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      (Previous: Economy) (Introduction and Table of Contents) We have seen that who gets how much of what is a political decision: that the economy and economics is downstream from politics. Power is the ability to make people do what you want, or not do what you don’t want. Ideology determines what the good life is and power determines who lives it. All politica […]
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We need a bigger Haka

I left Harrisburg at 4:00pm. Got a parking ticket. 😦 The office was humming along. All the way home in the car I heard reports of municipal boards of elections swamped with lines to register before the doors even opened this morning. It would be wrong to assume that this was just Obama’s work. It was not. The Clinton campaign mailed out registration forms to many households and they did canvassing and many other things this weekend. My phone banking only turned up 2 Obamaphiles. The rest were either firmly in Hillary’s corner or undecideds. I LOVE undecideds. They want to be seduced. They want to be told that their vote is the most important thing in the world to you. And it is. They are very important people. I try to direct them to Hillary’s site to read the issues online. It is very nice to hear that there are so many people in PA who are sick and tired of Republicans and are willing to step outside their comfort zone and vote for a Democrat, especially Hillary, who has withstood so much negativity. Which brings me to the second thing that happened today.

The Confluence got to sit in on the Clinton conference call today with Howard Wolfson and Phil Singer. They made a couple of good points, which I’ll get to in a minute. But what I really want to talk about is the media. I was really disappointed in them. It’s sort of like finding out that the doctor you’ve been seeing is a quack. There were reporters from all of the major outlets but the questions were incredibly lame. It became clear after half an hour that they already had an agenda and just needed the campaign to provide the slip of the lip that would make their intention to go full-force look more credible. There were a couple major themes: James Carville called Bill Richardson a Judas Iscariot and Hillary made her adventures in Bosnia sound like an episode of Combat (Gen X-ers, go ask your parents. I only have a hazy memory myself)

And here is a perfect example of how Swiftboating works. You see, Swiftboating is not about telling lies about someone. No, Swiftboating is all about undermining a candidate’s credibility. Because once you make them less credible on one issue, it is easy to extend that idea to every other thing that comes out of their mouth. With Hillary’s experience in Bosnia, Wolfson and Singer read references from the NYTimes, Reuters and others from that period of time (3/25/96?) that described the conditions that Hillary travelled under. These news sources said that no first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt had travelled to such dangerous territory. The accounts gemmed with Hillary’s own description in her book that she was forced to cut short her visits to one airbase because of fighting nearby and that children that came to meet her on the tarmac needed to be quickly escorted away. Now, I don’t know if that qualifies as sniper fire but when I think about how Wes Clark was in a caravan in Bosnia and one of the personnel carriers just behind him plummeted off the side of a mountain, killing a couple of people, I am reminded that the former Yugoslavian republics were no vacation destination. People got hurt, killed. She took some risks going there.

But all that the “journalists” wanted to know is whether her words were an exact account of what happened. Did she exaggerate? Umm, you mean like when Gore said he invented the internet? Or when Kerry said he was wounded in battle in Vietnam? Yeah. That’s where they’re going with this. Well, it’s worked so well before.

Then there was this whole James Carville thing. Heck, we’re talking about JAMES CARVILLE! He’s the very definition of a loose tongued extrovert. For all I know, Carville and Richardson have a personal relationship. Maybe he meant it. Maybe he was thinking that it felt like betrayal and since it was Easter week, it was just a tiny leap to go from betrayal to Judas instead of someone like Jonathan Pollard or Kim Philby or Benedict Arnold. Richardson didn’t endorse Obama because he had ties to another country or because he had an ideological affiliation and was passing secrets. And he didn’t do it because he was treated poorly. I suspect he was courted by both camps quite assiduously. But maybe like Arnold, he was passed over promotion. No, I suspect that Carville picked Judas because there was probably a quid pro quo and because Judas’ ultimate sin was that he handed his friend over to that friend’s enemies. Hey, “if the shoe fits…” But all the “journalists” wanted to know is whether James Carville was going to apologize.

You know, I hope Carville doesn’t because this crap has got to stop. If you apologize, it just feeds their endless hunger for more. The press feels empowered when it can force the unfavorite to capitulate again and again.

Now, Wolfson and Singer were absolutely right on a couple of things. Obama’s got diddly squat in the Foreign Policy arena compared with Hillary. I challenge any Obamaphile to cite the last time Obama helicoptered into a war zone to check on the welfare of children or meet with various factions in Northern Ireland to gather information for her husband’s administration. Go on, Obamaphiles, I’ll wait. It will be a cold day in hell before you find anything. But the focus is all on insignificant inconsistencies in her recount of those events in order to make them negligible. The accomplishment will be drowned out by a sea of nitpicking and poking at her credibility. This is Swiftboating.

As for Obama, Wolfson and Singer correctly pointed out that Axlerod et al are pulling out all of the stops by painting Clinton as dishonest, deceitful, untrustworthy, and willing to do or say anything to win. And all of the words and phrases are intended to further undermine her credibility. If you say it enough, repeat it enough, go on the evening news shows and vomit it from now until April 22, maybe some of it will stick. This is the politics of personal destruction that Obama said he wanted to Change! But now he is engaging in it full force. And why is he going tsunami with the negative talk, our Golden One of Hope and Change? It’s because he doesn’t have a record of his own.

Yeah, we’ve got their number but what can we do about it? Well, what with the overt negativity, Swiftboating and the propagating of The Math meme, what we’ve got here is a full blown haka complete with bulging eyes and extended tongue. In the next couple of weeks, Obamaphiles are going to pour into PA from everywhere. And the only thing we can do is show them that we’re not backing down. We’ve got to turn out in record numbers during the campaign as well. Nothing says defeat and unpopularity as being outnumbered and outshouted by the other team. The only way to innoculate the voters is to be there, be visible and be heard. Let them know how much you support Hillary and how much you BELIEVE in her, not because you’ve got smoke in your eyes but because you know quality when you see and hear it.

They’ve got the media, they’ve got maniacs, they’ve got money, they’ve got no scruples. We’ve got the best candidate and each other. I think we can beat them.

39 Responses

  1. It would be nice if the Hillary website you are directing people to had a link or a copy of some of the descriptions of Hillary’s obviously scary trip to Bosnia–and with her daughter!!
    When Gore said he invented the internet?–that was not Gore, although he could have and would have been right, it was WaPo’s Ceci Connolly who trailed him and got promotions for lying like a rug.
    Obama is on a downhill slide. We just need to get out of the way…. BO is inventing Bosnia because people are soooooo incredibly sick of his bringing up her bush’s war vote.
    Great post!!! Thanks for all your hard work!!!!!!

  2. pro: Wolfson cited them. There should be links somewhere. I’ll see if I can find them.

  3. Your optimism is contagious. James Carville has not apologized. He has stated on CNN that he meant what he said and that Richardson was disloyal to the Clintons. I am thrilled that James is sticking by his words. After all, it is the truth. Richardson was given 2 cabinet positions in the Clinton administration, was given monetary help from the Clintons for his N. Mexico campaign and Hillary won the primary vote in his state. An act of betrayal plus a hypocrite.

  4. link goodies:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/23/AR2008032301706.html

    Yet Obama on Monday appeared to seek top billing on Dodd’s proposal.
    “At this moment, we must come together and act to address the housing
    crisis that set this downturn in motion and continues to eat away at
    the public’s confidence in the market,” Obama said. “We should pass
    the legislation I put forward with my colleague Chris Dodd to create
    meaningful incentives for lenders to buy or refinance existing
    mortgages so that Americans facing foreclosure can keep their homes.”
    Dodd did say that Obama supported the bill, as does Clinton. But he
    could not offer pride of authorship to the candidate he wants to see
    in the White House next year. ”

  5. In Florida, donations from the DNC are being returned.

    Read this on the nytimes in a comment. People must be really POd.

  6. March 24, 2008 07:48:04 PM

    WASHINGTON — Barack Obama says that if he were president, he’d take politically courageous stands while forging the consensus needed to enact universal health care, immigration revisions, global warming legislation and a withdrawal from Iraq. His three-year record in the Senate, however, offers little evidence that he can do what he’s promising. His party was in the minority for his first two years, and in the third he began campaigning for president and missed lots of time on Capitol Hill. He was absent from or only partly involved in some key bipartisan efforts to head off stalemates on judicial nominations, immigration and Iraq war policy.

    “He is asking us to believe he can do something he has yet to do,” said Michael Fauntroy, an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University.
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/31424.html

  7. Obama spends four dollar to every one Hillary spends just to draw even.

  8. Frontline tonight is going to be tough to watch. I’ve already screamed at my TV when Bush was talking about how much he cares about every single lost soldier.

    This inside story of going to an illegal war of aggression is going to be horrible.

  9. http://mediamatters.org/items/200803240007

    And, for another go round with righteous anger, read Media Matters about Tweety saying the war is the fault of people like Clinton.

    There should be a special place in hell for people like Tweety.

  10. ghost2– Obama is pulling the same bs that he did in the IL Senate–taking credit for legislation that other people wrote and fought for. Good for the WP for pointing it out.

  11. […] Riverdaughter: We need a bigger Haka […]

  12. I got a phone message from the Philly Clinton office mid-day. So it’s clear that HillaryCo is going through their PA phone list.

  13. andgarden: Er, that might have been me. We’re looking for volunteers.

  14. I’m telling you now, if Obama wins the nomination effectively committing the very “sins” he (and his campaign)’s steadily accused Hillary of, FORGET MY VOTE COME NOVEMBER! That will seal the deal. Over and out.

  15. riverdaughter, on March 24th, 2008 at 9:31 pm Said:
    andgarden: Er, that might have been me.

    Not unless you’re actually a man. 😉

  16. riverdaughter:

    I have listened to the conference call of the Obama campaign today. I have linked it in the previous thread. That conference call pushed me over the cliff and now it’s official: I detest the candidate Obama and the group of filthy, lying vile and vicious thugs that is his campaign team.

    I was really distraught by the full onslaught these guys put on Hillary Clinton today. That was unbelievable and the crackwhore press there today didn’t even challenge them, unlike what these useless clowns do on the Clinton campaign calls.

    I actually think Howard Wolfson should replace the “journalists” asking questions with Obama campaign staffers. I don’t think it would make any difference.

  17. MABlue: Don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel. 😉
    There’s no use getting angry about the press. This is the environmental challenge we have been given. Our task is to circumvent the media. At this point, face to face contact maybe necessary.

  18. andgarden: Lemme check. Nope, looks like I got girl plumbing

  19. It’s been my view for some time that Clinton campaign apologies to Obama are not only misplaced, they are tactical and strategic errors.

    Did you realize Hillary apologized to Obama in person on the tarmac at DC (“Reagan”) National the day after Bill Shaheen’s drug use speculation … and the Obama campaign still hammered her with it as a “pattern” of offensive statement made and then disclaimed? And they used the event to launch a fundraising email later that day?

    FYI, I’ve continued detailing my chronology of events in the “race baiting saga. Might be worth a look.

  20. ronk: I agree, they should stop doing it. And when they’re asked why they won’t they shoudl come back with, “And that will change Obama’s politics of personal destruction *how* exactly?” Or she really needs to work with a comedienne for some fun snarky comebacks. Her “I’ll try to go on” moment in nh was brilliant. We need more of that. It takes the edge off the question and it makes her human with a great sense of humor.

  21. edwardian:

    I have resisted the temptation for a very long time but I have to say right now I feel exactly like you do.

    rd: Don’t worry about James Carville. I just heard him saying Richardson’s endorsement of BO warranted a response and he is very proud about the one we gave.

    I pledge to perform my favorite haka every morning until we have the nomination sewn up.

    PS: *Imagine me as the legendary captain of the All Blacks (Tana Umaga) leading the Haka and the little pissants standing opposite us are the extremely smart, and highly educated supporters of BO.

  22. ronk– That list is great! I didn’t realize you had continued working on it. In fact I have been looking around for such a list this afternoon. Thanks for calling our attention to it.

  23. Well, my question is – what do we do now? RonK I have been reading several times where you’re posing these questions that are unanswered – who is Obama? What would he do? etc.

    It seems to me if those are the most important.. why is there, and can there be, an attempt to bring the Clinton supporters around the blogs to keep some focus for a while and stick to these key questions instead of running after the talking points of the day? Is there any use to that? One question at a time, and be specific?

  24. I wish the Clinton campaign could effectively tie the swiftboating and the “math” meme to the idea that people are being disenfranchised–being led to believe their votes do not matter, and being pushed to vote a particular way by knowingly distorted media coverage. It would be nice if the PA voters said we have had enought of the biased media, enough of Obama labeling people as racist when their overall records clearly prove otherwise, enough of the character assasination. Enough, enough, enough!

  25. daria g,

    I’m working on something right now. I’ve been reading as much as I can find about Obama’s time at Harvard. But what I’m thinking ties into the race-baiting issues as well. I hope I can write something tomorrow. I started looking at Obama’s Harvard career, because RonK pointed out that not much has been written about it. It’s true. The Chicago Tribune has a multi-part biography of Obama, but it doesn’t really deal with Harvard at all. But I’ve found a lot of comments from classmates that are interesting.

    Is there some aspect of Obama’s life or career that you are curious about? You could research that and share what you find.

  26. daria g: It’s a war with several fronts. We have to fight all of them.

    MABlue: *We’re* the smart ones. But we will also learn to be fierce. Haka must be met with haka.

  27. Remember when Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, matt yglesias, etc. used to call this crap out? Now they pile on themselves. I’ll have got a song for them tomorrow.

  28. ronk: Holy Molly! That’s quite a monumental piece of work.

    I think your last entry was on 3/1/08. Can you imagine how much you’ll have to add to make it to today?

    I just remember Obama himself telling a largely AA audience that Hillary Clinton leaked his picture (in Somali garb) to the media and just today, that putrid campaign telling the press on the conference call that Hillary used “as far as I know” to imply that BO was a muslim. Nevermind that Eric Boehlert wrote a very long piece eviscerating that myth.

    I have become so contemptuous of the Obama campaign, I can’t even express myself.

  29. btw, I have a little math project in the works as well.

    MABlue – please prompt me with related events Mar 1 and forward, though I think Ive captured the critical period when the narrative became set in susceptible minds.

  30. Ron-K– There’s a second article by Wilentz, you probably saw it. It’s about the 3AM ad and that horrible op-ed claiming the ad was racist. Dated March 11.

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=fd72d239-fb33-4493-be6a-2a869fa597d2

  31. link goodies, via hot topic at Taylor Marsh:

    http://davies.lohudblogs.com/2008/03/20/mea-culpa-3/

    (nice cartoon)

  32. ghost2 — That’s a beaut!

    I hope I’m remembering correctly point for point. As I recall, Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Mark A. R. Kleinman and others were the “liberal warbloggers” who fell in with W’s sales pitch for Iraq and gave him cover on the left … and manifested the very same manifest contempt for those who abstained from the kool-aid then as now.

  33. ronk:

    You just named exactly the people who say Hillary Clinton should stay out of the Iraq discussion and defer to Obama because she was for the war.

    As far as I can read, aren’t these same nitwits writing about Iraq every day of the week?

  34. Ronk,

    Well , I mostly read dkos and mydd during that period. I stumbled upon those blogs in search for some anti-war voice. Kevin and Josh were too busy trying to impress the new republic (TNR) crowd. Well, not to be too hard on them, leadership was sorely lacking at that time.

    I remember that Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall were very slow to come out against the war. DailyHowler has Josh’s number perfectly: Josh is a careerist. I have always noticed that in him, but didn’t think it was dangerous, thought it was OK as long as he was doing a decent job. To make a long story short, I think Josh was too afraid of being labeled as a crazy leftist by those he wanted to impress, and hence was playing it safe, as well as giving their half-ass arguments far more credence that it deserved.

    I don’t remember the exact time his opinion on the war changed, but IIRC (and that’s a big iff), it was sometimes after Kevin Drum wrote a post saying he was tired of rotating rationals for the war and finally came against it.

    I really miss Billmon and Steve Gilliard, perhaps the two finest bloggers of that era. It’s really sad that Billmon has stopped writing. But then,I think that reasoned voices would get lost in the huge noise of the frat house microphones now. One thing I say: I never saw a bullshit argument from Billmon. He always got to the heart of the matter.

  35. riverdaughter: I would like to work with you and others on intelligent communication to undecided voters. I feel that something (so far) is missing in the Clinton campaign that could support the idea that voters have a responsibility to think and investigate, using their own minds and hearts, before casting their precious vote.
    I think that communicating mind to mind, individually, that YOU have an obligation to vote with intelligence and care; that you have a responsibility that requires more of you than falling in line with the latest poll……
    I believe that validating each individual with whom we communicate about this campaign, looking for the fulcrum point where they can be invited to vote their own conscience, their own truth, will lead to increased support for Senator Clinton.
    Unfortunately, my experience with the campaign itself is that they primarily make use of tactics that reduce people’s sense of individuality: the endless message phone calls to specific target audiences…….
    If Hillary’s strength is her intelligence, can we find a way to make use of that strength on her behalf?
    I am looking for people to work with on this, applying it to the Philadelphia area in the next few weeks.

  36. Thanks guys…

    All of you are giving me hope…I always knew logic and sanity were on my side…or atleast I am on their (logic and sanity’s) side…

    Its good to see I am not alone…

  37. Folks, I have a suggestion. Cease and desist. If Obama is not the Dem nominee in the fall, the Dems will surely lose. Hillary is NOT ELECTABLE. She entered the race with high negatives and they have only gone up. She’s lost the african american vote (and last time I checked we were the largest and most loyal voting bloc). The republicans will eat her alive. Her only chance of going back to the WH is as McCains Veep.

  38. Ann: Thank you for visiting The Confluence. We realize you have a choice of blogs on which you may register your opinion. We encourage you to exercise your choice.
    BTW, I hate to point this out but african-americans are only about 15% of the population and their biggest numbers are in Republican states like South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi. Women, OTOH, make up 50+% of the population, including 50+% of the AA population, and 60% of the Democratic party. If you were a superdelegate, which segment of the population would you be more worried about?

  39. Ann, obviously I disagree with you regarding Sen. Clinton’s chances of winning the White House. But okay, to each her own and everything.

    You’ll at least agree that people should have the chance to vote in the primary for the candidate of their choice, right? So let ’em vote.

    And you’d probably agree (though maybe not) that if Sen. Obama really had this sewn up, the automatic delegates would come out in full force and end this right? But they haven’t. So maybe he has it sewn up not so much.

    As in, not at all.

    But we agree that this is a race to a number of delegates, right? So unless Sen. Obama can win the remaining unpledged delegates in the next primaries, he can wait until the convention and let the automatic delegates do their job.

    It’s a long time from now until then and a lot can happen.

    But seriously, if he’s inevitable, then let’s see him run the table. Or at least win enough of these contest to get to that magic number.

    Ah, I see the problem: he can’t.

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