Thursday, February 21


Obama is always taking notes. Hillary almost never does. She listens to the questioner, she listens to Obama. Obama even takes notes when she's talking.

Hillary says she and Obama have a lot in common.

I'm really getting chapped by his refusal to ever look at her when she's talking. Is this bothering anyone else?

He changed it so that Walter Reed vets don't have to pay for meals and phone calls to their family? Must check this out. I haven't seen anything like this in his list of accomplishments.

My brilliant daughter just made a great point. She knows organizational behavior (a summa cum laude at SMU). She observed that Hillary always rivets her attention on Obama when he's speaking, while he never makes eye contact with her when she's speaking. "That's a classsic intimidation technique," she said. "I'm not criticizing her for it, I'm lauding her for it."

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Hillary is leading, Obama is following. My adult Obamamaniac son is watching with me, and can't dispute that Hillary is answering the questions and Obama is agreeing with her. Despite this, there is widespread applause for every Obama pronouncement, and the fervor for Obama is observable.


Fabulous opening. Her first political job (36 years ago) was registering south Texas voters. She cites the people she met, highlighting Barbara Jordan (one of my personal heroes) and Ann Richards (okay, another hero). Interesting, that I hadn't realized till now that my favorite Texans are women.

For me, politics is about making a difference in people's lives. She helped start CHIP. Her actions crossing the aisle to get veterans better health benefits.

Discrimination against sick people. Wants to continue her work helping take care of veterans. She offers a lifetime of experience and proven results. Together, we can do provide jobs, healthcare, make college affordable. Asks us to join in her campaign. It's your campaign, about your futures, your jobs and your healthcare. Beautiful. Sincere.

Obama's opening remarks. Talks about being friends and unity with Hillary. We're at a defining moment, war and the economy. Families are feeling the brunt of that economy. Not so slick as his stump speeches.

Missed some stuff because one of my kids had a question.

What's lacking right now, he says, is not good ideas. Washington is a place where good ideas go to die (sounds familiar?). Lobbyists have a stranglehold. Too many politicians are interested in scoring points instead of working together. Theme of his campaign is that we can be straight with the American people and enlisting them in taking back our government.

Barbara Jordan said that the people want an America as good as its promise. That's why he's running.

Now the debate.

Univision anchor: Sit down, Hillary, with new Cuban government?

HRC: I'll be looking for changes that should happen, democratic moves. I'm ready to reach out and work with a new Cuban government once they demonstrate those changes. If they do, the U.S. will welcome that. But there has to be evidence that those changes are real and that the Cuban people will be given a chance to determine their destiny.

OB: Starting point of our policy should be the liberty of the Cuban people. We have an opportunity to change our relationship with Cuba. I'd meet, without preconditions, but there should be preparation, with the new Cuban leadership. U.S. must talk to not just our friends but our enemies, that's where diplomacy makes a difference. I've called for a reduction in remittance taxes and travel to Cuba. I would not normalize relations until there's evidence. I support normalization, our policy has been a failure. We've seen a Cuba that has been isolated but has not made progress in human rights. Quotes JFK again, "We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate."

HRC: Advocates opening up diplomatic process. Points out that she doesn't favor negotiating without preconditions. We should eliminate the Bush policy because we've failed to reach out to other countries, aliented our friends and emboldened our armies. Wants a bipartisan diplomacy to send a message that the arrogance of the Bush administration is over.

I'd rather just listen than continue this, so I'm going to stop. Some thoughts to this point:

Not a bad performance by Obama so far. But he's clearly not the same speaker when absent a teleprompter, with many speaker tells. Listening to his economic proposals, though, they sure sound like Hillary's.

Hillary is smooth and assured so far, but she does kind of puff up (boy, I recognize that body language in myself!) when getting ready to respond to Obama.


Has it occurred to anyone to question why Hillary Clinton has proven to be the star of the debate format during this election cycle?

Could it be (gasp!) that it's because she has a thorough mastery of the issues; and that that is so because she's spent the past twenty (at least) years studying how to improve the lives of Americans, and trying to do it? That when other, more self-centric, women such as myself are dreaming of vacation cruises and zoning out with a good book after a hard day at work (hey, we're entitled!) -- this woman, who has shown herself since her youth to be more concerned with others than herself, pushes herself to advance one more idea, one more program, one more initiative to improve humanity.

Ambitious? You bet. But the real question is, for WHOM is she ambitious? I'd answer, for the voiceless.

I've posted comments on numerous, more highly-trafficked "progressive" blogs during the past few weeks, entreating the Obamamaniacs to balance their knee-jerk, anti-Hillary screeds with the facts of her progressive record, and reacting against their sexist not-so-sub-texts. The most offensive was this post on Easter Lemming: "I have been reminded by true sons and daughters of the South that "My Mama wants Hillary Clinton and if you respect my Mama you'll vote for Hillary." I suppose the darkies need to step to the back of the line, again ..."

This was my comment:

Your last paragraph is offensive. I guess I'm one of those mamas, and while I've spent a lifetime in the South being afforded front place in the line (ladies first!), that courtesy has afforded me little in getting me to a PLACE AT THE TABLE. If my adult children are aware that I support Hillary, they also know that I was marching for civil rights long before my feminist instincts kicked in.

And long before most Obama supporters who are swarming and swooning were born, we Hillary mamas were bearing and raising children while trying to support them on a salary 2/3 of a man's. We've been passed over for promotion, asked to bring in the coffee for meetings we're chairing, and perpetually asked to take notes, even when we reach the executive level.

We Hillary mamas care about healthcare, education, children's and women's rights as well as foreign policy and national security -- and we'd be the last to ask someone to step to the back of the line because of something so superficial as race or gender. We've lived discrimination our entire lives, in ways a male will never understand.

Gender discrimination is alive and well at Easter Lemming (among other so-called "progressive" blogs).

My response was rewarded with this response by the blogger: "Fair enough, although this response seems identical to what I have been hearing and reading and comented on. 'We've paid our dues, dammit. We deserve this.'"

Dues? Dues? Isn't this just the same charge made against Hillary repeatedly, that she thinks she's "owed" the presidency? What did she EVER do or say to indicate she felt that sort of privilege? The answer is, nothing. She's continuing to fight the good fight despite the slings and arrows of outrageous journalists and the haters who have held sway to the "Clinton rules" for decades now.

Here comes the debate. Over and out.

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Woo woo! HRC is comin' to town. Must be my consolation prize for not getting to attend the debate tonight in Austin.

The downside is, it's an outdoor rally, and Dallas temperatures have been dropping all day. It'll be wet and freezing tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Now my tasks are emerging: Come up with the perfect poster ... remember my camera and binoculars ... make as many calls as I can ...

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Who's more progressive, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?

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A bit of priceless snark by James Wolcott about this nonsense.


Tuesday, February 19


I'm feeling rather low right now. And I think I know why that is.

Since the November elections of 2006, I have experienced a resurgence of hope that American voters were waking up to the horrific consequences of 12 years of total control of our government by conservative Republicans. The inevitable conclusion of that, I thought, would be an impressive victory for the Democrats in election 2008, and in particular demonstrate the choice of voters weighted towards progressive policies.

But now I'm seeing a divide as great in the Democratic Party as in the country as a whole. We have a fine (D) candidate for the presidency who is running on a message of hope, unity and change. He hopes for unity, which sure would be a change. After several decades of escalating demonization of our Party and progressive principles -- and tactically, of ourselves as suspect Americans -- I am not inclined towards the kind of hope that rests on the good will and intentions of the Other Side. I had HOPED for a different kind of unity: that among Democrats, we could finally agree that it was better to sacrifice a little ideological purity than to find ourselves, once again, so divided that the Republicans could conquer.

Now I see an invective and ugliness in the posts and comments of the various progressive blogs against an effective and credible candidate, Hillary Clinton, by the Obamamaniacs that I simply don't understand how we could have fallen so far, so fast.

I've been a prolific blogger for nearly five years (although I have really let it lapse since I changed jobs), and I've been a proud part of the progressive blog community. It was great in the race towards the 2004 presidential nomination to see a difference of choices among the Democratic candidates -- different blogs supported a variety of candidates, but coalesced enthusiastically around the eventual nominee.

But this time is different.

I read a great many blogs and MSM on a daily basis. And I have noted, with satisfaction, the fact that the few pro-Hillary (unfortunately, not the more influential or highly-trafficked) blogs regularly echo their commitment to support the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is. I have not observed a similar widespread commitment on the part of the Obamaites.

Some of my previously-favorite blogs have taken a tone so reminiscent of the right-wing disdain, even hatred, for Hillary Clinton, that I simply cannot process it. Daily KOS and Talking Points Memo, to mention two of my must-reads (checking every few hours) for years, are unrecognizable to me lately, disturbingly similar in tone and reporting to the anti-Clinton mainstream media. No Clinton gaffe, no campaign glitch, is too small for a campaign of derision and triumphalism. The fanatically pro-Obama blogs are practically indistinguishable from the right-wing campaigns against Clintons of yesteryear. And yes, the Clintonistas are counterattacking. Justifiably so.

Yet it leaches the hope from me. Hence my dispiritedness. I had hoped for unity in the party. Could it still happen? Should Hillary win the nomination, would Obamaites coalesce, in big voting numbers, around her? I don't doubt, but would still declare the importance of, our (Hillary supporters) not only voting but organizing for an Obama candidacy, should that be the result. That is my last hope.

It is my fear that a divided Democratic Party will be vulnerable to a McCain victory in the fall. And that is a terrifying prospect. Having expressed that to a few friends who used it to encourage me to throw my vote toward the so-called-safer-vote-Obama (all those polls, you know!), I responded by saying that I'll be damned if I'll let the opposition determine my vote.

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Monday, February 18


David Neiwert lays bare the "Clinton rules" and issues a warning.

But as Stanley Fish quite adroitly observed:

Electability (a concept invoked often) is a code word that masks the fact that the result of such reasoning is to cede the political power to the ranters. Carolyn Kay (456) makes the point when she observes that if you vote against Clinton because you fear the virulence of her most vocal enemies, “you have allowed the right-wing hatemongers to decide who our candidate will be.” Underlying this surrender of the franchise to those least qualified to exercise it is the complaint (rarely overtly stated) that the Clintons have had the bad taste to undergo the assassination of their characters in public and have thereby made us its unwilling spectators.

Moreover, the Clinton Rules are a systemic problem, not a personal one. People today forget that when he was elected in 1992, Bill Clinton's campaign was all about finding a "new vision" and a fresh, bipartisan approach to politics, "reaching across the aisle" and forging the same kind of alliances that Barack Obama likes to tout now. He entered office full of hope that he could work with conservatives and liberals alike to get things done -- essentially the same kind of politics Obama is now touted by the George Wills of the Beltway for representing.

Well, we all saw how that worked out, didn't we?

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Sunday, February 17


Daily Kos poster Jarhead has had enough of the anti-Hillary screeds coming from the LEFT.

And Joanne explains why she cares so much about the outcome of this primary.

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