Saturday, March 15


It's the last straw. I am truly, deeply concerned at what's happening among Democrats in the presidential primary race. Daily, we are finding out more disturbing qualities of Barack Obama, his surrogates and advisers, and the kind of support he generates among his followers. That support resembles nothing so much as the Bush/Cheney/Rove lovers, a "you're with us or you're against us" mentality, accompanied by threats of violence at the convention if Obama doesn't win the nomination (shades of the Florida recount). The unsupported, vitriolic attacks against Hillary Clinton and anyone who favors her as the nominee that abound through the so-called progressive blogs and the mainstream media, the race-baiting among those same outlets, has reached a point that I feel a frisson of fear that half the Democratic electorate have truly lost their minds and adapted the tactics and mindset of the enemy.

I have read and admired Josh Marshall daily for years now, but he's a good example of what I'm talking about. His recent post blaming Hillary for Obama's pastor problem is beyond nuts:

If Obama's the nominee, we will see no end of this kind of stuff. And there's probably some small benefit of getting a preview. But the simple fact is that we wouldn't be seeing this stuff now if it weren't for the fact that this is the kind of campaign Hillary Clinton's campaign has decided to wage -- often directly and at other times indirectly by not reining it in in her supporters when it crops up on its own.

Is he kidding? Hillary is responsible for the fact of Obama's close, 20-year relationship with a flaming racist pastor who has often, and repeatedly, expressed from the pulpit his hatred for whites, his conviction that America deserved 9/11, has cried "God d--n America" and many, many more exclusionary screeds aimed at dividing us? She's to be blamed for Jeremiah Wright's associations with Gaddafi and Farrakhan, and Obama's relationship with domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn? I suppose it's also her fault that Obama spoke one thing to Ohio Democrats about NAFTA and then channeled an opposite message to Canada. But that's the situation we're faced with. The Obama rules have been accepted and advanced.

It's not good enough, for me, for Obama to say he doesn't agree with all of Jeremiah Wright's opinions. I was raised a Southern Baptist -- my husband even attended Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary -- and devoutly believe basic Baptist theology. But we left that church because we could not sit in the sanctuary and listen to pastors who decried the humanity and rights of homosexuals, who praised Bush's war policies. It would have been, in my mind, tantamount to a declaration of agreement with or tolerance of those views. When I go to church I go to receive spiritual guidance and Bible teaching -- and I reject that kind of guidance. There are other churches, and pastors, that preach the love of Christ, and that's where I find a home.

For Obama and his supporters to suggest that he could sit in the pew week after week for 20 years and listen to the most divisive kind of rhetoric, yet stand for "unity" and "hope" is, at the least, questionable.

But to get back to my original subject.

The language of the Obama campaign, suggesting that Hillary Clinton is running a racist campaign and denying her very real contributions to human rights and dignity, the use of Limbaugh/Hannity talking points against her, the irrational hatred of all things Clinton, the sexist and superficial slurs against her and, for that matter, all women, that has exposed the essential misogyny of the media and the progressive movement, has turned my stomach. I can't sustain the kind of anger and sorrow that has characterized my days for the past couple of months without suffering physical and emotional consequences. But I don't know how to get past it, and maybe I shouldn't.

I don't fit the usual demographic ascribed to Hillary supporters. I'm a college-educated, executive woman (though white and over 50). I don't ascribe to identity politics -- I fervently supported John Edwards until he dropped out of the race.

I spent several months being SO proud of our candidates, all of them, as I compared the Democratic debates to the Republican. How the race has degenerated into such a miasma, I don't exactly know. What I do know is that as a diligent observer of politics, I cannot ascribe it to Hillary. Rather, I believe it is a result of a credulous media and progressives who have repeated the mistakes of the 2000 presidential race -- accepting the specious claims of a relatively unvetted, un-Clinton-related candidate, to "a new kind of politics, "a gentler, kinder" rhetoric, a Reaganesque character who talks about "hope" and "unity" while practicing the very same brand of political machinations we decried in Richard Daley's Chicago machine and Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

As a veteran civil rights activist from way back in the '60s when it was both dangerous and unpopular for a white teenager in the South, I was both delighted and inspired by the notion that we could have a viable black candidate for the presidency, so don't throw any charges of racism at me. I have written repeatedly on this blog that if Obama won the nomination, I'd not only vote for him but support him in every way possible. But I've concluded in recent days, as have so many others, that if Obama is the Democratic presidential nominee I will sit this race out. I will never vote for John McCain, but I will also not vote for Obama. Nothing that I have learned so far gives me confidence that an Obama presidency would be superior. So I'll vote for every Democrat possible on the down slate, but I won't endorse a movement so wrong-headed and wrong-hearted.

My heart is breaking. I truly thought that after two terms of the Bush administration, that Democrats were ready to lead the nation in another, better direction. I feel lost among my own party. But I'm a patriot above all, and I don't like what I see happening. God help us.

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Tuesday, March 11


9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser puts her finger on exactly what bothers me most about Obama: the rhetoric about "working with Republicans."

But back in '02, for those of us who dared to speak out against President Bush and his war in Iraq, we stood virtually alone. There was no resounding chorus of people calling "bullshit" on Bush's folly. No, back in 2002 you were called unpatriotic if you dared to question the president; labeled as helping the terrorists if you raised doubt about his divine call to action.

Now forgive me, but I do not recall the help (or the voice) of any Barack Obama from Illinois. Indeed, I cannot recall hearing or feeling the impact of any one speech from the Illinois Senator. Did he attend the rally on the mall in Washington? The marches and protests in NYC? Did he conduct national press interviews? Did he write any editorials? Organize any protest rallies? Mobilize the people? Did he write any petitions? If he did, I never saw any of them.

Yet according to Barack Obama, because he spoke out in 2002 against the war in Iraq, he is better qualified to be president.

And according to Barack Obama, since Hillary Clinton voted to authorize the president to go to war in Iraq, she is unfit to be President.

As Democrats we need to remember exactly who took us to war in Iraq. We need to remind ourselves exactly who is to blame for the huge price tag our soldiers and their families have paid. We need to never forget that it was George Bush who created this debacle. Costing us billions in dollars and worldwide respect.

Maybe that's what bothers me most about Barack Obama. He keeps talking about working with the Republicans. Reaching across the aisle. Compromise. Well, I've been to Washington. I have fought battles in Washington -- most of them against the Republicans -- to get 9/11 legislation passed into meaningful law.

And if there is one thing I know for sure right now, I do not feel like reaching across the aisle and finding compromise with Republicans particularly on any of the following issues: Roe v. Wade; torture; FISA surveillance and illegal wiretapping; unfounded wars with Iran, Syria, or any place else; stem cell research; the erosion of our constitution; alternative energy and global warming; and/or healthcare reforms.

So why does Barack Obama want to compromise on such issues? Doesn't he get it?

To me, those issues are non-negotiable. To me, after 8 long destructive years of Republican rule, there is no wiggle-room left for Republican taint and ruin. I remember all too well that it is the Republicans who are to blame for our nation's current precarious state.

That's why the Democrats must win the WH back in '08. We cannot afford another term of Republican ruin. That's why the only place I am willing to compromise is when it comes to figuring out the best way--the surest way--to get the Democrats in the WH.

So would somebody please tell Barack Obama to stop talking about shaking hands with Republicans and start talking about shaking hands with Hillary Clinton and her half of the Democratic party so we can all start working together to beat the Republicans.

Unity Ticket '08.

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I'm speechless. This NY Times op-ed on her 3 a.m. ad is just ridiculous.

I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.

The ad could easily have removed its racist sub-message by including images of a black child, mother or father — or by stating that the danger was external terrorism. Instead, the child on whom the camera first focuses is blond. Two other sleeping children, presumably in another bed, are not blond, but they are dimly lighted, leaving them ambiguous. Still it is obvious that they are not black — both, in fact, seem vaguely Latino.

Finally, Hillary Clinton appears, wearing a business suit at 3 a.m., answering the phone. The message: our loved ones are in grave danger and only Mrs. Clinton can save them. An Obama presidency would be dangerous — and not just because of his lack of experience. In my reading, the ad, in the insidious language of symbolism, says that Mr. Obama is himself the danger, the outsider within.

Well, in fact, one of the children definitely appears to be AA to me.

Sometimes during this campaign I have dearly wished, as Joni Mitchell wrote, "I wish I had a river I could skate away upon." Hillary and Bill Clinton have been loved and respected by the African-American community for decades, but now because Hillary faces an AA challenger, they're being accused of being racist at every opportunity. In this particular instance, interpretation of the "symbology" is being stretched to the heights of absurdity.

If you don't see it, I simply don't know what else to say.

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In response to all the flak Hillary has taken for suggesting she had a part in the peace process in Northern Ireland, here's a response from a WOMAN who was on the ground at the time. You really should read the whole thing. It's so reminiscent of the courage Hillary demonstrated in China, which is also being dismissed.

And let's hear from some others who were involved at the time.

Alegre has more, including her efforts Kosovo.

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Sunday, March 9


A large swath of America doesn't seem to be ready for a female POTUS. And it's not, as so many often say, just about THIS woman. It's ANY woman.

This expresses so well what so many of us boomer women are experiencing during this campaign (READ THE WHOLE THING):

All this ambient sexism is insulting and disrespectful to Clinton—and to me because, hello, I'm a woman. Because you wouldn't make similar comments about blacks or Jews or disabled people. Maybe it's also because I have that uneasy feeling that the C word has echoed behind me in the corridors of corporate America. Or because I sometimes wear pantsuits and cry in the office. Men may feel comfortable cracking wise on Hillary in front of me partly because I often crack wise and partly because it's hard to view affluent white women like me as victims of society.

But maybe, just maybe, it's also because Gloria Steinem is right—cue eye-rolling at the mention of an old-school feminist—that gender remains the most restricting force in American life. That makes me worry about my daughter's future. Steinem argues that among the reasons that sexism is not taken as seriously as racism is that sexism is still confused with nature, as racism used to be. It's just the natural order of things. At our core, many Americans just do not feel comfortable with the idea of a woman—Democrat or Republican—answering the phone at 3 a.m.

When I have bounced this argument off men I know, they have been quick to assure me that they are not at all uncomfortable with the idea of a woman as president. It's just Hillary they find unacceptable. Her secretive behavior and her utter mishandling of health care during her husband's administration. Fair enough, I have said. So what other woman could they imagine as president? Condi Rice? Well, she's not really a politician. Nancy Pelosi? Hmm, not really. Angelina Jolie? Now you're talking!

Perhaps that's because, apart from Hillary, there are few women of national political stature in this country. Could it be because there are still only eight female governors and because only 16 percent of all representatives and senators are women? Or maybe it's a coincidence. So forgive me if I'm feeling a little shrewish myself these days. From now on, if you want to call the first woman to win a Democratic primary a bitch in front of me, you'd better be Tina Fey.

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Here's a good read. Advice from Joe Conason:

Now Obama and his aides persistently deflect attention by pointing an accusing finger at the Clintons, complaining that they haven't revealed their tax returns or named all the donors to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Library, while occasionally alluding to the ancient Whitewater "scandal."
There is no politician in America whose personal and financial affairs have been subjected to similar scrutiny except her husband, and he is retired.
Moreover, the Obama campaign would do well to not draw excessive attention to the Clinton Foundation, since it would only succeed in speeding the rehabilitation of Bill Clinton. His efforts currently provide HIV/AIDS medication to as many as 1.5 million poor people in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia who would otherwise be abandoned to die. (If Obama doesn't believe me he can ask Nelson Mandela, who challenged Clinton to deal with the crisis.) That humanitarian achievement demanded both audacity and hope, but it also required money. Whatever the former president has done to raise funds from his billionaire friends -- and he appears to have done nothing unethical at all -- there is not a shred of evidence that he relied upon any influence wielded in the Senate by his wife. Indeed, her policy stance toward the foundation's friends in places like Dubai and Kazakhstan is critical and unyielding.

Obama, who has mounted an inspiring and effective campaign, remains the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. And as the contest continues, he should answer every attack by the Clinton camp on his experience, his policies and his rhetoric. But he should stop seeking to divert attention to her supposed ethical problems, and concentrate instead on responding to every serious question that is raised about his finances and his associations. He will have to address them all sooner or later. Sooner would be better for him, the party and the country.