ran like Ghenghis Khan to govern like Gandhi.  In Khan’s world, voters don’t matter.  I want to preserve the sanctity of the vote because as citizens, it is the only thing that gives us worth.  So, when someone violates that sanctity to game the system, that’s it for me.  His nature is revealed.

I also can’t trust him to stop with mere manipulation of delegate counts.  If he can get away with that and never be held accountable, then what is going to stop him from going even further?  (Notice I haven’t said anything about ACORN or any other nonsensical right wing meme.)If he didn’t get into office with the support of more than half of the party, what makes me think he even cares what we think?  And if his own supporters didn’t stop him, then he’s already hobbled them.  They need to stay onboard and be loyal in order to not lose face and power in the party infrastructure, or they come to their senses but realize that they are now powerless.  Separated from their natural allies in the party , i.e. the losing candidate’s voters, because of anger and resentment over the injustice of it all, they find themselves powerless, fewer in number and making excuses about why they made the decision to back the wrong candidate in the first place.  That’s not winning them any friends, by the way.  Meanwhile, the candidate goes on to represent his true constituency, the people who helped him buy off the rulemakers.  He is never held accountable because his party’s base is held hostage.

So while Matt and Jay muse over the right course of action, they should step back and think about what principles they think they are defending.  Matt, in particular, seems to have a severe case of Clinton Derangment Syndrome.  I don’t know why this is.  Maybe it’s the environment he’s in, the people he hangs out with, the glue he’s sniffing.  Whatever it is, it seems to be completely unhinged from reality.  He seems pretty damn set against Hillary Clinton in a way that I am not set against someone like Howard Dean as much as I dislike him.  I think this attitude has blinded people like him from taking the only possible actions this year that would have given them a voice. But in the Democratic party election scenario, the candidates are swappable.  Who they are is unimportant.  You can take any two Democrats and pit them together.  The one who attempts to game the system through vote manipulation reveals his true nature.  That is a candidate who sees elections as mere formalities, something that can be fixed or bought. He will lead his former supporters to despair that elections don’t count anymore.  And if the party could do it in 2008 without a fuss from the rank and file, they’ll do it again in the future.  You can count on it.

We all saw it, guys.  We were aware back in February of 2008 what was going on and what the DNC hoped to achieve.  The party was bought by the 1%, their malware candidate was installed and when the crash came, as they knew it would, he allowed them to go unpunished while he muted the voices of the citizens who needed and deserved better treatment.

You can exit, or voice but to stay loyal at this point in time is definitely not acting in your best interests.  The way back to sanity is not through a new hero or heroine.  It’s the long hard slog to restore the legitimacy of elections in every state.

And now, I’m done.

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