Thursday, May 1


I missed this yesterday [emphasis mine]:

The ongoing controversy over Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, appears to have damaged how Americans view Obama. His favorable rating is now 47 percent, down 7 percentage points since February when 54 percent had a positive view of him. As may be expected, his unfavorable rating went up from 33 percent to 42 percent today.
The poll shows smaller changes in the other candidate’s ratings: Clinton’s favorable rating is up 2 points to 47 percent from 45 percent in February, while McCain’s is down 3 points from 52 percent to 49 percent today.

The decline in Obama’s favorable rating also is evident among Democrats: 63 percent have a favorable opinion now, down from 73 percent in February. For Clinton, 73 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of her, up from 71 percent.

Got that, superdelegates? Hillary is so "polarizing" that she has the EXACT SAME favorable rating among all Americans as Obama. And among Democrats, 10% MORE have a favorable view of her than Obama.

Momentum, ba-by.

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I mentioned to a friend at work that I had gotten a call from my youngest daughter today. She is, inexplicably, a conservative Republican.

"Mom," she wanted to know, "did you watch Hillary on O'Reilly last night?" I told her no, but I'd read some accounts of it. "She nailed it, Mom!" she said excitedly. "Well, that's what I read, but I didn't expect to hear that from you," I replied. She went on to say, to my delight, that she's considering crossing over in the GE to vote for HRC, she was that impressed.

My friend later emailed me the following:

"Actually, there seem to have been a number of conservatives who have come out for her recently. I think it may be due to:

- Her being tough
- Her being specific and practical in her views
- Her being willing to listen
- Obama not being any of those things
- McCain being so much of a wildcard that they don’t know what to make of him"

Now I know that the blogger boyz believe that any conservative who expresses admiration for Hillary is lying just so John McCain will get to face a weaker candidate (HRC, in the BBoyz view). I'm not so sure of that. Wherever Hillary goes she wins converts. The fluidity of her speech, whether in debates or in interviews, gives evidence of a clearness of thought, a mastery of the subject matter, that impresses more than the scripted prose of her opponent. The controlled passion she demonstrates for improving the nation and the lives of its citizens resonates with many people much more than the slick, even-tempered Obama. (The only time he shows much passion is when he perceives a slight to HIMSELF.) And to prove it, she's now doing better with Independents than Obama, who's been selling himself as the candidate who can bring more of them into the fold.

I'm not going to miss seeing her in the second installment of the interview on O'Reilly tonight!

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Joe Andrew proves himself to be not a Judas but a Thomas.

Andrew was head of the DNC under Bill Clinton and has announced that he's changed his superdelegate endorsement from Hillary to Barack Obama. His explanation of his switcheroo is so full of bloviated, meaningless rhetoric reminiscent of his new favorite that I could hardly read it without tossing my cookies. There's no THERE there, just lots of unity ponies.

Hoosiers should grab that power and do what in their heart they know is right. They should reject the old negative politics and vote for true change. Don't settle for the tried and true and the simplistic slogans, but listen to your heart and dare to be inspired. Only a cynic would be critical of Barack Obama inspiring millions. Only the uninformed could forget that the candidate that wins in November is always the candidate that inspires millions. [Emphasis mine]

Is he kidding? When it comes to simplistic slogans, "yes, we can," "hope," "unity," and "change" would have to top the list. And that last assertion, that the candidate that wins is always the one who inspires millions -- who in their right minds would suggest that winners such as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George Bush (both of them) "inspired" much of anyone?

I'll tell you what inspires ME -- solid solutions for the problems of the nation and its citizenry, and the experience and knowledge to execute them. And "in my heart," I know what is right (I assume he means what is "best" unless he's suggesting that Hillary is wrong for America) -- electing Hillary Clinton as POTUS.

What is best for our Party and our country is not blind loyalty, but passionate support for the candidate who can best correct the misguided policies of the last eight years.

We need a candidate who will re-invigorate the economy and keep good jobs here in America. We need a candidate who will end the war in Iraq. We need a candidate who will provide health coverage for our 45 million uninsured neighbors. We need a candidate who will end our addiction to high-priced foreign oil by investing in renewable energy here at home.

That candidate is Barack Obama.

What would lead Andrew to believe that Barack Obama will provide "health coverage for our 45 million uninsured neighbors" when BO's healthcare proposal only truly covers children and ensures that millions of Americans will go uninsured? What does BO know about creating new jobs? What would lead him to think that a Democrat (Obama) who supported Dick Cheney's energy policy would end our addiction to foreign oil?

The polls already show the supporters for both candidates becoming more strident in their positions and more locked into their support. Continuing on this path would be a catastrophe, as we would inadvertently end up doing Republicans work for them.

And you think that by ending the primary now and disenfranchising states like Michigan and Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia et al will unlock the support of Hillary's voters? You actually believe, you cretin, that calling for her to be forced out of the race by superdelegates at such a time, when she has momentum and voters are clearly taking a second look at Obama, is going to bond us to Barack? Get a grip.

Innuendo is easy. The truth is hard.

Sound bites are easy. Solutions are hard.

Okay, buddy, put your facts where your mouth is. Spell out what Hillary has done to make you question her "character" and "vision" as opposed to Obama's. Detail what solutions Obama offers that have not been cadged off HRC's own proposals (and in many cases, diluted of their progressive impact). You don't SERIOUSLY expect any informed citizen to believe he has a greater mastery of policy than Hillary, do you?

This is specious nonsense. Andrew appears to have bought into the Obama inevitability argument, and he's placing his bet on the supposed winner. Too bad he didn't have more faith in HRC. Maybe if she'd been able to offer him a look at the nailholes in her palms, he would have continued to believe.

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Is it time to seriously promote the idea of Obama as Clinton's vice presidential running mate? NYCWeboy thinks so and makes a good (IMO) argument in favor. (H/t Donna Darko.

UPDATE: I just ran into the #3 man in my company in the hallway. He's a Massachusetts Democrat now living in Dallas who likes to talk Dem politics with me. He's been out of town for a couple of weeks, so we kind of caught up a bit on what's been happening. He leans Obama, so when I suggested that I'm ready to talk unity (as long as Hillary heads the ticket), he expressed some skepticism that BO would be willing to run as #2. But here's the thing, I told him. If Barack wins the nomination and loses to McCain, he's John Kerry -- his career is toast as far as going anywhere beyond the Senate. As Hillary's Veep he can enjoy doing what he does best -- giving speeches and addressing process -- while Hillary attacks the very real problems that Bush 43 leaves behind. He can build his resume. He can prepare for 2016. And while Hillary will no doubt be heavily criticized for whatever she has to do to turn this country around, he can dodge some of that; and clearly, fending off attacks from the media and the opposition takes a toll on Obama -- he's simply not used to anything less than success and adulation. The next eight years will toughen his hide, improve his skills as a candidate, and pad his portfolio. It's a win-win for him AND his supporters, although I must add that delayed gratification is not their strong suit.

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Wednesday, April 30


Today's must-read, by Adolph Reed Jr., Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

I’ve never been an Obama supporter. I’ve known him since the very beginning of his political career, which was his campaign for the seat in my state senate district in Chicago. He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal.
It may be instructive to look at the outfit where he did his “community organizing,” the invocation of which makes so many lefties go weak in the knees. My understanding of the group, Developing Communities Project, at the time was that it was simply a church-based social service agency. What he pushed as his main political credential then, to an audience generally familiar with that organization, was his role in a youth-oriented voter registration drive.

The Obama campaign has even put out a misleading bio of Michelle Obama, representing her as having grown up in poverty on the South Side, when, in fact, her parents were city workers, and her father was a Daley machine precinct captain. This fabrication, along with those embroideries of the candidate’s own biography, may be standard fare, the typical log cabin narrative. However, in Obama’s case, the license taken not only underscores Obama’s more complex relationship to insider politics in Daley’s Chicago; it also underscores how much this campaign depends on selling an image rather than substance.
There is also something disturbingly ritualistic and superficial in the Obama camp’s young minions’ enthusiasm. Paul Krugman noted months ago that the Obamistas display a cultish quality in the sense that they treat others’ criticism or failure to support their icon as a character flaw or sin. The campaign even has a stock conversion narrative, which has been recycled in print by such normally clear-headed columnists as Barbara Ehrenreich and Katha Pollitt: the middle-aged white woman’s report of not having paid much attention to Obama early on, but having been won over by the enthusiasm and energy of their adolescent or twenty-something daughters. (A colleague recently reported having heard this narrative from a friend, citing the latter’s conversion at the hands of her eighteen year old. I observed that three short years ago the daughter was likely acting the same way about Britney Spears.)
And, as many Progressive readers may know, I’m hardly a Clinton fan. I’m on record in last November’s issue as saying that I’d rather sit out the election entirely than vote for either her or Obama. At this point, though, I’ve decided that she’s the lesser evil in the Democratic race, for the following reasons: 1) Obama’s empty claims to being a candidate of progressive change and to embodying a “movement” that exists only as a brand will dissolve into disillusionment in either a failed campaign against McCain or an Obama Presidency that continues the politics he’s practiced his entire career; 2) his horribly opportunistic approach to the issues bearing on inequality—in which he tosses behaviorist rhetoric to the right and little more than calls to celebrate his success to blacks—stands to pollute debate about racial injustice whether he wins or loses the Presidency; 3) he can’t beat McCain in November.
Obama’s campaign has been very clever in carving out a strategy to amass Democratic delegate votes, but its momentum is in some ways a Potemkin construction—built largely on victories in states that no Democrat will win in November—that will fall apart under Republican pressure.

And then where will we be?

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Nobody who reads this blog can doubt the strength of my preference for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee and, eventually, the POTUS. But I truly hate that the Reverend Wright thing has become the focus that it has, and I hate to think that voters would select a president on such a basis. I back Hillary because of her experience, her mastery of the issues, her passion for improving people's lives, her resilience, her courage, her judgment. It is because of those characteristics that she would make a better president than Barack Obama or John McCain.

Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright amounts to what is called a "behavioral clue." It is perhaps indicative of his character or personality, but it does not define the man anymore than Hillary's slip about the landing in Tuzla defines her. One may point out the difference between a sustained, twenty-year pattern of behavior and the muddled recollection of a decade-old event, but my point is that we should temper our judgments on both with the knowledge that human beings are imperfect. In electing a president we are not selecting a new best buddy or a saint -- we are selecting a leader. Behavioral clues can be valuable in assessing leadership qualities, but they shouldn't be weighted above such tangibles as positions on issues, record of accomplishment, and relevant experience. When they are, you get a George W. Bush.

And I suspect that it is not the voters who do that so much as it is the media. They may assert, and Obama's aides may agree, that the Reverend Wright issue is responsible for Obama's losses and Hillary's advances in recent polls. I prefer to think (and truly believe) that in the absence of substantive reasons to choose Obama over Hillary, the newness and excitement have worn away some of the luster of his campaign. His only real assets, his promises to play a "new kind of politics" and to deliver "hope" and "unity," have begun to pall as our economy deteriorates, conditions around the world look bleak, and people are increasingly seeking real solutions for our problems. I think we're witnessing a kind of "buyer's remorse" towards the Obama campaign, and Hillary's strength is being recognized for what it is. We're also seeing even a few media types beginning to note her own behavioral clues -- grace during crisis, a willingness to speak to any audience, a tireless fighting spirit that also seeks reconciliation where possible. These are positive clues. We have now glimpsed some of Obama's negative clues, but he also has some positive ones, such as his even temperament. Let's take them all into consideration, but not let them obsess us as they do the media.

We have good and tangible reasons to earnestly support Hillary. Let's keep our eye on that ball.

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Tuesday, April 29


" Hillary's top NC surrogate bashes gays in front of her this morning, she does nothing."

This is a reference to remarks made by North Carolina governor Easley, who just yesterday endorsed Hillary's candidacy for president. What, you ask, did he SAY?

After touring a bio-manufacturing training center, Gov. Easley, First Lady of North Carolina Mary Easley and Clinton held a ceremony at NC State University. The Governor formally expressed his support saying that there was "nothing I love more than a strong powerful woman." Easley concluded his remarks saying Clinton -- "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy".

This is getting to be more ridiculous by the minute. I use the words pansy, weenie, wuss all the time to describe a weakling, male or female, and it never even occurred to me that anyone would read an anti-gay message into it. Aravosis really needs to consider which is worse, a former Edwards supporter implying that Hillary is more of a fighter than Rocky and in the course of it using the word "pansy," which few use as slang for "gay" but many use to describe weakness; or a conscious decision by Obama himself, the actual candidate, to give an unabashedly gay-bashing gospel singer cum preacher like Donnie McClurkin a platform to air his hateful opinions by inviting him to open an Obama rally.

And "top surrogate"? Since when did Easley join Hillary's campaign staff?

It's not even close unless you're determined to lie about Hillary in every way possible in order to discredit her and crown Obama. The blogger boyz have proven to be willing to do just that.

UPDATE: Oh, for heaven's sake. The usually semi-reasonable Atrios joins in.

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Oh, for heaven's sake. In one of the more preposterous Blame HillaryTM episodes, it's now being speculated that a Hillary supporter was behind the Jeremiah Wright fiasco at the National Press Club.

Like the devil, She's everywhere, she's everywhere!

UPDATE: Politico demonstrates that it's unlikely, but I expect we'll be hearing similar speculation in the cable talk shows today and from some of the blogger boyz. And there'll be plenty who will want to believe it.

UPDATE 2: Didn't take long for one of the blogger boyz to get into it.

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Monday, April 28


This is good news for Hillary's chances in North Carolina.

A former state attorney general, Easley has focused largely on education programs during his eight-year tenure. He's called on both of the presidential candidates to talk more about he issue.

"Gov. Easley understands that education and a good economy are intertwined, and he understands that more than anyone else in the country," Hendrickson said.

Two week ago, Easley wrote a note to Obama imploring the Illinois senator to take part in a debate that would have taken place Sunday in Raleigh. Obama declined, saying he wasn't sure it would fit with his schedule, and the state Democratic Party later abandoned the debate plans.

Easley is a moderate Democrat, a popular two-term governor. The only thing better, in North Carolina, would be an endorsement from John Edwards.

What with this endorsement and the fallout from the Wright media blitz, not to mention his own missteps in the Chris Wallace interview yesterday, Obama may want to reconsider his debate boycott.

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The Obamabloggers are in a tizzy today as a result of BO's squishy, PANDERING interview on Fox's Sunday show with Chris Wallace. KOS insists he didn't put Obama on a pedestal, so he couldn't be knocked off, but he is clearly PO'ed, particularly when Obama threw DKOS a dis during the interview.

Chris Bowers wonders whether progressive bloggers and MoveOn have lost leverage over the Democratic candidates because of their early endorsement of Obama.

aThe events of this weekend, where the Obama campaign can appear on Fox News, the campaign can lie about the purpose of the appearance, and then bloggers who call Obama out on this get attacked by Obama supporters online, to me smacks of the death knell of blogosphere influence in the 2008 presidential campaigns.

Well, duh! They certainly lost leverage over Hillary Clinton! And they lost influence with her supporters (virtually half of all Democrats) by not just preferring Obama to her, but actively savaging her AND her voters, and by actively trying to destroy the legacy of the Clinton administration, the only two-term Democratic presidency since FDR. How on earth do they think they can backpedal now?

It appears that the Blogger Boyz are reluctantly and timidly facing up to the fact that they wuz used. What did they think, that a product of Chicago machine politics that is light on details, runs from progressive priorities (such as UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE), and talks "unity" with Republicans instead of "fighting the good fight" would be a good champion for them? Obama has even said he doesn't know much about or read much on the blogs. They really bought themselves a bill of goods.

But not to worry! When their candidate is trounced by John McCain in the fall, they'll not only be able to Blame HillaryTM, they'll have a raison d'etre for continuing and expanding their operations -- McCain Bashing. They'll gain new readers, increase ad revenue, and be able to afford all the latte and arugula they want.

Oh hey ... maybe that was their underlying motive in the first place. It sure as heck wasn't to help the most experienced, progressive candidate of the two make it to the White House.

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