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Eric Boehlert Needs to Get a Grip

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

I love Eric Boehlert. His book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, was terrific. And he even mentioned The Confluence in his recent effort, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press. But really, this is too much.

A President was killed the last time right-wing hatred ran wild like this

I’ve been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I’ve watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled….The radical right, aided by a GOP Noise Machine that positively dwarfs what existed in 1963, has turned demonizing Obama–making him into a vile object of disgust–into a crusade. It’s a demented national jihad, the likes of which this country has not seen in modern times.

Here is the link that Boehlert used to back up his claims of violence and racism at Glenn Beck’s September 12 event. It shows a number of tasteless signs that attack President Obama and a couple of wacky videos of Glenn Beck and Orly Taitz.

Eric, are you serious? I have no doubt that some of the right wingers who have attended the tea party events are racists, but that doesn’t make their attacks on Obama worse than the ones previous Presidents have endured. Have you forgotten the incredibly vicious attacks on President Clinton in the ’90s? If you’ve forgotten where the term “right wing noise machine” came from, here is a short reading list to refresh your memory.

Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote a whole book about it, remember?

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

Their book was even made into a documentary that was shown in theaters.

Here is a great summary of media attacks on the the Clintons:


And to refresh your memory about the vicious attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton by “progressives” during the 2008 primary campaign, here’s another piece by eRiposte at The Left Coaster: Clinton Derangement Syndrome = CDS = Clinton Double-Standard.

Finally, here is a recent blog post by Glenn Greenwald at Salon: Is the Right’s attack on Obama’s legitimacy new or unprecedented?

The attacks on Obama are far from unprecedented, and they are nowhere near as vicious as the ones I can recall lefties using against Richard Nixon or the ones that the right wingers used against the Clintons.

As much as I hate to admit it, even George W. Bush was ridiculed in some pretty nasty ways. The Nation lampooned him as Alfred E. Newman. And he was likened to a chimp all over the internet, here for example I’d say that’s pretty demeaning.

I can’t stand Glenn Beck or the rest of the rabble rousers at Fox “News” Channel. And I certainly have no patience for the nutty folks who believe that Obama was born in Kenya or that he’s a closet muslim. But every President faces public attacks and ridicule and yes–even the risk of assassination attempts. JFK was the last U.S. President to be assassinated, but have you forgotten that Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were victims of assassination attempts? Both men were Republicans, and their failed assassins weren’t crazed right wingers.

Squeaky Fromme made a weak attempt to shoot President Ford in September, 1975. She later claimed she did it to bring attention environmental issues. Later that same month Sara Jane Moore shot a gun at President Ford and was stopped by a bystander. According to the LA Times,

Moore was an FBI informant who was enmeshed in radical politics after moving to the Bay Area. A peripheral player rather than a leader, she volunteered for a group that distributed $2 million in food, as had been demanded by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the extreme leftist band that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan was John Hinkley, Jr., a paranoid schizophrenic who was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. I don’t think there was any right-wing hatred involved with that one either.

There have been people who tried to assassinate every modern President, including Richard Nixon. Wikipedia has a list of recorded assassination attempts here.

The truth is there are nuts on both sides of the political spectrum. I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored. And please don’t accuse me of calling President Obama an ox, okay? No doubt there are plenty of right wing nuts who hate Obama. But that’s politics. It ain’t beanbag, you know. Let’s hope the Secret Service does its job well and keeps President Obama safe.

In the meantime, Eric, please get a grip.

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Down in the GUTTeR

Eriposte at TheLeftCoaster * has an excellent post on the Grand Unified Theory of Teh Race (GUTTeRTM) But is eriposte referring to the campaign or the racial makeup of the candidates? It seems very strange to me that the so-called post racial, transitional candidate continues to benefit from a racial bias by the rest of us, as if there are no other reasons for us to reject him except the color of his skin. It’s the stupidest thing I think I’ve ever heard from a candidate since George Bush asked us if we wanted to buy some wood at a debate.

Continue reading

Well, well, well. Isn’t this interesting?

I just got home from a long day and started surfing around the net to see what’s happening.  Via Lambert at Corrente I learned the fascinating news that long-time Kossack and Obama fan extraordinaire, Kid Oakland has had a bit of a rude awakening.  Our friend KO went to the California Democratic Convention and had an encounter with a Hillary Clinton supporter.

There was a moment that gave me pause. I was having a friendly conversation with three SoCal kossacks in the hallway on Saturday when two Los Angeles-based delegates approached. These women, both experienced delegates and friendly Clinton supporters, were happy to chat about what we had in common: blog reading, support for Debra Bowen, curiosity about the Migden/Leno battle and the 2010 governor’s race. One of the women, wearing a Hillary button, went out of her way to compliment our group of younger delegates (wearing Obama buttons aside from me…a press pass guy) for attending the convention. I asked her if she read DailyKos and she replied curtly:

“I’m on strike from that blog.”

That surprised me. I’ve met thousands of kossacks whether at Las Vegas or Chicago or events here in California, and I’ve never once had a negative experience asking if someone reads DailyKos. In fact, I’ve met people who disagree with me vigorously online who were completely cordial and friendly in person….  That’s what struck me with that comment. I think we’ve all got to take a step back and think about that for a second. This was a woman who was cordial and welcoming and yet she felt estranged from DailyKos. The strike shut down the conversation.

Oh really? That surprised you? How very interesting. Kid Oakland is now very very concerned about those Clinton supporters whom the Obamadroids at DK treated so dismissively. Now that he sees they are actual human beings with actual votes and sometimes actual power within the Democratic party, he wonders how they can be brought back into the fold and induced to support the nominee, who of course will be Obama.  Anything else is out of the question.  But, KO wonders, can we do to patch things up with these really terrific people?

But, clearly, Senator Clinton, for as much as the facts on the ground and the party leadership have lined up against her, has the bedrock support of some of the most experienced activists in the Democratic base.

Obama and the Party need every last one of those activists. Dailykos does too. And we need them sooner rather than later. There is so much at stake in 2008. There’s too much at stake to be divided going into Denver. My concluding thought coming from San Jose is this. Obama needs to solidify his coalition. He needs to win over doubting Democrats and include those who have yet to feel fully included. To win, Barack Obama will need every last experienced activist the Democratic party can muster and those experienced activists need to feel utilized and included as respected equals.

Oh dear.  Yes, KO, we tried to tell you and Kos and all the other Clinton abusers that you were pushing things a bit too far, but you just wouldn’t listen, would you?

KO continues:

Senator Clinton is in a powerful position. Her supporters are among the best activists the Democratic Party has. I do not doubt that every last Clinton activist in the party will work for the nominee. The question is when that will happen, not whether they will support the nominee.

Oh really?

Yes, Conflucians, finally, the chickens are coming home to roost. This diary from KO also gives us a clue as to why Nancy Pelosi suddenly realized she’d better not be quite so obvious in her Obama support and flip flopped on her view of the superdelegates’ roles.

As for Michigan and Florida, eriposte has a great suggestion for how Nancy and her pals can help Obama can win without those two uppity states. Imagine wanting their votes counted toward the nomination. The nerve!

All they have to do is pass a Bill in Congress that says FL and MI will be stripped of their electoral votes in November because they broke the “rules” in the primaries! It’s that simple. This way McCain won’t benefit and if Sen. Obama is the nominee, he has a better chance of winning the general election. MoveOn.org and other fine “liberal” organizations, some of the top bloggers, the “progressive” version of hate radio, and so on, can then be completely relied upon to catapult the propaganda about how it is entirely justifiable for FL/MI to be disenfranchised in Nov according to the “rules” and according to the law. In any case, bills like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act are all so quaint and passe – clearly, part of the “excesses” of the 60s that Sen. Obama keeps referring to.

Isn’t that a terrific idea?

All I can say is it’s going be a lot of fun watching the Obamadroids in the DNC and the big blogs trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again now that it’s beginning to dawn on them that they’ve made a serious strategic error. Frankly, I think it’s a little too late. But that’s just me.

 So what have all you wonderful Conflucians been up to today?  And what have you heard?

I want a President who is tough as nails and really knows her stuff!

I started the primary season as an Edwards supporter.  But when I realized Edwards wasn’t going to win, I started looking at Barack Obama.  That was when I discovered that Obama didn’t seem to have any ideology to speak of and wasn’t into sharing details about his proposed programs.  He was for “hope” and “change.”  Like a lot of other people, I wanted more information about what “change” Obama was offering and how he would accomplish it.  Very few of his supporters seemed to be able to verbalize what this “change” would be either.  It also made me angry that Hillary was being attacked in such sexist ways by the Obama Campaign, the big bloggers, the media.  Being a contrarian at heart, I took a closer look at Hillary Clinton.

I had watched all of the debates, and even while I still supported Edwards, I had developed a lot of respect for Hillary’s intellect and her knowledge base.  I admired the way she had all the issues down.  She could talk extemporaneously about almost anything.  Each time I listened to Hillary, I was impressed with her fluidity of speech.  When she confronted an issue, the words just flowed out of her, confidently, clearly, and concisely, and directly to the point.  I knew this had to be the result of many hours of study and active engagement with the material.  I have seen this same fluidity of speech in the academic world.  When academics know their fields inside and out and are enthusiastic about their research, they sound just like that.  Riverdaughter wrote about how she and her colleagues at work look at this kind of wonkishness in a recent post, “Feminists and Geeks” here .

We spend our working days listening to our colleagues give us presentations on the work that they have done. Over the years, we develop a keen ear for detecting who has quality work and who has pretty presentations but is BS-ing their way through 20 minutes. Our support for Clinton has less to do with her being a female and more to do with the quality of her presentation. 

In December, Steve Clemons wrote about his experience of Hillary’s wonkitude  (via eriposte at the Left Coaster)

…one of the things that simply can’t be disputed is her work ethic. I’ve met her a number of times, usually at receptions — and each time I decided not to waste the moment with trivial banter but to throw an idea at her or mention a person or issue that would help me understand how real, how informed, or alternatively — how contrived — she was. Every single time she jumped on the issue I brought up and expressed two or three dimensions to the issue that showed she was deeply steeped in this or that policy. In my New America Foundation role, I helped build and support programs as diverse as debates about genetic scientific advancements to family work issues, health care, and wireless spectrum — not to mention my own core interests in foreign policy, national security/defense issues, and international economic policy. Hillary Clinton and I have had quick encounters that involved her sharing incredibly diverse and serious policy commentary.

The last time I had such a discussion with her was after she had won her last Senate race in New York, and she and Bill Clinton were a bit early to a UN Foundation reception honoring Muhammad Yunus. We had a really interesting discussion about what should be on a roster of 21st century threats and how our national security and foreign policy resources should be reorganized to deal with future challenges rather than keeping vested interests tied to old threats well funded. Her quick grasp of what I was trying to get at — and a detailed response that was serious and level-headed — really surprised me as I’m used to politicians who typically have to fake their way through detail. 

What it all boils down to is that Hillary knows her stuff and she’s into it.  She loves to think and talk about policy, just like her husband.  That must be one of the shared interests that have kept them together.

In addition to being a policy wonk and an excellent communicator and debater, Hillary is tough and unafraid.  Watching her performance in the debates this year, I was reminded of the many times I have seen Hillary on C-Span in various committee hearings.  One really great memory I have of Hillary in the Senate is the time in 2006 when she questioned Donald Rumsfeld about whether his views on the situation in Iraq were trustworthy.  She gave a long summary of the situation at the time and finished with this:

CLINTON:  A recent book, aptly titled Fiasco, describes in some detail the decision-making apparatus that has lead us to this situation. So Mr. Secretary, when our constituents ask for evidence that your policy in Iraq and Afghanistan will be successful, you don’t leave us with much to talk about. Yes, we hear a lot of happy talk and rosy scenarios, but because of the Administration’s strategic blunders, and frankly the record of incompetence in executing, you are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?

RUMSFELD:  My [pause] goodness[!]

Rumsfeld spoke these words in such a condescending way—as if he were stunned to be spoken to in that way by this woman.  How dare she!  It really was a smackdown.  You have to watch the video to get the full flavor of his reaction.   Hillary Clinton is tough as nails, and at that moment, Rumsfeld had to know it, despite his arrogant response.

Those are the qualities I want in a President.  I want my President to know policy inside out and have a facility for communicating ideas.  I want my President to be strong as steel and have the guts to stand up against all comers.  I have seen Hillary’s toughness and smarts during this primary campaign, and I am confident she can be such a president.

Webby Goodness

riverdaughterHere are some yummy posts that deserve some attention:

  • eriposte explains why many of us are Hillary Clinton supporters and happily so in Fighting the Good Fight. Amen, sibling!
  • Tom Watson comments on how the Obama campaign is once again reaching for the smelling salts, this time over why byzantine DNC convention rules should not apply to it in Vapors on the Left.
  • Christy Hardin Smith upacks the superdelegate issue further at FireDogLake in Poking Holes in the Superdelegate SuperFrenzy. As a sidenote, see another fine product from Scarecrow where he fans the tiny flame of Democratic courage in House Democrats Call the President’s FISA bluff. Now, if they can close their ears to the screeching GOP wurlitzer, maybe we can turn this ship around. Stay tuned on this. Maybe Pelosi is finally feeling her ovaries.
  • And finally, some reminders. I’ve read a lot around the web about intimidation of lefty women bloggers from the Obamaphiles and I was cited as an example. I’d just like to say that I could have gone away and felt all terrible about the way I was treated at DailyKos and how vicious I think the Obamaphiles and even some frontpagers are, but I just decided to create my own playground instead of having to ask permission to play in someone else’s. To be quite honest, I felt rather liberated when I was closed out of my DailyKos account. And here’s why I’m not desperately trying to claw my way back in:
    • They’re only pixels on a screen. They can’t hurt you. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So what if KagroX, that petty dicktator doesn’t like me? Am I going to let his attempts to make me feel unwanted and unpopular destroy my self-esteem? Did he think that by making me feel like a red-headed stepchild that I would rethink my candidate of choice like so many others have just so I’ll find favor in his eyes?  Not bloody likely. He means nothing to me but a collection of little black dots. Don’t let them get to you, ladies. They WANT to drive you away. This may be a little outpost compared to DKos but I’m still here and there are a lot more like me and we’re not leaving. You are in good company.

    More givens:

    • No matter who the nominee is, Karl has a dossier on him/her.
    • No matter who the nominee is, the GOP is going to pound them relentlessly.
    • No matter how good our candidate is, the media Beltway insiders are going to make fun of him/her and act like the 10th grade popular clique.
    • No matter how much the public is disgusted by Republicans, the Republicans will find some wedge issue that panders to self-interest.
    • No matter how much the public wants to vote for our nominee, the game has been carefully rigged to prevent those votes from counting.

    Just so we’re clear, there is a long uphill battle ahead of us. The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight and if they can’t win the White House, they will be busy trying to keep their stranglehold in the senate. Gird your loins.

xena  girds her loins