Mark Halperin Still Worships Drudge

In case anyone is interested in whether Mark Halperin has changed his ways since he wrote about what was wrong with political coverage last month, you can take a look at what he had to write at Time’s site today. He’s still worshiping Matt Drudge:

Editors, anchors, executive producers, reporters, and campaigns are instantly aware when Drudge posts something political. And with just days to go before the voting — with everyone so busy, so tired, so manic, and so vulnerable — political and media actors are more easily turned chasing in whatever direction Drudge points them. Or, more specifically, in whatever direction Drudge’s spoon-feeding sources point them.

Drudge is only a big deal because journalists like Halperin, who has compared Drudge to Walter Cronkite, make him big. Halperin regularly writes about the freak show in which Drudge posts something and it becomes news. If journalists would practice sound journalism and only go with stories based upon a legitimate, and preferably more than one, source, then Drudge would not have any influence.

What is really strange is that when journalists such as Halperin turn the responsibility over to deciding what is news to someone like Drudge, then they are really showing that their own jobs are no longer necessary. There’s no need to bother with journalists who simply regurgitate Drudge’s rumors when anyone can go directly to Drudge’s site.

Neo-Nazi Leader Outs Ron Paul???

The leader of the American Nationalist Socialist Workers Party has a post at a neo-Nazi site, the Vanguard News Network, alleging that Ron Paul has been regularly meeting with white nationalists. The post reads:

Ron Paul Lies About Lack Of Involvement With White Nationalists


I have kept quiet about the Ron Paul campaign for a while, because I didn’t see any need to say anything that would cause any trouble. However, reading the latest release from his campaign spokesman, I am compelled to tell the truth about Ron Paul’s extensive involvement in white nationalism.

Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays. This is part of a dinner that was originally organized by Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, and has since been mostly taken over by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

I have attended these dinners, seen Paul and his aides there, and been invited to his offices in Washington to discuss policy.

For his spokesman to call white racialism a “small ideology” and claim white activists are “wasting their money” trying to influence Paul is ridiculous. Paul is a white nationalist of the Stormfront type who has always kept his racial views and his views about world Judaism quiet because of his political position.

I don’t know that it is necessarily good for Paul to “expose” this. However, he really is someone with extensive ties to white nationalism and for him to deny that in the belief he will be more respectable by denying it is outrageous — and I hate seeing people in the press who denounce racialism merely because they think it is not fashionable.

Bill White, Commander
American National Socialist Workers Party

This report is via Little Green Footballs and those who are interested can follow the redirection there to see the original post (allowing me to refrain from giving them a direct link).While we cannot be certain of the validity of anything posted at VNN, LGF’s account of what is posted there is accurate. This could really be a case of a neo-Nazi who takes offense to Paul sharing his positions but denying them in public, or this could be a dishonest statement made with other motivation.

Under normal circumstances I might ignore such a post but Paul’s own behavior, and the behavior of his supporters, makes it impossible to ignore such a charge. If Paul had returned the contribution from Stormfront founder Don Black, if Paul’s newsletter didn’t include racist writings (which he subsequently said others wrote under his byline) or if I didn’t receive so many racist and anti-Semitic comments here in response to posts about Paul, I might be more tempted to give Paul the benefit of the doubt. Even if the claims here are not true, this demonstrates why it was a tactical, as well as ethical, mistake for Paul to refuse to return the contribution from Black (or donate the money to charity) once it was made public. Any serious candidate would have returned such a contribution, and Paul has more reason than most to need to disassociate himself from such organizations.

Hillary Looking Even More Desperate–Proves Barack Obama Is Not Perfect

ABC News reports that Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be going negative and launching a set of anti-Obama web sites:

ABC News has learned that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has registered the names of two Web sites with the express goal of attacking her chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill… and are domains hosted by the same IP address as official Clinton Web sites, such, which was launched with much fanfare this week.

The Clinton campaign intends to use these new Web sites to paint Obama as cowardly.

Clinton has attacked Obama for having occasionally voted “present” as an Illinois state legislator when it came to contentious legislation.

Politics is politics and having a site criticizing one’s opponent might be seen as going with the territory. What is especially pathetic about Clinton’s new strategy is how weak her attacks are. She is concentrating not on any votes or positions she disagrees with, but the fact that Obama occasionally voted “present.” The campaign also had a conference call with bloggers today so we might be seeing more blog posts attacking Obama later on from Clinton backers.

What is remarkable is that there is so little up side compared to the down side potential for Clinton here. Making this her whole line of attack only points out how little she has, especially as Clinton is even more vulnerable on this point. Clinton has run her whole campaign based upon her victory being inevitable while avoiding taking specific stands as much as possible. Her career is based upon pandering to the right wing from her earlier cheer leading for the war to her support of conservative nanny state proposals such as censoring video games. Clinton’s problem is that she has acted “present” throughout the campaign. Once she lost the appearance of being the inevitable winner there was no longer any reason for many to vote for her. She needs to sell herself, not attack Obama.

Attacking Obama is also risky as it plays directly into Obama’s strategy of moving beyond the hyper-partisanship of recent years. The more dirty the campaign gets, the more stronger Obama’s argument becomes. Obama has managed to turn the childhood philosophy of “I’m rubber, you’re glue…” into a winning campaign strategy against Clinton.

The attacks will not make much of a difference because this does not come as a surprise to many who back Obama. Most people realize Obama does not walk on water, and those who don’t realize this won’t have their minds changed by any web sites set up by Hillary Clinton. Sure, Obama has sometimes tried to avoid controversy to protect their careers, but what politician hasn’t? Hillary Clinton is hardly innocent here. Many who support Obama realize this is a gamble and that he is not perfect, but he is seen as preferable for a variety of reasons over Clinton and Edwards. This attack does nothing to change that calculation.

Update: Steve Benen looks back at Obama’s voting record and shows that this is a non-issue.

Valley News Endorses Obama

Another paper has endorsed Barack Obama today. The Valley News notes factors including his willingness to “speak his mind to the constituencies that least want to hear it,” his opposition to the Iraq war, and political skills:

Part of Obama’s appeal is that he doesn’t claim to have all the answers. On the other hand, when he’s right, he isn’t afraid to speak his mind to the constituencies that least want to hear it. He traveled to Detroit and told the automakers to make more fuel-efficient cars, a suggestion that Ford Motor Co. didn’t take too kindly. And he wasn’t exactly pandering to teachers when he endorsed merit pay at a meeting of the National Education Association. He’s also taken on the lobbyists, helping to write a reform law earlier this year. Like his Democratic rivals, he offers a progressive domestic agenda, including more affordable health care, which would help the working poor and middle class regain equilibrium in a country where the inequality of incomes threatens the social fabric.

Obama has not wavered in his opposition to the Iraq war and would draw down combat troops. But that is not to say he’s an isolationist or opposed to a just war. To the contrary, he knows that stability in the Middle East must be part of a U.S. strategy to defeat terrorism and that a strong military is essential to national security. He recognizes the absolute necessity to reduce the threat posed by nuclear proliferation; he is the co-author of a law that aims to reduce stockpiles of conventional weapons and to help other nations detect and interdict weapons of mass destruction.

Ultimately, though, the case for Obama is not just what he proposes to do but how he proposes to do it. Voters who doubt Obama’s leadership skills need only look at his well-run primary campaign, which has taken on the Hillary Clinton juggernaut. Clinton is a formidable candidate — knowledgeable on the issues, a sharp debater, tenacious. She is more polished and more practiced than Obama. But she is less candid and less likely to create the working majority needed to govern effectively. She describes herself as battle-hardened, the candidate most able to beat back the Republicans. But that’s precisely the problem: She is an armored warrior in a country weary of partisan and cultural warfare; Obama wears no armor. He seeks reconciliation — at home and abroad — and steps forward, ready to speak a language of common understanding.

Portsmouth Herald Endorses Obama

The Portsmouth Herald has endorsed Barack Obama, praising him for having “unique character and far-reaching vision to lead this country as it faces war abroad and economic instability at home. He is the 21st century candidate the country needs.” They are not concerned over the question of experience:

One of the main objections to an Obama candidacy and possible presidency has been the question of experience. There is no question that Obama has made a meteoric rise as a national figure and that he doesn’t have extensive experience in Washington, D.C. We believe this is more asset than liability.

Though he was an Illinois state senator at the time, we believe it was no accident of political and moral happenstance that Obama opposed and correctly predicted the quagmire of the Iraq war in 2002. His plan to travel to the Middle East and give a historical speech about America’s intentions and aspirations is a stroke of boldness rarely found in a politician.

All presidential choices come with risk. “Do you match up with the times?” Obama has said about an intangible ingredient necessary for the next president. We believe that Obama is like another candidate, a lightly experienced man from Illinois who burst upon the national scene in the midst of the country’s greatest crisis in 1860. Abraham Lincoln matched up with his times. We believe the same of Barack Obama, and encourage voters to support him in the Democratic primary on Jan. 8.

Forbes Believes Bloomberg is Planning to Run

Michael Bloomberg has denied he plans to run but has continued to do things to keep the idea alive. Forbes believes he is really running:

Look out, Hillary and Barack, here comes Mike. No, not Mike Huckabee (though he’d better watch out, too). Mike Bloomberg–Mayor Mike as millions of New Yorkers more or less affectionately call him.

And this time it is for real. Folks close to New York City’s twice-elected mayor suggest that he’s made up his mind to end one of the city’s long-running rumors and become an Independent candidate for president.

The date of his announcement? Pencilled in for right after Super Tuesday–Feb. 5. By then Bloomberg would have a pretty good idea of just who would be lining up against his third-party, self-financed billion-dollar campaign.

I’ve suspected that Bloomberg would wait to see who the nominees are before deciding to run, but perhaps it is true that he has decided to run and just wants to see who he would be running against before announcing. The opposing candidates might make a difference in the manner in which Bloomberg announces his campaign as he gives a reason for entering into the race. Bloomberg would probably frame himself as a moderate should Edwards get the nomination. This would not work as well should Obama be the Democratic nominee considering his greater appeal to independents and Bloomberg would have to concentrate more on his experience as a rational for running.
There is no guarantee this year that we will know who the major party nominees are after Super Tuesday. It is easy to conceive of scenarios by which more than one candidate in either party has picked up enough delegates to remain in the race if different candidates win in a number of states.

A victory for a third party candidate remains a long shot, but a combination of Bloomberg’s money and the use of the internet to assist organization makes it more possible than in the past. Bloomberg is also aided by a realignment which has been underway the past several years. The Republicans have lost the moderates as the religious right has gained influence, and this trend would be completed should Huckabee manage to win the nomination.

The Democrats received the votes of many independents and former Republicans in 2006 but this is not the same as permanent loyalty. Many Democrats remain in the mindset of the New Deal coalition and fail to understand the economic transformation of the information age. If the Democrats should adopt the populism of John Edwards, or should they continue to fail in providing a strong opposition to the extremism of the Republicans, there will be many people who are unhappy with both major parties and someone like Bloomberg might be able to end the current two party status quo.

Another question would be whether this is part of a long term effort to alter politics for those unhappy with the direction of either party or if it is just an exercise for Bloomberg’s ego. If there was a serious effort to provide a real choice to the “Starbucks Republicans” and fiscally conservative Democrats there would be far more reason to support a campaign which might lose in 2008 in the hopes of building something worthwhile for the long term. A serious third party bid might also force a change in the direction of one or both major parties, as has sometimes been how third parties have achieved some measure of success in the past.