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Live by the sword, die by the sword

By now, many of you will have seen the text of Peter Daou’s email. The Confluence also received the email from Peter. There is no doubt in my mind that Peter is correct about the sources of the negativity launched at Hillary Clinton by Obama’s campaign. At the time that Obama became a serious contender late last fall, I wrote a series of posts at DailyKos remarking on the absurdity of the accusations hurled against her.

Pre-emptive Clinton Character Assassination

Quick! Get Barack the Smelling Salts

The Incomparable Mr. Obama

Obama is Not a WATB! Take it back!

In our society, a woman is forbidden by custom and social conditioning from firing back. So, Senator Obama’s campaign took advantage of this. The set up was quite neat: First, say how uncomfortable it is for a woman to go negative. It’s unseemly and unladylike. Heavens, we must all be living next to Jane Austen with all the tut-tutting about how truly awful it would be if Hillary went negative. Second, hit Hillary with some absolutely ridiculous charge, like, I dunno, playing the race card by bringing up Obama’s former drug abuse. Nevermind that she never said it, one of her surrogates floated the notion. Nevermind that Obama himself wrote about the subject. Clinton brought it up and that is not allowed.  Third, sit back and watch her twist herself into a pretzel trying to defend herself without looking abrasive.

In short, she has been not allowed to criticize, compare, chastise or get angry about anything with regard to Obama, while his campaign can float any dirty little thing they want against her. And it is all vaguely reminiscent of the Edwards attacks on Hillary in the late summer and THAT was strongly influenced by Newt Gingrich’s famous brochure on the manipulation of Language as a Key Mechanism of Control.

Now, I don’t know who started it or who picked up where the other left off but I find it very curious that John Edwards started this line of attack and when his star was fading, Obama took up the torch and made it burn even brighter. The Kossacks on DailyKos became one huge opposition research focus group where first Joe Trippi, then David Axelrod could test out various viral memes. Then they set up yahoo and google groups and coordinated diaries so they would make the rec list every day. It got to be so obvious that I called it the Rec List Hostage Crisis. The negative stuff on Hillary that flowed from the rec list was non-stop and still is. It has now reached a hyperbolic state of vitriol that is no longer believable. But when it first started, it was *very* believable, at least to the uncritical mind. And many jumped on the bandwagon and spread the memes from blog to blog. In fact, when I set up The Confluence, I made sure that it would not permeate this site if I could help it. The comments sections are set up to forward to the moderation queue any of the trigger words found most commonly in DailyKos Obamaphile threads. The comments are examined in context and any negative advertising is deleted.

Because that is what this is, folks, negative advertising. In essence, the Obama campaign is using the big name blogs as dissemination sites for negative advertisements. They don’t have to pay much to get this going. (What would a functioning FEC say?) They just have to drop some keywords into a few rec list diaries and repeat them ad nauseum until it takes. Then they play group dynamics to split the unwanted dross from the highjacked site. At that point, the meme just reproduces and spreads.

It’s very much like a virus behaves. It infiltrates the host, inserts its own DNA and the commandeers the cells reproduction facilities to make more copies of itself. And these copies break free of the cell and spread the infection. At this point, the infection on the left blogosphere is severe and chronic. There may not be time to turn this around but we are going to try. The first thing we did was not succumb to the infection. That’s why you are reading this blog right now. We are out here and we will not go away. But that is not enough. Now it is time to expose the GOP like tactics that the Obama campaign has borrowed. These tactics work because they divide the target and prevent power through a union. They pander to our base instincts, in this case, the feelings of superiority that comes from being at the top of the social hierarchy as an American male. They make one set of supporters sound like Sports Illustrated swimsuit models with PhDs and the others as tired and stupid old has-been hags.

If this is how Obama wants to win, then we will need to show who he is and why he is willing to tear our party apart to get what he wants. And if Hillary has to do some of this work herself, well, fighting adversity is what we are hiring her for. But Obama’s campaign of negativity is going to meet its Waterloo. Count on it. I have not yet *begun* to snark.

29 Responses

  1. From what I’ve seen of it, over at Talk Left, that was one fine email. A nice premptive strike against some of the framing that the Obama campaign will be trying to do.

  2. I think the email was a genius idea from Peter Daou — and none-to-soon!

  3. riverdaughter:

    This is actually scary! I just checked each one of your 4 old pieces and I am amazed. Did you realized that you could just put today’s date on each one of those post, upload them and nobody would notice.

    I keep saying this campaign has obliterate irony, now I truly believe it. As the French say “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”

  4. The email was full of truth and on point, but that seems to matter for absolutely nothing in this campaign season. Somehow, this will be tied back to Clinton “complaining” about how things are going.

  5. TrishB, I see your concern. Yes, the MSM and Obama folks will label it as “Hillary’s complaining again.” Unfortunately, it may continue to work.

    But it also might not keep working for them.

    I say let them try it because more people are watching the campaign right now. Much live Riverdaughter’s earlier post, I overhead at least two conversations about the campaign while attending a garden show. Mind you it was older women – like me – doing the complaining but I didn’t get the sense any were that politically active. Plus we have already voted in California.

    Already many Americans – who exist outside the blogosphere – are resisting Obama’s explanations for Wright and his personal attacks on Hillary (especially her competence). When he tries playing his additional card of “she’s not allowed to fight back at all,” it’s going to blow sky high. Deep down Americans love a sporting contest and hate it when the refs interfere (unless they have already passionately committed to a team). Combine that with an American tendency to support the underdog and things look good for Hillary.

  6. omg .. Black Monday in the morning today …

  7. Clinton is going to need an all-out pushback against the smears leveled against her during this nomination process–especially the toxic charge of racism. The best way to counter the media/blog narrative is a grassroots network that is not only online but, more importantly, offline full of volunteers who, when campaigning for her in their neighborhoods, also actively debunk the smears.

    I’m frustrated her Fact Hub site doesn’t have a section specifically related to the false charges of racism and to highlight Obama’s own race-baiting (e.g., Jesse Jackson, Jr.) and his accomplice–the media. I believe they’re rather fearful, which I understand, but she needs to fight back. There are too many voters who swear they’ll never vote for her based on this nonsense.

  8. sricki, tell us how you really feel!


  9. more link goodies:


    If you were part of making good things happen in the ‘90s and stopping bad things from happening in this decade,” he said, “then you were part of a culture of conflict and you are so yesterday. So the only way we can have a good president is to make a completely new beginning.”

  10. Sorry, I am talking to myself in an empty room here. But just one more link on Ireland:

    Dublin, Belfast agree Clinton did her bit for peace

  11. tjproudamerican:

    I am a naturalized American who like you, lives in NY. I have my problems with the US, but overall I think this is a very good country to live in., Also, like you, I consider myself to be a proud American.

    I am sure Senator Clinton is no saint. However, the following videos (I am sure there will be other more sophisitcated ones) could indicate that as a presidential nominee, Senator Obama may become a liability to the Democratic party in the GE.

    I have no doubts about Senator Obama’s patriotism. However, so much in politics is a perception game…..


  12. tjproudamerican: I forgot to make one thing clear, you are not allowed to call people liars on this blog. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true.
    Thanks for playing. Now, run along.

  13. Oh My!!!

    Just a little taste of things to come in Nov. if Pelosi & Co. succeed in disenfranchising millions of Dems:


  14. Darth Cheney and John McSame (accompanied by his valet, Joe Liebertoad), are in Iraq today. Darth is talking to Nouri al-Maliki about “the progress being made in Iraq.” McSame and Liebertoad (ooh, I forgot Lindsay Graham Cracker is with them too) are supposedly on a senatorial “fact-finding” mission, rather than on the campaign trail — even though McSame is stopping in London on the way back for a campaign fundraiser.

    In the meantime, Hillary is set to make a major policy speech today on Iraq, including more details on how she would start the withdrawal process. Stay tuned.

  15. ghost2,
    thanks for the link to sricki’s diary. Wow.
    What a great read that was!

  16. I’ll file THIS under: Smart people are found all over the world.

    Just Watch! (h/t SusanUnPC @ No Quarter).

  17. “WATB”


    that’s falling out of my chair…..

  18. Hi, I found this video at NPR (aired sometime in February?).Towards the end, they interview a scholar who believes that Obama’s acknowledgement of the importance of religion in politics will resonate with religious voters (or something to that effect).


    The theory goes that Obama will be appealing to Indendents and centrist Republicans. I wonder however if after recent developments, that will remain the case and if not, how it may influence SD when considering his viability.

  19. Also: an interesting interview by Rev. Otis Moss III.


    correction: NPR=PBS, my mistake.

  20. Upstate: Like that’s going to matter when they rev up the Orange Terror Alerts. With McCain and Obama, you’re going to see a repeat of what happened in 2004. When voters are afraid for their lives, they vote conservative and *doubly* so against a guy who has no national security credentials. That wouldn’t happen with Hillary.

  21. Reminder : The way to unwind these attacks is not to defend HIllary, but to delve into what they reveal about Obama.

    Pursue essential purposes.


  22. ronk: Good point. Please go read Kos’ latest screed on The Clinton Civil War Do you recall the Obama-DLC connection? Isn’t Obama getting major policy advice from the DLC? Can you remember? I see some potential in Kos’s stupid diary. Anyway, the whole thing is pretty nauseating but you are right. We need to go on the offense. Hillary can take care of herself.

  23. riverdaughter–thank you so much for going out on your own–I’d stopped going to DKos, for many reasons, but among them it was difficult to find the wheat among the chaff.

    You write well and have a unique and strong voice. What a relief to have found your site–\

    Now, must work–and control my “exuberating” over David Paterson and the good vibes he sends out.

  24. riverdaughter,

    Obama is DLC. He’s a lot more DLC-like than Hillary, IMO. Obama could never have gotten all the funding he started out with without DLC support. He only took his name off their website after the leftist Black community started hassling him about it. I think it’s hilarious that Kos and others at dk who know better ignore these facts. They have to know about it. I’ve brought this up in comments numerous times over the past several months, but no one will ever acknowledge the truth.

    I read a lot yesterday about Obama’s time at Harvard. It was very interesting in light of the pattern of behavior we have all noticed during the campaign. He avoids letting anyone know what his real ideas and opinions are and people who like him tend tend to project their own wishes onto him. He knows that and uses it to engratiate himself with people. I think the truth is that he really doesn’t have any core values, and that is why it is so easy for him to throw people under the bus when he doesn’t need them anymore.

    I can’t believe that he has simply turned on his pastor and spiritual advisor of 20 years. If that were my mentor, I’d be defending him and pointing out how much more inflamatory things the right wing preachers have said. I would actually respect Obama a lot more if he spoke up for Wright. And I guess people in the church are quite upset about it. I wonder what will happen after that festers for awhile.

    I wonder where this tendency Obama has to avoid controversy comes from? His grandparents were athiests and free-thinkers and his mother was a very strong, independent woman. No one in the family was religious. He seems very different from these family members. I have to wonder what led to Obama’s non-confrontational personality (disclosure: I’m a developmental psychologist).

    Obama’s relationships with Wright and with Rezko make sense, because he has probably spend much of his life look for a father figure to replace the man who abandoned him as a child.

  25. As for DLC advisors–Goulsbee is DLC. I don’t think Obama has thrown him under the bus yet.

  26. What they reveal about Obama, the pattern I can see, is that he does not stick with anyone if it risks costing him, politically, and does follow people who benefit him, politically. Who does he not throw under the bus?

  27. daria-g,

    Yes, but that indicates to me that Obama has no real principles. He comes across to people as genuine, they buy into his being principled, honest, and so on, and then he throws them under the bus. Maybe at Harvard he didn’t actually have to completely disavow people.

    At the time Obama was at Harvard, there was a lot of uproar about Harvard not hiring enough black and women profs. There were actions where students took over offices, and they even sued the university in court. Obama supported the goals of this movement, but not their tactics. In other words, he was rooting them on but wasn’t willing to make any kind of personal commitment. It’s the same as his stance on the Iraq war. You just know if he had been in the Senate in 2002, he would have voted for the AUMF.

  28. Yep, the bottom line is that if you’re not prepared to make your adversaries cry, you don’t deserve to win. The irony is that Clinton, the supposed paragon of cruelty, hasn’t yet been willing to do this to the extent called for by the situation. Now is the time…the ones we are waiting for, as Candidate Pogo says, are us.

  29. Where we tonight shall camp?….The top blogs of the day. the newest report , see and reply me some comments. Thanks.

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